When is enough enough?

I’m about to head into day 2 of our annual OBM Live conference – exclusive to members of our Certified OBM community.

Our theme this year is the inner game – and how if we don’t take care of our inner game then we will struggle to see results in our outer game.

We are having some amazing discussions around burnout and boundaries. Leading through chaos. Impostor syndrome and dealing with the worry, doubt & fear that comes up for all of us.

During one of our sessions yesterday the topic of ‘more more more’ came up, and how easy it is to fall into the trap of always wanting more.

More clients. More money.

Getting more done. And in less time (ooof).

And feeling the CONSTANT pressure of all of this.

There is a very real price to this that we don’t talk about often. Things like:

  • Hitting burnout because we are over working ourselves (or even overthinking, which can be equally as exhausting!)
  • Not being able to enjoy the success we do create, because we are instantly looking to the next goal
  • Feeling shame because we aren’t where we think we should be.

Keeping it real – this is a trap I’ve fallen into in my own business… and I’ve paid the price.

I remember when I first hit 6-figures in my business. It was a goal that I had for years, and I would dream about how amazing life would be. And when I hit 6-figures in my business I barely even noticed it, because I was so focused on “OK, now I have to hit 7-figures!!”

I didn’t take a moment to celebrate it or really let it in. I just kept on going… kept on working.

This is something I continue to struggle with – every goal that I reach. Every milestone that I pass. There is a part of me that feels like it’s “not enough”.

What if – instead of trying to constantly get more – we aimed for ENOUGH? 

Enough to live the lifestyle we want. And I’m not just talking about money here (although that is certainly part of it) – I’m talking about energy as well. The bigger the business the more it’s going to require of us, even when we have amazing support around us. How hard do you really want to work? How much time do you have available for work when you consider the life you want to live now? (Not the life that you think you’ll get to live in the future once you ‘get there’.)

It’s hard to resist the lure of more, more, more! Everything around us is telling us we should want more. Our own internal drive is telling us the same.

AND you ultimately get to decide.

What is enough? Right here. Right now.

What if we could be happy with enough? What if we could linger there and truly receive and enjoy it? Hang out there for a while… maybe even years?

Not gonna lie – this is something I have yet to master for myself. I’m aware of it and I’m working on it as well, but there is a lot to untangle around the ‘more more more!’ habit.

And yes, there are times when we may truly want more. There are seasons when we have more to give. More energy. More time. In which case go for it! Bring it on.

But we also need rest. We need to linger. We need to simply be and enjoy.

Imagine if we gave ourselves permission to simply live in enough. How different would life be?

Strategy or Mindset – what matters more?

We need both strategy & mindset to be successful in business:

  • Strategy is the outer game of success – what is the best way to accomplish our business goals? How are we going to get from A to B to C? It’s the tactical, practical side of things.
  • Mindset is the inner game of success – what goes on inside our minds and how does that affect our actions? Where do we stop ourselves?

It’s not hard to find good strategy these days. There are endless trainings, books and programs out there that can lay out the path to get from A to B to C. Doesn’t matter if you are wanting to learn how to hire better or create a strong marketing funnel – a quick search online will have many solutions right at your fingertips. Heck, we can even find all the strategy we need for free on YouTube.

Strategy matters, but it’s not the bigger challenge for most of us.

What matters more is what we tell ourselves. Our thoughts, beliefs and fears. Things like:

“I don’t know enough yet”
“Once I have more experience then I’ll be able to….”
“What if it doesn’t work out?”
“I’m scared I’ll mess this up!”
“What will they think of me?”
“Everyone else seems to have it all figure out – why am I struggling?”
“I’ve tried this before and it didn’t work”
“I know what I need to do, but I just can’t seem to get it done…”

I could go on – and I suspect you could add more of your own stuff to this list.

Any one of these things can stop us in our tracks. Stop us from taking action on the strategies we know are effective. Cause us to self-sabotage ourselves every step of the way.

And it’s totally normal to feel this way – to have worries, doubts and fears. I like to say mindset is 83% of the journey (not an official statistic, but certainly reflective of my personal experience as well as that of my clients.)

It can also be our biggest ally, when we are able to get our mindset on track and working with us (instead of against us.)

I’m curious – how important is mindset in your success journey? Hit reply and let me know.

Misconceptions about freedom in business

There are two competing views about freedom.

  1. On one end is the soloprenuer – the person who does all the work themselves. If they don’t show up work doesn’t get done.
  2. On the other end is the owner who has structured a business that runs and grows without them. They have a team and structure where they don’t have to show up for work to get done.

Everyone talks about the second option as being a ‘real’ business – that it should be the ultimate goal of every business owner. And that if you fall into the first category you don’t have a business you have a “glorified job”.

That’s such BS.

Being in business is all about the freedom of CHOICE. The choice to do what we want. When we want to do it. And with the people we want to work with.

I was a soloprener for the first 10 years of my business and I loved it! Yes, I had to show up to do the work or I didn’t get paid. But it was on my terms. I set my own schedule. I (mostly) did things I wanted to be doing. I got to work with some amazing clients.

Beats a job any day imo!

I shifted to a leveraged business model in 2009 and had to learn (the hard way) how to shift my role in the company. How to get the right support and structure in place so I could do LESS of certain things and MORE of others. How to become a CEO.

But I am still working. I am still doing. Yes, I take weekends off and don’t work myself to the bone. I have an amazing team who takes care of the day to day running of my business. We have worked hard to setup solid systems to create ease for all of us. Any of us can take an unplugged vacation and the business runs fine in our absence.

And I’m still here. I’m showing up in my business.

