Ever caught yourself waiting for that potential client to pick up the phone for their call only to find that they've ghosted you? Here's how to fix that:
“The algorithm changed and my engagement is way down”
I hear this one the most-both on calls with people and circulating in facebook groups nonstop. I was even in a instagram pod (remember those?) of some of the most successful photographers in the industry. Even though they had such obvious success, they were still freaked about algorithms, shadow bans, and engagement. Does this one strike fear in your heart too?
The game of Jenga and your business
Have you ever played a game of Jenga? I always loved that game-every move was so full of suspense. I was the girl that ruined the game for everyone because I’d scream really loudly when the Jenga tower would topple.
Someone’s mom would get mad about the screaming, shut it down, and then everyone would give me the stink eye.
No matter what I did, I couldn’t help it! I loved the thrill of seeing how high we could build the tower before it toppled.
Little did I know that I’d get the same thrill in my business.
The only thing you can count on in a game of jenga is that the tower WILL topple. It’s inevitable.
How I created a business filled with avoidance
And, I learned that operating my business from a place of avoidance was the same as playing a game of Jenga. My business would topple.
Because I kept pulling out my own foundation by avoiding all the things I was scared of or overwhelmed by and only doing things that looked good from the outside. Pretty soon my business had no legs to stand on. I ran my business right into the ground because of avoidance. My husband had no clue that the things he passed off to me to do were just being added to tomorrow’s to-do list. Every. Day. for eight months.
It only took 8 months to realize that my really tall tower was wobbling. I had gotten us publications around the world. I had gotten us opportunities to shoot in other countries, meet people that were where we wanted to be. Grow our instagram numbers. Isn’t that success?
It was a wobbling Jenga tower and it was about to crash down. Why? Because I learned that:
You can’t go for very long avoiding the emails because you don’t know how to answer them.
You can’t go very long avoiding an unhappy client because you’re scared if you bring it up they’ll leave you a bad review.
You can’t go very long avoiding your profit and loss reports because you don’t know how to use quickbooks...and you’re afraid of the truth they hold.
You can’t go very far without building your network because you’re scared that everyone’s better than you.
You can’t build a business without asking for the sale
You can’t hope people will book you because they like you so much that you don’t have to differentiate yourself
You can’t hope that someone else will just do the hard stuff for you
You can’t eat away the fear
You can’t starve away the fear
You can’t scroll away the fear
You can’t pleasure away the fear.
You can’t avoid the fear.
Here’s the thing. If you run your business from a place of avoidance, it can grow. Just like a Jenga tower, you’ll have false hope that your business is growing. You’ll feel like the avoidance is something that doesn’t really matter-it’s not really a problem, right?
But all you’re doing is pulling from the bottom to add to the top. You’re pulling out your very foundation to make the tower look taller.
You’re celebrating instagram followers and engagement when you don’t have customers
You’re celebrating a publication or feature when you don’t have visibility
You’re celebrating your portfolio when you have no message
You’re celebrating your success when you have no time to enjoy your life
And pretty soon, you’ll find yourself watching the whole thing topple.
How my Jenga business toppled
I didn’t realize my Jenga tower was toppling until I was photographing a wedding during my second pregnancy. I was experiencing horrible cramping and working with some of the most unkind vendors I’ve ever worked with. I was working in the most extreme conditions-the longest timeline, the most extreme cold temperatures, and deepest physical pain.
And I started to wonder if I was losing the baby I hadn’t told anyone about yet.
I was in so much pain, I could barely stand and was being monitoring by an overbearing contractor who decided it was her job to make sure I was constantly busy. I kept stepping away to stretch my back because I couldn’t stand up straight-I knew something was wrong.
And she kept searching for me and giving me menial tasks. I started asking myself if all the work I’d put into my business was worth this moment, eating a cold, gummy pasta salad after 10 hours of hard work, not being able to take care of myself and being micromanaged by someone who was overcompensating for their insecurity by bossing people around. This felt like the lowest moment of my business.
The next morning, my worst nightmare came true for the second time. After one of the most trying events of my life, I lost my second baby.
It was during that time that I realized that none of what I’d built really mattered because all I was left with at the end of it was avoidance, fear, resentment and pain.
I had built a business that looked good on the outside, but that I frantically wanted to escape from.
The pain of avoidance
It doesn’t have to be that way, you know. You don’t have to run your business from that place of avoidance.
You don’t have to carry around that tattered rotating to-do list of things you said you’d do yesterday but avoided. You don’t have to make a new set of goals, hoping they’ll fix you. You don’t have to dread tax time, not having a clue what your numbers are. You don’t have to dread your sales calls because you don’t know if anyone will actually book you.
