With Mothers' Day so recent, it had me thinking about my mom and the mom I want to be for my 2 boys. I want to remind you that setting goals and working hard to achieve them are honorable qualities...ones we strive to teach our children. Instead of feeling guilty about pursuing your dream and goals, be consistent...constant in how you love your children. Your aim as a parent is for your children to have a happy childhood...not a perfect childhood. That's just not humanly possible. (Honestly, I am preachin' to myself here.)
Way Down and Barely In
The old saying, "Down but not out," applied to me this week. That adage registers the image of a fighter...perhaps a boxer who has hit the mat and is crawling his way to a standing position one rope at a time.
The boxer...down but not out of the fight.
Me this week...way down (not just down--but way down) and barely in (as in--almost out).
To be brutally honest with you and with myself, I let a little (really a lot of) negativity creep into my mind this week.
I am pretty sure these maudlin feelings came about because of an email I wrote about possibly presenting at an upcoming event.
See, last week I decreed that I was stopping cold-email promotions for a while to focus on other content for my site. And, I didn't send any cold emails this week. (It was so hard to refrain from doing so. wink, wink) But, I did send an email to a lady who I know, admittedly not well yet a personal connection does exist, about speaking at a meeting in the future months.
I sent it on Monday. It's Saturday. I have heard nothing. Not even a no. A "no" would be better than hearing absolutely nothing.
Now, because of hearing nothing, I have a sliver of hope that my email is sitting in her junk box. One day she will be cleaning out that trash can and discover my jewel of an email gleaming like a gold nugget or a perfect diamond waiting to be scooped up. I have just a smidgen of hope.
I am way down and barely in.
All of these feelings...hope, anger, fear, patience bring me to this age-old question.
How do I get started when I can't get started?
How do I convince someone to give me a chance when I have no history in the business of speaking and coaching adults? Yet, I still have a background in teaching, which is not a huge stretch from speaking and coaching adults.
As I wallowed in my pity this week, I prayed to God often asking Him for guidance. Do I give up? Do I keep going? Do I send another email (and possibly move from interested in speaking to stalking you)? What do I do, God?
He whispered to me several times this week to just be patient...to enjoy, almost relish, where I am at with this business. He insists, and I truly believe Him, there is beauty in confusion, sadness, and fear. When you make it out of the scary forest, you reflect on your journey and realize how you drew closer to Him. You had to rely on Him. Think about it, if things had gone just perfectly, you would have never leaned into Him as you did in the scary forest...during the uncertain times.
The phrase "collateral beauty" is beautiful to me.
It is a name of a movie that came out in 2016 starring Will Smith. The plot focuses on Will Smith's character dealing with the overwhelming grief of losing his daughter. I have not seen the movie, simply researched the plot.
I fell in love with the phrase "collateral beauty" because of OneRepublic's song Let's Hurt Tonight. The song is featured in the film, and scenes from the movie play throughout their music video. When the last note ends, Naomie Harris looks at Will Smith and says, "Just be sure to notice the collateral beauty."
The first time I heard the line, it stopped me in my tracks. "Just be sure to notice the collateral beauty." Be sure to notice the splendor...the beauty in life, even in difficult times.
Most people pair "collateral" with "damage." Collateral damage. What happens when something is unintentionally damaged...hurt...ruined in an event. When Company X closed, that was horrible. So many jobs lost! But the collateral damage was worse. Four of its suppliers were forced to close as well. Even more job lost.
But when "collateral" is joined with "beauty," a new meaning arises. From despair, pain, embarrassment, personal attacks, grief, illness, whatever difficult event, beauty appears. Beauty may accompany damage. Nonetheless, beauty is there.
In no way do I liken my frustration and sadness with creating a business to a person's grief over losing a child or a parent or a spouse or to someone facing a terminal illness or a chronic disease. Please know I mean no disrespect.
I am simply sharing how I am able to view a tough week on my ego as a positive time in my life. I am choosing to see collateral beauty.
In my frustration, I am being stretched to view others' perspectives. In my anger, I am being humbled in my abilities. In my confusion, I am being drawn to the Lord, seeking His wisdom.
Those are beautiful traits to have and to mold. Collateral beauty, not collateral damage.
The Power of Podcasts and The Awesomeness of Audiobooks
I try to end each journal entry with a section on how I am trying to learn more and to surround myself with people who long for growth. Don't be fooled...this section is more for me than it is for you. It is therapeutic for me to end each entry with a reflection about positive people or positive things.
Lately I have listened to some thought-provoking, not as in controversial but in causing me to think about my business, resources and wanted to share those with you.
