You know all of those Law of Attraction people who share how they manifested $5,000 in 2 days, or a potential biz mentor who says that they start the day with some ridiculous 3 hour "self-care" routine, and they make $10,000 more a month than before?
OMG, I might be turning into one of them, and I didn't even mean for it to happen. In fact, I actively fought it happening to me.
Now, before you think I'm going to get all woo-woo on your ass, don't worry. You know that I'm way too Type-A for that. However, I'm going to share some insights into my biz results and life from the last month that have made me think that maybe, just maybe, there's something more to this taking-care-of-yoursef-first-at-all-costs-slash-self-development mindset.
So let's go back 7, almost 8 years ago, when I started my business. I thought you just set up your office, got a logo designed and some business cards printed, opened your doors, and voila! You'd make money (and lots of it). Turns out, it doesn't actually work like that. It took me 5 years, 3 business coaches, and thousands of dollars invested into online courses to figure out that you actively have to market yourself, your services, and your products. OK, so I learned all those things. Great.
The whole time I'm in these courses and working with these coaches, I started noticing people sharing info about how success is a mindset, and you have to work on that first before the money will start regularly coming in. These people talked a lot about limiting beliefs, and I remember thinking "I don't have any of those. Who would actively block themselves from making money? That's insane!".
Then I started in my Network Marketing Company, and these limiting beliefs hit me like a literal brick wall. All of a sudden, I had no confidence. I was questioning everything about not only my business, my brand, and my message, but how I was living my life and showing up a parent, wife, and person in my life. I thought I was really "putting myself out there" for years online, and I was to my best ability at the time, but there was a whole new level of ability that I didn't even realize I was capable of that was aching to be born. I'm not kidding, my body was literally aching with tension from fighting myself.
So, I pretty much had a breakdown, and took all of August 2015 off of my business to work on me before I was admitted to the insane asylum. I'm not joking or making light of this, I felt like I was actually going insane, and it was uncomfortable and scary as hell, for both me and my family.
The issue is that I was giving, giving, giving, for 7 years in my business (well, if I'm being honest, pretty much for my entire life), and not investing anything back into ME. I'm not talking going for a spa day and getting a manicure, I'm talking deep, joy-producing, soul-expanding things, which could be different for everyone. For some people, taking care of themselves means travelling to awe inspiring places. For others, it's regularly viewing artistic endeavours at museums that will make you question everything about life. For about 95% of online entrepreneurs, apparently it means starting your day with meditation, working out, and then drinking a green juice/smoothie.
For me, without a doubt, I need books and quiet. Despite what I may seem like on the outside, I'm a true-blue introvert. I could go an entire week without leaving the house and be happier than a pig in shit. I need time to myself to feel energized again. I like to talk about deep issues, like how to be our best selves, and what does that even mean? How do we balance being ladybosses, wives, and mothers? How do we really inspire people to want to eat healthier? How does the human mind come up with the amazing ideas that occur every day, like the Theory of Relativity or the Big Bang Theory? How can the universe (THE UNIVERSE!) start and end, and how can you actually reach the end of it? Like, how does that happen?!? Talking about these things fascinates me.
So when I finally decided to do what seemingly every high-level entrepreneur or coach has been preaching from the rooftops and design my own morning routine that fills me up, I turned to books.
Every morning now before I start what other people would call "real work", I take 30 minutes to drink my tea and read an inspiring book. As a mother to a 3-year-old, this feels so damn luxurious it's not even funny.
Sometimes the book is about business, but most times it's not. Anything by Brené Brown makes me a better person, and Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is, well, magical.
I know what you're thinking, because I said this to myself for my almost 8-years in business: "I don't have time to just sit and read a freaking book, I hardly have enough time to eat lunch!". But isn't that the same argument that we get from our clients? That they can't cook/eat healthy/work out/juice/meditate/practice mindfulness/use essential oils/get a massage/visit the chiropractor/get acupuncture/drink water/insert any other healthy habit here, because there's just not enough hours in the day?
90% of our jobs as holistic practitioners is to keep our clients focused on what their goal is, and teach them what they're going to have to do to achieve it. We can only lead by example, but it's up to them to make it a priority and actually do it. You can lead a horse (or toddler, LOL) to water, but you can't make it drink.
So, I know how you feel. We all do. But I try and ignore that I have 50 e-mails to reply to, blog posts to write, people to support in private Facebook groups, and pictures to Instagram, because you know what? There's always going to be something. Being an entrepreneur, the work. never. ends. Ever. We could work every second of every day, and we'd still have a to-do list a mile long. That's life.
And do you know why what I thought was going to be a total waste of time is actually the best thing I ever did for my business (and for myself)? Because I actually get business results as I do this self-development time. I'm not kidding. I'm literally getting e-mails during my 30 minutes of peace and solace, asking for samples of essential oils. I'm getting e-mails (and payment notifications) or people buying my meal plan and booking Biz Strategy Sessions with me ... WHILE I READ. I shit you not. I feel like it's literally the universe showing me that by filling myself up with passion, it's producing actual business results in the form of money... because one of my limiting beliefs that I never realized I had is that I measure my worth by how much money I can make. Don't worry, I'm working on it!
