Here’s the thing: 4 things to let go of as a business owner

As humans, we regularly need to let go of stuff in order to move forward with efficiency, energy and clarity. Today, I’m sharing my top four things I’d love for business owners to release on the regular.

It’s a bit like Marie Kondo-ing your brain so that you have more space for excellent business strategy and clarity.

Are you ready to let go? Here we go:

 

1. Perfectionism

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: perfection is an illusion, and, if you’re a business owner, it can be a costly thing to focus on.

No project is ever perfect. No plan is ever perfectly executed. So stop beating yourself up about it, and please, please focus on all the good stuff you are doing.

The progress you make is worth far more than perfection, which is worth absolutely zero.

If you, like so many of us, try really hard to make everything perfect, consider:

  • Identifying what “good enough” looks like
  • Focusing on one or two things that REALLY matter to you
  • Reading about iterative processes and how valuable they are in business. The Lean Startup is a great book to get you going.
  • Launching something before you think it’s ready, and rolling with it
  • Joining my anti-perfectionism group coaching course, Progress not Perfection

 

2. Expectations

Okay, I definitely believe in forming an authentic, aligned vision for your business. So let’s make sure we know that I’m not saying you should let go of that.

Expectations are different. Expectations are often fantasies of how we hope things will go, without much basis in reality. And, crucially, expectations are usually things we put onto other people.

Brene Brown says, “Expectations are resentments waiting to happen.” And I think we could do without resentment, yes?

Here are some examples of expectations to let go of:

  • The expectation that you will consistently do more than is reasonable in a given day, eg the work of 20 hours in 8
  • The expectation that other people will automatically have the same passion and drive that you do
  • The expectation that other people are as hard-working as you, or will do things in the same way
  • The expectation that other people will be able to read your mind (they really, really can’t)
  • The expectation that your business will consistently out-perform what’s statistically possible

How to let go of expectations? Notice them. Write them down. Perhaps on a daily basis. These things are easy to think without thinking about it, and then will trip you up later!

 

3. Disappointments

Oh, the disappointments. If you’ve been in business more than a year (and/or alive more than 25 years), you’ve probably experienced some pretty hefty disappointment.

Maybe you’ve been let down by someone. Maybe a project didn’t come to life the way you’d hoped. Maybe the decisions you made in good faith turned out to be wrong in ways you couldn’t see at the time.

Feeling let down sucks. And it can be a huge drain on your energy, often leading to a mindset where you can’t imagine trying or trusting anything (or anyone) ever again.

If you’ve been disappointed, here are some suggestions:

  • Feel it. Be angry. Write down everything you feel and would like to say to all involved.
  • Release it. Shout into the sky. Burn everything you wrote. Or rip it up and throw it away.
  • Forgive yourself. This is a big one. Actively tell yourself that you forgive anything you’ve been beating yourself up for.
  • Learn. What are the lessons of your disappointments? What did you learn about what to do next time, or who to trust?
  • Put lessons into actions. The best way to let it go is to move on, and that takes action. End or repair relationships. Change the direction of projects. Start new projects based on your learnings.

 

4. Comparison

If I could make a wish for all business owners everywhere – no, wait, all people everywhere – it would be to let go of comparison.

It truly is the thief of joy, and it can corrode confidence, passion and enthusiasm quicker than you can blink.

And comparing yourself to others is so. easy. to. do.

Especially on social media, where everything can seem shiny and easy and perfect (see above). In reality, everyone is facing challenges and messiness and disappointments.

You can waste so much time and energy on stalking competitors, or even comparing yourself to friends who seem to have it all together. You know what I’d love? I’d love for you to put all that delicious time and energy into YOUR business, your designs and creations and unique gifts.

So let go of it as much as you can:

  • Unfollow people who make you slip into comparison
  • Write down all the things you think “people” are doing / achieving and acknowledge that you have no idea what their behind the scenes really looks like
  • List your own gifts, talents and skills – regularly

 

What else would you love to let go of? Or perhaps you’d like a witness to the perfectionism, expectations, disappointments and comparison you’re releasing now. My emails are open.

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Stories for a Friday: accepting imperfection

I was driving back from yoga and thinking about how I’m not good at certain poses. Forward bends. Anything requiring flexibility in the hips. I am good at balances, and I’m really, really good at savasana (which is all about lying on the floor and relaxing – I really am good at that).

Same as when I’m doing a more traditional workout. Push-ups are not my forte. Nor are lunges.

But I can do them. Slowly and with lots of exasperation.

Anyway, I was driving back from yoga, thinking about how I’m no good at these poses, and maybe not good at anything. And why aren’t a good at them? What is it about me that stops me from being good at forward bends and push ups? Is it related to my other faults? Is one of them causing this, or is this causing one of them?

And suddenly… I stopped.

I stopped questioning myself. I stopped trying really hard to figure out why I’m “no good” at certain things. I even stopped thinking I’m no good at them. Because, for goodness’s sake, I can still do them!

***

I’m not perfect. Neither are you. And even though I have made a pact to embrace imperfection and let go of striving for perfection, it can still bite me in the you-know-where.

On the days when I’m fed up of not being damn perfect already, when I’m impatient and overtired, when I just want one thing to go right (dude, you didn’t severely injure yourself or anyone else today – something’s going right), I can start slipping into that perfectionism place.

By the time I got home, I was just grateful to be. To be able to go to yoga. To be able-bodied and relatively capable. To have good things to look forward to (if I let myself see them).

Considering my theme for this month is freshening up, it would be easy for my monkey mind to jump into how I need to freshen up my flexibility, to get stronger and better.

I see it differently.

It’s time to freshen up my self-kindness and my self-compassion. I’m imperfect, and that’s just how I’m meant to be.

It’s time to freshen up and re-frame my aims of going to yoga: it’s not about going and doing each pose perfectly. It’s about spending time with myself, with my body, and seeing what I’m capable of today.

It’s the same when we’re too hard on ourselves in business.

Maybe you’ve started believing you’re no good at business, when the business landscape has changed.

Maybe you’ve started thinking that your products aren’t good enough or you’re just rubbish at Facebook ads.

Maybe it’s just not perfect yet, and you’re tired of not being perfect.

Let’s freshen up those beliefs, and re-frame them so that you’re better supported.

Maybe this year is one of exploration for what’s possible. When you launch a product, notice what happens: who likes it, who buys it, whether it takes a little longer to sell than before. That’s not you failing, that’s seeing how the world it.

Maybe you’re learning about Facebook ads. No one nails it first time. Set yourself learning objectives, and notice what you’ve learnt each time.

If you’re tired of not being perfect, write a list of what you’re good at. Notice what works well in your life. Remember that no one lives a perfect life, and no business remains static at the top of its game. You’re in progress.

And mostly, pile on the love, the care, the compassion. Speak to yourself as you would a child or a friend. You’re not perfect. You won’t ever be. But that doesn’t stop you being amazing.

And you’re in really good company…

With love

Jenny x

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