Kate’s 3M Principle: Embracing life using bite-sized time frames

By October 31, 2021August 12th, 2022Transformation Journeys, Uncategorized

This newsletter comes from Edinburgh – truly a spectacular city and my new neighbourhood below. If ever you come to Edinburgh, simply follow the smell of coffee in the West End and you’ll be sure to find me. This city is small enough to walk, cycle and use public transport, yet large and eclectic enough to offer everything a much bigger city does! With international festivals covering art, theatre, cinema, books, storytelling and more. It’s bliss. Even with the grey there is a dramatic energy to the sky in Scotland you don’t quite get anywhere else. 

For the first time ever in almost 20 years, I am going to start sharing certain articles for YOU only – my insiders. They will NOT appear in this longer format on my public blog. I will share more personally about where I am at and it will be under a 10-minute read. 

I will also give you access to work with me should you choose, 48 hours before I open up spaces to the wider public. I’m excited and ready to gear up again – working with an exclusive number of clients at a time. This is so I never reach the burnout levels I did a while ago. 

The past 24 months have been fascinating for me – and I found a way to embrace life in a new, focussed way. But by focus I don’t mean busy! 

Grab your tea coffee, wine or juice and enjoy a 7.3 minute read.

Is it possible to embrace life using bite-sized timeframes
“The 3m Principle”

This article aims to inspire you to consider short, snappy time frames by following the “3m Principle” as a way of potentially embracing life. Whether your goal is to dial life UP a notch or DOWN a notch – that’s up to you! It requires courage to go after what you know you truly want and need at any given time. Only you know!

It’s quite simply about embracing life in 3-month silos! 
Hence the 3m!
Short, achievable chunks of time. 
No matter what is happening around you.

How does 3m work?

Do you usually consider the rhythm of the year ahead and what you wish to challenge yourself to achieve? I approach this by taking into account bursts of work and travel interspersed with rest and play. Living and working #LocationFree for the past 5.5 years as a global nomad from a suitcase means this rhythm also involves which particular country I’ll be in at any given time. I tend to use the rhythm of each year as a way of tracking into the bigger picture.

Once the rhythm is sorted, then it comes down to the 3m chunk of focus. Three-month silos.

I have found that by following the 3m Principle, I have tapped into a lifestyle that gives me more clarity, control, and energy. Vooma to tackle the next 3 months. It feels nourishing to think in shorter bursts of time and allows me to stay passionate and energized.

Ironically it has also afforded me more patience and has longer-term sustainability. It’s short enough to keep everything on the radar but just long enough to have a real impact. I find that I lose energy if I feel I have ten years to achieve something. 
Or three. 
Or even one year. 
I need to feel life passing, the sense of urgency to keep me on track.

We can all do pretty much anything for 3 months, right?

3 months, rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat.

My heart and soul know the bigger picture, so now my energy, brain, and activity engages in 3-month silos.

I feel released from the burden of long-term planning. 
A true godsend for me.

I have my bigger, bolder vision that’s calling me, imagining I have about 30 years left on this planet. With grandparents that lived well into their 90’s, I feel I’m going to be around for a while! But none of that vision transpires without the focus of now.
This moment
This day
Then tomorrow
Then next week

Short restricted time frames to stay laser-focussed. Could you try it and see how you fare?

What’s the life question you live into?

I have always endeavoured to live into a question that’s personal and intense for me… 

“Am I willing and ready to die, today?” 

It has served me well to chase my dreams, live boldly, and forced me to stay honest and courageous over the years.

I wonder what YOUR question is? Do you have a profound and purposeful one that you strive to answer through the way you embrace life?

I have recently experienced the most challenging thus subsequently the most rewarding 24 months. That’s 8 batches of 3-month silos to make up the past 2 years. And I don’t mean just related to the global crisis we all experienced – this was all in play well before that!

I was permanently addicted to being busy, busy, busy all the time; loving the sassiness of fast-paced life. Travelling left and right across multiple time zones a few times a year. Making sure I fitted in four visits a year to my partner based in South Africa. Travelling to and from clients running retreats and speaking engagements from Italy to Dubai, Greece USA to SA and back again.

Living a large life but with some equally large consequences.

Break up and Burn out?

I needed time out and time off. From Sep 2019 I needed to drop into heal, rest, and rejuvenate mode. And to grieve. Grieve two very dear friends (who were like moms to me) who passed away, grieve the break-down and break-up of my five-year relationship, grieve leaving a country I had called home for 48 years, and grieve selling off a chunk of my business. 

Yes, you are also allowed to grieve the conscious choices you made as 
there is still a huge loss to acknowledge.

Burnout and grieving take energy, time, and space. It always feels like a luxury to give it what it needs, don’t you find? There is always something louder that wants our attention – and often we may even welcome that distraction as a way not to have to face the real pain. But if we don’t make time for it, or are too scared to allow it to surface, there is a price. 

A demanding price.

I needed to learn the lesson of saying yes. 

It’s so exciting to say yes, right? I had to learn to use some firm no’s, and become way more mindful of what I said YES to.

So now more than ever, life using the 3m Principle works wonders. 

Small chunks of time to focus on. 

The right things to focus on. 

Aligned and value-driven.

And that does NOT mean just adding more to life. I needed to emphasise the “less is more” principle. While I advocate living light in terms of possessions and stuff and have coached 1000’s clients on my CLEAR YOUR CLUTTER principle, it has finally, finally seeped into another layer for me. 

The layer of BEING more than DOING

Taking action only from an aligned place

I fear I have been a very slow learner! 

