This time of year is a reflective time for me. I feel the pace of things slowing down. I welcome the opportunity to thing about the year and begin to think about how I will shift for the year ahead.
For me, making time to truly reconnect with myself at my core allows me to do several things. First, I get to shift if I've drifted too far from my values and core. How do I know if that's happening? For me it's very visceral... I physically feel out of sorts, sluggish, tired, unfocused, a tad crabby --- scrunchy --- if you ever ask me how I'm feeling and I tell you scrunchy, this is what I"m talking about.
Second, I still have time to realign with goals that may have gotten pushed aside. I still have a couple months to make progress before year's end.
Third, I get to start thinking about all that I HAVE done and celebrate in small and not so small ways. For me, the feeling of pride is a great motivator. I love taking inventory of what I've set out to do and bask in what I've accomplished. And by the way, making a decision to change things up also gets celebrated--- probably even more so, because it's sometimes harder to make a change once you've made a decision about something and committed to it. The difference between making a decision to change course versus simply quitting is something only you can define--- BUT, sticking with something that ISN'T working.... is that what you want to celebrate?
So here is a simple way to take start going down that path. Think about your own year... the things you set out to do. Figure out where you are and how you're feeling. Really take stock. Once you've done that, think about what you'd like to Start, Stop & Continue. This is a tactic people use on projects, and you may have even used it yourself.
You want to think about all the things that you're doing or have changed that are working well.... those are the things you want to CONTINUE.
You also want to think about things you're doing that aren't working..... figure out a way to STOP doing those things. A BIG example of this for me is my decision to stop having a retail store front. A SMALL example would be having a monthly set date with a friend for coffee... it turned out that even though we both thought it would make our lives easier and we'd see each other more, it actually was stress-inducing. Rarely could we make the date and ended up rescheduling most of the time. That date idea (for us) had to STOP.
And finally, what do you need to START doing? What kind of feedback have you heard? What would make your life better? And while it can be fun to think of all the great things you could start doing, try to limit it to 1 or 2. Begin that, work it, then go from there.
Getting into this mindset of reflection will prepare you for bigger planning and you'll have lots to start from.
What is one thing your going to Start, Stop or Continue?
I just finished a magical meeting with one of my most favorite people, Rebecca Villarreal. Today we were zooming together to think about all the various ways we show up in the world... the various 'income streams' and how we want to move forward in our lives. It is a theme for me to continually check in with myself ... a 'gut check' if you will and it's always more fun when I get the chance to do that with a trusted friend and soul sister.
And what I thought was going to be an 'all biz' focused meeting of creating my income streams (slow down, Corporate Linda) turned into a discovery of messages from the universe. The flow was spontaneous and perfect. it was exactly the thing.
It cleared the way for me to put together some concrete plans around opening up to bigger and greater possibilities... it helped me identify some nagging intuitive things that were signals that I was continuing to bat away like an annoying fly... it helped me grab onto the way my energy expands when I'm thinking and talking about the things I'm passionate about as well as the way I contract when confronted with the stuff that zaps me.
Being aware... truly aware is so powerful. It allows you to make decisions that move you forward and closer to your dreams.
I invite you to spend time dreaming... getting in touch with that inner wisdom... and honoring your instincts. Everything you need, truly is within you.
What are some of your rituals for checking in with yourself?
It is an interesting thing, starting a business. Especially a brick and mortar business. So often these days, most of what I read pertains to online businesses. Start Ups. And all things 'necessary'. to be successful at it.
And there is a LOT of information out there. Let me be clear. THERE IS A LOT OF INFO OUT THERE! And it can definitely feel overwhelming. It can lead to analysis paralysis---there is always a little more to learn, a little more to know, getting to that one perfect piece that helps the rest of the puzzle fall magically into place.
I've learned something, though. Regardless of what the business. Regardless of what you need to learn, there is most definitely going to be a lot of information to sort through, to make sense of, and to leverage for your benefit. So begin. Just because you begin doesn't mean you stop learning along the way. It doesn't mean you can't shift your approach or change your mind. It does mean you won't keep that great idea under wraps, anymore, though.
Here are 4 easy things to do to get started... and by the way, you don't need to be starting a business for these steps to be meaningful to you:
And then sometimes it just doesn't go according to plan at all.....
After a year (?) of solid work and recognizing I needed break and time off, I scheduled a sabbatical. I had a plan. A great plan. It included time with one of my favorite people. Planning. Down Time. Some of my favorite things.
But a funny thing happened. The plan went to hell in a hand basket.
I was so tired. I couldn't think straight. I needed more than a little down time. And even though I had scheduled down time, I couldn't bring myself to do any work, And so there it was. I kept flipping the schedule around to accommodate my need to be disconnected. Shifting. Thinking I'd get to everything. Because that's what I do.
But not this time.
