My family loves to go river rafting. This summer we hired professional guides and paddled in the Grand Canyon. It had been awhile since we were in someone else's boat, following their commands, and we did so willingly as it felt like the stakes were high.
I loved watching the Guide read the water ahead and then tell us to paddle forward two strokes or four or paddle hard or take a break. Each of those commands represented a strategy to navigate the moment - fully knowing what's coming up around the riverbend.
Taking a break becomes a super important strategy to be able to sustain the paddling through the big waves.
It's no different in navigating business.
We know that success comes from showing up, doing hard things, and building systems over time that will make your operations more effective and efficient.
We make waves on purpose and sometimes by accident- and if we are following the river analogy, we won't be able to sustain our work without...
Thinking about the end of your business while you are starting it or navigating its growth can seem counter intuitive, but it can actually be one of the most powerful planning strategies. This process can be just as much fun as planning an adventure, road trip or vacation.
In each of those scenarios, you are likely to have a purpose for your adventure, a destination and some idea of what you want to experience, right? And at the end - you can picture getting home safely, having some time to decompress and unpack, and then having memories to return to.
Your business is no different. All things eventually come to an end and it can bring great peace and joy to know what that desired state looks like ahead of time, so that you can make decisions along the way to support that end.
While some of these ideas have been interesting...
When we lose site of our vision and purpose in business, this leads to feelings of overwhelm, "swirling" in indecision and ultimately feelings of burnout.
One of my favorite exercises with clients who are just starting out or re-visioning their businesses is to go back to the core drivers and values...the big "why's".
I have found that spending time answering these basic, core questions can result in insights that I wasn't expecting (both for myself and my clients).
For example, if one of your "why's " is more time freedom, but you find you are glued to your computer with endless feelings of "there's not enough time"- then something is not in alignment and its worth exploring strategies for making a shift.
The true "bottom line" in business is not how much money you are bringing in... it would be better...
I'm guessing you have heard the term "reap what you sow." Unfortunately, our hard work doesn't always equate to desired results. Sometimes things don't go as planned, we don’t get a return on that investment, or the seeds we've planted don’t grow ( OR the frost comes right before harvest :).
Regardless of your current situation or the outcome of your efforts - you can harvest joy and REAP reward by following these simple steps:
R - Rest - rest is critical for your body, mind and spirit to renew. It is also critical for decision making and prioritizing. If you are feeling a lack of joy or increased chaos- sleep on it! If this is hard for you...consider mediation, slow walks in nature, warm baths, healthy diet and turning off the screen.
E - Explore Your Nature - each of us are equipped with an internal navigation system that lets us know when something feels “warmer” or “colder”. Track yourself...what interests you?...
What would it feel like to be successful in your business?
Have you thought about it that way?
What if the indicators of success were made up completely by you?
Many of my clients come to me feeling overwhelmed with how they will make their businesses financially sustainable.
While having financial goals is an important piece of the puzzle, I have noticed that even when the money is in the bank, that doesn't mean you will feel successful.
Why is that?
I have a hunch it's because our culture has a tendency to put the pressure on to say it's never enough. We need more security, more systems, more growth, blah blah blah.
Is that true?
What if what we really need is more joy, connection, and space for creativity?
What if focusing on those indicators of success would help the bottom line?
I need to head to the big city to get my car serviced, so I’m taking myself on a date.
I plan to sit and savor food in a restaurant and go to a book store and stay in a hotel.
I don’t feel a strong need to “get away” from anything, I just know that spending some quality, intentional time alone is so important.
Without a list, without expectation, without coordinating logistics.
I know that taking this time for me makes me more present and open with others.
It makes me return to home with gratitude for the life I lead and the people I love.
And… it's fun.
What would you do on a date with yourself?
Perhaps it's time to schedule that.
I actually wrote this piece about a year ago...but I thought is was just as relevant this week.
The past several weeks we have been prepping the soil in our garden to plant seeds.
This means digging up the weeds that have taken root already, and clearing out the clutter of the debris that accumulated last summer, fall and over the winter.
It means creating intentional space for the things we WANT to grow.
If we don't create this intentional space and fill it with things we want... then it will be overrun by things we don't want.
I can't help but think this is the perfect metaphor for time and priorities in general.
If we don’t create intentional space and time for the things we want to grow in our lives... then our days will be filled “managing the weeds” rather than harvesting the bounty.
Do you ever find yourself reacting to demands of the day as it unfolds, rather than creating the intentional space for what feels most important?