In the middle of the semi-circle of chairs, directly opposite our facilitator, I sat in floods of tears with 15 pairs of eyes on me. It was day 4 of the training, and it was only the day before that I had been waxing lyrical about how amazing I felt and how my heart was so open and the world was so wonderful and colourful and bright... I had been a virtual paragon of positive thinking. So what happened in that 24 hours to turn me into a wet mess?
If you find that you try all the positive thinking and law of attraction stuff, but only get so far before you start behaving in a way that is so not aligned with where you want to be, then you might have the same problem I did. Because you can do all the positive thinking in the world, and spout affirmations till the cows come home, but if you haven't done the deep diving into your emotions - the subconscious "baggage" that weighs you down whether you know it or not - then it might help for a bit, but the results will not be very long lasting.
It might even feel like you're wearing a mask of positivity when, inside, you just want to scream into your pillow or cry in a corner. The funny thing is, I needed to turn into a wet mess in order to remove my mask and really allow me to move forward in a positive way.
Do you every feel like you are taking life and business a bit too seriously? Does it sometimes seem like laughter and lightheartedness are relegated to the weekends (assuming you give yourself a weekend)? Do you have a slight sense of dread when Monday morning comes around... and then feel a bit guilty because that's not how you're "supposed" to feel when you have your own business?
Well don't worry, you're not alone. I know that there were periods in my business life when I took things FAR too seriously. And it's a trap you can fall into all too easily - after all, there's just so much to DO!
But it IS possible to, not only make more time for the fun stuff, but also to make it a part of your business so that you get joy out of working on and in your business too. and I believe this is actually essential for you AND your business. So today I'm not only sharing why it's so important to have fun, but also four ways to make fun part of your "business as usual."
Do you feel like you don't have enough time in your day for the things you have to do, never mind the things that feel good? Does the idea of having an extra hour feel like you'd need some kind of time-travel machine to make it happen?
Since time is the top obstacle busy business women tell me is stopping them from doing the things that feel good, I have a little challenge for you. If you find yourself regularly saying you're too busy, or don't have enough time, I'm inviting you to challenge yourself to find an extra hour in your day. Will you take up the challenge?
Can you believe that a quarter of the year has passed already? It’s officially Spring, the clocks have sprung forward (here in the UK), and Easter has been and gone - even if there are a few Easter eggs still lying around. I thought I’d take the chance to take stock and reflect on how the year is going so far.
One of my clients - Business consultant, Denyse Whillier - swears by her quarterly business review as a cornerstone that helps her make consistent progress in her business, so I thought I'd follow her lead. However, rather than going for a business review in the traditional sense - this being The Feel Good Business Woman and all - I’ve decided to focus on the 7 feel good factors that are important to my personal business journey: fun, freedom, fulfilment, finances, vitality, connection, and balance (not in order of priority).
Today I'm sharing my quarterly review with you, in the hope that it will inspire you to do the same so you can ensure that you are consistently making progress towards having a feel-good business.
“I just don’t have the time.”
This is the #1 objection I hear from female entrepreneurs when I ask about doing the things that feel good. But I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t always need to take lots of time to give yourself a lift, refocus yourself, and start feeling better.
A quick fix might be just what you need, especially on those days where you are stressed, overwhelmed and exhausted, but stopping completely isn’t an option because there’s still lots more to get done before the end of the day and you’re on a deadline. When you find yourself in these situations, I recommend a three-minute pause to just shift your state (physical and mental) and reset yourself.
Here are three ways to feel good in 3 minutes (or less), all of which have been proven to reduce stress and boost the feel-good chemicals and hormones in your body. But I know you’re short on time, so I won’t get into the “science bit” today.
I’m a great believer in making business easier and more fun. After all it’s my mission to help as many women in business like you to enjoy the business journey and make time for the things that feel good so that you can avoid burnout and keep going to make your difference in the world. One of the things I’m looking into right now is affiliate marketing.
I don’t mean the icky, in your face, ram it down your throat, affiliate marketing that might spring to mind. I mean simply sharing things that I love, that have genuinely helped me and/or my friends in our lives or business, and getting paid for it. Most of us do that quite naturally, so why not get a share of the profit in return?
As Elizabeth Goddard says (I’ll introduce her in a moment): “Affiliate marketing is the ultimate form of passive income.” And I’m inclined to agree.
I’m not about to start giving you lots of tips on how to do affiliate marketing, because I’m only just starting my journey and learning how to do it myself. But I want to share a quick and effective way that you can learn about it for yourself so that you can give it a go and create another stream of income.
I’ve just got back from a short holiday in Spain where I enjoyed some time soaking up the sunshine, relaxing and exploring a new city.
For me, getting away for a break on a fairly regular basis is essential for replenishing and recharging my energy, which is one of my basics of self-care. However, when you have your own business, it can be easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of it all without giving yourself a break, which can easily leave you functioning on the brink of burnout.
My energy level is the main indicator I use to know if I’m meeting my basic self-care needs. If I’m feeling low energy, I know I need to do something (or stop doing something) so that I can boost my energy. If my energy is high and I’m feeling good, then I know I’m on the right track. So today I’m sharing my 6 non-negotiables when it comes to self-care, which very helpfully spell out the word ENERGY.
Mothers’ Day is coming up this weekend (in the UK) and even if you don’t like to buy in the commercial maelstrom it probably gets you thinking about your mother or a maternal figure in your life (I’ll be using the word “mum” as a catch all for this article.)*
Maybe your mum was a successful business woman, a stay at home mum, a 2-jobs-just-to-make-ends-meet mum. Maybe you had a wonderful, nourishing relationship with your mum, or maybe you went (or want) to live on another continent to get away from her, maybe you had two mums, or maybe your mum wasn’t around at all for whatever reason.
Whatever your relationship with your mum, it’s a relationship that influences us from birth (and before) and affects our beliefs and behaviour as an adult, in turn influencing how you run your business. Becoming aware of these beliefs can be the first step to either clearing or reframing the negative ones or embracing the positives. So here are four types of business-related beliefs that you might have learned from your mum (or any other prominent person in your childhood).
I was reading Aniela Gregorek's chapter in the book Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferris* over the weekend and this quote really hit me...
To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children… to leave the world a bit better… to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived. This is to have succeeded.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
I won't lie, an involuntary sob even escaped (yes, I am a cryer). Aniela Gregorek is a former political refugee who is now a weightlifting champion, business owner and author. So her story was inspiring enough, but I couldn't quite work out why this particular quote affected me so deeply.
I realised that it's because it was a definition of success that had nothing to do with society's version - which basically amounts to being rich and skinny as far as I can tell (plus a whole host of other expectations based on gender, race, religion, community and more.) So it made me want to define success on my own terms.
Burnout can seem like an extreme term - we imagine people literally collapsing from exhaustion or having a nervous breakdown. So it may not feel like it applies to you.
However, I have worked with lots of busy business women throughout my own business life, first as a personal trainer and then as a virtual assistant. And there's one thing I've noticed that many of them have in common...
They are functioning on the brink of burnout! Are you?