what every entrepreneur ought to know about self-care

Posted by on Nov 6, 2013 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Entrepreneurial Ideas, Healthier Choices, Holistic Pain Relief, Wellness | 4 comments

I love the Dowager Countess from Downton Abbey, mostly because she says the craziest things! One thing she said in the first season has stuck with me ever since that show. She said, “Weekend … what’s a weekend?” As an entrepreneur, I could really relate to this idea although of course she didn’t mean it the way it struck me. Her life is one of leisure and there’s never a need for “down time.” But for us business people, the idea that we put business aside (and gasp … relax!) for two whole days is pretty foreign!

So what’s an entrepreneur to do … burnout isn’t pretty and we are all just a weekend or two away from that frustrating exhausted feeling. Am I right? THIS is exactly why self-care isn’t a luxury. Taking time for yourself is the best way to be sure that you can keep doing amazing things in the business you love!

So what is self-care exactly? The obvious answer would be, “It’s taking care of yourself.” As someone whose 10-year entrepreneurial career is all about taking care of others, I have often found my own self-care at the bottom of the “to-do” list. And then four years ago I was diagnosed with a chronic pain condition that forced me to figure out what kind of self-care I really needed. Since then I have found a long list of things I do on weekends and weekdays to be sure I actually take care of me.

Woman Exercising Self-careHere are my five favorite steps to self-care:

1. Good nutrition IS self-care. If you want to be at the top of your business game, you have to fuel your body to excel. This means finding easy, tasty choices that are high in essential nutrients but not highly processed. Things like vegetables, fruits, high-quality protein and whole grains. If you keep your choices in this range at least 80% of the time, you will have the fuel to make the best decisions, focus, and maximize your business hours.

2. Go outside. Leave the house, the office and the computer for at least 15 minutes each workday. Ken has his porch office, which is a great example of breaking out of the “home office” shell. There’s also Earthing, which is new research on the benefits of getting your bare feet on the earth every day. Just take your shoes off and sit with your feet on the grass for five minutes every day. Even though this is a challenge in the winter, do it whenever the weather permits!

3. Sleep. It’s that simple … get enough sleep! But I understand it may not be easy to sleep. Doesn’t your mind race with all the tasks at hand? If you struggle with sleep, consider limiting caffeine later in the day (you knew I was going to say that, right?). Drink your hydrating water earlier in the day so you aren’t awakened during the night. Dim the lights in your house starting at sunset, which creates a winding down ritual for both mind and body. Turn off the electrical devices including your TV at least 30 minutes before bedtime. And keep a notebook by your bed to write down any great ideas or solutions that are running around in your head during the night.

4. Reach out for help with self-care. Find professionals whose mission is to help you be a better you. Scheduling that time can be the best thing you do for yourself every month. Maybe for you this means making a massage appointment, a golf lesson, or personal training session. I also use acupuncture to help me manage the mental and emotional stresses of entrepreneurial life. If needles aren’t your thing, there’s always counseling or talk therapy too.

5. Be spontaneous and have fun! Sounds crazy to schedule time for fun, doesn’t it? When we live and breathe our businesses (whether corporate or entrepreneurial), balance isn’t always a natural inclination. Having entirely open days every month with zero plans is a great thing. Find friends and family you’d enjoy spending the day with, and resolve to plan nothing until that day. Just do something you’re in the mood for right then.

Now darn it, get off the computer and go relax. It’s a matter of survival!

 

Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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if your vision is crazy, you should read this

Posted by on Aug 22, 2013 in Entrepreneurial Ideas, Guest Blogs | 0 comments

This week’s post is a guest blog from my friend Lily Starling, founder of FillYourHolisticPractice.com. This blog is so inspiring to me, as a 10+ year entrepreneur. I have so much to learn about being a business owner, and even more to learn about life—that never stops, does it? My favorite line from the whole article? “No one is going to give you permission to have the kind of life you want, because your life doesn’t make sense to them.” Your life is yours alone—be brilliant at it, no matter what anyone else says!