I love audio (podcasts and audiobooks) because you can accomplish a mindless task while listening and learning. For example, I listen to an audiobook while I run throughout the week. I usually listen to a podcast while I clean the kitchen after dinner (assuming I can hear over my boys playing in the next room. I am sure that never happens at your house.)
Dan Miller's 48 Days - Dan Miller is the author of the popular book 48 Days to the Work You Love. On his weekly podcast, he answers followers' questions about entrepreneurship and how to improve their work lives and just their lives in general. He has a kind, yet direct style.
The Dave Ramsey Show - Dave's podcast/radio show focuses on personal finance and living a debt-free life. People call in to share their financial troubles and their financial victories. In the troubled calls, you learn money tips from Dave that may be applicable to your business. In the celebration calls, you learn how people pay off $50,000 or $100,000 in debt by having a plan and a dedication to the plan to reach their debt-free dream. Hmmm...seems like entrepreneurs may know a little about forming plans and staying dedicated to the plans (and to their dreams).
Smart Passive Income - This podcast is hosted by Pat Flynn. He interviews entrepreneurs from all kinds of niches to dissect their successes and to make these details accessible to listeners. He asks questions about business plans, marketing strategies, back stories, and even about their emotions as they started or expanded their companies.
Business Boutique - This podcast is similar to Smart Passive Income. It is hosted by Christy Wright, a Ramsey personality and the creator of Business Boutique events. Christy's focus is on women entrepreneurs and helping them overcome the logistics and the emotions of starting their own businesses.
Funny thing here, I listened to most of these books while running. But, if I really, really liked them, I later purchased the actual words-on-paper books. I love writing in a great book!
Purple Cow - This is an iconic marketing book written by Seth Godin. His premise...marketing is not something done after a product is finished. Instead, marketing is a part of product development (not an afterthought!). How to do this? Create a remarkable product! It is a must-read for every business owner. (Plus, it is a short read so a great one to get your momentum started.)
EntreLeadership - This leadership book is written by Dave Ramsey and is a playbook for how he runs Ramsey Solutions. On the surface, I didn't think this book would be applicable to me since I am a one-man show. Yet, Dave gives advice for how to do business with other companies and how effective (and ineffective) contracts are. He even shares some of the mishaps of Ramsey Solutions, which gave this ole girl peace and hope. Obviously, making mistakes is a part of growing a business.
The 10% Entrepreneur - Patrick McGinnis wrote this book about his own adventures in 10% entrepreneurship. He lost his financial security in 2008 when many others did. This book helped me realize that I could keep my full-time stay-at-home mom job and be an entrepreneur as well. His mindset of giving only 10% of yourself to a venture was an eye-opening yet simple idea. I loved the opening third and the closing third of the book. Full disclosure though, I didn't really enjoy the middle.
The $100 Startup - Written by Chris Guillebeau, this book is a fun, inspiring read. Chris is a successful entrepreneur himself and weaves much of his story throughout the book. He goes a great giant step further and interviews a lot of other business owners from many niches. He shares their insights with readers. Chris now has a podcast called Side Hustle School. You may find it helpful too.
Business Boutique - This handbook for starting a business is written by Christy Wright. Christy focuses on women entrepreneurs, giving as much advice about the emotions and beliefs needed to start a business as the logistics required. It is a moving, informative book.
In closing, I urge you to find some things (books, podcasts, TV shows, sermons, groups, meetings, friends, etc.) that keep you moving forward...keep you motivated...keep you inspired yet humble.
Prayerfully moving forward,
P.S. In proofreading, I realized my recent fascination with boxing. Two weeks ago, I spent a large portion of my journal comparing myself to Rocky Balboa. I hope it is not a revelation for where I am to take this business. I don't think I will make it long as a boxer. :)
P.S.S. For most journal entries, I spend another 20 minutes typing in my timesheet and calculating my total times. But, since I don't like that part and because it is Mothers' Day, I am giving myself a little gift. I am not going to do it. :) Scroll below to see total time and a quick takeaway.
Want To Read More?
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Share your email address below if you don't have an Instagram account. No judgements here! I didn't either for years and still don't have a Facebook page. I am not sure if that is stupidity or self-preservation. Anyways, I welcome your email address if you want to share it! :)
Weekly Timesheet - Summary
Total: about 18 hours (I had a few hours to myself on Saturday as a Mothers' Day treat. I spent much of it working.)
Takeaway: Once again, I was able to crank out 2 posts, but I am still taking too long to do so. I also spent a lot of time on Instagram this week and gained about 6 followers this week. (I am literally laughing at myself as I write how many followers I gained this week. But, I have to start somewhere.) I had one post (May 11th, I think) had 20 likes, the most I have ever gotten for a post. I have been analyzing why it was so well received...the hashtags, time of day, day of week, topic.