Don't get me wrong. I am an advocate of time off. Of down time. But...I'm also a fan of planning and chunking my time. So instead of reveling in down-time, I kept chastising myself... feeling guilty over the 'lost time'. And instead of feeling accomplished and well-rested, I wound up feeling drained and tired.
And here's what I learned:
- Sometimes I just need to have complete down-time with no schedule at all
- It's good to be aware... I figured it out at the very end of my time off, BUT I FIGURED IT OUT
- Being 'productive' cannot be my only measure of success. How I'm feeling is more important
- I need to start bullet journaling. This doesn't really have to do with my time off, but it is something I learned. : )
I'm excited to try out this new found info.... to test out this permission slip I've granted myself and to begin again.
What are your favorite ways to decompress? What do you like to do when you take time off?
It finally happened. It is rare. I don't always handle it well. But, I DROPPED the damn ball.
You know what that's like, right? I pride myself on follow-through. On getting things done. Of making things happen.
But. I had one too many balls in the air. I didn't have a great system in place to track everything going on or all my obligations.
So, I reacted first by beating myself up a little. Shared the story with a couple friends (I chose wisely here... I didn't need anyone else beating me up or admonishing me.) And then, I. Let. It. Go.
None of this is about perfection. I am perfectly flawed and human. Truly two of my best traits.
So I write my words of gratitude. I focus on what went right instead of wrong. I look around this magical space and get excited about the possibilities. And I remember: I believe I can so I will.
(This artwork is by our friends at Wildwood Creative and available in my shop.)
So now your turn, tell me, what do you do to get through dropping a ball?
I experienced a bit of an epiphany today... I was having a casual convo with a friend and she said, 'wow... you have come so far in such a short time'... And of course, like many of you, my initial instinct was to diminish my accomplishments. Yes... yes... it's true. Even I, the woman who is able to claim 'I have a GREAT idea'.... or 'Look what I DID!' still have a hard time when my accomplishments are noticed by others. But, I recognized my instinct and instead said Thanks.... and then we talked about how it is we (both) are able to do this thing in getting lots done in seemingly short amounts of time.
I think for me it's because I don't like the beginning... this is a strong statement...this is the epiphany. Because I always imagined myself to be a 'starter'. But I prefer the middle. I like things that are established. Solid. (so I can set about changing things?) And, I like things running along and trouble-shooting when necessary. I love that when you walk into my space it doesn't feel like I just opened a few short months ago. Like I've been here for awhile and you're only just now discovering the shop.
Another part of this epiphany has to do with wondering if I hold back from beginning something because I don't like the beginning... because I want to be in the middle and am impatient. So my thought for you is to begin anywhere. But begin. Don't hold back. You've got this.
What do you like about beginnings and middles?
There are a lot of things people don't tell you when you decide to open a business. And a lot of things they DO tell you that, quite frankly are wrong or don't apply to you. The key is being able navigate through it all without freaking out (too much.)
I don't know that I've completely mastered it, but I DO know I'm far better at it now than I was once upon a time. Here are a few tips for holding onto your sanity when you're making a scary choice and going for it.
1- Don't listen to the naysayers. Even when they are those closest to you. Thank them for their input if you want to preserve the relationship, and then let it go. Don't try to defend your position with someone who doesn't get it or will never be on board with your leap.
2- When you are being bold it scares people. Try to remember that their reaction has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.
3- Cut yourself some slack. As the owner you are going to be responsible for everything to begin with... undoubtedly there will be a learning curve and while you try to get it all done, things will invariably fall through the cracks. It is going to happen. It won't be the end of the world.
4. Surround yourself as much as you can with people who cheer you on and challenge you to soar even higher. We have enough of a 'oh my god what have I just done' script running through our heads. We need those who are willing to leap with us! Especially for those days when we aren't so sure...
What are YOUR tips for moving through uncertainty?
In just 3 short weeks the doors to The Collage Cafe will be opening. Drop in and say hi. 912 Sherman Ave, Evanston IL 773-837-4433. I look forward to meeting you soon! #evanstonsmallbiz #dreamcomingtrue #thecollagecafe #motivateandinspire
Hi there... ! It's been a crazy couple weeks full of packing, painting and moving. Yes.... moving. We made the move to our new location. First a big shout out to Nichole Lovett owner of Harmony Haus, and eco-conscious painting company. She and her crew did an awesome job of providing me with the perfect foundation to create what's about to become The Collage Cafe.
I still have a LOT of work to do, but it's going to be a fun chunk of time as I pull the place together, build the workshops, and get the front end stocked with all kinds of goodness.
I thought, though, you might get a kick at seeing behind the scenes..... WARNING.... what you are about to see will send those of you who are organizers into a bit of a panic attack...
Living a joy*filled life is a top priority. Here I will share what I learn along the way.