I want to work. I like to work! And I dare say most of us feel the same… eating bonbons on the beach all day would bore the life out of me in short order. (what the heck is a bonbon anyhow?)

It’s more about doing the right things – and knowing that what we do makes the impact we want to make – vs not having to do anything at all. And making sure that our business serves us as much as it serves our clients.

I’m curious – what does freedom in business look like for you?

Befriending your fear (say what?)

Oh the amount of time I’ve spent over the years trying to run away from fear. Thinking that it was ‘wrong’ and that if I was going to be successful I needed to first get rid of my fear.

I would do all kinds of things to avoid my fear – stuff it down, distract myself, pretend it wasn’t there – only to find that it kept coming back. Sometimes larger and more consuming than before.

So I would dig in and try more ‘fear busting strategies’. Meditation. Positive thinking. Affirmations. The good ole ‘suck it up princess and do it anyway’ approach.

Some of these strategies would work for a while… until I wore out from all the pushing and found my old friend fear still there beside me. It felt like running on a treadmill trying to get across town – spending so much energy and ultimately ending up in the same place.

There was a moment a few years back when something struck me about fear.

What if fear wasn’t here to stop me, but was instead here to shine a light on future possibilities. 

Hmmm… I had to sit with that for a moment.

And as I sat with it something became clear – fear only showed up when I was looking to make a shift of some kind.

When I was looking to go from ‘where I am now’ to ‘where I want to go next.’

Fear doesn’t show up when things are easy. Comfortable. When we feel 100% confident and in charge of life.

Oh no – fear only shows up when we want more from life. When we want to make a change.

And in my experience, the more fear that shows up… the closer we are to our truth. Our purpose.

Put simply – we can look at fear as the enemy or we can look at fear as a friend.

If we look at fear as the enemy we will keep fighting it. We will try to find a way to ‘push through it’, avoid it or keep on thinking positive thoughts pretending it’s not there.

If we befriend fear then a couple of really cool things start to happen.

We recognize that fear is normal and positive. It’s a natural part of the growth process and not something we need to resist. “Hello fear… I see you. I know I’m looking at some changes and I recognize that you being here is a sign that I’m on the right track.”

We can honor that fear is here to protect us. Why does fear show up when things are changing? Because it wants to keep us safe. It wants to keep us where we are now because it’s known. Making a change forces us to step into the unknown and fear doesn’t like that. “What if this doesn’t work out? What if I try and I fail? May as well just stay here with what I know… even if I don’t enjoy it.”

When we look at fear differently we can get to know it better, so that we can work ‘with’ our fear instead of always trying to fight it.

I have a few journaling questions I like to ask my fear when it shows up that I’ll share in my next post.

Boundaries

Boundaries have been a biggie for me the past couple of months.

I’ve had to stand my ground on a few things. Have some really tough discussions. Hold people accountable to their agreements.

Keeping it real… it’s been tough. And empowering at the same time.

The toughest part for me is knowing that enforcing these boundaries and agreements has made other people unhappy, mad and upset with me.

And I hate that part. My ‘people pleasing’ tendencies run deep and I really struggle when I know my actions/decisions cause other people to feel this way.

I don’t like upsetting people. I want people to like me. I’m sure there are all kinds of reasons why I’m ‘wired’ this way, and without diving too deep into what those reasons are – as a default I am a people pleaser.

AND yet…

Boundaries are a necessity in business.

When we break it down, a boundary is about two things:

  • setting an agreement
  • enforcing an agreement

Setting an agreement is one thing – and in many ways it’s the easier thing!

Enforcing an agreement is where it gets tough. <– And this is where many of us (myself included!) can let things slide…

We might ignore the little things that are showing up. Maybe a team member is constantly late with their work, but we know they are having a rough time at home so we don’t talk to them about it. Or you have an agreement with your client that you don’t work past 5pm, but they constantly ask you for things late in the day and you do it “just this one time” (again and again…)

We might avoid the bigger things as well. You were promised something in an agreement that you didn’t receive, but you don’t want to ‘rock the boat’ so you don’t bring it up.

Whenever we don’t enforce the agreements that we’ve made – we are out of integrity. With ourselves. With others. And with our business.

Whenever we make our decisions from ‘well I don’t want to upset this person’ or ‘it’s not that big of a deal’, that is breaking the agreement that we’ve made.

And we are left feeling powerless. Resentful. Deflated. To the point where our business relationships may (will?) fall apart. And often not in a nice way.

Put simply – don’t make agreements that you aren’t willing to enforce.

Enforcing agreements can be hard AND it is some of the most empowering work you can do in your business. To stand your ground. To have the tough conversations. To not let things slide. To say ‘no’ or to say ‘hey, we need to talk about this.’

I’ve made decisions lately that were best for the business and that I knew would be upsetting to others. Some days I made those decisions with tears streaming down my cheeks, it was that emotional for me. But I did it none the less.

I was saying to a friend the other day, “I feel like I’m a grown up business owner now”. (Putting on my big girl panties as they say 😉

We become empowered when we do the tough stuff. And boundaries are tough stuff.

2021 Trends for Online Service Providers

As we look back to 2020 – and ‘ease’ into 2021 – what can we expect as service providers? What are the opportunities for us out there today and how can we make the most of them?

To say 2020 was a doozy of a year is to put it mildly, and yet it was a year that opened up all kinds of doors for online service providers… put simply, the world came online last year and you are needed more now than ever. So whether you are a virtual assistant, online business manager, copywriter, funnel builder, web designer or otherwise… if you provide ‘done for you’ services of any kind now is your time.