I want to encourage you with this today, and encourage you to give yourself permission to tap into your intuition and to let your intuition and let your business really kind of fill into the space of your purpose. Remember that you purpose can change with you as you grow and change as a person. I am a different person now than I was in my twenties. I’ve evolved, I’ve changed, I’ve grown as a human, as a woman, and my life experiences have helped to shape my journey. You will grow and change, and your purpose may change a bit as time goes on, but remember that those experiences just aid you in your journey. Checking in with yourself and evaluating where your purpose is and where your focus should be helps to keep that cognitive dissonance from welling up inside of you.
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.
Every year since 2012, we've taken a weekend in late January to plan our business for the year. Sometimes we get away for the weekend, other times, we make hardcore reservations on our couch...you feel me? But each year, we create a plan that drives our business for the entire year.
But what if I don't have time for a weekend of planning?
It's been a complete game-changer for us, but it can be tough to find that time. Whether you have a family to take care of, a busy business you can't step back from, or just a crazy pace of life, taking a weekend away does mean hitting the pause button on a few things that can feel too important to pause.
But you really can't afford not to! Here's what you're missing out on if you're not creating a yearly plan for your business.
You have nothing to aim for
In the "go" and "do," it's natural to start going through the motions! In fact, it can be so easy to "book-shoot-deliver" that you don't pull yourself up for a breath. It's in that frantic pace, in that focus on the minutia that you lose your point of view. When YOU lose your point of view, CLIENTS will be repelled from you because they don't really see and hear what you're all about.
You don’t know what’s broken when something isn’t working
One year, I was running on autopilot and stopped to look around in September of that year. No one was booking us and all of a sudden I felt a cold, hard panic! I had NO CLUE why! Why didn't I have a clue? Because I was just going through the motions, doing the next thing and not tending to my big picture. When I realized that there was a problem, not only was I clueless about WHAT the problem really was, but I was so frantic to change something, that I tried to change everything and still didn't see results! I spent time choosing new website templates and platforms. I curated my portfolio, asked for reviews, posted on social media each day, etc. But still...no one was finding us, so I churned harder!
What I hadn't yet learned was that a good yearly plan includes ways to test and troubleshoot to know how to get your desired responses. When I learned and began implementing this skill, I was in control. I knew how to chart, test, and change things in my business!
You’re just going through the motions
There's something to be said for automating your business. But automating and going through the motions without emotional investment are two different things! Why is this a problem? When you're going through the motions, potential clients and booked clients start to feel it. You'll start hearing people complain that you are "checked out" or "don't seem to care" about them. Creating that yearly plan allows you to stay focused on those dear clients and give them your best because the REST is running like a machine.
You feel burnout and anxiety
I've mentioned above how you can miss problems, go through the motions, and run a business with nothing to aim for. Those things can happen, yes. But how do they impact you, dear entrepreneur? That precious creativity you'd like to foster, that energy you want to have in reserves, that vision and focus you envision yourself having...you trade that all in for anxiety and burnout. Why? You're spending your time grinding, keeping your head down, facing problems you don't know how to fix. It wears you out. And you deserve better.
There’s never a feeling of “enoughness” in your business
When you don't have the focus that a yearly business plan can give you, how do you ever know when you have enough? When you can reward yourself? When you can be proud of your accomplishments? You can't because there's always one more thing. Don't do that to yourself!
So, what do you you really want from this next year? Go ahead, comment below and share in the conversation: What do you want from your business in 2018?
Ready to learn what types of goals to make in your business? Attend my FREE live training by signing up HERE
Welcome to The Successful Creative, a place where we can walk the journey together of monetizing your creative passion, learning to strengthen our mindsets, and think and dream bigger.
My story learning to be a successful creative
Hi! My name is Stephanie and I'm so glad you're here! I am launching this blog as a result of five years of hard work, learning curves, and growth as a wedding photographer. I'm at a point in my journey where I recognize that my love of teaching coupled with my experience running a business could encourage and serve others on their journeys. Here's a bit about my story:
Matching my natural skills with a job description
I grew up with a penchant for teaching. I would collect all the kids in my neighborhood and lead them on wild expeditions, I would “play teacher” and I would “teach gymnastics classes.” (I can't even do a cartwheel...I don't know how I got my friends to attend gymnastics classes!!) Whatever I learned, I wanted to share with the kids in the neighborhood...even if I wasn't an expert. Becoming an elementary teacher seemed like a natural progression of my life’s narrative, right?
After college, I had two interesting jobs: I was a crisis and trauma counselor for college aged girls for several years and then I taught elementary school. Each job ignited my desire to connect with others, encourage them, and teach them.
Pretty soon, however my natural intuition for connecting with people, drawing out their best assets, and then teaching them, was crowded out by paperwork, school politics, test results, and scripted, unimaginative plans (hey, my ideal reading lessons involved building trees in my classroom. Worksheets? notsomuch) I felt suffocated and wondered if I’d ever actually do the thing I loved: teaching.
Jumping into small business ownership
During this time, I met my now husband, Stephen. By the time we got married, he had trained me well and added me to his photography business. So as a newlywed, I jumped headfirst into helping someone with their business. I was thrilled to encourage him, believe in him and troubleshoot HIS business for a few months until I realized he viewed it as OUR business. As soon as I had skin in the game, I began backpedaling REAL quick. I was filled with intense fear, self-doubt, hurts, and a scarcity driven mindset leaving me feeling desperate with each new business hurdle.
Over the next few years, I had to work through some major mindset issues, anxieties, and recalibrate my view of myself, my purpose, and my life’s calling. Along the way, I found that there were elements to running a business that I was naturally adept at. There were elements that tapped into my desire to connect with others as well as my penchant for being a bit of a pipe dreamer. But no matter how big I dreamed, my fears and mindset issues were like concrete blocks around my feet. I couldn't actually go anywhere!
But, God knew where I was and as I prayed for change, He sent me on a journey of change that I look forward to sharing with you soon.
Running a business through roadblocks
One of my first roadblocks was a really simple one-dealing with opposition. I think the first thing that appealed to me about wedding photography was the affirmation! I mean, I picked up a camera and people were praising me and throwing money at me. Wow, it felt kind of addicting! I think I may not be the only one who began her journey with the addiction to affirmation!
But reality quickly set in when we experienced our first bit of opposition-someone questioning our value instead of throwing money at us, someone stating that they weren’t happy with the experience we provided instead of just gleefully praising my skills. All of a sudden, things got really real and I had to determine if I was going to continue to live for affirmation or if I was going to build a business that rose above opposition to achieve greatness.
What is a successful creative?
Chances are that you’re here because you like the idea of being a successful creative. You want to be successful and you yearn to create new things. But you may feel like you have one or the other right now. You may even be in the place of experiencing your first bit of opposition in a journey that’s been filled with affirmation. If that’s you, I want you to know that you’re not alone. What you’re going through is one of your biggest tests to determine how serious you are about being a successful creative. I believe you have what it takes. And where you feel weak, I have you covered.
With each growing pain I experienced, I wrote about it, asked myself “what tools do I wish I had while going through this?” and then I created them for you! So you can expect this to be a place where you can find resources to help you on your journey to building a profitable business.
I plan to serve you really great, honest content on this blog and via email because I believe that the journey I’ve been on has taught me deep and powerful lessons about how to run a profitable creative business and I want to share that with you.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing more of my story and I’d love to know about yours. Comment below and let us know what do you do and what are you proud of in your business? Brag on yourself and let us cheer you on!