Deepen Connections

You think that because you understand "one" that you must therefore understand "two" because one and one make two. But you forget that you must also understand "and."

- Donella H. Meadows

We studied Systems Theory as part of sustainability curriculum in graduate school. One of the foundational concepts is that the "whole is greater than the sum of its parts." 

Take the human body for example - we are made up of several complex systems (nervous, respiratory, circulatory, musculoskeletal, digestive, etc) and together they create one heck of a unique human (the whole). It's not just these parts that make the human... it's how they work together, in connection. If one of those parts is not functioning well, it impacts the whole system.

Sometimes when we are feeling burnt out in business or life in general, it can be helpful to examine the connectedness of our "systems" and energize and deepen the connections that might not be functioning as well as you want them to be. Such...

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Take A Break

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...

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Change Your Mind

Chances are if you are feeling burned out in your business, you have some thoughts or belief systems that aren't helping you.

I think it's important to remember that no product, service or system is created without a vision and a belief that it is possible.

If you are struggling to believe, it's time to tackle those limiting thoughts and make a choice of what you want to believe on purpose.

Why? Because our thoughts and feelings determine our actions and behaviors which lead to our results.

If what and how you think is paramount to your future desired state, don't you think it's crucial that you "mind your mind" and change it if need be?

The first step in this process is to track your thoughts and become more aware of the current beliefs that are swirling around up there.

What thoughts or beliefs do you have about your business - that might not be serving you?

As you track these thoughts, notice the sensations or feelings that come up for you.  

Then, make a...

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Picture the Exit

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.

  • running a school
  • long term lease/rental to a farmer
  • tiny house community
  • RV park
  • subdivided homes and condos
  • raising livestock
  • developing a restaurant

While some of these ideas have been interesting...

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Reconnect with Your "Why"

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".

  • Why did you (or do you) want to start your business?
  • Why is your business concept helpful to others (your customer base)?
  • Why are you the perfect person to pull this off?

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...

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Compare & Contrast for that Special Sauce?

I think we all know that it's dangerous to compare ourselves to others, right?

What good becomes of it?

Yet its human nature, like moths to a flame, to take a peek at others' lives and businesses and do a little comparison.

This can be a helpful exercise and can serve you when you are looking for new models, a way to differentiate yourself, or inspiration. It can be harmful when the comparison leaves you feeling like who you are or what you are doing might not be enough.

If you find yourself in this situation, consider trying this deliberate activity of compare and contrast by answering these three simple questions:

  • How are you and this other person or business similar? (find 3 ways)
  • How are you uniquely different? (find 3 ways)
  • How does this serve you and/or your clients/ customers? (find 3 ways)

As you are answering these questions, notice which answers make you feel stronger and more confident. Consider how you might put more intention and focus there. 

This...

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Success Is A Feeling

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?

AND

What if focusing on those indicators of success would help the bottom line?

Happy Friday,
Jen

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Is It Sustainable?

sustainability Jan 15, 2021

 

Is it Sustain "able"?

This is kind of a buzz word, but have you ever stopped to think about what it actually means and how that might relate to your life, business, or community?

The most basic definition of sustainability is:

"able to maintain at a certain level" (Oxford)

I also like this simple one:

"Meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" (MCGill University)

The concept of sustainability can take on different meanings depending on the context.   For me, when I think about sustainability, I think about the interconnected nature of our natural, cultural and economic systems at a confluence with our own personal lifestyle, values and beliefs. 

To drill down even more specifically:

  • In environmental sustainability, I look towards how we can balance human use of natural resources with the intrinsic value they hold regardless of human benefit as well as how we can...
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Visioning Your Sustainable Business

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