Starting and growing your business can be emotionally draining. There is always so much to do. And it’s not like we have solid milestones or even normal business hours. We may wind up working nights and weekends. We make mistakes. We work with the wrong clients. We get burnt out.
You can turn this around. I had two drastically different experiences that showed me how much I used to beat myself up. Here’s what happened…During a group retreat with my business & marketing coach, our homework for the event was to answer a question:
What are your top three SUCCESSES / ACCOMPLISHMENTS over the past year?
Go ahead and answer this for yourself. It can be an increase in clients, a new program launch, an increase in your list size, a personal breakthrough, etc.
We started the day by breaking into small groups of 2-3 and sharing. Then she gave us time to share with the whole group. The twist? You shared about the others in your group, celebrating their accomplishments and sharing how it INSPIRED YOU.
It was amazing. We all got to feel a sense of pride about our own accomplishments, see how they impacted others and learn how appreciating others can mean a lot (this can be easy to forget in a busy world!)
This was quite a contrast to the way my last coach had us think about this. She gave us 10 minutes to write down all personal & professional accomplishments.
The night before the trip, I was beating myself up for “being late” on my weekly Byte Sized Tip. Then I started to write. After 10 minutes, I was only halfway done! No wonder I had been feeling exhausted and had no time to write one blog post! I had major accomplishments for my clients, my business brand AND my personal life!!
I felt like I was on top of the world!! WHOO HOO!!!
She had us split into groups to share. Great, it felt fantastic to toot my own horn for once. It felt great to hear about other’s success! I thought, “Look at us, we are rocking it!!!” Each of us had accomplished amazing things.
Then she had each group “pick a winner”.
I felt so LESS THAN at that moment. Then I felt ANGER. My coach should have been supporting all of us. She should have been the one reminding us that we are all great. But then I realized, I CAN TELL YOU!
I decided that I was never going to compare myself to others again. (Or at least make a promise to catch myself when I was doing so!!) I want to be the one to remind you that everything you do, big or small, can be celebrated.
It’s all a matter of perspective, and taking note of progress forward.
When I was unemployed for 8-months in San Francisco after the dot-com bust, just getting my butt out of the house and to the local coffee shop to face the world was a big deal.
It was an even bigger deal when I broke my toe and couldn’t take a real shower (I had to get in the bath and wait—shivering—while the water filled and drained to keep my toe dry).
Ironically, I broke it walking INTO the bathroom to take a shower, which I had considered a big deal… after all, my life at that point consisted of spending most of my time watching the dollars in my bank account disappear and trying to apply for every job I could find online. 90% of the people I knew were out of work, so it was tough times.
After finally getting ready, I hobbled down 2 flights of stairs, trying not to put any pressure on my foot. My hill was a 45-degree angle and cars came flying over a blind dip right at me as I angled one crutch up the hill, and one down and hobbled across as fast as possible. Imagine Frogger on crutches. Then I went down the hill (trying not to fall forward).
My accomplishment: get a scone and a cup of coffee. It was a BIG DEAL.
Then I had to hobble back home.
Now all of this is hilarious.
At the time, I thought my life was OVER. I had been laid off from my dream job as the Lead Designer of the 3rd largest online bookstore behind Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I suddenly had to learn how to be an Entrepreneur out of necessity.
It’s all perspective. My path forward started with the little things. The accomplishment could not be compared to others, just myself. As you grow your business, you’ll have ups & downs. Any movement forward is progress.
Recently, I told you about my favorite task manager, Trello. So here’s one more way to use it: move your TO-DOs to a DONE list and celebrate them!
This will also help you better manage your on-going marketing schedule. It’s easy to fill our plates with too much, and over-estimate how much time we have to work on building our businesses. By tracking what you have done, you can get a better sense of what the future will be like, and plan accordingly.
TAKE ACTION: Next time you are feeling less than, or feeling like a failure for not doing more, take a moment and look what you have accomplished.
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To YOUR success,