10 Things I Learned This Year

Wow.  It’s been a wild 12 months!  With my 34th birthday looming (on the 15th), I thought I’d look back and review what I’ve learned about business, work/life balance, and self branding.  Many of these lessons are hard-won, especially considering the way the year went, and I hope they will help amplify your own work.  So here we go!

1— Share Everything

Sharing is caring, no?  But sometimes fear of competition gets the best of us.  As a result, we covet our ideas and keep them to ourselves.  Each of us has a choice — to live by a competitive dog-eat-dog paradigm, or to live by the nurturing ‘all ships rise paradigm.  I choose the latter, and it has been fruitful.

2— Connect

When things get stressful (ahem-pandemic) human instinct is to hunker down and harbor through the storm.  To do so, our energy flow reverses, and anything we receive comes inward and stagnates.  Imagine an energy vortex of energy flowing into you.  This creates a vacuum.  As they say, nothing good can happen in a vacuum.

I, too, instinctively hunkered down.  My speaking engagements were dropping like flies in March and it felt scary.  But it wasn’t until I began reaching out to my network and connecting with strangers for short virtual coffee dates that my energy flowed outward again.  Imagine the energy coming from you and flowing out into the world.  This resulted in opportunities I couldn’t have imagined.

3— Just Take Action

A month after my birthday last year, I moved to Los Angeles.  I had been thinking of doing so for years, but hadn’t taken action out of fear.  LA is expensive, and I was very, very comfortable where I was.  I lived in a house I owned in a neighborhood full of friends I love.  Sadly, this also meant my energy was stagnant, similar to the description above.  I wasn’t growing.  And that was painful.

Looking back, moving was easy.  I just had to pack up and go.  It took emotional lifting and identity shifting to get myself there, and that was the real challenge.

If you’ve been wanting to take a big leap in life, honestly examine your reasons for not doing so.  It’s likely the logistics aren’t the issue.

4— Pay the $$$

Sometimes us entrepreneurs get a bit tight with our purse strings (I know, you’re all shocked).  Sadly, this actually can hurt our growth.  I spent months hemming and hawing about a software program that would automate my outreach.  It would save me tons of time and multiply my efforts ten-fold.  It wasn’t even that expensive!  Still, I didn’t buy.

The moment I took the leap, everything changed.  My connections went through the roof, as did my income.  Big sigh moment.  How many times have you held back an investment (in software or advising) and stayed stuck when you could have grown faster, sooner, had you simply taken the leap?

5— Read, read, omg read

I love reading.  Reading is nurturing to the mind, expanding to knowledge, and good study for any writer.  But sometimes reading gets put last on the list.  I find that the times when I read the most, I grow the most, so this year I put it first.  I read (nearly) every morning.  My days start off better because my brain is nourished, and I’m in a massive growth spurt as a result.

6— Affirmations, baby

Okay, so we all know that affirmations are good for us.  They tell our brains what is important so we can focus on progressing our goals.  For many of us, they have an even greater effect.  In the middle of the pandemic, I started saying an affirmation ‘prayer’ every day.  It made me feel better and my work smoothed out a bit.

Then I remembered something my mom told me as a child to help me study.  She said that, when one writes out the answers to the study questions, rather than just read them, the knowledge goes up the arm and into one’s brain.  Now, we all know science doesn’t work like that, but there is something special about writing out what one wishes to focus on and retain.  It takes extra thought and attention from the mind to tell the hand to create each letter.  As a result, what was written by hand remains in the mind.

So I started writing five affirmation phrases for the five areas in my life I wish to improve (ie. my Big Hairy Audacious Goals) every morning.  This took things from good to great in very short order.  I can’t recommend it enough!

Remember:  affirmations should be phrased positively and in the present tense, as if it has already happened.

7— Meditate

This is one I struggled with for years.  I got messaging EVERYWHERE that I needed to start meditating, but I just couldn’t seem to build the habit.  I’ve found that when a new habit needs to form, it needs a home alongside other habits or rituals so it doesn’t get lost in daily activity.

