Perfectly imperfect: the reckoning of 2020

Today’s blog post was supposed to be more practical support with emails and marketing. But as I meditated (briefly) last night, I felt this pull to send out a different message today.

This blog post is directly from my heart.

For so many of us this year, perfection and predictability and pursuing goals have radically changed, if not been thrown out of the window altogether. We’ve pivoted, juggled, reprioritised and adjusted a thousand times, and we’re doing it again this week.

It’s okay to be doing it all imperfectly, making the best of bad situations.

In fact, I believe that getting more comfortable with imperfection and trusting ourselves mid-juggle might be a gift of 2020.

We can’t pretend perfection exists anymore. We can’t pretend to have it all figured out – because none of us have it all figured out.

Instead, we can be in the process – an active, ongoing process – of understanding ourselves and trusting ourselves, no matter what’s going on around us.

You cannot run the perfect business. You cannot expect yourself to anticipate everything or be prepared for every outcome.

Instead, you can believe in your own abilities. You can discover what works for you and build on it. You can practice kindness and determination – yes, both – when things don’t go as planned.

My business dreams are evolving.

Perhaps it’s returning from maternity leave. Perhaps it’s living through a pandemic. Perhaps it’s something about the way the stars are aligning. But this year I’ve been thinking a lot about the dream I had for my business back in late 2013 and 2014, when I left my job and started this journey.

And what I’m seeing is that my business dreams and goals are evolving. It’s fun to look back at that time, when anything felt possible, when I was sure I could make so many things work. And I love my deeper wisdom now: that I know what really matters, like profit is more important than turnover, and how I spend my time directly relates to my happiness.

I also love my understanding of how I want to support not only my clients but also a wider community and society. I’m called to act for racial injustice, for protecting and healing the environment, for human rights. I want to build a business that does all those things.

And I want to build it in a way that allows me to love my family, care for my children* and care for myself. Sleep is highly important.

The great reckoning

I think 2020 (and perhaps 2021) is a big reckoning for all of us. And as we come into this busy time of year, perhaps you’re reflecting on it too. (And if you’re not, that’s okay.)

My offering to you today is to give yourself permission to be perfectly imperfect. To let go of the expectation that you should be smashing it. To decide instead to learn to trust yourself, to ask for help, to discover what works for you.

Your job right now is to build strong foundations through the busy Christmas period. The Survive & Thrive Christmas 2020 recording is available for you to watch (or listen to while you pack orders).

And if you need support with the great reckoning, or even with your to do list for today, I’m here.

With love

Jenny x

*I have a daughter and a stepson. Sometimes I forget to tell people!

If any year needed a review, it’s 2020…

Well, 2020 is turning out to be… kind of different.

I’m a big fan of reviewing your business when it feels right to you, but certainly as we stand in the middle of the year, it’s as good a time as any to take a step back, look at where you’ve been, where you are, and where you want to go.

Now, I work with a lot of small business owners, solopreneurs and female founders, and I know that “review your business” can sound intimidating, or that it has to look a certain way. So let’s just clear that up: this is an opportunity FOR YOU to reflect on how your business is working. And it can be an enjoyable, creative, encouraging experience!

You might need to look at some numbers. You might need to think about things that aren’t working so well, which can be uncomfortable. That’s okay and to be expected.

Here are some ideas for how to make your business review feel really good:

  • Carve out some time (I know you’re juggling the kids and the work and the home so time is scarce. You might need a couple of 30 minute sessions rather than an hour. Just book the time with yourself, ask for help with the other stuff, and enjoy it.)
  • Put some music on
  • Light a candle
  • Make a delicious beverage AND have a big glass of water
  • Go for a walk before you start (I find this helpful to shift my energy – 10 minutes is great)
  • Work with your preferences – if you like to hand-write, do that, or have documents open for your notes on your laptop
  • Make sure you’re really comfortable – good chair, warm/cool enough, steady writing surface
  • Turn off allllll the distractions!

You’re going to want to reflect on the different areas and aspects of your business:

  • Your offerings (products, services)
  • Your customers and their experience
  • Your systems and processes – and your team
  • Your marketing and branding
  • Your sales and finances

For each area, you’re going to want to look at numbers, maybe gather some data – give your head the information it needs. AND you’re going to want to consider how you feel about each area – what does your heart say? What’s your intuition telling you? This is where your creativity lies, so make sure you listen to it!