But learned it I have

My entire emphasis has been on LESS. 

Less yes, less work, less to DO, less time online, fewer clients. That translates to saying yes to way more rest, more play, more time off, more reading, more sleeping, and yoga. 

More swimming

More me

Fewer others

More on the to-be list

Is your busy molecule too active?

Are you perhaps stuck there too – needing to finally go against the grain of productivity, where your busy molecule is running riot? Do you need to say no and go with your heart’s desires? Of course, it’s easy to find excuses and justify why you simply cannot– but surely recent times have taught you life is short?

I am a total convert to the value that the 3m Principle brings.

WANT TO THINK ABOUT IT FOR YOURSELF?

How does The 3m Principle show up practically?

STEP 1
Ideally, you already have a big vision for your life aligned with your true desires, values, and principles? Something big, bold, beautiful, and enthralling for you? If not, that might be your starting point for the first 3m silo – getting crystal clear on your life vision/dream.

STEP 2
Next, it’s super useful to have a vision or dream board for this year ahead. A kind of mini focal point for 12 months. Big, bold, and clear.

STEP 3
All that matters now is the next 3 months. 12 short weeks to activate. Being super bold in what you challenge yourself to focus on. Most of my 3m batches for the 24 months have been about rest, sleep, meditating, writing, making books – more emotional and spiritual rather than the crazy-busy mode.

STEP 4 – for me the absolute crucial component
Be sure to have an accountability partner. Either in the form of a coach, counsellor, mastermind group, accountability group, or a single buddy to work with. Someone or a group that will NOT let you off the hook. That you meet with at least every week. For me, that’s the real test of it all to put it in time-space reality.

To

Not

Let

Yourself

Off the hook

KEEP YOUR PROMISES TO YOURSELF

STEP 5
Rinse and repeat the 3-month silos.

Ad infinatum.

This 3m Principle also dovetails beautifully with the work from the book “The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington. I was introduced to the audiobook version by a dear friend, and we have been actively following that principle for the past 2 years. You will be in good company –corporates have been doing this for eons! Breaking down sales targets into quarterly goals and accountability. That same accountability friend of mine happens to work in the financial sector in Dubai and their main focus is in 3-month silos too. We always work to their quarterly dates to have congruency. They know all too well that if they do not meet the financial targets in THIS quarter, they have to course correct in a massive in the next quarter. 

Surely we can do the same in life?

Yet … we tend to go about setting big goals and trot out the regular New Year’s Resolutions in January, and then believe we have the WHOLE YEAR to accomplish them. There is no sense of urgency, deadline, drive to do anything. Suddenly mid-December looms along with the dreaded sense of failure and “I’m not good enough” nattering at us between our ears. We prove ourselves right yet again. 

WHERE IS KATE RIGHT NOW IN THE WORLD?

I’m living into the question of where might I want to spend more time now that South Africa is no longer one of the places I visit regularly or call it my home. I’m looking at life beyond the dreaded P word, and what that looks like for me. How do I wish to navigate the #LocationFree life that’s so important to me and simultaneously set up a base? Now, for most folk that would traditionally mean finding ONE base to settle down in, right? That’s what most people do when they stop being a nomad. They find one place to unpack life’s belongings.

I find myself saying yes to TWO new bases.

I have just started my next 3 month silo in Edinburgh. A chunk of time to figure out if the concept of this next step will work. To re-choose if it doesn’t, or recommit if it does. I think people are so obsessed with needing to know ALL the answers before leaping, to have it all figured out for the next ten years, to be overly cautious about decisions.

I have rented a truly gorgeous city pad for three months to see where it takes me. I even brought my stuff across from Greece and my winter clothes from mums ….and so for the first time in 5.5 years I have most of my life possessions in one place. Just my precious art that is still stuck in a box in South Africa along with my lonely salsa shoes.

But this gypsy is not planning on being in ONE place. Alongside my city pad is another longer-term vision coming into being. Exciting! I have recently found a more permanent way onto that sacred island called Iona. You may remember the place it holds in my heart for healing and renewal when I spent a few months there in 2020 and shared about the GAP between no longer and not yet? Well I am finally out of that GAP and into the new chapter. 

Iona is a longer-term YES. A place that has been called to my heart for decades. A bolthole for myself to retreat to and share with other writers seeking refuge from life in a truly sacred and inspirational place.

Neither of them is necessary for me to live full-time. It’s simply not who I am.

“Are YOU able to find a way to live into WHO YOU TRULY ARE? 
Regardless of how against the social grain that might be?”

My lifestyle is anything but traditional or mainstream.

Then next year, as it stands right now, I intend (ha- let’s see how that pans out, right?) to spend a 3-month silo in the Mediterranean again. Running three writing retreats in Greece and Italy and then staying on to see about a base there too. Imagining the warmer, lemon scent-filled world of the Mediterranean makes me so deliriously happy, that I simply HAVE to explore more. I pour over photos of Italy, the food, country, culture and language. It’s like I have an old connection with it.

My nudge to you today is to think bigger yet act in shorter time frames. 

Imagine you have just three months. That is all that matters. You might not be able to accomplish everything in three months, yet you sure as heck can accomplish loads with focus and attention.

Happy 3m to you,

Kate

NEED HELP EMBRACING 3m?

I’ve got space for 6 fabulous clients (that’s you!) on a three-month silo to feel proud. 

NO group work- just you and me!

Please mail me directly to set up a chat on kate@kate-emmerson.com