I now meditate either to wake up, or to finish my day.  These are times I already have made space for quiet and relaxation, so the habit was easy to build.  As a result, my mind doesn’t react as strongly to stress and I feel more content with life.

8— Keep Your Hobby

Ok.  So I know that this seems obvious, but sometimes us entrepreneurs turn our hobbies into a business.  That’s fine to do, but it’s still important to have an activity you love to do that isn’t work.  In my case, my hobby just fell to the wayside in the midst of my hustle and COVID panic.

I resumed picking up my guitar and realized how much I miss singing and writing music.  I bought a really neat guitar stand and now keep my guitar next to my desk to pick up when I have a gap in work.  As a result, I feel more well-rounded and energized, and my work improves.

9— Date Your Partner

I’ve not always had a romantic partner during my tenure as an entrepreneur.  I’ve been a business woman for a decade, and partners have come and gone.

One thing myself and my partner realized during the pandemic is that intentionally dating each other helps keep us feeling cared about.  Remember how great it was when you first started dating your partner?  All the thought you’d put in to a date, or the surprise of being taken somewhere new?  Why does that have to end?

Despite the hectic schedule of being an entrepreneur, I now reserve every other Saturday for date day.  We trade off the responsibility of planning, so I’m only planning a date once per month, and we both feel the thought put in by the other.  And it’s been great!

10— Health Comes First

I realize that I frequently speak about the importance of self care for the mind and soul.  We can’t be successful if we burn out! But what about the body?  Yes, I jog and do yoga.  But earlier this year, when the stress of the pandemic was rising, my body started telling me that wasn’t enough.  It took some research, but through listening to my body I learned I have a genetic disorder that makes me far more sensitive to the cortisol released during stress, and as a result, am insulin resistant.  Holy smokes!  I had to overhaul my diet and give up a lot of favorite foods, but it’s been worth it.  Sometimes life gives you hard choices, but if a long life and legacy are what you dream of, you may have to face them.

BONUS— Dreams Can Wait

Uggghhhhh did I just say that!?  Sad but true, the pandemic disrupted A LOT.  My dream was to live in Los Angeles.  I got six months there, and then had to bug out to stay with my partner while sheltering and regulations went into effect.  We had intended to return in autumn, but at the time of this writing, Los Angeles is one of the hot spots of the pandemic.  So we’re going somewhere else for now.  I have every intention of returning to LA.

I was also in the midst of starting a med-tech company in January.  I had sat on this idea for years and it was finally gaining traction!  I even had a meeting with Apple and was encouraged to apply to their accelerator.  That’s exciting!  And then COVID. I had to choose one dream, my baby startup, or writing a book about this frightening once-in-a-lifetime event.  I chose the latter.  The startup can wait, but the pandemic is time limited (thank goodness).

And so I’ve made peace with pausing and pivoting.  Though none of us knows how much time we have, we also can’t live each day on the edge of our seats, lest we miss the moment.

Meditation for Busy Entrepreneurs

How many times have you said to yourself, “I want to start meditating,” and then never got around to it?  Study after study shows that meditation comes with massive benefits, such as a calmer disposition, better focus, and faster decision making (uh, yes please).

I’m 100% guilty of this, too.  I know how important meditation is, especially for my happy little anxiety brain.  Yet, over and over, I forget, life gets in the way, or I simply ‘don’t feel like it’.

Being a disrupter means I’m a problem solver, so my mind got to work on how to bring meditation into busy entrepreneurs lives.  I can’t very well recommend meditating to clients who say they’re too busy when I haven’t solved the problem for myself!

Finally, the solution is here.  Shower meditation!  I teamed up with Simple Habit (your daily meditation and mindfulness app) to offer a short, 8 minute meditation to busy entrepreneurs who want to create a meditation habit but just can’t find the time.  Just in time for your 2020 goals.

So what are you going to do tomorrow morning?  Meditate in the shower!  Head on over to Simple Habit to add the meditation to your list and set your day up right.