Lily StarlingDoes the scope of your dreams scare you? Are you worried that if you give in to your deep inner calling you will fail?

I can relate. I worried for years about my chances of succeeding at the half formed, ravenous, and impractical desire to heal as a modern day medicine woman.

But I realized success is only two things: personal freedom and living a life of massive service. Freedom: to live life on my own terms and at peace in my own mind, untethered to my demons and my past, in awe of my future; to savor the tiny sliver of the richness of this world I will experience in this lifetime. Service: to help others do the same. In this way my two great passions go together, as I think they must.

When I was 24 and my friends were graduating law school and working in high level corporations or enrolling in PhD programs, I was ashamed of my decision to drop out of college and live a life of adventure, studying a healing tradition in the wilds of Central America. I knew that chopping roots and pushing my way through fragrant thickets of medicinal jungle plants would never parlay into a high-paying job.

I was a lost, anxious adult child in self imposed exile saying over and over, “No. Back off. You don’t know what’s best for me. I don’t want to be a doctor. I don’t want to go back to school.” I wasted a lot of energy and tears and vain pleas for approval on people who would never understand, because they were born in a different reality and with different values.

I kept to my strange path and blew around the globe led by my vanities and emotions, my pathological unemployability. I worked for excellent companies and I left, over and over. I continued not to fit. I scratched away at myself and the harder I tried to smooth my edges the rougher they became.

And then one day when I was 28 I stopped trying to get along with others and I started my own company. I made it up from scratch, from the impractical substance of my idealism. It worked. No business plan, no formal training, no degree. I created success out of the form of my vast experiences. There are a lot of measures of success in my business but they don’t matter. What matters is that I did this with very little support and no permission from anyone I cared about, and I did it in service to my greater purpose and myself.

No one is going to give you permission to have the kind of life you want, because your life doesn’t make sense to them. The things you think need to be in place in order for you to move toward your freedom are false. I know that a lot of would-be entrepreneurs are struggling, waiting for the house, the job, and the kid situation to be “taken care of,” whatever that looks like, before they take the leap. You will wait forever if you wait for the circumstances to line up. People ask me how I got my ducks in a row to move to Belize, to go to the Virgin Islands, to start my own company, to travel the world, and I tell them it was always a leap of faith.

I never knew enough and I never had a job lined up before I got on the plane. I ended relationships more than once in order to pursue my greater dream.

I woke in the night in utter terror as hurricane rain pounded on the crumbling zinc roof of my shack on the Caribbean Sea, and asked myself what the hell I was thinking to do this alone. I almost drowned in a river in the jungle, breaking the surface only after I stopped fighting for it. I mentally composed a goodbye letter to my family as I was summoned into a Burmese immigration office at the age of 19, 20 days overstayed on my visa. I was hit by a car on the streets of Istanbul. I dragged myself to the bottom of despair and self-loathing and I would not listen to sense.

I do not possess the personality traits necessary for adventure, for self-starting. I am not the American prototype of success. I did not win most likely to succeed, ever. I do not have a high tolerance for pain. I do not have a well of burning type A energy inside me.

I am scattered, easily distracted, and often self-absorbed. I am impatient and too proud. I have broken my own heart more times than I can count. I am attached to outcomes. I am rigid when flexibility is required, and have retreated when my boundaries were pushed. I am afraid of rejection. I am introverted and often oblivious to the opportunities flinging themselves in my path. I have ended things sloppily and exited gracelessly.

I spread my shortcomings before you like silver bangles on a market stall blanket. Can see they are just ordinary human flaws? I hold them up to the light, turning them this way and that to show you how the light collects in the imperfections. I wear them on my wrists, shaking them in warning against polite silence. I batter them against table tops in time with the thumping rhythms in the street outside the room where you are hiding.