Check in with the stories you’re telling yourself. On one of my retreats, I had a client claim that “sales were shit” over the past year, and I pointed out that she’d said that a number of times, but I wondered if it were true. When she got home and looked at the figures, her sales were actually pretty similar to the year before. We can get really hooked into stories we tell ourselves, and noticing them can set us free to figure out what’s really going on.

Ready to reflect?

In addition to the ideas above, I’ve also put together a few questions for you to reflect on. These are the big, “coachy” questions I’d ask if we were sat together with mugs in hand, pondering the months ahead.​

There are a couple of versions, depending on your stage of business:​

​Feel free to take a photo of your space while you’re doing your review and tag me! Or hit reply and let me know what your review brought up.

I’m here to cheer you on.

The whole damn cake

A few years ago, I was in a relationship that – it turned out – didn’t really work for me. In many ways it was fun and exciting and adventurous, but something was amiss. The guy I was with was kind of aloof, and it felt like, no matter what I did, I didn’t get the love or time or affection I really wanted.

My coach at the time, Rachel Cole (whom I adore), is all about living a well-fed life, and she had the perfect food-based metaphor.

She said, “You feel like you’re gathering up the crumbs from under the table, when what you really want is the whole damn cake.”

Well. Rachel put words to something I had been feeling intensely, but hadn’t been able to articulate. I hadn’t even known I was allowed to want anything other than what I had. (This, for the record, is one of the moments that made me fall in love with coaching…)

In fact, it felt like I’d been wanting the whole damn cake my whole damn life: relationships, work, friendships, family, food – everything.

It wasn’t just this one relationship in which I was gathering the crumbs from someone else’s table. The metaphor applied to almost everything.

This was probably the moment I woke up from my frustration in my job, and started wanting to ask for the whole cake in my career (which brought me to starting my own business…).

I share this story because I’ve heard variations from my clients, too. They want the whole damn cake: the support they really need, the success they really deserve.

We can be guilty of making do with just the crumbs in our businesses as well as our love lives, thinking we don’t deserve even a slice.

Or maybe we kind of forget that there even IS a big old cake available, we’re so used to crumbs.

Like me in that relationship, we have to figure out how to ask for more. (And sometimes we have to go someplace else where they sell cakes, because it turns out that this place doesn’t have whole cakes available, or perhaps not the flavour that we really want…)

If you feel like you’ve been gathering crumbs, I invite you to grab a notebook or have a conversation with a friend, and perhaps consider the following questions and ideas, designed to help you ask for, discover, or even bake your own whole damn cake:

What does the cake you want right now look like? If you take the metaphor as far as you can, what do you want from the sponge, the icing, the decorations? What flavour is it? What ingredients does it use? What could these things mean to you?

When you see the cake, take the first bite, enjoy it over a few days – what does that feel like? What would be different if you went from gathering crumbs to having the whole damn cake?

How could you ask for the whole damn cake? Would it be asking for the help you really want, carving out the time to be creative, pricing your products appropriately? Or perhaps something else?

How could you learn to make your own cake? Maybe you’d learn about cultivating your audience and making your marketing really effective so that you get the results you want. Maybe you’d learn about scalable income or wholesaling your products. Maybe you’d learn about adding in strong foundations to your business so that it becomes really enjoyable and satisfying to run (aka eat!).

I share this story and these prompts because we all deserve to have the whole damn cake. We don’t need to scrabble around on the floor for crumbs, left over from someone else’s perfect cake.

My job is to take clients from feeling frustrated, feeling stuck, and feeling overwhelmed to feeling confident, clear, and courageous. Normally this requires heavy doses of defining success on your own terms – making up your OWN recipe, rather than following someone else’s. (You like the darker chocolate for the icing, right? Or the frosted rose petals? Or maybe a perfectly ripe, perfectly organic lemon drizzle…)

The cake, to me, symbolises more joy, more fulfilment, and having business and life in flow.

How about you?


Enter The Forge

Life's too damn short to chase someone else's definition of success. I'm here to give you the courage and tools to forge your own path.