Reading is the Foundation of Entrepreneurship

When did reading start being considered a chore?  It’s not uncommon to hear Millennials say, “I read all day at work / school so I don’t want to read when I get home.”  Since when has that been an adequate excuse to the infinite availability of learning from the page?

Our parents, our elders, didn’t have this attitude.  They may have read for work, but would then come home and read some more.  Granted, in that day they had access to different formats and areas of study, but reading wasn’t wholeheartedly thrust aside as ‘not an option’ simply because it was done often.  It was understood that reading was a vital method of learning.

As entrepreneurs, it is our job to think globally in order to lead our industries and employees.  One of the biggest pitfalls of running a business is how easy it is to stay focused on the minutiae of day to day tasks.  While it is important to ensure that these tasks are occurring without any issue or hang up, so many business owners get stuck at the 100 foot level because it feels safe and results are immediate.  Yet, in doing so, they are slowly losing their ability to see into the future, to dream big, and steer the business toward disruptive goals.

Reading not only facilitates a moment of pause for the entrepreneur’s mind, it also expands it.  If it is necessary for a business to continually grow in order to stay competitive, so too must the entrepreneur continue to grow as the leader, visionary, and creator.

Reading is one of the best ways to learn.  The greatest thinkers and business builders read constantly.  Bill Gates reads 50 books a year.  Warren Buffett reads 500 pages a day.  President Obama, too, is a known voracious reader.

All of this boils down to one thing — books continue to be the best way to share in depth information and provides easy access to new ideas.  As you read, you will better understand other markets, alternative methods, and expand your ability to think outside the box.

Thankfully, books have become even more accessible in recent decades, with audiobooks a massive growth area in the industry.  Even those who cannot read (or who have vision disabilities) can listen to books and access information.  Not only will reading give your business an edge by giving you access to new ideas, trends, and methods of thought, it also will make you happier.  For us entrepreneurs, stress reduction and happiness is critical to the success of our businesses.

Don’t have time to read?  I call BS.  With audiobooks and e-readers more accessible than ever before, making time to read (or space to carry books) is simply a matter of determination.  Build it into your morning routine, add it to your commute, or do it while in the shower.  The benefits to both your business and life are too great to miss.

If you want help organizing your morning routine or understanding what books will benefit your business most, get on my calendar!

How to Make a Killer Morning Routine

How many struggle to wake up in the morning?  Believe me, I’ve had plenty of my own battles when wake up time comes around.  Though I am sure to wake up easier if I hop right out of bed when the alarm goes off, sometimes I get stuck snoozing because of a really good dream…

Let’s face it, waking up can be hard.

A few weeks ago I had to have a serious chat with myself about some changes to my routine. For any of you that know me well, you know I’m stubborn, so when I determined to change my mornings, I wasn’t going to let habit stand in my way. My night time routine consisted of me going to bed when I felt like it, never any setting any boundaries for my rest. This flexibility seemed nice in theory, but it turns out it was detrimental to my morning energy.

I also operated under the belief that I could determine how my day would go during those first waking moments.  Despite evidence to the contrary, I carried on this way for years, despite actually being too groggy in the morning to function at such a high level.

It wasn’t just that I needed time in the morning to not be rushed and go about what I needed to do.  I actually needed a set routine that had each step listed out so as I bumbled through, I wasn’t able to get off track or forget what’s next.  Things many people do, like shower, eat, get dressed, and things that are important to myself as an entrepreneur, like read, write, and exercise.

Early morning is such a great time for self care and development because it’s so peaceful, you can have true tranquility before the symphony of texts and emails tones your way. This is the best time to be present with yourself and see what you need from you, not what others may want from you.

How To Create A Killer Morning Routine

So let’s get you a killer morning routine.  Grab a writing implement, a piece of paper, and your thinking hat.

