This time last year, in January 2018, I was burnt out, emotionally and financially.
The previous year had been tough, mostly because I’d tried to do too many things all at once. It was time for something to change.
When you’re burnt out in business, it can feel like you’re at the bottom of a very deep pit. There’s SO much that needs to change – and that can be totally overwhelming.
So at the beginning of last year, I decided that my theme for January was “step in the right direction”.
I knew we have a tendency as humans to overestimate what we can do in the short term, and underestimate what we can do in the long term. So I didn’t want to put too much pressure on the month of January to turn everything around. (Also, I didn’t have the energy.)
So I used the practices I teach at my Small Creative Business Retreat to figure out my direction, and I simply asked myself to take small steps in that direction every day.
And I got through it. By the end of January, I’d run my retreat, and taken small, consistent steps to improve both my energy and my business. It was the start to the year I needed, and it was both gentle and powerful.
I shared this very story on Instagram recently, and by the end of the day I’d had messages from women with whom the idea of gentle and powerful resonated.
We’re not often taught that gentle is powerful, especially in business. To many of us, selling and marketing our work feels harsh, brash, and almost aggressive. There’s so much out there about setting goals, being productive and getting it done.
But if you’re anything like me, you’re creative, sensitive, and you like to feel a sense of authenticity in your work. And perhaps, like me, you manage depression or anxiety.
In which case, gentle is the most powerful way forward.
Gentle allows us to connect more deeply with the values that are most important to us.
Gentle allows us to go at our own pace, rather than pushing to a speed that throws us off track or bores us to tears.
Gentle reminds us that this life and business stuff is meant to be on our own terms, not dictated by the ideas and demands of others.
When we’re gentle with ourselves, we can really tap into our innate power. I can only write well when I’m well-rested and have the time to work around a piece. If I put pressure on myself to write as much as possible in a given time period because otherwise I won’t be successful, my writing isn’t as good.
So here’s the thing
What would being gentle mean to you as we start 2019? What doors could it open up?
When you feel at your most powerful, in business or while creating, what does that feel like? What helps you to get there?
If you’ve already written goals for 2019, what happens if you put “gently” in front of them? If you’re hoping to grow this year, how could you do it gently?
Will you join me in the pledge of gentle yet powerful this year? Pop on over to Instagram and tell me all about it!