This summer I started a quarterly blog post series called “What I Learned.” This series follows the schedule of Emily P. Freeman over on her blog. It’s been a fun experiment, hard to believe it’s time for another one!
Lesson #1: I’ve been running my business (and parts of my life) from a state of fear.
It was a rather startling realization this fall, and one that did not please me. Since I hadn’t noticed it earlier and addressed it head on, it became a natural way of being and living. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how pervasive the fear had become, it was my new “normal.”
In September I had the opportunity to attend a weekend business conference, which changed how I viewed my blog and my business.
Over that weekend I was challenged with the realization of how much much I run my business from fear. There was one quote that was used over and over by the conference organizers and presenters, “do it scared.”
Here is a short list of common things we are scared of in our businesses:
- Get in front of the camera, and try live video (ugh, NOT my favorite)
- Step outside of your comfort zone (comfort zones are, well, comfy!)
- Get out there and network, in person (awful news for a shy introvert)
- Try something new, if it works great! If not, consider it an experiment and learn from it.
- And the biggest one, if your business is not where you want it to be it’s most likely that you have not been working it as you should be.
The more I thought about it, the more I saw where fear had spread into different areas of my life. While some of the fear was legitimate, most was not, and in many cases completely blown out of proportion.
Recognizing that there is an issue has given me the opportunity to start addressing it and make changes. While I’m certainly not done, I am making progress.
Lesson #2: Work from rest, not rest from work.
Author, speaker, and entrepreneur Jessa Connelly launched a book recently called Dance, Stand, Run. Book launches of this size are not simple affairs, each one is different, and each one is complicated with unique twist and turns. Often there is a high demand on you physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Well, Jessa took a unique approach to her book launch, that caught my attention.
Right before launch day, she took time off to be with family, have some fun, and rest.
On one of her Instagram Stories, she said, “We believe in working from rest, not resting from work.” In doing so, she made an intentional decision take time to prepare for and rest up for the work coming her way.
What a great reminder that we don’t always need to strong-arm our way through every single day, project, or task put in front of us. There are times you need to slow down and rest so you can get after it again tomorrow with the energy reserves you need to continue your important work.
Lesson #3: Praise & Thanksgiving are essential tools in combating stress and anxiety.
This fall has seen the return of several health issues that I had hoped had been addressed by my surgery back in February. While the operation itself went well and did the job it was supposed to; it turns out that some of the pain leading up to the surgery and now starting up again, is most likely Fibromyalgia.
Over the summer I started to feel better and had hoped I was finally on the right track. Then without warning, it roared back to life. It has triggered anxiety, and at times depression as it has restricted me in what I can and can’t do.
On a day that was not going great, I read this in my “Jesus Today” morning devotional:
Actually, nothing will lift you out of doldrums faster than thanking and praising me.
Enter his courts with thanksgiving and his courts with praise, and give thanks to his name.
Giving praise and thanks is honoring to God, and he considers it an offering (Psalm 50:23). It also takes the focus off of ourselves and puts it where it needs to be, on Him who loves us and has promised never to leave us or forsake us,
And let’s not forget that we are commanded: “to give thanks in everything” not just when we feel good.
Understanding this idea on a deeper level has motivated me to keep up with my daily gratitude list. This a purposeful step I can take to offer praise and thanksgiving on a regular basis.
Lesson #4: Progress not perfection
I love the idea of marketing. Did you see that? I love the IDEA of marketing. It’s fun to make plans, read recommendations, and research strategy. I enjoy the brainstorming and idea-generating aspect of marketing, that is something that excites me.
But, when it comes to implementing that plan? Well, that doesn’t always go as smoothly as I would like. Research one more idea, get the right graphics, make it look correctly branded, like on some of my favorite Instagram profiles. Talk about pressure!
At that conference I attended, this was another aha moment. I was waiting until I could have a perfectly curated feed to start marketing some of the products I have for sale. Yeah, well, if I wait for perfection, it will never get done! And the little I did try to get branded and designed to look “just so,” took forever!
Once I let go of trying to do it perfectly, there was a sense of freedom. It made my marketing to-do list shorter and more manageable to pull the pieces I needed together. In fact, it even became something I looked forward too and not dread. I was marketing and getting some great feedback.
Waiting until I had the perfect look and feel, became an excuse not even to try which also meant that I was not making any progress. Which of course, means I would be kicking myself later for not getting anything done. Not the most winningest plan right?
In this case, I decided to take the advice I give my website design clients. Start where you are with what you have. Make progress, create momentum and growth. Play with it, experiment, learn from it and make it better in the next round.
Lesson #5: Accountability is a necessity, especially when going after big goals.
Again back at that conference… I ran into a friend I had met a couple of years before at another conference. Over the years we have kept in touch through social media so seeing her there was like finding a long-lost friend.
We thoroughly enjoyed the conference and wanted to keep the momentum going with all that we had learned. The question of “now what?” kept coming up, so we created a system of accountability to help keep each other on track. Each week we email each other a quick list of:
- Lessons we are learning
- Recap of how we did on our goals the previous week
- Goals for the new week
It has helped soooooooo much! Knowing I have to send my friend Sarah a report each week keeps me going and motivates me to get it done so I can send her a good status report.
Accountability may not always be fun, but at times it is vital for growth and success.
Lesson #6: Oregon is (again) beautiful in the fall
The flowers of spring are so cheery and fun to see. The summer mornings out on my porch can be incredible. But the beauty of fall is when my camera and I have the most fun exploring Oregon.
The colors of fall, the vibrant greens, the bright yellows, and the fiery reds and oranges can be utterly breathtaking. It’s a bit sad when the first rain or wind storm of the fall comes making the leaves fall off the trees faster.
But, then again, in some areas, those fallen leaves dry out and make big huge piles that crunch under your feet as you walk through them. You can see some of what I found on my camera adventures here.
Well, there you have it, another “what I learned” edition for you, thank you for joining me in this review of the Fall season.
What lessons have you learned this fall?
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer, and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her dogs. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. She is also the author of several books, and now with the Selah Journal: A reflective journal and mini-retreat. Start your own daily gratitude practice with our, “7 Days of Gratitude Challenge – A Gratitude Journal Starter Kit”.