I talked about this with my counsellor a few weeks ago, who challenged me to adjust my mindset by considering having to take a nap in the afternoon (mind you, after I worked a 12 hours the day before) or taking that time to read as a real business activity, and not being lazy, which was my previous belief about those activities. See how I'm even trying to validate the taking a nap to you by proving I worked enough for it? Obviously I still haven't fully let go of that one.
The best part, even better than making more money, is that I'm a zillion times happier. Like, I feel like my chest is going to burst with joy about my business and life at some point every single day.
A perfect example is yesterday, which was a true test for this newly developed mindset. I drove for 6 hours and 618 kilometres to teach an essential oils class, which to some people might sound crazy. Not only that, but I thought the class was at 2 pm, so I planned to leave at 10 am, but when our son woke us up that morning I had this nagging feeling that I should check my schedule. Good thing I did, because the class was at 1 pm, which means I had to shower, put on make-up, do my hair, get dressed, eat breakfast, pack snacks/lunch, and pack up all my essential oils in one hour. I ate my breakfast in the car, and could feel the stress building in my chest. Had this been 3 months ago, I would have been so negative. I would have been pissed off at the girl who booked the class, and sat there for the full 3 hour drive telling myself that the class was going to be shitty, and what a waste of an entire Sunday that I could have spent with my hubby and son relaxing, not to mention almost a full tank of gas.
Instead, I put a few drops of wild orange essential oil into my palm, deeply inhaled the calming scent (FYI: wild orange has been scientifically shown to decrease perceived levels of stress within 5 minutes of inhaling it), and put on a podcast = the digital version of reading an inspiring book. An hour later, I was literally punching the air à la Dwight before a sales call from the TV show "The Office", and setting my intentions for the class. *Punch* I was going to share these amazing essential oils with these people (aka. unsuspecting victims), and I was going to change their lives. *Punch* I am going to enroll 3 people, 2 with larger kits and 1 smaller kit.
A few hours later, guess what my result was? I enrolled 3 people, 2 with larger kits and 1 smaller kit. Success.
Not only that, but after driving 3 hours there, and teaching and enrolling for 5 hours (most classes are only 2 hours long), I had already worked an 8 hour day ... and I still had to drive the 3 hours home in the dark because it's almost winter here in Canada and it's pitch black by 6 pm.
I didn't put any podcasts back on, because my phone battery was at 15% and I had no charger, but I put on the radio and chose to rock out in the drivers seat. 2 hours into the drive, I saw a bright streak just to the left of the highway, almost like a shooting star but it actually touched down on the ground. I have no idea if it was a meteorite or a piece of frozen garbage from an airplane (which my husband joked as I told him the story), but I'd never seen that happen before. I had the biggest smile on my face and my chest welled with gratitude for that moment.
I got home, and still had enough energy to chat with my husband, enroll the new essential oil users, and answer some texts and social media stuff. Yes, I was tired, but at the same time I had this fire inside of me that I just couldn't turn off.
3 months ago, a day like that would have left me in tears, and in bed for probably the next two days. Today, I got my son to daycare, did my 30 minutes of inspirational reading, and sat down to write this post.
For the past month, I've been more productive than I've been in years. I've designed new pages for my website that are converting better in 2 weeks than in the previous 6 months. I've been writing blog posts that are getting more comments than usual. An idea for a new online course is brewing in my head. I have the energy to support everyone on my essentials oil team without resenting them for robbing my energy from me ... even though they had nothing to do with me feeling like that in the first place. I'm not yelling at my son as much for being his 3-year-old challenging self. I'm managing to have meaningful conversations with my husband about things that in the past I would have just buried, causing my resentment and anger to grow towards him.
In a nutshell, I made 100% more money in the last month, and I've been 1,000% happier. All because I committed to reading for 30 minutes every morning before I started my work.
I'm challenging you to start some sort of inspirational practice. It doesn't have to be reading, it could be listening to podcasts or meditating, dancing or doing yoga, but it has to be something that lights up your soul.
In my nutrition practice, I always tell clients that they have no idea how good they can feel, because they're so used to thinking that their life will always be plagued with whatever they're struggling with. They think that maybe their life is already as good as it gets, and what's the point in rocking the boat when there are people starving in the world or dying in wars. People, decreasing your happiness doesn't magically take away the suffering of others in the world, it just makes you suffer more.
We don't just have to hold that healing space for our clients, but for ourselves. Lead the way for them, your family, your fiends and anyone else who has the pleasure of spending time with you, but most importantly, for yourself. I promise your business profits will follow.
By the way, I'm just warning you that doing these sorts of self-development practices will ruin you for mindless shopping and spending money on things that you know bring you joy. I just roam around Winner's now, picking random things up and putting them down. All I want to buy is more books, and various mugs for new kinds of tea. I guess happy people don't make for a good economy.
I wanna know: do you have a morning/before work inspirational practice? What do you do to fill your energy reserves up so you can serve your clients in the best way you know how?