Did you know that nobody pays you for what you know, they pay you for what you do? Taking action is fundamental to building your business and learning to do it well unlocks the power to create massive impact and feel lit up every day. I'm Jo Ingram and here's where we go all out for getting the courage and conviction to follow our true purpose and join the tribe of action takers, making it happen.
My husband Ivan and I were in the front lounge at about nine o'clock in the evening. We were having a typical spousal row - I couldn't even tell you what it was about, just one of things after you’ve both had a long day at work. You’ve finally eaten something, you're about to relax and then you take a pop at each other about whatever it was. We were interrupted by the phone ringing and were kind of curious about who was calling at nine o'clock at night, particularly on the landline - we're going back about 10 years here.
I picked up the phone and on the other end of it was a lady called Christie, who was our agent in California looking after our surrogate who was expecting our twin daughters.
Christie said, ‘look, I don't want to alarm you, but the babies are on their way - you need to get here as soon as possible’.
Now, just to put some things into context, we were sitting in London in our front lounge and our wonderful surrogate was in Southern California about to give birth to our twins.
Not only that, but the twins were coming really early. It was only 29 weeks into the pregnancy, so that made them nearly three months early. This is far too early, particularly for twins to be coming along, and these are not just any treasured babies – we had worked for these babies for seven years, dreamt about them, taken action on them, and done everything in our power to overcome the fact that I had been made infertile after giving birth to my first daughter.
The culmination of all of that was in this moment - to be told that even though we were expecting to be in California at least a month before their birth, because twins do typically come early and we certainly didn't want to miss the birth, here they were coming nearly three months early and we just had to drop everything and fly.
Now, if you're a person who likes to be in control as I am and always have been, this is not a scenario that sits comfortably.
Can you imagine the lack of control that takes place when all of this is just happening, and you really don't have anything to do but the next thing? There aren’t any choices to be made, it's just simply how quickly can we get Virgin to move our flights? I got straight on the phone and we found a flight at 11:00 AM the next morning.
We spent the night packing, making arrangements for my eldest daughter to go and stay with grandma and all the things that needed to happen whilst we stayed in close contact with what was going on. Meanwhile our babies were born and were moved immediately to the NICU to be cared for in their incubators. Like any baby born so early, they really couldn't give us an outcome. They didn't know. They were stable at that point but with a baby so young anything can happen, and with preemies, it's very different every single day. Of course, we didn't know this at the time. All we knew is that we had to get there - that was the only thing on our minds.
The next day we flew all the way to California. I think it’s about a 10- or 11-hour flight, if I recall, right? That is a long time. Anyone that's flown knows you have to turn your phone off whilst you're on the plane, so you have no outside contact. We'd been phoning the nurses every couple of hours and checking in on the status of our baby girls and suddenly we had to turn off our phones and sit on a plane for 11 hours, not knowing when we disembarked whether our babies would even be alive.
Yet I flew, as did my husband, so calmly. It was like true trust because there was no choice.
True trust in that the universe will be making the decisions and my only job was to stay calm and fly, covering the miles and be on my way. It's an incredible experience, particularly for a control freak me to literally relinquish that control.
When we reached LAX, we immediately called the hospital and, thank God, the babies were fine - they were stable. We rushed to their side and met our baby daughters for the very first time. It was an incredible experience. I'd love to tell you more about that story, which I'm going to do in a podcast episode soon, because that experience, the whole surrogacy journey, taught me so much about life.
I’ve been able to transfer this into the way that I approach and build my business which has given me so much more faith in what the outcome will be.
My baby girls are now 10 years old. They did absolutely great. There were so many more ups and downs that I could tell you about though - there was never a plain sailing moment through the NICU. They were there for six weeks and we stayed by their sides in Southern California throughout, before flying home to London with them when they were eight weeks old. Thank God, everything has worked out just perfectly, which is the moral of the story. The learning for me is that I could have gone to pieces. I could have lost all faith. I could have lost the ability to make rational decisions and I could have allowed many things along the way to sort of drop away.
Yet in those moments that counted, I stayed strong and steady, I kept the faith, and the outcome was really positive. It couldn't have been better, and I learned that lesson that I can relinquish control.
Who am I relinquishing control to? It's this idea that perhaps the universe knows best. I know for many people the idea of this universe spirit power is something that's a bit hard to swallow and I completely empathise because I’ve felt like that too. However, as I learn more about it - and I'm studying Kabbalah and getting more involved with different aspects of manifesting - I really do see not only the spiritual aspect of it, but how closely it relates to actually being practical, taking decisions acting with faith whilst staying strong and not needing to control every aspect.
This, the idea that you create the intention and not necessarily have to know the how - the how can take care of itself.
While I say the how can take care of itself, what I mean in practice - and you know, I talk about action a lot - when I say that the how can take care of itself, it means that at the time that you need the answer to the how, the answer will arrive. Some people call it a divine download, others call it inspiration. The simple point is that you don't need to know all the hows now. You don't need to know what your 10th step should be when all you need to take is the first step, and this is the outlook that I've been applying to building my business, as hard as it is. That experience did not remove my need to feel control and yet I know I can't control it.