  1.  What NEEDS to happen every morning?  These may be simple things like shower, eat, get dressed.  Or maybe you have other items that you are determined to have happen every morning.  Write them down first.
  2. Next, what do you WANT to do in the morning?  For me things like yoga, meditation, reading, and writing fall under this category.  I truly intend to do all these things in the morning, but if I sleep late, they are the things that can be knocked off the list without consequences (you can show up to your first meeting without having done yoga but not without having gotten dressed!).
  3. What could help your mornings go better -or- what are some stretch goals?  Dancing got added to my list because it’s great exercise (especially for someone in the icy north) and it helps wake me up.  It’s a total stretch goal, something that doesn’t necessarily make my work better, but it helps bridge the gap between the need to move and the need to wake up.

Now let’s take a look at your list.  Just because something needs to happen in the morning doesn’t mean it has to happen first.  In fact, I found that I did better with the ‘need to do items’ if they were interspersed between other tasks.  Consider how the tasks will flow together.  For example, it doesn’t make sense for you to do something that might soil your clothes after you’ve gotten dressed.

Here’s a snippet of my morning routine so you can see how I thought about the steps.

First, I wake up (obviously) at my desired time.  I then brush my teeth and pee (yep, I was that detailed on my list) while the shower warms up.  Even though I exercise after showering, I have found that a shower helps wake me up so much that it’s important to just do it and not be too concerned.  After I shower I dance — I’m still a little groggy from the warm water but I’m more awake than before and dancing helps really get me up.  I do a minimum of three songs.  The first one usually sucks.  I’m just barely moving.  The last one has me bouncing around and I might even have 5lb weights in my hands.  It’s after the dancing that I do yoga.  My body is warmed up and, as a result, I’m more limber and able to mentally flow.  After yoga I meditate.  Yoga is designed to prepare the body to meditate, which is why it always goes after.

That’s the first hour of my morning routine.  My entire morning routine takes three hours, which I didn’t know before.  I thought I only needed two hours, but also would skip a lot of items.  Knowing I need three hours changed my wake up time from 6:45am to 5:58am (yep, I’m weird like that).  Knowing my wake time and my desired hours of sleep, I now know what time I need to be in bed.  And I stick to it.  Studies show that keeping a regular sleep cycle improves everything, including work. As entrepreneurs, our work quality is of the utmost importance.

Mornings set up your day, they create a solid foundation for you. This is about protecting your time, because it is precious. Experiment with routines and find what works for you. Setting up this select time for your self to set intentions, be alone, and take care of your body is a very healthy habit to master!

Check out my video on the matter:

How Stress is hurting your Business Relationships

An unfortunate trend I see in many new entrepreneurs, whether or not they’re aware of it, is they throw their stress at each other, their partners, and their friends.  What is throwing stress?  This term I developed to describe someone who uses their stress to push against other people and events in their lives on an energetic level.

That is, they reply to inquiry from a place of stress, exemplifying all the things that they have happening to them right now in this moment, and citing them as excuses as to why they haven’t replied, why they haven’t gotten the meeting done or scheduled, etc.

They are so embroiled in the experience of all the balls that they are juggling, that they will say, “I’ve done X, Y, and Z, and I have a, b, and c still on the docket. That’s why I haven’t responded yet.”

Almost always, those entrepreneurs who throw their stress will cite these excuses before an excuse is needed.  This is the difference between an entrepreneur who is in control of their experience and one who is not.  An entrepreneur in control would reply, “I got your message, and I will let you know soon.”

What do I mean by ‘in control’?  How can one ever be in control in business?

Just as in life, there are only so many things we can control in business.  Things like our task management, our lead generation, ideation stream, goal setting, project deadlines, and pricing.  By managing well the things within your control, those things out of your control will be far less stressful.

Good business management can even be the difference between an emergency being catastrophic or a minor stress.  In one scenario, the business suffers or even must go bankrupt due to the emergency, while the other has a ‘rainy day fund’ that handles the event seamlessly.

If you find yourself using your business as an excuse more often than not, it is time to reexamine how you are managing your daily life.

What do you need to be saying no to? Do you need a better task management system? A financial system like YNAB? Or better levels of organization? Or do you need to simply examine how you’re managing stress and integrate a meditation or yoga practice into your life?

