No one makes the big and brave decision to work for themselves because they want to feel exhausted, uninspired and pissed off with their business. And yet, halfway through last year, I found myself feeling all of the above. I feared the romance was over.
I was tired, headache-y and had this strange sense of being trapped. After two years of making my own money, I could see and feel the ‘spark’ dwindle.
I’d just finished a tour of workshops around Australia, my coaching calendar was overflowing and (without giving myself a break between projects), I was on the verge of launching my very first, in-depth online program.
One exhausted afternoon – as I went to reach for my ‘wind down’ glass of wine – I checked the calendar: I’d worked 17 days straight.
Didn’t I decide to work for myself because I wanted to feel energised, on-purpose, free and LIT-UP? And doesn’t working 17 days straight (staring at a computer screen) kind of feel like it might NOT generate the freedom, impact and spaciousness that I desire to have in my business?
Not to mention the fact that my romantic relationship was taking blow after blow because of the hours I had been spending in my office (was I having an affair with my business?!) and that ultimately, I was really, really, really, really, really ridiculously tired.
Was it all even worth it? Is this what I really want?
I asked those questions again and again. And then I asked:
“Wouldn’t launching an online program that focuses on the divine intersection between wellness and creativity, whilst feeling utterly burnt out, kind of NOT be walking my talk?”
“And don’t I LOVE what I do? Isn’t this the stuff I teach my clients: exquisite self care for radical self expression?”
“So, what’s available to me – right now?”
I switched the dates for my launch, closed my books for the rest of the year and took some much-needed time out for me.
I then followed that up with a few weeks in Europe (sans laptop), and was reminded of what is MOST important in my life (holidays have a habit of doing that!), because here’s a hot tip for you: there’s no point draining your reserves with the hope that ‘down the track’ you’ll be able to relax and restore. There is ALWAYS something else!
One of my biggest business lessons over the past year has been to implement strategies, practices and rituals NOW that fill my well, clear my channel and keep me in love with my business, so that I stay aligned and energised all year round.
And WOW I feel good going into 2016! So. Much. Better. The romance has been rekindled! (Thank God!)
Falling out of love with your business? Here are some practices that helped me:
1. Get clear on your WHY
As I said, no one gets into business to feel like crap. So why DID you get into business then? What’s your underlying, energising WHY?
I’ve noticed that there are a few themes that come up again and again in the WHY of the ambitious women I mentor. See how these feel for you. Once you’re clear on your WHY, check in with it everyday.
FREEDOM: Freedom to work when, where and how we like. Freedom to choose our clients, hours and location. To say yes and to say no. Freedom for ourselves, our families and to decide on the direction and mission of our business.
PASSION: We want to do work that lights us up, work that is aligned with who we are and work that makes a positive difference in the world. Passion is our driving force, our north star.
POSSIBILITY: A sense of possibility is what fuels us with clarity and courage. When we know what is possible (we can see it and we can feel it!) we have the guts to believe in our dream and the ability to make it happen.
2. Plan your business (and life) around your menstrual cycle
I don’t see clients (or really do any work) on the first 2 – 3 days of my cycle. That time is for ME. It’s a time of restoration, reflection and it’s actually a time of the month that I look forward to! I feel more in touch with my intuition and guidance in these days than at any other time of the month, so I make the most of that by journaling, meditating, being alone and pulling oracle cards.
Basically: resting and tuning in.
This then leaves me buzzing with energy mid-cycle (around ovulation), which is the perfect time to launch new projects, socialise, hustle and take action. I used my cycle as a template to plan the launch for the second round of my online program last month and it felt AWESOME. Such a powerful way to do business!
3. Call in your support team
I always hire graphic designers, photographers and copywriters for any big projects, so when things got a little hectic last year, I knew it was time to get some more consistent help and hire a virtual assistant.
This meant that my emails were filtered, blog posts were formatted, the huge amount of admin that my online program generated was taken care of, I had someone to double-check the audio trainings I’d recorded and customer service got like, a trillion times better! I didn’t have to do the stuff that I don’t LOVE and I felt super supported.
Plus when I took a month off in October, everything was taken care of and I could ACTUALLY step away from my business, knowing that all was well.
3. Implement boundaries and (here’s the important part) stick to them
Boundaries are the invisible, firm-but-flexible guidelines that protect what is most important to us. Your boundaries are an expression of your values and hence, everyone’s boundaries will look different. YOU decide what your boundaries are and most importantly, YOU stand by them! No one else is going to do this for you and the people in your life will only take them seriously, if YOU do.
Examples of boundaries that work for me are:
The hours that I work (I start at 9am and work no later than 6pm, lunch at 1pm), the days that I work (Monday – Thursday, Fridays are optional), the way I batch my work (Mondays and Tuesdays are my ‘creative days’ for writing / marketing / content and Wednesdays and Thursdays are for client sessions – I see a maximum of 6 clients per week – and some batched admin tasks) and I always, always exercise, eat breakfast and connect in with myself (either by journaling, moving or meditating) before I start my day.
Since re-committing to switching off and getting outside with my man after work, my wine cravings have evaporated and I haven’t had a single drop all year! 🙂
Remember, when setting boundaries: it’s all an experiment! Set. Check. Realign. Repeat.
4. Reconnect with all of the things you love outside of your business
We love working! Of course we do! I freaking love my job!
But I also love lots of other things, like my boyfriend and dancing and listening to music and being outside and my girlfriends and days off to simply paint or read books and heading out on a random Tuesday morning for a leisurely breakfast of eggs and avocado on toast.
Ultimately, it’s a dance. We swing one way, we swing the other. Life pulls us in one direction, we streeeeetch things back to what feels good and nourishing and (key word ahead) SUSTAINABLE. Stay in love with your business, by staying in love with your life. [ Click to tweet this! ]
5. Remember that it’s never going to be perfect
For me, resistance often shows up as perfectionism. I’ll tweak and edit and tweak and edit and tweak and edit and tweak and edit until I can’t stand to see the sight of my blog post / eBook / website copy / promo image etc. etc. and the risk here my friends, is that our creative projects never get to see the light of day because we kill our love for them with perfectionism.
But we need to move while the love and inspiration is flowing!
So, let it be. Re-open your online program without any extra material added. Write the post and just press publish. Quit over-editing your photos. Start taking on clients before your web copy is finalised. Launch. Your. Amazing. eBook. Now.
Like any relationship, the relationship with your business takes work. And yep, this stuff is easier said than done. But women who LOVE the work that they do – and are energised by it! – are changing the world. And that’s a possibility for you too.
Be vigilant. Be compassionate. Be honest.
As always, wherever you are right now is perfect.
I’m always grateful for any ‘shares’ and I love hearing from you in the comments, so tell us all below: Have you ever fallen out of love with your business? What keeps the romance alive for you?