One of my personal goals for 2021 was to hire a business coach for myself. I wanted someone to push me way outside my comfort zone and really help me imagine what The Strategy Studio could become in the years ahead.
I knew Jacob, my littlest, would be starting daycare two days a week in July and I wanted to hit the ground running when that time came, rather than wasting those oh-so-precious work hours trying to figure out “the next right move”.
Essentially, I wanted someone to do for me what I love being able to do for my clients; take the big picture plan and then map an intentional, strategic path for how to get there.
Well I’ve just wrapped 3 months of a one-on-one mentoring program with my coach, Lorraine Murphy, and I’m so glad I made the decision to invest in myself and my business. (There’s nothing like a big financial investment to really kick your butt into gear, right?!)
While my notebook is filled with learnings from the past 3 months, there were a few key take-aways I thought so many of us could benefit from hearing and doing, so here they are!
Whenever Lorraine and I would jump on a call together, I’d often be in a state of frustration about all the work tasks I wanted to get done that I just wasn’t getting to. I was serving my clients—my non-negotiable top priority— but everything else was just piling up.
In these moments, Lorraine would have me list out all of the tasks on my mind and we’d triage them. But unlike traditional triaging where you’re sorting tasks into an order of priority (which can often end up being an overwhelming list you still don’t have time to get done!) she’d push me on how important a task was.
If it wasn’t an urgent deliverable, she’d ask me if it was something we could “put it in the car park”.
Putting a task in “the car park”, which was literally a separate box I had drawn on a piece of paper, allowed me to see at a glance all of the tasks that were occupying mental space and therefore impacting my productivity on other more pressing matters. The beauty of “the car park” is you can cherry pick an item out of it whenever you have an unexpected moment free, but also know that the tasks in there are safe and won’t be forgotten!
TRY THIS: Next time you feel like your to-do list is getting the better of you, ask yourself if there’s anything you could be putting in the car park!
As entrepreneurs it’s really easy to focus on all the things we haven’tachieved.
I know personally my lack of presence, and therefore growth, on social media over the past 6 months is something I’ve felt endlessly guilty about. Showing up and providing value to my audience is an aspect of entrepreneurship I thoroughly enjoy—and it’s not lost on me how fortunate I am to consider marketing an enjoyable task! (Although it’s probably a good thing, considering it’s my specialty!)
But as the primary carer of two delightful little people, I’ve had to acknowledge and accept that my “work week” at the moment looks a lot less like a “week” and a lot more like Strategy Sessions via Zoom between 5.30am and 8am, a few bonus moments during the day if Jacob decides to nap for more than 29 minutes (rare ) and night time sessions with my laptop.
Knowing this about me, during our wrap-up session Lorraine said “I want you to look at everything you’ve achieved in your business just this year without ever really having a dedicated work day in your week.”
Served and kept mental space for all regular clients across multiple time zones
Started and maintained a monthly business book club
Developed a Group Coaching Program (details below!)
Created a done-in-a-day website copywriting service (and completed multiple site writes)
Finished a 3-month one-on-one mentoring program
So is my “work week” ideal—ah, no! But is it also a reality that many entrepreneurial women experience in running their businesses? It sure is.
TRY THIS: If you’re feeling stuck and are ruminating on all the things you haven’t achieved, take 10 minutes for an achievement check. Acknowledge the limitations you’re working within, and then force yourself to make a list of everything you have accomplished of late. It might take a few minutes to overcome the critical headspace you’re starting from, but I guarantee you’ll find achievements worth celebrating that you’ve probably given yourself zero credit for. And with a positive frame of mind restored—watch your productivity soar.
As IBM CEO Ginni Rometty famously said “I learned to always take on things I’d never done before. Growth and comfort do not coexist.”
I knew I needed to get outside my comfort zone to grow The Strategy Studio, but I also hadn’t given much thought to how frequently I’d need to continue doing it. It was time for me to get comfortable being uncomfortable!
When I read a definition of comfort zone described as “a settled method of working that requires little effort and yields only barely acceptable results” I was suddenly a-ok with getting—and staying—uncomfortable!
Settling for “barely acceptable results” is not my definition of success.
What’s considered “uncomfortable” is different for everyone. It could be getting uncomfortable with a price increase, introducing new products or services, talking about money with clients, asking for the sale, joining a local networking group, sending an email reaching out to a potential collaborator, or maybe showing up more frequently on social media.
TRY THIS: Take an idea you’ve had on your mind for a while now that makes you feel a little uncomfortable? If you could skip the “doing it” part of the process and jump straight to the result, how would you feel?Does it get you excited? If the answer is yes, it’s time to get comfortable being uncomfortable and bring that idea to life.