biz ladiesLife & Business

Biz Ladies: Three Steps for Giving Up the Guilt

by Stephanie

Today’s Biz Ladies post comes to us from Emma Gwillim, a Life By Design coach empowering women to design a life and business that sparkles.  Emma coaches women to awaken to their unique potential, so they can make more time, more money and more life, through one-to-one sessions, daily newsletter mailings, virtual group programs and live workshops.  Today, Emma is sharing her strategies and advice for balancing your career and giving up the guilt. Thank you, Emma, for offering such great and honest advice! —Stephanie

Read the full post after the jump…

If I asked you to score your satisfaction with your achievements this year out of 10, what would you say?

Maybe that’s a bit broad.  How about if I asked you to focus on just one area of your life, say your career?  Are you a pretty satisfied 7 or 8?  Higher?  Or a ‘could-do-better’ 5 or 6?  Lower still?  The chances are, as an ambitious woman, you’re probably seeing some room for improvement.

In fact, I’ll bet that you’re mentally reeling off all the things you need to achieve to hit the heady highs of 9 or 10.  I should be building my brand more on social media.  I should be being seen at more industry events.  I should be creating new products/ranges more frequently like Competitor X.

And then there’s the shoulds for all the other areas of your life – I should be spending more quality time with my family.  I should be earning more money.  I should be working out more regularly/quitting caffeine.  And so it goes on.

Ladies, it’s time to give up the guilt.  Ditch ‘should’ from your vocabulary and focus on what you MUST do to create your guilt-free blueprint for happiness.

Define your happiness: Choose an area of your life that you’re focusing on this year, one big goal.  What would happiness look like for you?  Each person’s version of happiness will be different.  For example, if you’re focusing on your career goal would happiness come from success?  From freedom?  Creative expression?  Financial prosperity?  Instead of looking at what yours should look like, usually coming from other people’s expectations, get clear on what YOUR version looks like and let this be the guide to what you should be focusing on.

Align your goals with your ‘blueprint’: When you’re clear on your definition of happiness, take a look at how it compares to where you are now.  How does your current situation stack up against your ‘blueprint’?  If freedom is what you’re aiming for but your current situation requires that you should be putting in the hours in a structured environment, you know you need to make some changes.  With your blueprint as your compass, decide where things feel authentic and aligned, and where you may want to focus your attention some more.

Model the best of the best: Bring to mind someone who’s made it happen.  Who is your role model for the way you want to (not should) be to match your happiness blueprint?  How do these people speak, move, behave?  What disciplines or behaviors does this person commit to?  What sets them apart?  Recognize the standards that your role model has set for themselves and decide what commitment you can make from today to set yourself up for success.  What’s your new standard?

Give up the guilt: Decide here and now that feeling guilty about what you have/haven’t achieved is a waste of your mental and emotional energy… use your energy reserves more wisely.  Instead of acting from guilt or obligation, choose your actions and reactions from a place of authenticity, knowing what your biggest values are and what definition of happiness you’re striving for.  For example, if your version of happiness would come from the success of taking your business to the next level, consequently spending less time with your family in the short-term, don’t let the guilt get you: make a positive choice and make peace with it.

Shake it up: Shift the energy.  Act as if you are all the things you want to be, feeling the way you want to feel, and the magic of your physiology will shift too.  Get out of your chair, put your favorite song on and have a dance around… or something else that would put you in a lighter mood.  It’s just a little interlude that with change your thought patterns for the better.

Tend to yourself: It’s not selfish to look after your own wants and needs.  Think of it as a well: if you’re constantly looking after everyone else, without replenishing your reserves, it will eventually run dry and you’ll have nothing more to give.  Make it a habit to make time for yourself – essential, non-negotiable time just for you.  What can you do today/this week to take better care of yourself?

Ask for help: It’s never come naturally to me and I know I’m not alone: asking of someone else always makes me feel a little bit cheeky.  But why is that?  Think of it like a ‘support squad’: where do you need more support?  Who can help?  Recognize where you need the help and ask, politely!

With a clear direction and setting new standards for yourself, shifts can happen.  Share below what your happiness blueprint looks like for your goal, and what ONE action you will commit to from today.


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  • First of all, I’d just like to say how INCREDIBLY helpful the Biz Ladies series has been to the launch of my online shop. Could not have done it without the wisdom my business partner and I gleaned here!

    Brimful was launched three weeks ago and we are still trying to figure out our happiness blueprint. But I think we will be the happiest if we can gain a growing loyal customer base for our online specialty toy shop. If we can break even in the first 12-18 months, that would be a success for us…and success would obviously mean a great deal of happiness!

    My commitment to making that blueprint happen means engaging more with potential/current customers online via blogs and social media. That is hard for me, because it doesn’t always feel authentic.

    Thanks for this post and the call-to-action. Brimful loves DS and Biz Ladies :).

  • Oh the guilt is hard. I think one goal for me would be to stop thinking and planning and focus on doing. That alleviates my guilt and allows me to see what I have done not what I should have done.
    Thanks for the advice!

  • My goal is to live a more creative life of my own making- I’m an art teacher now and I run a gluten free food blog- but I want to expand my blog to include my own artwork for sale as well as art lessons I’ve created. Then I want that blog to expand into a storefront business!

    Narrowing down my focus and figuring out my end goal has been really hard, necessary and rewarding- Now I know what to work towards, which projects to focus on and what to tell people when they ask what I want to do. So the action I’m committing to today is to remember that focus everyday and work on projects and posts that fit within those topics!

    Thank you for this Biz ladies post- they are always so helpful!

  • What an awesome article! I often feel guilty for spending money (even if it is on business stuff!!) but doing this exercise, I realized that what I’ve spent money on has been in line with my happiness goals: namely online representation.
    I just bought my own internet domain and will soon be able to have a catalog for my work. Yay!

  • Thank you for such great, common-sense advice! I’ve recently finished a PhD and want to work with objects and explore design concepts in a museum/gallery context, but there are currently no opportunities for work where I live now, so I’ve had to think long and hard about how to go forward. I think my goal would be to live a more creative life and gain more confidence about sharing my own tastes and perspectives through blogging and virtual exhibitions. The whole Biz Ladies series has inspired me to make it happen! Thanks!