I learned from acting in spite of my fear and deficiencies that life is a short, brief gift and so I can’t wait another day to try for what I want. I have a willingness to leap into the void, to do what others will not, because when I am dying I do not want to regret a thing. I tell you about my deficiencies because they are inconsequential in the light of my greater purpose, the growing flame inside me that burns to be of service and to take my place in this great generation of healers. I want you to know that you are perfectly ready.

I have lived this incredible life and done these incredible things in the midst of these overwhelming reasons not to. If I can do this despite what I am and be successful, you can too.

The secret to success is only this: it never lines up. Not all of it. Not all of you. You must not wait another day to commit body and soul to changing the world. At some point, you must recognize that where one unbreakable tie exists another will always be waiting to take its place, and you will move from one to the next like worry beads on a string of “not yets” unless you decide one day to put the whole thing down and walk away from it, unfinished, imperfect, with a lot of shoulds, because your great purpose is waiting for you and your time is very, very short.

Yes, you must always commit to the inner work, but never wait on your character to improve before you step boldly into your purpose, however crazy, coarse, callous, and bizarre. Dreams and madness grow from the same soil, and you must defend the madness of your dreams until they have taken root in the world, shaking with joy in the sun.

Start your business, your art, your vision now, not tomorrow, not when the kids graduate, not when the savings account looks right. Buy the plane ticket. Summon your team. Learn all the hacks to work around your deficiencies; don’t waste a moment regretting or trying to change yourself. Not now.

You have been measuring yourself against your shortcomings when you were meant all along to inspire those around you with your beautiful imperfection. Be messy and make others uncomfortable. Get used to it. It’s glorious to be written off as a lost cause, because then you can focus on your own.

It will be easy when you are inspired; every molecule in your sphere will align to manifest your vision. The secret is that you must double down in those moments when you are discouraged and doubtful and out of sync. You must be pig-headed and stubborn about your greatness and drag yourself forward through the mire. You must. It’s a terrible mistake to retreat into mediocrity just because you want the reassurance and coddling of those who are happy with ordinary things. You must be irascible and unafraid to excise well-meaning people from your life, even if you are kind. Especially if you are kind.

You have your own definition of success, the one you were born with, not the one you adopted out of fear. You will know its truth once you are honest about how flawed and brilliant you are. It is waiting for you, but not patiently. There is no more time for patience. The fatuous, decadent, and self-indulgent truth of your great purpose is dancing below the surface, scratching with disdain at your sensible, responsible life. It is getting louder in you because it is getting louder in all of those who have the calling.

Answer it.

________________________

Lily Starling has been writing about marketing a holistic practice since 2011 and teaching her students and clients the system she created to fill her massage therapy practice with more than 800 clients in 2 years. An avid student of humanist psychology and current social trends, Lily believes that the work of shifting the planet toward a just and brighter future must be spearheaded by healers from all walks of life.

You can request a free copy of her Success Guide for Healers at http://www.fillyourholisticpractice.com. Connect with her on Twitter @LilyStarlingCMT and Facebook www.facebook.com/fillyourholisticpractice.

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how you sleep is how you do everything

Posted by on Aug 15, 2013 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Healthier Choices, Wellness | 0 comments

Woman Cant SleepAfter writing last week about recovery days, I started thinking more about the importance of sleep to pain relief. My mentor, Fabienne Fredrickson of Client Attraction.com says, “How you do anything is how you do everything.” I’d like to get more specific to holistic pain relief and say, “How you sleep is how you do everything.” But what does this really mean? To me, it means if you sleep well, you can spend the day feeling much more well. If you don’t sleep consistently or heavily, it’s hard to be consistent about anything you do during the day. If it hurts to sleep, chances are you are hurting during the day too.

Does chronic pain make sleep more difficult? Or does difficulty sleeping make chronic pain feel worse? Honestly, I don’t think it matters which is true—both situations make our lives more difficult if we can’t find a way to improve them. Plus, you and I both know that our friends and family don’t always understand what it’s like to live with chronic pain. Chances are, they also may not understand what it is to have chronically disturbed sleep. Jill Knapp writes in Huffington Post, “Most likely, a person in chronic pain isn’t sleeping as well as they should. This could be because they are in too much pain to fall asleep, or to stay asleep, or they are having anxiety over the fear of dealing with pain for the rest of their life.”

