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There are many things on my ever-growing To Do List that I hope to chisel away at today, including month-end bookkeeping (yuck) and working my business plan for the upcoming New Year(yay!). There are so many things that I have had lightbulb moments on in the last 4+ months when it comes to my writing, my path and my business. All good, by the way 🙂 But I still struggle daily to set the fear aside and focus on my own projects first.
What does that mean?
It means I have yet to conquer the fear of “not having enough $$” at the end of the month (which has never happened, btw) so I push, prospect and project manage on everyone else’s’ work but my own.
Why is that bad?
It’s not! Happy clients are clients who have longevity with me, but it also means I am not marching forward in exploring new projects and tasks that build ME up and moves my biz FORWARD.
One thing I learned many moons ago (and this is what I struggle to implement) is that you need to work on your own things DAILY. Like 1-2 hours every day or they just become yet another Great Idea that gets shelved for “someday.” I have good intentions on this…but tend to run out of day before I have a chance to turn from OPS (Other Peoples Stuff) to MOS (My Own Stuff).
Here’s a couple of other things I need to remind myself (and others) of every.stinkin.day:
Sometimes you need to be a Hedgehog: It’s no secret I am HUGE Leonie Dawson fan. This brilliant, quirky and savvy mom has shown me ways to honor myself and do my best work for over 3 years now. After suffering a pretty massive case of burnout that resulted in her re-evaluating her own focus on her multi-million dollar business, she wrote this amazing article that I have read and re-read about 5 times.
“The Hedgehog Concept is based on an ancient Greek parable that states: ‘The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing. Hedgehogs, however, are slow and steady, and people often overlook them because they’re quiet and unassuming. But, unlike the fox, they are able to simplify the world and focus on one overarching vision. It’s this principle that guides everything they do, and helps them succeed against all odds.
Philosopher Isaiah Berlin took this parable and applied it to the modern world in his 1953 essay, “The Hedgehog and the Fox.” Berlin divided people into two groups: foxes and hedgehogs.
In his essay, he argued that foxes are sleek and shrewd animals that pursue many goals and interests at the same time. Because of this wide variety of interests and strategies, their thinking is scattered and unfocused, and they are limited in what they can achieve in the long run.” Read the entire article HERE (please do, it is excellent)
Know What You Stand For-What Gifts You Want to Offer:
Ask yourself this question ASAP if you are someone feeling stuck in their business-What do I want to be known for?
It seems like, even though I have been a business owner and work-from-home-professional for over five years now, I still feel like I need to define what I want to be when I grow up! Obviously not have a firm handle on that has not worked well for me. For example; I like to call 2016 The Year No One Was Listening. With the main focus of empowering others to leave the 9-5 trap and work from home, I truly felt like I was shouting into a tornado. No one heard because it felt like no one was listening. Time to reboot.
This question at the beginning of the year really made me dig deep into my gut and brain and made me hone in on ONE thing I want to focus on in the coming year.
Do you know how hard it is to choose ONE thing when you have multiple interests, skills and basically want to rule the world? 😉
But focusing on the one thing, the thing I want to be known as an expert in (multicultural children’s books and the support of those authors), was necessary if I wanted to cease topic-hopping and banish Shiny Object Syndrome. AND get people listening again.
For me, to continue to go in several different directions all the time was very much like trying to paint a two-story house with one gallon of paint. That hypothetical gallon of paint represented my time and energy so I knew I better pick which “side of my house” to ration my “paint for (also which “side” would give me the most impact, joy, and traction).
Back to the Question….what do you want to be known for? Once you determine that, the path to what you need to do next to advance your life or business will unfold. I guarantee it. Just make the time and head-space to really think about it.
Don’t Lose Sight of Your Happy:
Here’s another opportunity to ask another soul-searching question:
I am happiest when I am____________________.
For me, this helped me weed out all the B.S. and really see some of the activities, obligations and even people who were sucking the life out of me. This question, and the one prior are ones we need to ask ourselves OFTEN. Why? Because the answers shift and change as we grow as spiritual beings and business folks. Asking myself this question also shined some light on what I need to “bless and release” in 2017. Kinda like that old adage/analogy that doctors sometimes need to amputate a limb to save the whole body.
Gross, but TRUE.
Again, I encourage everyone to really ask themselves what makes their heart sing…and then nurture those aspects of their life to the fullest. This graphic is also from Leonie. Go HERE to learn what it means.
As a business owner, this also meant letting somethings that were not benefiting my End Game go. Trust me, it is ridiculously hard to say “no” to income even though you know full well it is NOT profitable and NOT part of your vision for your business. That little Fear Monster is always on your shoulder whispering things in your ear like, “But it’s MONEY. You’d be CRAZY to pass it up!”
But the Fear Monster is what has stifled my business for far too long and the hardest thing I’ve done is flicked the little bugger off my shoulder and said NO way more often. The crazy thing is, better projects always fall into place as soon as I do.
Don’t Forget to Make a Life:
Are you a real “go-getter?” Yeah, me too. I’ve always been blessed with the ability to self-manage and self-motivated. But that is a double-edged sword since sometimes I don’t seem to know when to STOP. I left my 9-5 Abyss of a Job five years ago because I couldn’t bear missing a huge chunk of my kids’ life and I couldn’t stand having to beg and negotiate to take time off when I needed to. The windowless-box-of-an-office was sucking the life from me and I craved nature and feeling the sun on my skin. Fast forward to the last 12 months and I find myself in my home-box-of-an-office (with TWO windows!) still craving nature and the sensation of the sun on my skin. This time this lack was 100% my own fault.
As a solopreneur, there is incredible pressure to produce and support my family-so much so I have slipped into my old habits of being hunkered over my computer for way too many hours. But this time there is no boss looking over my shoulder and expecting quotas blah, blah blah. The moral to this story is form your business AROUND your life, not the other way around.
Trust me, it is very doable if you make it a priority.
Sometimes You Need to Rally the Troops (a.k.a The Besties):
Somewhere along the line, I lost connection with my Besties and my Soul Pack. These are the people who let me be me, are there when I need carbs and conversation and the fabby friends who are always down for an impromptu adventure somewhere. I need my Besties. They keep me from going bat-shit-crazy and are also good at kicking my hypothetical Fear Monster in the junk. Some of my Besties act as Masterminds too even when they don’t need to. In a nutshell, stay close to your tribe and be sure and return the favorite when they work to build you up instead of tear you down.
No go forth and be FABULOUS. 🙂