View this post on Instagram
“You are like superwoman. How do you do it all yourself?”
Ever feel like every other mom entrepreneur has it all figured out? Like somehow they all know this secret formula that no one told you about so now you sit, spinning your wheels with a bunch of half-finished stuff riddled with guilt, self-doubt, and ready to throw your hands up and head back to the nine-to-five?
I remember feeling that way too. Actually, I still have days where the doubt creeps in, and the fear takes over. It’s called being human.
So congratulations, you are human, which means you have a better chance of understanding the struggle of your ideal client, because they, too, are human.
I know, nuts, right?
So, how do you stop feeling like an imposter, in sweatpants and a messy bun, and start embracing your bass-assery and feeling super womenesque?
Let’s break it down a bit.
In the early days of my business, I was working 14-plus hour days, putting myself to sleep listening to the audio recordings of all the courses I was taking, pouring through all the recommended books for entrepreneurs, trying to figure out what I should be doing and how.
I was burnt out. More burnt out than when I worked in community mental health and addiction. This was not what I was working for, this was not what I wanted in life, and I was feeling ridiculously alone. I was ready to quit, pack it in, and lean back into being a therapist full-time.
Then someone asked me, “If you could contribute to other female entrepreneurs in some meaningful way, what would you do?”
Up until that point, I was simply trying to do what everyone else was doing. My answer was some BS, vague sh*t. But it started me thinking. What would I do? And how? And Why?
This led me down a path of discovery.
Using what I already knew, I began observing female entrepreneurs, moms in particular, and started looking for patterns (I love patterns).
You know what’s interesting? There were a lot of patterns. Do any of these resonate with you?
>> Struggling with self-confidence.
>> Overwhelmed by doing it all.
>> Driven to do it all yourself.
>> Giving until you have nothing left to give.
>> Allowing your needs to shift to the bottom of the list.
>> Lack of focus or clarity.
>> Allowing old stories to rule today’s progress.
As you can imagine, there were more, but these were a few doozies, and I’ll be honest, they resonated with me.
I remember when I believed that I had to be superwoman to be a successful entrepreneur. That doing it all myself proved to myself and the rest of the world that I was capable.
Well, I am here to tell you, that is absolutely not true. But what is true is that you have to do the hard work.
We can hire someone to write our email or post on social media. We can buy swipe copy, shortcuts, or outsource the stuff we don’t love about our business. (For me, that would be social media management and advertising.) But we have to do the work to believe we are worthy of all of the success that goes along with this.
We have to do the work to gain clarity, to take care of ourselves, and put boundaries in place to move from a place of love and not lack. We have to believe that we are worthy of the kind of success that goes along with it all, and that is the hardest work of all.
So where do you begin?
Here are my top five tips that I like to share in doing this work:
1. Build a consistent routine.
Routines create structure allowing us to tap into our greatest clarity, and productivity, while decreasing chaos and offering serenity.
When building your routine, start with rising early. What you do from there is up to you and should be consistent with your needs.
That being said, there are categories to address:
Movement could be a daily walk, yoga, a run, a bike ride—something that moves the body and allows us to physically clear out anything that is stuck.
Focus activities might be something as simple as a daily meditation practice. It could also be related to prayer, puzzles, or brain games. I have found the benefit of a meditation practice to go far beyond “simply paying attention better.” Meditation is shown to decrease stress, reduce anxiety, and improve productivity.
The therapist in me knows that reflection is an important aspect of personal growth and development.
Take this opportunity to try out journaling for a month and see what shifts. Think of your journal like your therapist or life coach. Use it as a space to probe a little more into your inner world.
Planning is necessary if we want to run a successful business. We have to know what needs to be done, as well as have a way of getting there.
Think of our plan in regard to weekly tasks, as well as daily 24-hour increments.
I use a weekly planner. Every Sunday, I write out all the tasks for the week and then break them down into days. I review the planner every morning when I am ready to get working.
Also, make sure to work in breaks and downtime. You’re not a machine!