So what’s a person living with chronic pain to do? One thing you DON’T want to do is drink more caffeine. It’s our society’s go-to solution for that occasional sleepless night, but a 1997 study showed that patients with chronic back pain consume more than TWICE as much caffeine as patients without chronic back pain. In the same study, anecdotes also suggested that excess caffeine use may also be associated with chronic back pain. So not only does caffeine potentially increase your pain levels, but it can really mess with your ability to sleep. I know that when I was still drinking a mug of coffee in the morning, I was also taking a natural sleep aid supplement at night. When I quit the coffee, I no longer had a need for a sleep aid!

How about what you can eat that will make it easier to get a good night’s sleep? A 2012 study showed that the more varied your diet is, the better you will sleep. So try new healthy, whole foods and get plenty of variety throughout the day, week and month. As tempting as it is to have the same breakfast or lunch every day, this is a GREAT reason to switch it up regularly. The study also shows that getting more lycopene, selenium and vitamin C can improve sleep. The best sources of lycopene are grapefruit, tomatoes, papaya, and watermelon. There’s a lot of selenium in shellfish, turkey, brazil nuts, and some types of fish. And broccoli and kale are two fantastic sources of vitamin C!

Here’s another interesting idea to consider—be sure to brush your teeth immediately after you awake. Why? Because arthritis has been linked to the bacteria gingivitis—it’s actually been found IN THE JOINTS of people diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis!

Let me know how these ideas help—and what do you do to help improve your sleep?

Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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how to start delegating – when you should have started yesterday

Posted by on Jul 25, 2013 in Entrepreneurial Ideas, Healthier Choices, Wellness | 0 comments

multitask1This week’s blog is a guest post from my friend Jeannie Spiro. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or not, delegating is an essential skill—particularly when you also live with chronic pain. I loved Jeannie’s ideas, and thought you might too!

Some years back when I started in my first management position I was overcome with joy when I found out that the job automatically came with a built in assistant.

Can you imagine how thrilling it was to no longer have to do absolutely every menial task in my job? Having an assistant meant that I could work on big projects, manage my staff, focus on revenue generation and commission incentive programs.

It meant that I could get the most important and necessary tasks done in my job and delegate the rest.

As a Director I was in no means a micro-manager. I quickly realized that to be one wouldn’t be the best use of my time.

That’s why when my very first mentor recommended that I hire a Virtual Assistant, even before I was barely generating any business income, I didn’t hesitate.

Most solopreneurs make the assumption that they need to manage everything in their business and often times they wait to hire an assistant.

When I first advise my clients to hire an assistant I hear excuses like,

I can do everything myself”,

I’m not making enough yet”,

“It’s going to take too much time to train someone else to do things I can easily do”

I bet if you haven’t hired someone to help you yet then you’re thinking some of the same things.

It’s time to stop doing everything and start doing what you need to do in order to have more conversations to grow your business. To work on the most important revenue generation tasks and to focus your time and energy on the tasks that you MUST do in order to create momentum in your business.

Where should you start when you should have been delegating already?