Your friends and family love you.  Your colleagues trust you, and show it by working with you over and over again.  They don’t need any excuses.  They will still be by your side regardless if you are busy.  Telling them that you are busy before they ever ask for explanation or apologies is a symptom of too much stress stress and a lack of faith in others due to a likely lack of faith in yourself.

Take this tough-love moment to reexamine your work.  I know that you did not start a business to be this stressed out.  Take care.

 

 

 

 

 

Want to work on your work / life balance?  Get on my calendar!

Finding Your Ravenous Passion

How happy are you?

A simple, yet loaded, question that we fail to ask ourselves enough. More often than not our own pleasures in life are pushed to the back burner. There are important calls to answer and meetings to catch, right?

What if I told you that prioritizing your happiness will create more success in your career?

Not only does finding your joy in life help you build your empire, but it also betters every aspect of you!

This is why I love the concept of Joie De Vivre, or “joy of living” and participated in the original article on Buzzfeed last year.  It all centers around the power of finding your passion for life and letting the benefits trickle down into all that you do.

You might be wondering, ‘sounds great but where do I start?’

Right here!

On August 1st The Ravenous Living Summit will celebrate the International Day of Joy.  Myself, along with over 30 other incredible coaches, will give you our best techniques and freebies you need to start this journey to joy.

This is not to say that you don’t already feel that fiery passion. Those entrepreneurs in the process of building an empire often have a whole lot of that passion already (I’m lookin’ at all you Audacious Entrepreneurs). But there can be more where that came from, the thing about this journey to joy is that it doesn’t have a limit. Discovering your Joie de Vivre is a boundless exploration.

Beginning this search may leave you feeling a tad lost. Have no fear, the tips are here! Let’s jump into my 3 secrets to helping you find that Joie de Vivre.

Read lots of books all the time!

Read, read, read.  But I’m not talking about reading books in succession, one after another. I quite literally mean read many books, all at once. Think back to your school years.  You took multiple classes simultaneously. They were all different concepts, yet somehow they could fit together in a larger global lesson.

This is what reading various books will do. It allows you to learn new lessons that can dovetail to create a bigger picture. This layered knowledge creates a new lens for you to view the world as much more exciting and vibrant. Reading is an undeniable way to ignite an appreciation for life.

Share it all. 

Share money, resources, connections, advice, and friendship. Share your time with friends and family. Share your knowledge with a mentee or successor. Giving is when we feel most fulfilled and, in turn, creates strong, healthy relationships, and a stronger business. By sharing yourself with the world, it will return the favor. 

By supporting each other, we grow together. Building a strong community promotes a healthy secure life and a generous ecosystem in which your business can thrive. This strong community can then support you, your work, health, and joy. A solid support system, whether it be large or small, is the environment we all deserve and crave.

Remember giving is a never-ending cycle of more giving!

Adventure! 

Whether trying a new coffee shop in your town or backpacking through Europe, adventure can be part of any life. When we explore, we learn. Being exposed first hand to new cultures, people, and languages, expands your sense of the world around you. 

When we leave our usual surroundings, the walls of comfort and familiarity come down. We are not longer being impacted by the expectations of our routine, and the pressures previously enforced may disappear or adapt in new forms. This allows us to understand who we really are and what parts of us are actually just baggage.

Once we step out of our comfort zone we can freely flex our muscles and see our societies in a newfound light. When you understand the parts of you that are not tied to someone or something, you begin to understand what really brings authentic joy by being more authentically you.

Find your Space 

I’ll admit, I have not always had it together. I created a tech company that I thought would make me more free, yet I didn’t know how to manage my time and life to enjoy what I’d created. We all find ourselves stuck from time to time, but by making even the smallest efforts to live passionately and ravenously, you will find joy.

Overall, give yourself the proper space to authentically be you!

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for August 1st and sign up for The Ravenous Living Online Summit, you will not want to miss!

Sign up here and find out my bonus tip! 🙂

Why Your Small Tasks Are So Big

Entrepreneurship is about running a business (or businesses), but what does that look like?  More importantly, what does a successful entrepreneur look like? Many may jump to imagining a bustling New York City business person or a traveling CEO changing lives around the world. We see jets, beaches, cars, black tie events. We see the excitement and the perks of building your empire.

