April 8, 2020
This post originally appeared on the blog at Rising Tide Society as part of my Real Life Diaries of an Entrepreneur series with HoneyBook.
At the beginning of the year, I wrote a post for The Rising Tide Society on how I spent time shifting my business mindset in December, and really wanted to carry that into the new year.
I thought it would make a STELLAR Q1 check in blog post to share that with you here, and give my honest thoughts on how things were going!
BUT, we’re heading into Q2, and like many of you, this first quarter did not end the way ANY of us expected. I made it a goal at the end of 2019 to check in with myself and my team quarterly to see what went well, what didn’t, and what we can improve upon in the new quarter.
With the you-can’t-make-this-up chaos that surrounds us, I know it’s impacted many of your businesses and goals. So I thought it would be a perfect time to do a gut check together, celebrate on the goals achieved, and also to be totes okay with any you missed and may have to change due to the crazy circumstances.
When setting my 2020 goals I had to stop, get quiet, and return to the basics in order to get into my CEO business mindset on lock so I could dream big (but intentionally) for the new year.
Now as we head into Q2 kinda sloppily, and with way more yoga-pants-days under our belts (or lack of belts?), I’m going back to those same basics, and I want to share with you how you can, too. I’ll share some ways I’m hoping to incorporate these shifts more day-to-day. That way, I don’t need quite as much time to decompress and get into that business growth mindset on a regular basis.
Where do you want to be in 10 years? Does that question really scare anyone else, or is it just me?
In the past, I’ve really struggled with visualizing the long-term because my job LITERALLY DIDN’T EXIST 15-20 years ago. Who’s to say it’ll exist in another 15-20? But, this time I identified that as an excuse, and decided to find some tools to help me visualize what I wanted things to look like in DETAIL.
I turned to my friend Jen Diaz’s amazing visualization resources.
Jen’s been my Instagram friend for awhile now. She was also my fitness coach, and now she’s our mindset expert in my 2020 mastermind. This girl knows how to help you craft a vision.
I started with the 10 year visualization. I did the 1 year visualization (available here on her blog). I journaled, and let my mind wander. Then, I did it EVERY DAY for a week. Let’s just say finding Pinterest images for my vision board has never been easier because I got SO DANG CLEAR.
I’ve still been using Jen’s visualizations and meditations, but I’ve also really turned to journaling during this crazy time. Words on a page is how I process the world. So, I’ve been journaling about things like: Okay, we don’t know what the next months will look like, sure. How do I want to come out on the other side of this? How does my best self handle difficulty and increased stress? What would make me feel cared-for today? What would make the people I love feel cared-for today?
This intentional practice of journaling has helped me to be more intentional with my attitude, my actions, and with the people around me. I’ve even been hopping on a weekly FAMILY ZOOM with my mom’s side of the family, and you guys, it is LIFE GIVING. While my actual work schedule hasn’t slowed down, I’ve found that getting my mind right has created space to choose what I want instead of falling victim to what’s “on the list.”
I got this exercise from my mastermind coach, Shannan Monson.
Basically, you draw a five point star on a big piece of paper like this:
In each section, you label it with a reflective topic:
Section 1 – Keep Doing
Section 2 – More Of
Section 3 – Less Of
Section 4 – Start Doing
Section 5 – Stop Doing
This was a really helpful, super objective way to review the year. It got me in the headspace to remember that Q2 can be different than Q1 because of small tweaks, not total overhauls.
As I said in the first practice, business HAS NOT slowed down for me, it’s actually ramped up quite a bit. And, while I’m endlessly grateful, it also presents it’s own slew of new challenges. Now, more than ever before, I’ve had to decide what to keep and what to stop. Instead of doing an encore webinar, when all of this world-change happened, I decided to spend that time creating free trainings on Instagram to serve my audience as much as possible and answer their questions thoroughly and helpfully. I also stopped emailing my list quite as much, and instead directed more attention to Instagram where I could serve with my full teaching style, and interact with people directly throughout the day.
How did I decide those things? I thought through what was working, where people needed me the most, and what I had the energy to give. I totally suggest going through this exercise right now in your business. BE RUTHLESS. Your brain space and energy will thank you for it!
