I have been having lots of tough-love conversations recently with my coaching clients around their plans for their businesses and their goals for this year, and I wanted to share some of that energy with you.
Now, 2020 was a mo-fo of a year, there is no escaping that. Many of us faced challenges or hurdles like we've never faced before. Many of our businesses had to be totally overhauled or revamped. Many of our lives were rocked by lockdown. And many of us are still reeling from the uncertainties of the world around us.
BUT. Many of us also flourished in 2020. We made massive progress. We launched new businesses. We pivoted and persevered and helped others along the way. We made stuff happen day in, day out.
And that's why sometimes we need to shake ourselves and remember how easy it is for us to do hard things. And that if we really want to build the life and success we want then we can either make excuses or we can make things happen.
This is always true.
Even before COVID, there have been challenges and shocks. Even before COVID we have faced uncertainty and upheaval. Even before COVID our personal lives have been overhauled by change.
After my first daughter was born I ran a business full-time and held investor meetings or important phone calls while breastfeeding. After a health complication, I went for daily hour-plus walks because I needed time away from the gym to recouperate but didn't want to give up on my body. After a major financial shock, I mercilessly eliminated costs in my personal and business life and got hustling to make more money and get more clients.
I bring up these very personal examples because each of them represent a choice: self-respect over self-sacrifice, self-care over self-pity, self-preservation over self-destruction. And I say this not because I am super-human or perfect in any way, but because I am very normal. I am just like you.
You have done the same. You have persevered when you wanted to give up. You have fought when you wanted to let go. You have found a way forward when it would have been easier to float backward. You made the same types of proactive and productive choices in different parts of your life at different times of your life. You did that.
And I'm here to remind you of your own power because it's so easy to think others are better, more resilient, harder working, or luckier than we are. But we know that's not true. We are ALL doers.
So, remember my dear Entreprenoras, as you look to the year ahead, as you look to grow past the year that's gone, YOU can do hard things. You have done hard things. And YOU are either already the type of woman who makes things happen, or you already have it in you to be her more often.
Just a few years ago, I remember feeling excited and proud that I had gotten to the point in my business where I needed to hire not one, but TWO new assistants. I was over-stretched and overwhelmed at the time, and was excited to have two people to pass all my "stuff" on to. I had made it!
But ahhh, how quickly that pride turned to disappointment. Before the first month was out, one of the assistants decided she didn't want to work. And before the year was out, it was clear the other assistant wasn't moving my business forward.
It was only when both of them had gone that my business started to flourish and grow towards its potential again. Not only had I cut costs, I realized that some of the work they were doing manually was better done using a software, and some of the other work they were doing was simply a waste of time or padded with "nice to haves". It wasn't sexy having zero employees again, but it was better.
And that's why I am now so careful to recognize that it's not the "more" or the vanity metrics or the catchy sound-bites that tell us when we have "made it"; its the results and impact. It's not the mindless inputs, but the thoughtful outputs. It's not how little we sleep, but how much we accomplish while awake. It's not the number of hours we work, but the number of high-value things that get done in those hours. It's not working harder that is something to be proud of; it's working smarter.
Sure, sometimes we should be proud when we hire someone. And sure, sometimes we should be proud of how hard we work and how much we give up to achieve our goals (life is about tradeoffs, after all). BUT, we should also watch what we are proud of and make sure that we are proud of the things that have a real, measurable, and positive impact on us and our businesses and not just the things that sound impressive or make us look - or feel - like business bad-asses.
Watch what you are proud of and the other "stuff" will take care of itself.