None of us can; none of us know the outcome. None of us know the future. All we can do is state an intention and then step towards it, take the action, wait for the inspiration and trust.
10 years ago, when I went on my surrogacy journey, I'd never even heard of manifesting and yet now I know more about it I actually see that a lot of the behaviours and things that I did back then were absolutely aligned with the law of attraction and manifesting. In actual fact I now believe in retrospect that I did manifest my success and I did manifest my twins.
When it comes to manifesting there are seven steps, and it goes like this. First of all, you have to be really clear on what you want. It has to be your desires, what you want. You have to be absolutely clear, and you have to state it - perhaps you journal about it, perhaps it's your vision, but getting clear is always the first step. Now, whilst that might be the rule for manifesting, it's the rule for building businesses too in general.
If you don't know what direction you're headed in and you don't know what your goal is, how on earth can you work towards it?
Secondly, it's about understanding what the desired feeling is for the wants. This is the idea that you might say, ‘oh, I want a big house’. Is it the house specifically? Or is it the feeling that having that house gives to you? For one person having that house might make them feel proud and important, but somebody else might want a big house just to feel secure, so you need to get really clear, not just on what you want, but actually how you want it to make you feel.
Then comes the third step, the one that I personally find so challenging, and that's surrender and let it go. Get out of the way, get out of the how, just don’t focus on it too much. This is the trust. The trust piece that says, I trust that this is coming to me, that this is something that was already in existence, and I just need to step towards it to bring it into my life physically and in reality. It's a massive leap and I know I struggled with this so much as I'm building my business. I'm sure that you have a similar struggle.
Will you really get the success that you visioned? Are you going to make that money this year? How long will it take you? Will you have the business of your dreams?
Interestingly, when I relate this story to my surrogacy journey, I realise that although I didn't see it as surrender or letting anything go, I just believed that it would happen. I created stories in my mind about certain music that played that was a sign. The point is that it gave me encouragement. I felt like every time I heard a certain piece of music it reminded me of why I wanted it and that it was going to happen. It's like it was a must – failure wasn't an option. We were just going to overcome every barrier as it came up, not knowing what the problems would be, knowing that there would be problems, and just saying that we will solve each and every problem one by one.
One such example - I don't know if you remember, we're going back again 10 or 11 years but certainly if you're in Europe you're going to remember this - but there was a large volcano in Iceland that erupted. It spewed debris into the atmosphere and basically grounded all planes for at least a couple of weeks. In London you could look up at the sky and there wasn't a plane to be seen, it was too dangerous. They literally couldn't fly until the debris cleared. At this exact time, I was going through an IVF journey to have my baby twins and here we were in London having all of the medication that was given to us in LA.
If you're familiar with IVF, you have to inject yourself for a number of weeks to stimulate your ovaries, so you get a lot of eggs. Those eggs then get harvested so you can create the embryos, so I was just in that process and I had a date to fly back to the States where my doctor would be harvesting my eggs. At that exact time the volcano erupted, and the planes stopped flying.
I was sitting there injecting myself, with absolutely engorged ovaries, which incidentally, if you go over and go too long, can become really dangerous. I knew that I needed to get to the doctor and get these eggs taken out so we could make our babies and yet the planes weren't flying. I remember speaking to our doctor in the States and he said, ‘don't worry, it'll all be fine. The planes will fly in time. Don't worry’.
I was thinking, how do you know, are you God or something?
Although obviously being a fertility doctor, I guess he kind of thought he was - in a way he sort of was, he certainly was godly in our lives – and indeed the clouds parted or so it seemed, and we got on the exact flight about a day later. As soon as the planes started flying again, that was our flight the next day. I mean what a miracle - not to say I couldn't have solved it. Even if we hadn't flown, I was already looking into IVF clinics in London to see if I could get my eggs harvested here, frozen and sent out to the States. I mean, that wouldn't have been the ideal outcome, but you know that you have to have a backup plan and you have to have your brain going in different directions.
At the same time, isn't it beautiful to trust, to have things just work out, to not lose your mind and just keep moving forward no matter what? Really when you're an entrepreneur isn't that the truth - stuff's going to happen. A failed launch, no clients, a lack of ideas or a struggle to get visible.
Just not getting what you want out of any particular situation. Do we just turn around and give up? Just say, ‘oh, it's too hard, I'm not going to do it, I was never going to make it anyway, who did I think I was?’ No, no, no, we're not going to do that. We're going to keep moving forward step by step, overcoming each of the barriers.
Maybe you need a little more training. Maybe you need to get a little braver. Maybe you need to join a program or get some coaching. Maybe you need to speak to a friend. Maybe you just need to take a few minutes away from your desk and chill out for a bit.
There's always something you can do if you just hold the space for yourself and trust that because your success is inevitable, you will find the solution. You will find your way.
