My 3 Biggest Struggles in the New Year
New Year, New You - or so I thought…
New Year, New You, as they say. Coming into this year, I had set big business goals. As I finalized the sale of my first business, Platform 53 (a coworking space), I had planned to use the beginning of the year to figure out what my new normal looks like now that I don’t have a brick & mortar business to attend to. I wanted to show up differently to accomplish bigger things in this business.
I felt major resistance to moving forward, despite how excited I was to focus 100% on this business and no longer have to run a coworking space.
One by one, my January goals fell by the wayside. My perfect record of writing and sending out an article every Wednesday for 27 weeks straight came to a screeching halt. January came and went and before you know it, 6 weeks had passed since my last article and I was having trouble getting myself to write again.
What the heck happened?
Here I was, for the first time in four and a half years being able to focus on one thing, and I couldn’t do it.
Taking time to reflect
I decided to spend some time reflecting on things and figuring out how to move forward.
I uncovered three main struggles that I was dealing with and decided that in order to give my business my all, I needed to address each of these directly.
One thing I’ve finally come to terms with - I am always going to be a work in progress and that’s okay.
So on my own journey of self-improvement, I’ve decided to share my struggles with you along with what I’m doing to push past them to reach my big, hairy, audacious goals. Perhaps it’ll shed some light on something you’re struggling with too so you can move past it to do the important work you were made to do.
Figuring out a work rhythm
Before I sold my coworking space, I had a consistent rhythm. I would go to my coworking space every day around 8:30/9am and stay until 5:30/6pm. I would only work on work while I was there and would not let myself get distracted with personal things (unless necessary).
As I figured out what my new normal was (including sharing a home office with the hubbie and getting integrated into the coworking space that bought Platform 53), I was struggling to stay focused on work.
Moving Forward: Time + experimentation
First, I’ve realized I needed to give myself some grace (thanks to all my business buddies who made me see this). In January I was still transitioning the business I sold and still had things going on at my old building. Working at home and sharing an office with my husband was new for us and we needed to figure out the best way to manage this. It would take time.
It was unrealistic to think my discipline wouldn’t take a hit with all of the change going on. I would need to experiment and take the time to form a new habitual rhythm. After all, it took me quite a while to get into the rhythm I was in at Platform 53.
I know I need some combo of working from home + coworking, but I don’t quite know what that looks like yet. Another entrepreneur I meet with monthly suggested that at the end of each day I reflect on what worked and what didn’t. Then I can look back on my reflections, pick a rhythm to try based on my learnings, and then adjust as needed (knowing that this will likely change over time as well).
This strategic approach will be a better way for me to figure out my new normal rather than just expecting it to magically work itself out.
Stay tuned for updates on what my new rhythm looks like in the future!
I’m a planner in every sense of the word. You should see my vacation itineraries. 🤣
While this may be the worst nightmare for you full-on spontaneous types, it’s served me very well in work. I see it as a core strength of mine as I have the ability to foresee things that are likely to go wrong and can then pre-plan to avoid them.
This works great in many situations, and in others, it can be paralyzing.
The beginning of this year was one of those times. I was constantly revisiting and tweaking my 2019 goals and plans. In the midst of all of the change going on in my life, I felt a bit out of control of the situation and now realize that I was using planning as an avoidance and control tactic.
I hadn’t given myself permission to just focus on closing that chapter of my life. The sale of my business wasn’t final and it was taking up much more of my time than anticipated, my lease wasn’t up, and I hadn’t had any type of closure. I was downplaying how this was emotionally and mentally weighing on me.
Moving forward: permission + Closure
First thing I had to do was give myself permission to focus on the sale of my business. I decided that instead of feeling guilty every week when I missed another Wednesday article, I would wait until February to resume. I made my #1 priority the transition of the business.
I properly said goodbye to my old building at the end of the month and my husband and I went out to celebrate. Last on my transition to-do list are to send out a proper goodbye note to my email list and social followers. Then, I feel like I’ll really have closure.
Lastly, planning and goal setting are obviously still going to be a major part of my process, but I am scheduling time to do it. This way, I can ensure that my efforts are purposeful versus doing it for the wrong reasons.
Running a physical-space business meant I was putting significant effort into keeping that space nice and clean - leaving me with no energy to take care of my own home. I realized that living in a home that wasn’t clean and organized was weighing heavily on me. It was affecting my mindset and my ability to feel good and be productive.
I knew that the only time I was really motivated to clean was in the morning, but felt like I couldn’t do it then because I had a coworking space to run.
Post-business sale I started taking advantage of my motivation to clean in the mornings, but I quickly felt guilty for not working during that time. When I tried working instead, my thoughts were consumed by the mess around me.
I was feeling the effects of life clutter = mental clutter.
Declutter + clean
Selling my business (and getting rid of the responsibility to keep a second home tidy) serendipitously coincided with the launch of the new Netflix series featuring Marie Kondo called Tidying up. A few years ago I read Marie Kondo’s books the The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy. Her KonMarie decluttering method leaves you surrounded by only the possessions that bring you joy. She claims it leads to a calm, motivated mindset - exactly what I needed.
When I read the books, I had gone all-in on her methods and decluttered 90% of my home. It made a huge difference but I never felt like I was 100% finished and I knew I hadn’t slimmed down my possessions as much as I should have.
I felt like now was the time to finish once and for all.
While spending extra time decluttering, cleaning, and organizing my home meant less time spent on my business in the short term, I realized the long-term benefits of doing so would be worth it. I know that once I have a clean house, I can easily keep it clean, but right now, it was anything but clean and it was distracting me.
I wanted that calm, motivated mindset Marie’s clients experience after implementing her methods.
I’ve now nearly finished the first floor of our home and have implemented a morning and evening routine to pickup the house and do things that I used to ignore most days - like making my bed (inspired by William H. McRaven who wrote the book Make Your Bed).
My husband and I sat down and decided how we wanted to better manage the upkeep of our home. For example, I hate laundry. I would let the hampers overflow until eventually I’d have 4-6 loads to do at a time and would end up with a mountain of laundry to put away (and instead of doing that right away sometimes lived out of laundry baskets for weeks - so grown up, I know). I felt anxiety every time I saw the laundry - clean or dirty.
Now, I do a load of laundry on Wednesday and another on the weekend. This leaves me with a much more manageable amount of laundry to put away and so I do it right away.
Because I’m surrounded by fewer possessions - only the ones that bring me joy - it’s easier and faster to clean.
I’ve experienced first-hand how much our home environment can affect us and I’m glad to say that the effect is now a positive one. Now, back to business!
Moving Forward in February
I’ve come to accept that it’s normal to have periods of thriving and periods of struggle as an entrepreneur, but I’ve realized that when I feel like I’m on the struggle-bus, that I need to spend some extra time reflecting on what’s going on and figuring out what to do about it.
It’s hard to do that in total isolation though. Each one of these struggles were things that I only fully recognized, understood, and found ways to overcome after talking to other people about it. I have a few other entrepreneurs that I meet with on a regular basis and I’m so grateful that they helped me work through these things.
Can you relate?
If you also feel like you’re on the struggle-bus right now, I encourage you to take some time to reflect on what’s really going on and to talk to others about it too.
Come on this journey with me and post about your struggles (and what you’re doing about them) in the comments below.
Identifying opportunity areas
If you’re like me and are ready to make some positive changes in your business and life, download my free reflection questions to help you uncover your biggest opportunity areas:
I’m Stacy, an entrepreneur, strategist, and adventurer dedicated to helping you build a kick-ass business out of your skills & passions. Why? Because I think you should love your life and that’s kind of hard to do if you don’t love your work.
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