Entrepreneurship feels so rewarding when things are going well — orders are coming in, customers love your work, and you’re reminded of why you started doing this in the first place. “It’s pure joy to watch all of your hard work turn into reality!” Laura Novak Myer says. However, in running and growing her business, Little Nest Portraits, from a single boutique photography studio into a national franchise, she was surprised to find that she learned more “from the days I wanted to ‘just stay in bed’ than the days where everything ran like clockwork.”
At times, her decision to grow seemed to be the worst decision of her life, testing all of her courage and confidence. But it was in these moments — dealing with a space, managing employees, etc. — when she really learned that the key to navigating the waters and thriving in the midst of chaos is something simple, yet often neglected: kindness. She applied this kindness to herself, her team, her vendors, her customers, and even the situations that caused the most stress.
Today, Laura Novak Myer is joining us to chat about how being kind to yourself can increase your success with her time-tested tips and tricks. –Sabrina
As entrepreneurs, we are often hardest on ourselves when things go poorly. Dumping blame on top of our current stresses can make our decisions and dreams feel futile. Kindness and compassion towards ourselves can often be the hardest challenge to master.
Here are a few of the ways you can reduce those overwhelming feelings when not everything is going according to plan, and use it as an opportunity bring out the best in you and your business:
Remember Who You Are Outside of Your Business
In the early stages of entrepreneurship, it’s so natural to spend every waking moment thinking about your business with all the highs and lows it can bring. But this can also increase stress and lead to burnout and exhaustion.
My identity as a CEO is really important to me. I jump out of bed every day knowing that I’m going to help a team member, studio owner, or fellow female entrepreneur realize the impact that joy and kindness can bring to their lives. And that’s truly motivational!
Over time, I’ve grown an identity outside of being CEO and business owner. Nurturing other activities in my life helps me remember that I am so much more than a CEO. I am a friend, a mother, a wife, a daughter. I am an artist. I am a runner. I am so many things.
Now, when issues come up, they don’t feel as personal anymore because my personal identity and self-worth is not as wrapped up in the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.
Forgive Yourself When You Make Mistakes
You will screw up. (It’s gonna happen!) Your numbers will miss the target some months of the year. You’re going to write a social media post that doesn’t get a lot of likes.
A lot of times we end up being so hard on ourselves and unforgiving when things go wrong. But when you continually ruminate on a mistake, it’s like throwing sand on a fire. Now there’s no more oxygen for the flame, or your creativity, to thrive.
A well-run company is built on the idea that it is okay to take a risk, even if it turns out to not be the best course of action.
Let go, be vulnerable, and forgive yourself and those around you. Practice saying, “Hey, I screwed up here. I know I could have done better.” But stop there — don’t over-apologize for mistakes. Simply recognize them, learn what you can, move on, and let go!
Take Time To Recharge
It’s tempting to stop taking care of yourself when things are going well, but that’s the time when you need it the most! When you are taking time to recharge as a habit, you’ll have energy on reserve for the stressful moments that can come unexpectedly. Read some great fiction, indulge in a guilty pleasure (Taylor Swift, anyone?), or simply go for a walk without your phone.
I love to keep my weekends for family time. Playing in the sandbox with my boys, hunting for rocks in the neighborhood, watching a movie with my husband. All of these things recharge me. I also take time by myself each evening to reflect on my day, and the blessings it contained. I run when I can or go for short walks with friends. All of these little things add up to a calm mind and a reserve of positive energy for when things get stressful.
Practicing self-care on a regular basis gives you the opportunity to be your best. [It’s] something as simple as shutting down in the evening instead of continuing to work. Then, when all of a sudden two or three things come up in your business, our tanks aren’t already running on empty. We have the energy and tenacity to handle things gracefully!
Be in Community with Other Entrepreneurs
It’s important to also be around people that can give you a hug when things aren’t going great and cheer you on and be excited for you when they are. I have a wonderful group of creative friends who get together regularly to cheer one another on and celebrate successes.
Seeing the concrete successes that have come from kindness are the best gifts of all. Six months ago I witnessed the doors opening of my first franchised portrait studio. The joy of that moment is a permanent bookmark in my imaginary kindness diary.
I never would have even had the energy to conceptually imagine the Little Nest Portraits franchise system and help other women open their own Little Nest Portrait studios if it hadn’t been for the community I work within and the kindness I’d given myself leading up to that point!
So, when you look at it this way, practicing self-care and kindness is not a luxury, it’s crucial to the success and sustainability of your business!
For more practices to grow your business, you can also grab my free PDF with the 4 Key Mindsets that Grow Business Success.