While entrepreneurship can take this form, know that this is not usually the reality, especially in the beginning. For a new entrepreneur, these assumptions about what their lives and workday should look like is very detrimental, especially for future generations, and lead quickly to burnout.

Slow & Steady

Now don’t get me wrong, having aspirations of success is not a bad thing at all and is highly encouraged. However, when you have a warped perception of what being your own boss truly entails, you then have a warped perception of what your own path to success should look like.

How do you change this?

Focus on the small!

By taking the time to break down your ultimate goals in to smaller steps, you halt the overwhelm and can focus on what feels more manageable. This may seem like a no-brainer — we have all been told to take it one step at a time at one time or another.  But most don’t actually put into practice an awareness of how each day is helping you in the bigger picture.

Of course, we like to emphasize the endgame.  That’s where we all want to fast forward to! But patience young grasshopper; everything good takes time.

Dance To Your Own Drum

So now you are still left wondering “what should this day-to-day work consist of?”

Sadly I don’t have an answer for you, because there is no right answer.

When you take on the responsibility of being your own boss, you have unlimited freedom and no one to tell you what to do (which is why many of us became entrepreneurs). It may seem a little scary to have all that power, so naturally we look to others. Ultimately, it’s about finding a system that works for you. Plenty of entrepreneurs will tell you their foolproof “secret to success”, and while exploring those productivity tips can be super helpful, no one can truly tell you what will work best for you.

Not to mention, relying on others to tell you how or where you should be can result in comparisonitis and self-doubt. There is no “right time” in your business journey.  We all have our own unique tactics, skill sets, paces, and experiences. Don’t let others tell you you’re behind.  You’re right where you need to be.

Embrace the Big and Small

Bottom line, entrepreneurship isn’t always sexy, and the sooner you realize and embrace the mundane will you be able to really evolve. Every business experiences minutia like waiting on hold, sending emails, and making reservations. This will never go away, so let’s embrace it!

See how I tackle my day and “dance to my own drum” below! 🙂

You don’t work for Henry Ford

“Can I start work at 1pm?” a client asked me recently.  Entrepreneurs are blessed with the flexibility to choose our own schedule.  Work 10 hours one day and then take the next day off.  No one is watching.  Who cares?  As long as we meet the needs of our clients and customers, there is nothing holding us back.

Or is there?

The 9-5 Monday through Friday schedule was designed in 1914 by Henry Ford.  He discovered that an eight hour work day, which had been a concept for years but never guaranteed by any employer, was the optimal work period.  He saw production go up, and the weekend time off mentally and emotionally benefitting his workers.

Study after study has shown that at least one day off a week is necessary for mental health.  Even zoo animals need time away from their visitors in order to stay healthy.  In this video I describe just how you can harness your freedom by making your own work schedule.

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Self Care Through Scaling™

I talk a lot about my trademark program, Self Care Through Scaling™.  It’s something I learned the hard way, and I coach my clients so they can get there faster.  In my latest YouTube video, I explain what Self Care Through Scaling™ is, and how I burnt out (and then learned) to do it for my own business.

How to be a Badass Business Woman with Depression

Many women who deal with mental health conditions like Depression or Anxiety find it necessary to leave their jobs in exchange for the control of Entrepreneurship.  It is extremely difficult to work a strict schedule and in specified circumstances when mental health is a factor.  I, myself, have PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and PMDD (pre-menstrual depressive disorder), and would likely find it impossible to productively work for an employer ever again.  With my own business, I can allow myself my Down Days without self loathing, and then make up for them when I am feeling better.

I’ve built a lot of systems for working around my own mental health.  I even teach a workshop called Self Care for Entrepreneurs.  Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.

The Rule Of Three

When I’m down, it’s like pulling teeth to work any sort of productivity out of myself.  But the world is still turning, and clients or customers may need things from you.  I find that reducing my own expectations of myself to baby steps helps me still get something done.