2. Manage technology wisely.
It is 2021, and tech is at our fingertips all the time. That’s great for convenience and awful for our sanity. Along with having access to check email, post on social media, and check the weather, there is a downside.
People expect immediate responses.
Maybe you feel the need to stay connected, maybe you obsess about the amount of likes and comments you get. Whatever the reason, technology has taken over our lives.
Have you ever looked at the screen time function on your phone? It might horrify you to see the numbers, but it might be exactly the insight we need to see where all our time is going.
Productivity is great when it moves us forward. But there are better ways to be productive than turning on every notification and checking every time our phone dings.
There are some do’s and dont’s in the world of technology.
Here are a few:
Turn off your phone, or put it on “do not disturb” at night. There is nothing worse than waking up due to a notification from someone in a different time zone.
Whatever needs attending to can be dealt with during daytime/business hours.
Avoid time wasters, like scrolling social media or playing games. Who doesn’t love a good TikTok session to waste four hours? But seriously, there is so much more we could be doing with that time.
Tune in to what your time wasters are and remove them from your phone.
Many successful entrepreneurs do not have Facebook, Messenger, LinkedIn, or Twitter on their phones. They simply check during their regular business hours on their computer. Imagine that! No more wasting time scrolling.
Batch your work. This includes emails, social media posts, and content creation.
With emails, create an auto-response that specifies when you will check and respond to emails, and plan to do that twice a day. This makes it clear for consumers that you will get back to them—you’re just busy.
Another piece on email, have a “junk” email account that you use for those store coupons or stuff you rarely check. Keep your work inbox clean!
Finally, take technology breaks.
Schedule in time away from your devices. That might mean a time of day, or it might mean an actual vacation taken without your laptop! Imagine that!
I promise you, one of the huge benefits to decreasing our screen time is better, more restful sleep, and the most successful people get enough sleep consistently.
3. Dream big.
Running our own business requires a vision, a plan, a direction, a dream…
When you were first starting out, whether 10 years or 10 minutes ago, do you remember what it was like to be excited, but not real clear on what problem your business would solve and for who?
Yeah, me too!
The difference between then and now, for me, is clarity. But in order to get clear, we have to dream big—like no limits, if you could never fail, ridiculous kind of big.
Dreaming is another great use of the journaling routine. Continue to ask yourself, “If I couldn’t fail and money was not an object, what would I be doing and why?” Allow this to be your guide.
4. Take care of yourself.
This is a hard one for many of us. I talk to women every day who struggle to take care of their own needs but are the first to show up for others.
As a mom and a business owner, it can be challenging to find balance in the day-to-day and continue to keep moving in our business and personal lives.
We are, in fact, only human, so it is okay to cut ourselves a break. While self-care is covered to some degree in your new routine, what we do not cover there is emotional self-care.
Emotional self-care is about meeting our own emotional needs. Having people in our lives who support us, supporting ourselves, and putting in the effort to experience more of what we would like to emotionally.
Take time today to get clear on how you want to feel. Think about what you need when you’re feeling down—more love, acceptance, joy? Once you know the emotion you want to experience more of, ask yourself, “What are the things I can do now to experience more of that emotion?”
The idea is to cultivate more of this emotion through our own actions, and by asking others to support us in this journey.
Some of this will happen spontaneously, while other times we will have to seek it out. For instance, when I am in need of feeling like someone has my back, I seek out people who have demonstrated this action before. Sometimes it is even helpful to just simply say, “I need to feel like someone has my back, can I share this experience with you so you can share in my outrage?”
Take time to read, listen to, and watch inspiring things. Take time to be with people who inspire and uplift us. People who challenge us to be our best selves.
When you are inspired, practicing self-love and acceptance and engaging in meaningful ways with people take less effort to keep moving.
5. Do what you love.
Note the old adage, if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.
When you have a really strong why, and stay connected with that why, it will allow us more easily to do the hard personal work—and it is hard work.
But when your business aligns with your values and dream, so much more is possible.