Have you read the book Traction? I’m working through it on my third try, because it is GOOD, but it is A LOT. Basically it walks you through structuring a company that can truly gain (and retain) traction in the market. One of the most valuable exercises is the 1 year vision, 3 year vision, and 10 year vision exercise. I don’t know about YOU, but ask me to name a 10 year revenue vision, and I’ll go CRAZY. BUT, ask me to name the 1 year vision and 3 year vision that can actually lead to that 10 year? It gets a little hazy.
This exercise forces you to get REALLY clear on what you’ll accomplish, and how you’ll accomplish it.
I’ll be honest. I didn’t fully flesh out my 3 year, but I got much further on the 1 year and 10 year goals this time around, and it’s given me so much more focus in my goal setting.
All I’m going to say for this one is, it’s harder than it looks. To do this on a regular basis, it really stretches your brain. But, you guys, even when times are hard, I want to encourage you: DON’T FORGET TO KEEP DREAMING. Dream crazy things, write them down, describe it in vivid detail. Even if it feels ridiculously out of reach, it’s going to make sure you don’t lose that muscle, and that is SO IMPORTANT.
I think I’m going to just go ahead and dub September through November 2019 my Dark Days. I barely “had time” to move my body at all. Imagine me doing air quotes, because I KNOW you don’t ever “have time,” you have to “make time.” But, I totally overloaded myself and one of the most important things fell to the wayside.
Here’s the thing: My business hinges on my BRAIN, you guys. The health of our brains (i.e., creativity, efficiency, strategic ability, etc.) is inextricably linked to the health of our bodies.
In fact, according to the NeuroMolecular Medicine Journal, “Exercise, especially cardio exercises like vigorous walking, running or dancing have been shown to actually help your brain to create new neurons (neurogenesis) in areas like the hippocampus, which is a vital brain structure when it comes to learning and memory.”
MINDBLOWING – right? (See what I did there? 😂)
So, with all of these headspace-altering epiphanies, I set some intentional (kinda crazy, but calculated) goals for my business. BUT, I also made some decisions about how I’ll be going about my days differently this year. I thought you might want to implement some of these, too!
I’m so stinkin’ guilty of letting anyone who pops into my inbox have total dibs over my calendar. So much so, in fact, that I had a week in November that I had 13 CALLS. IN ONE WEEK. Client calls, inquiry calls, podcast interviews, all the things. It was that day that I decided to ask for help with my scheduling from my business manager (sometimes I think she should be labeled my MOM-ager).
We decided to set ONE day per month that I’m allowed to take inquiry calls. Once those spots are taken, they’re taken.
We set boundaries on how many podcast interviews or guest talks I can do each month.
We set the days for our team meetings – FOR THE YEAR.
And I took a deep breath of fresh air (because I finally got out for a walk) knowing that saying “no” or “not right now” to those people in my inbox would mean saying “yes” to my friends and family a little more intentionally this year.
Q1 Progress | Since January, I’ve only taken one inquiry call day per month. I’ve only hopped on select podcast interviews and guest expert trainings. It has helped SO MUCH. Some weeks are still busy, but knowing it’s just for one week or one day has helped my mental game tremendously. Is it still hard to say “no?” HECK. YES. But, having the boundaries decided ahead of time takes the guesswork out of it for me, and that is everything.
I’m getting more and more serious about this one that I preach to my clients all the time. You should have an email template ready to go for any and almost every frequently asked question that comes into your inbox.
Remember: Templates don’t have to mean impersonal communication. They simply give you a starting point for your brain, so you don’t have to use your CREATE juice for every single message you’re inbox ninja-ing every day.
Q1 Progress | Our new website has FAQs, you guys! We’ve got templates galore, and internal questions documents distributed to the whole team. FAQs have kept some emails out of my inbox, and the templates and internal documents we have make answering them a WHOLE LOT quicker.
I’m working to implement the “template” concept from above to serve my clients REALLY well in 2020. There are questions I know they’ll ask, and maybe even some that I think they should be asking, too!
I want to take those questions and record video tutorials answering anything and everything they need before they ever have to ask. It will all be in a password protected Resource Library for clients only. COOL, right?