This is what I call The Rule Of Three.  If I wake up bumming, I coax myself into choosing three things to accomplish that day.  Just three goals.  They could be as simple as order business cards, apply to a speaking event, and follow up with a client.  Often I find that I’ll end up doing more than three, simply because there were adjacent tasks at hand.  But if not, I still accomplished my goal of three items and that can feel like moving a mountain on Down Days.

The 24 Hour Rule

I love this rule.  I teach it to everyone I can.  The 24 Hour Rule is releasing yourself from responding to any messages (email, instant message, or phone calls) for twenty-four hours.  This is a good rule for simply staying sane at work.  It helps ensure a level-headed response when heated messages come your way.  It also relieves me of the impulse to clear my inbox throughout the day instead of check emails only twice — morning and afternoon.

When down, keeping up with messages can be exhausting.  Since I always practice The 24 Hour Rule, I already feel comfortable ignoring much of what comes through during the day.

The only messages I do respond to are emails marked Urgent from clients or employees.  Usually my team can handle it, but they may still need guidance.  I offer what I can so the issue doesn’t get hung up on me, and then release myself from the task of completely clearing the rest of my inbox.

Self Care

What self care have you done today?  Any?  It’s so easy to do a self care routine when we’re not down, but when the feels hit, things get really hard.  The last time I was down I thought to myself, “I haven’t even showered…  but did I even try?”  I was beating myself up for not even having had taken a shower, but I also hadn’t tried!  This is the way the depressed mind works.

I write down my morning routine so I can’t ignore it.  It gives me something to point to and say, “Ok, this is what I try to do every day — so let’s try.”  I coax myself into doing yoga, even if all I actually do is child’s pose; to take a shower, even if it doesn’t happen until mid-afternoon; and make myself some tea.

I also try to listen.  I texted a friend one time and simply said I was in a funk.  He replied, “Have you tried meditating?”  Well, no, ’cause I’m depressed and the couch is my best friend.  But he’s right.  Meditation is part of my self care routine and I totally skipped it.  So I got upright (but still on the couch) and meditated.  The Universe will try to talk to you through others to coax you back to good, but you have to listen.

Who’s In Your Corner?

It’s taken me years to build a compassionate and safe friend group, and another few years to allow myself to feel vulnerable enough to reach out to them when I’m down.  Yet, as you saw above, they are so helpful!

Even if you’re not ready to post to Facebook requesting backup, try texting your best friend, partner, or someone else you trust.  As you read, the response may be simple, but it also might be the thing the Universe is trying to tell you.

Recently I simply posted “No energy — bring food.”  Guess what?  Three separate friends stopped by with food!  Again, my friends are very understanding, many of them also having experienced mental health conditions, so I felt safe doing this.  Even though I know my friends are compassionate, I was floored by their generosity.  Another prime example of how silly depressed brains can be (because of course I would do the same when I feel good!!!).

What Do You Love?

I know that when I’m really down, I want to read.  I also read to wind down for the day, and to help me fall asleep at night.  Reading is as important to me as breathing — which is why my bookshelves are overflowing and I have a Little Free Library in my front yard so I can cycle books faster.

When I’m down but I want to get something done, I read one of the business books that is waiting for me.  That way I’m still educating myself about growing my business and good business practices for my clients, but I’m doing something that is comforting to my brain.  These books are on my ‘to do’ list anyway, so I actually am accomplishing something for my business, just not quite what I had meant to that day.

Start with this brain dump:  What do you love to do, and how can you integrate it into your business day today?  Maybe being outside helps your depressed brain.  Can you work on your business outside?  Bring your laptop out, or a book, or your mind map?  Could you write the next chapter of your book outside?  Maybe going for a walk helps you.  Steve Jobs would go for walks to come up with new ideas for Apple.  Can you bring a notepad and jot notes as you walk?  What else makes you feel good?  Get creative about integrating it into your work day.

Above all, forgive yourself.  Forgive your brain.  It is doing the best it can, and you will feel better, soon.

Need managing your depression, PTSD, ADHD, or anxiety as a business leader?  Get on my calendar!