The beauty of being scared
You don’t need to be anything BUT scared. I’m giving you permission to be scared. You don’t need to change how you feel in order to do the scary things. Scary isn’t a sign that something is wrong. So just go do it, my love.
Do it anyway
Do it scared
Do it unsure
Do it without it all figured out
Do it and cringe afterward
Do it and facepalm
Do it and get back up
But just do it.
Do you know you’re still beautiful when you’re scared? You’re still worthy? And you’re still successful? It’s not the fear that’s the problem, its avoiding fear that created the Jenga business in the first place.
You can’t increase your site traffic if you never publish that first cringeworthy post.
What is one brave step you can take today that will move you from avoidance into action? You can do this-I’m cheering you on!
So, do you have systems in place? Where are you in the framework? And how can you move into the next level?
These words are hurting you: “take off,” “explode” “grow fast.” They’re putting pressure on you to do, be, or have something that you don’t. I have realized that there are some common misconceptions about this idea of “organic” growth that I’d love to put to rest. Because honestly, these beliefs will prevent you from growing your business.
Have you ever felt scared to step away from your laptop or phone because you’ll miss something? I used to feel that way about new ideas, until I learned how to take care of new ideas while I was away from my work. These life hacks gave me freedom and power to think even MORE creatively. Read on for my 3 life hacks to capturing your best ideas AND taking breaks from your work and phone.
I do not know when the light will turn green, but I know it will, and I know when it does I will accelerate. Do you? Are you doing the work in your business now that will allow you to accelerate when the light turns green for you, this does create a compounding effect. Don’t get stuck in feeling like you can’t see the success yet, you know that you are doing the work under the surface, it will show up in success in the future, when the light turns green.
You do not want to feel bad. You don’t want to feel unwanted. You don’t want to feel like a failure. You don’t want to feel angry. You don’t want to feel frustrated. Don’t avoid what you are feeling It is time to let things live in you and work themselves out so that you can be a whole person running your business, living your life, being a wife, a sister, a mother and whatever your roles are. You can do it!
A few months ago I was getting into a really great diet routine, I was working out regularly and just feeling really good. This change and effort was coming from a place aligned with my identity, (where we always create lasting change).
I was so excited, and then I got sick, and not just me, our whole family. My 12 month old son was up in the middle of the night throwing up and it was just terrible. We were all really weak, sick, and tired. The sad thing is that we didn’t only get sick the one time. We got sick the first time, got a little break just in time to have my son’s birthday party. We made the mistake of having 18 people stay with us and then we were sick all over again.
While I was in the process of getting over my stomach bug the second time, I found myself getting discouraged. I was discouraged because I was thinking about all of the things that I was excited for in my health, and my business. As I was laying in bed recovering, trying so hard not to throw up the cracker that I just ate, I thought of something interesting. What you resist persists.
How do we resist?
What I mean by that is the more we hold things at arm’s length and try to hold things off, the more those things persist in our lives. Now what we may not be thinking of is the fact that when we resist things we’re avoiding them. We are doing our best to keep them away from us. There are things in our lives that we hold at bay, whether it is some kind of outcome, social situation, money situation, or really anything.
What we do not realize is that we are using a whole lot of effort to hold that thing off. So, for example let's say that we want to hold off debt in our lives. What are we actually focusing on? We are focused on the debt itself. We do not focus on the abundance in our life right now. Right?
What I found in my season of illness and our household getting sick over and over again is that the more I thought about how sick I was and that I didn’t have time for this, the longer that sickness persisted. I kept thinking to myself how awful this season of life was that we were going through, I became frustrated because I wasn’t feeling better as quickly as I thought I should. The more I focused on that, the longer the sickness went on. I am not saying that it went on only because I was focused on that, but just keep in mind the reality that what we resist persists.
What resisting looks like
These are a few examples of things that I used to do in regards to resisting. In another business of mine I spent a year where I was focused on getting reviews for that business. I saw another business owner doing it and I felt like I needed to get really good reviews also. But I also thought I can’t get any bad reviews and I inwardly begged that nobody would leave me a bad review. I kept focusing on creating this resistance, like I was holding the door closed on someone who is trying to get in. That is what resistance feels like.
During that year I was so focused on not getting any bad reviews, which created resistance. I was trying so hard to hold off the bad reviews on our 6-7 year old business. As I look back, can you guess which year we did get one bad review? Your right! It was the year that I placed all my energy and focus on the very thing that I didn’t want.
Resistance can also feel like driving a car. You have a foot on the gas, but you also have your emergency brake on. You can still drive your car with the emergency brake on, but it is really difficult and will eventually severely damage your car.