In addition to it being really cool, it’ll also save me HOURS… probably days. And, it’ll help my people feel super served along the way.
Q1 Progress | Oops. I actually haven’t made ANY progress on this. A new website, a brand new team, increased client projects, and all this pandemic madness have put this on the back burner. But, the idea is still great, it’s still here, and it’s OKAY to label some things as “not right now” instead of “never.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m totally addicted and consumed by social media most days. It’s a problem. I find myself checking it over and over again, whether I mean to or not.
Sometimes I tell myself “it’s work,” but I had a little SELF REALITY CHECK over the break: Scrolling and not engaging is NOT work.
So, I’m attempting to implement a 90 minute max amount of time for social each day. Each time I get on social, I have to be either posting or engaging. Otherwise, NO GO, Jess.
Have you implemented any boundaries like this? Have you maybe gone a little lax with them? Let me challenge you to get stricter and more intentional with your time, like I need to!
Q1 Progress | I’ve honestly failed at this one more times than I’ve succeeded, but I’m still working at it. Some things I’ve implemented is batch-recording stories and trainings so I only have to spend extended time on the app ONE day. Then, I post and engage for a little bit on the other days, and try to turn my phone OFF during focus time. Like I said, I haven’t even been perfect for an entire week, but progress is where it’s at. Also, who can limit their time on social with all those HIGH QUALITY MEMES floating around?
My goal for this is not to lose weight, or make any crazy GAINZ.
My real goal for 2020 is just to get moving every single day.
That means it could be a tough workout, or just walking my pup, Joey. Either way, making sure that I’m prioritizing movement will train my brain that it’s a priority, and it’ll actually rejuvenate my brain for my work throughout the rest of the day.
Q1 Progress | This one I’ve stuck to, and it’s what I’m MOST proud of in 2020. I’ve never ever been this consistent with movement, and this grace-filled around it, either. The game-changer here has been putting it in my calendar at a specific time DAILY, and deciding my actual workouts ahead of time.
Remember that 5-point chart I did as an evaluation? My goal is to implement that exercise during my quarterly CEO day.
The reality is, January isn’t the only time we can make BIG CHANGES.
Part of a great business mindset is being so tuned into the health of our businesses that we can tweak, change, alter course at any point on our journey. Doing this exercise regularly will hopefully help me stay in that CEO mindset all year long, instead of just in December.
Q1 Progress | Just finished my first quarterly review of the year, and found that we blew ALL of our metrics goals OUT OF THE DANG WATER. Oh yeahhhh.
The visualization part of my goal setting was totally my favorite, but it was also really stretching. I found it really hard to get my brain to ACTUALLY PICTURE those big, crazy dreams.
Just like anything worth doing, visualization takes practice.
So, I’m hoping to implement it on at least a weekly basis (although, daily would be awesome!). I can’t wait to see how this practice helps me take action more intentionally over the course of the year, and changes my business mindset to the core.
Q1 Progress | I haven’t been perfect in doing this weekly, either. Some weeks I do it multiple times, some weeks not at all. But, I have been implementing visualization in my journaling DAILY, so that feels like a win.
Have you ever quit work for the day or the week, and felt like you are still there? Like you can’t turn your mind off, and there’s no way you’re going to feel truly rested by the time you have to head into your office and open up that computer again?
*and all the entrepreneurs said, AMEN*
Part of a great business mindset is knowing when and HOW to turn it off.
I’m working on creating the feeling of being OFF of work when I’m done for the day, even when I work from home.
So, I’m implementing a daily shut down routine. I learned this concept from the book Deep Work (which I highly recommend!).
My shut down routine:
Q1 Progress | OMG guys, total tank-status. I haven’t even made it CLOSE to doing this for a whole week, much less the WHOLE QUARTER. Working on it again for Q2!
Now, I get it. That was A LOT, when it comes to goals, right? I get it. But, this is what’s really important to me in 2020.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of spending my days as a “successful” person who just checks off her goals rather than feeling like I’m truly living my best life as I run after my dreams on the daily.
So, tell me! What are your REAL GOALS for 2020? What are you going to implement in your day-to-day that will change literally everything else? How can you check into Q1 and make intentional, but optimistic changes going into Q2?
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