The fourth part of manifesting is aligning your vibration with your thoughts, your feelings, your actions. Basically, if you imagine that feelings are on a frequency scale, it's about constantly moving up to a better feeling. I have to be honest with you, I have struggled with this one, because I'm somebody that can wake up in a bit of a grump or, if something isn't quite right, feel like my vibrations are just not where I want them to be - but boy, am I working on this! I literally make sure that when I catch myself in a low vibration mood, I ask myself the question, what could I do to raise my vibration just a notch, just to a next best feeling? It's not about going, ‘oh, I'm really, really angry - I know I'm going to become joyful’. It's about saying, if I'm feeling angry, how could I raise my vibration and the feeling level just a bit? Instead of feeling angry, could I just feel frustrated or irritated? Instead of feeling irritated could I just feel ‘meh’? How could I move myself up just a little bit so my vibration is always a bit better than it would have been otherwise?
The fifth thing is really, I suppose, my home ground, which is taking action. It doesn't matter if that action is small or large. Don't worry about when the gold is going to happen - just take the action. It's like if you're constantly going, ‘oh, but it hasn't happened yet. It has to happen in the next three months. It has to happen next week’. That's that control. That's the way that I've been working so hard to let go so I can just take the action in a really trusting way.
Interestingly when you take action without the pressure of that outcome, the actions are always so much more inspired.
It somehow opens up the pathways for this inspiration where you can just say, ‘oh, I know I'm going to do it, I'm going to go live and I'm going to talk about something.’ Or for me, ‘I'm going to make a podcast episode about this. I feel so inspired and full of energy’ and I think it shines through. I know the difference when I'm talking about something I'm highly impassioned by, like I am right now, and something where I feel like I’m just going through the motions. It’s a completely different kettle of fish, not only for yourself and your own enjoyment, but your vibration and your energy to those people that you're putting that message out to is completely different.
I really hope that you're feeling the high vibe that I feel like I'm giving out right now and really, I hope that that enables me to get this message to you, whatever part of what I'm saying might resonate, because it's about helping each other.
It's about giving ourselves the opportunity to really level up by our interactions and get fabulous transformation, feeling that energy.
The sixth step to manifesting is to act as if this is where you literally just step into the version of yourself. Like it's already done, like this already happened. You can already feel it. I'm already feeling the happy feelings that we did in step two. I feel it. I think a lot of this is to do with appreciation and gratitude, and it's saying, you know what? It's already here. It's ready in my life. I might not be holding it tangibly in my hands and yet I feel the energy of it, and the idea is that that energetic match will manifest the thing into your life so much faster.
I have not consciously manifested so far. Hands up. I can't say that I am a card carrying, manifesting expert - not at all - but I have done this subconsciously, which really, really interests me. I think the fact that I knew my twins were coming and I went out and I bought them booties and I bought them these things that, you know, part of me - the logical part - said, don't be ridiculous. Don't buy the stuff when they're not even on their way yet. Of course, I was like, they are on their way because I'm doing IVF. They're coming. So, I need to prepare, I'm going to go and buy the booties. I'm going to write them letters in my journal because they're coming. They're here already and I'm going to behave as though they are. And I did that.
Now I'm asking myself and I'll ask you too, how could you behave like you already have the business success? What is it that you were hoping to gain from it? Was it an up-leveled lifestyle? Was it more time to meditate or spend with the kids? Couldn't we just do that now?
Couldn’t we just say, you know, it's here already. I don't have to wait for some future point before feeling these amazing feelings, because certainly if you believe in manifesting, then this is what's going to attract your future to you. Even if you're too pragmatic and you can't believe in manifesting, is it really a bad thing to feel great about having something, even as you're working towards it?
On to step seven; receive and celebrate. It's basically showing the universe that you want more of it. Again, it’s a gratitude piece that says, I've got this in my life. I really love it. Thank you. Celebrating. What a great place to be, a place of gratitude. We all know how important gratitude is when it comes to building your business.
What could you be grateful for right now? What is it that you've already achieved? Maybe it's just making the decision that this is going to be your future, or maybe it's finding your purpose.
Maybe it was being brave. Maybe it was doing something that only a month ago you would never have had the confidence to do. This is how I am helping myself apply the learnings that I've got in my life to building my business and this is how for you too, you've got the opportunity to relinquish just a little bit of control today. Just to trust a little bit more and know that as long as you're doing these steps - visualising, taking the action, the trusting and moving forward, not allowing barriers to stop you, finding solutions. You've got this.
This is what building a business and being an entrepreneur is all about. No one's here to tell you what to do. People are here to encourage and support you on your really special, personal journey.
I'd love to hear of your experiences manifesting either consciously or unconsciously. Drop me a line and tell me about how that might have happened for you and what you found helpful. I'd love to know.
If you're enjoying this podcast, please do remember to hit the subscribe button, tell your friends about it, and leave me a review. If you haven't listened to last week's episode, tune in to hear all about how to approach your business like a CEO with intention. I talk there as well about a new opportunity to work with me for a very special CEO one-to-one strategy session. Jump into the show notes if you'd like to learn more about that. Have an action-packed week, speak soon.