Take a look at yourself
I want to encourage you to take a look at your life and see if there is something that you can easily identify that you are avoiding. Something that you are kind of trying to keep out by holding the door closed as it tries to push its way in. Like an annoying little brother who would be trying to get into a room and I would be fighting and holding the door closed because he was annoying me. If you have something like that in your life, it isn’t necessarily bad news for you, but you should know that it is really just going to keep coming up for you.
Putting all of that time and effort into focusing on holding the door closed means that all of your strength and energy is invested into the very thing that you do not want. This means that you are probably going to still end up getting the result that you don’t really want.
You may be asking now, how do we change that? Here are a few quick tips for you that can help:
Tip Number 1
Start visualizing what you do want instead of what you do not want.
Stay focused on what you want, and do not allow yourself to get distracted by the things that you don’t want.
Tip Number 2
Check on your support system.
Do you have a support system? Does your support system understand how lonely entrepreneurship can be? Does your support system see how sometimes you are sitting in a room all by yourself? How your doing things against all the obstacles that come up, how you are taking risks, and how money can be scary and you may not know when your paycheck is going to come in, or even how it is going to come in? Do they get it? If they don’t, look for a support system that specifically understands the unique and difficult challenges of entrepreneurship.
Tip Number 3
Get out your journal.
You may be thinking, “Oh my word, another journaling person.” No, journaling scientifically does things in our brains that moves out beliefs from one portion of our brain to the other and then out. This is not a one and done situation, you have to be regularly writing out your thoughts. Our limiting beliefs, and our negative thoughts don’t have to just stay inside of our brains. We can take action and move them out by writing.
Rewiring for success
I often take my clients through a four week process where we spend time rewiring our brains for success. Because the reality of all of this is that our brains are designed to keep us safe, and to keep us away from danger. Being entrepreneurs is hard on our brains because most of the things that we need to act on to succeed are way outside of our brains comfort zone.
We have so many responsibilities, we are the ones who work out our taxes and our business expenses. We are the ones who have to constantly be innovating. If we don’t innovate, no one else will, if we don’t innovate no one disapproves. But most importantly, if we do not innovate, our business dies.
All of that brings me to the point that I am really trying to focus on. You need to shift some things in order to stop all of the resisting in your life. My point is that what you resist persists, so if we stop resisting all of the things in our lives, then we naturally have to create a state of allowing. This is the place that caused me to feel a little uncomfortable. For me it was simply that I was sick and I would stay that way for a little while, until both I and my body as a whole was feeling better.
Instead of holding off, or feeling depressed or angry, what if we just sat with our feelings for a little while? What would that ultimately change? What space would that blow open inside of your heart? What creativity might start flowing? This conversation is so important to have with yourself.
For me this conversation looks a little like this. Yes I am sick. But instead of resisting that because it keeps persisting, I am going to accept it and allow it and recognize that I am still okay if nothing changes as quickly as I would like.
I am seeing alot of people right now focusing on change and strategy in their businesses. I am seeing articles like - Three quick tips that you do to market your business , or Three ways that you can create passive income. But you know the reality is that none of those things matter. If your brain is hardwired for failure, if it is hardwired to keep you limited and safe, you are going to be failing. All of those skills and strategies are like putting a bandaid on a wound that requires surgery. Does that method make any sense? No. What first needs to happen is you need to rewrite your beliefs, and rewire your brains.
Our brains filtration system
Our brains have something inside them called the Reticular Activating System. This is essentially our filter system. The world around causes us to receive way too much data into our brain at any one time, so our brains are made with a filter system. How our brains filter that data is based on what we believe. Our brains will look at what we believe - which is thought plus emotion repeated over and over and over again. Then our brains will take that and say, “I’ll just automate that belief and I’ll bring in everything that lines up with that belief and I will filter out anything that doesn’t.”
We spend so much of our time using our brains in their default setting, when our brains are meant to be our operating system that we program with our specifications, what we need. I believe that God has given us these beautiful brains and we don’t even invest any time in learning how to use them. All too often we let the outside circumstances dictate how we feel. However we need to remember that we create change from the inside out, like we are the thermostat. We set the temperature and it stays at that temperature no matter what the temperature is outside. We should be like a thermostat, not going up or down depending on the temperature that is around us. We set the temperature because we are working from the inside out.
Two important things to remember as you are developing your mindset in our business, or even if you are going through something in your life. What you resist persists, and Set the temperature for your own success. Don’t forget what can happen if you simply sit in the moment with your circumstances and embrace where you are at. You will not be disappointed with the results.
What we don’t realize in these situations is that our brains want to keep us from jumping off the edge of a metaphorical cliff. Our brains are created to help to keep us safe, but in these instances this safety net is self sabotage. What our brains don’t realize is that we CAN jump off the edge of that cliff, because we have always had wings.