  1. Create Systems– even before you start to delegate tasks you want to look at the process or systems you’ve created or can create. Look at your business as a whole and identify where you can create systems. Client intakes, social media marketing, payment processing, client paperwork, your newsletter and so on.  All tasks will likely have a system. Identify what you do, document it and get ready to delegate.
  2. Identify What Only YOU Can Do – we tend to think that because it’s our business that we need to do everything. It’s simply not the case. I’m always encouraging my Virtual Assistant clients to get assistants. Why? Because having help will make you streamline your work and focus on the most important tasks that only you can do. Take time to identify exactly where you MUST be in your business and where you can fill in getting help from an assistant.
  3. Start with Projects – another easy way to start off with delegating your tasks is to consider your business as having many projects. For my first Telesummit I knew I couldn’t manage the task myself so after I decided to host the event the very next task on my list was to find someone who can manage everything that I didn’t know how to do. You can do this for your next launch, a workshop, a training program, a course or any project that might have a specific start and stop time.
  4. Recommendations – being in the business of Business and Marketing Coaching it’s my job to know who are expert Virtual Assistants, Consultants, Graphic Designers and Web Developers. I have a Recommended Resource list that’s extensive and valuable. Because I’ve done the work to find out who is reputable I can tell my clients who to work with and give out multiple recommendations. I recommend that you always do your homework, check references, review their work and consider hiring on a project basis to see if you want to work with an individual long term.

Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for a while, you need to consider that you will create more revenue faster when you delegate all those tasks that are repeatable and can be done by someone who is efficient at getting them done.

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should!

Jeannie Spiro headshot March 2013Jeannie Spiro is an Online Business Strategist specializing in helping women coaches and solopreneurs get more clients, grow their tribe and monetize their business online. Through her “Monetize Your Signature System” and  “Rapid Fire List Building”  systems, Jeannie helps women strategically build their business to six figures and beyond. Ready to ramp up your business online? Get started with “Ezine Secrets: 7 Compelling You can learn more about Jeannie at http://JeannieSpiro.com and Grab Jeannie’s FREE Report, “Ezine Secrets: 7 Simple & Effective Steps to Create a Compelling Newsletter to Grow Your Business! at:http://jeanniespiro.com/sp/ezine-secrets/

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are you living on the edge?

Posted by on Jul 11, 2013 in Ask the Coach, Wellness | 0 comments

Can I be little bit vulnerable here, and tell you a story about my own life? I wrote this last week, and debated about whether to share it here. But I’d like you to know that I too live with pain and its struggles.

I used to always think of people who lived on the edge as those who took the greatest risks in life—skydivers, military personnel, extreme skiers … you know the people I mean.

Photo credit: Telegraph.co.uk

This morning I realized that I also live on the edge. It’s the edge between enough immune system function and another infection. It’s the edge between minimal daily pain and immune system over activity. It’s the edge between feeling my pain and pushing through it to accomplish something necessary. It’s the edge between peace and chaos.

I didn’t choose this edge, but now I’m thinking that I should actually revel in it like the extreme skiers. Is there a way to draw energy from the edge where my life exists? I think the positive side of the energy is feeling grateful that just for today (or just for this hour), I’m on the peaceful, mainly pain free side of the edge.

Today I’m fighting a sinus infection, and trying to make it to the (self-imposed) edge of six months with no antibiotics. So I’m taking an herbal supplement that uplevels my immune system a bit. And I woke up with major pain in a foot joint. (This happens with autoimmune diseases—there’s a delicate edge of immune function that has pain on one side and infection on the other.)

I wasn’t loving this edge … but still decided to go to my yoga class because that’s a place where no one judges me for what I can and can’t do. I knew half the practice was on the floor, and if I could only do half of the standing practice (on the “good foot”) I’d still get seventy-five percent of the postures. The pain in my foot was so significant that I even warned my teacher not expect a typical level of practice from me. And the miracle of the edges happened … I had one of most yummy classes I’ve had in a very long time. Being mindful of that one joint forced me to focus in a way I haven’t lately. I found the outer edge of my foot, instead of the inner edge. I concentrated on the placement of my hand as I held my foot instead of just grabbing for any old spot. I didn’t even look at anyone else in class because my balance was just tenuous enough to demand total concentration.

I may not be a skydiver, but I’m happy to say that living on the edge today is giving me energy and gratitude!

p.s. This post was written on Thursday. My edge shifted again on Friday morning, and I ended up at the doctor getting antibiotics. Not my preferred solution, but it had to be done. No matter what, I got some inspiration from the experience and hope you have too. Please let me know in the comments what edges you live with … or how this inspires you to be grateful!

Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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