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.

PS Fancy getting these blogs by email? You can subscribe here.

Book out the next six Friday mornings…

A little later on today, I’ll be welcoming some fabulous business owners to the Self Care on Social Media for Business Owners course platform and opening up the community.

These are the moments when everything starts to come together!

The course doesn’t start properly until Monday, but there’s something lovely about getting familiar with the space you’re going to be spending time in. It’s like a cat padding around the sofa before it sits down.

There’s a seat for you if you’d like to join us

Is this community waiting for you? And are you ready to be part of a change in the way we see social media and its influence on our businesses? I’d love for you to join us.

You’ll need:

  • a hunger to change the way you interact with social media for the better
  • mostly free Fridays from 10am till 12noon (though recordings will be available too)
  • a lovely notebook
  • a printer or PDF viewer
  • an investment of £140+VAT or three payments of £55+VAT

You’ll learn:

  • the unique way I started thinking about social media to help myself and my clients create an authentic voice
  • how to balance the benefits of social media with the challenges and pitfalls
  • how to put together a self care manual for using social media that’s totally unique to you
  • the difference between positive connection and mindless scrolling – and how to get more of the good stuff!

And that’s not to mention six weeks of access to coaching with me on this topic and your business in general, plus lifetime membership to the group and materials. In fact, signing up this time means you’ll be able to take the course again every time I run it in the future. Because things change and we need to refresh ourselves.

My passion and purpose

I created this course for one reason in particular: I know that so many amazing, talented, hard-working business owners are losing themselves in an endless scroll of comparison, distraction, and insecurity.

Had I a magic wand, I’d wave it and wish you all that time and energy back so that you could put it back into your business and experience far more success and joy. I’d get you out of your own way (because boy do I know what that’s like!).

In lieu of a magic wand, I created this course. It’s one of the closest things to magic that I know how to do, and I really, really want you to benefit from it.

Throughout the course, you’ll be able to:

  • examine your own use of different social media platforms
  • identify what works for you and what doesn’t
  • get excited about different ways of viewing the platforms you love
  • download worksheets
  • read articles
  • watch videos, including bonus interviews with people I love
  • ask questions and tap into my 9+ years of working with small creative businesses

Not just a pretty face

I’m talking about Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, of course! Well, and you and me.

Social media isn’t just about a great photo or reaching a “perfect” standard of content. It’s about connection, resonance, and meeting people where they are.

The impact of a strong relationship with social media isn’t to be underestimated, and it’s my firm belief that your investment of time, energy and money in this course will pay off within months, if not weeks, of completing the course.

Get stationery shopping!

I could talk for hours about the benefits of the course, and I hope if there’s anything you’re not sure about by now, you’ll get in touch and let me know.

If it’s for you, please do go ahead and sign up before Monday morning, and then grab a lovely notebook so that you’re ready to start.

If this isn’t for you, thanks for reading this far and supporting my work! I hope we’ll find something else to connect with soon.

Enthusiastically,
Jenny x

Here's the thing: take lunch breaks

lunch breaksIn recent conversations with clients and at the Small Creative Business Retreat, it has come to my attention that many small business owners are not taking lunch breaks. In fact, some are not even eating lunch!

It’s time to change. I’m starting a lunch break revolution because, apparently, we need one.

I’m not going to argue with the wise people who tell you breakfast is the most important meal of the day. That would be foolish, I’m sure.

But lunch holds a very particular significance because it’s right there, smack bang in the middle of the day. Which makes it an ideal – nay – essential time for a proper break. You’ve put in the hours in the morning, and you brain and body are in need of sustenance, both food and time.

You know, if you actually employed yourself, you’d be legally obliged to give yourself at least 20 uninterrupted minutes for every 6 hours, plus tea and loo breaks.

Ask yourself right now: do you get 20 minutes off before you stop working in the evening?

And then ask yourself this: do you often feel overwhelmed, tired, unclear, unfocused, or unsure? If the answer is yes, let me suggest something… Take a lunch break!

Not just any kind of lunch break, a proper one. One in which your brain gets to slow down and relax a bit, or your hands get a good rest. A break that allows you to return to the land of real human beings, not a one-(wo)man business machine. A break in which you breathe, notice yourself eating nourishing food, drink something lovely, and sit quietly for a moment or two.

Things that do not constitute taking a lunch break:

  • Scrolling through Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram
  • Sitting by your computer or laptop, trying to get food in your mouth without looking
  • Any kind of chore, or to do list item

If you’re currently kidding yourself that spending 10 minutes on Facebook, getting worked up about what other people are doing, is actually a lunch break, then please – stop now.

Here’s the thing…

I’m going to tell you something you may find shocking. I take a lunch break every single day, for at least 30 minutes, and usually longer. I get up, make my lunch, and I sit on my sofa – 2 metres away from my laptop and phone.

Sometimes I pull out a (non-work) book. Sometimes I make notes (but only after I’ve finished eating). I breathe. I put on fun music. I stretch.

Sometimes (here it comes) I take a 2 hour lunch break. I go to yoga, or I simply need more downtime in order for my brain and my body to return to work mode. It’s taken me a little while to know that this is okay. I started off worrying that I’d need to schedule in “make up” time so that I was “allowed” to have time off. What I’ve discovered is that having a longer break when I need one allows me to work longer, or get up earlier, without me forcing it. It happens naturally. Honest.

Here’s the bit I really want you to hear: taking lunch breaks is a way to develop self-respect and self-worth. You are worthy of time off to eat a lovely sandwich and think about daffodils! Sometimes, we all feel like we’re not “allowed” to rest, that it has to be hard and we have to suffer for it to be worth it. Sometimes, we measure our productivity on how much we sacrificed to get there. You don’t have to suffer or sacrifice downtime to be successful.

And you don’t have to wait until you magically believe you’re worth it to start taking breaks and looking after yourself. Start taking them, and the belief will start to follow. You’ll be sending yourself the message that you deserve to be cared for, and so you’ll start to feel it, too.

Maybe 2 hours is a big ask for you, but try 20 minutes at least. I dare you!

Here are some ideas:

  • Leave the building. Physically remove yourself from work to clear your head and refresh you body and brain.
  • Breathe deeply. Follow a guided meditation, or simply take big, deep breaths by yourself.
  • Plan delicious lunches. If you have something to look forward to, surely you’ll want to sit and savour it?
  • Turn off all screens. You want to be present in your break, so limit the distractions that could pull you back into work.
  • Get a dog or borrow someone else’s. Dog-walking is great, because you can concentrate on something else, and you have a moral obligation to take a break! Plus, y’know, cute.

Have a wonderful bank holiday weekend!

Jx

PS If you’re still thinking ‘Yeah, right, how unrealistic, there’s no way I could do that, it’ll ruin my business’, I’M TALKING TO YOU. Go back to the beginning, read again. Or email me and tell me exactly how taking 20 minutes off every day is going to ruin your business.

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