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15 things for 15 minutes: shift your energy, boost your business!

We all have moments, days (weeks?) when we struggle to show up for our goals and vision.

Sometimes we have to trick our imposter syndrome or our inner critic so they don’t notice us side-stepping them and playing bigger.

Sometimes we have to gently encourage ourselves to form new habits or do the things we need to do, but don’t particularly want to do.

Sometimes we need some practical inspiration and suggestions for things that will actually move us forward in the direction we want to go.

That’s what I’m sharing today: my list of things you can spend 15 minutes on that really benefit your mood, and therefore your business (and sometimes the other way around!).

You can read on for my tips, but I also really encourage you to write your own list.

Use the timer on your phone and stop when the alarm goes off.

  1. Tidy up. Whether it’s your desk, your workspace, your entranceway, your bag, just set a timer and go. (I hate tidying up but it ALWAYS makes me feel better.)
  2. Write down your strengths. Go for the whole 15 minutes, and keep your hand moving. You’ll feel better for it at the end. (And it might even spark some big business ideas.)
  3. Write down all your worries. As above, but maybe burn it or do something about it at the end. Either way, get it out of your head and remove your blocks.
  4. Go for a walk. Even if it’s just up and down your own garden or around the block a couple of times. 15 minutes. In nature. Go.
  5. Find out your bestsellers. Not what you think are your bestsellers. Check the numbers: highest units sold, but also which item made you the most money? Knowledge is power.
  6. Look at your website traffic. Where are people finding you? If you don’t know how to track your traffic, spend 15 minutes finding out.
  7. Put your prices up. Or at least start to run the numbers. Around 70% of my clients have needed to put their prices up by 20% to actually make a profit or take a salary for themselves. Chances are you need to do the same.
  8. Write a newsletter. If you have an email list and haven’t sent an email for a month or more, JUST EMAIL THE PEOPLE. You don’t need a 10-part email strategy, just send some nice photos and words.
  9. Brainstorm or research a new project or product.
  10. Do your bookkeeping. Little and often is the way forward! If you don’t have bookkeeping software, research it. It’ll make your life easier next time.
  11. Look at your website’s homepage. Tweak, update, edit, or write a bigger plan to do so.
  12. Look at your long-term business goals. Or write down three things you’d like to achieve in the next 12 months. Get inspired by them!
  13. Meditate. Find a guided meditation on an app (I like Insight Timer), or put on some relaxing music and breathe for 15 minutes. You won’t regret it.
  14. Write a pitch. Maybe you want to appear on a podcast or you’d like to write a guest blog or appear in a magazine. Start writing to the relevant people. (Tip: I love Tiffany Han’s 100 Rejection Letters project for this.)
  15. Analyse your to-do list. What’s bringing in money? What’s fun? What’s future-focused? What’s a quick win? Now cross out anything that doesn’t move your business forward, that’s a nice idea but getting in the way of your focus. (We do this every month in Progress not Perfection. It’s a learned skill.)

If you need a more personal or a deeper to-do list, if you want to shift those worries and blocks, you might like to consider business mentoring and coaching with me. I have two spots open right now, and you can get in touch to set up a free consultation to find out if we’re a good fit.

Or for more free resources, check out my 20 favourite business coaching questions and go deeper!

Here's the thing: why I don't give advice (or write click-bait blog titles)

Hey friends. How are things in your part of the world? How’s September feeling so far? I would truly love to hear how things are for you – isn’t that why we’re here? For connection and support?

I’ve been a business mentor and coach for over three years. I started off using “mentor” because it seemed to fit the blend of professional consulting and the encouragement I offer. More recently, I’ve been describing myself as a coach, because coaching skills have become a bigger part of my repertoire.

Two years ago, I completed Tara Mohr’s excellent Playing Big Facilitator Training, and I’m about to embark on some more coaching training with the wonderful Randi Buckley.

Now, there are plenty of coaches out there for all sorts of different areas. Health, life, creativity – you name it, and you can probably find a coach for it.

The thing I love most about coaching, and why I’ve adopted it to describe my work, is because I am totally committed to the idea that I’m here to empower my clients, not tell them what to do. It’s the belief that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to the majority of business challenges – at least not one that addresses our own unique situations.

Coaching is not advice-giving. 

In fact, I’m slightly allergic to advice. One my most hated things to see or receive? Unsolicited advice. It sparks all kinds of sarcasm in me! Because not only is this all about you, you’re not even thinking about me or what I really need.

Advice is what we (as the would-be advice giver) think is best. Even with the highest levels of empathy, advice is filtered through our unique and limited life experience. It doesn’t take into account all the things we don’t know about the situation, person or possibilities.

Often, advice also has the potential to be laden with “shoulds” and the expectation that someone trying to help now deserves us to follow through on their golden nuggets of advice. “Well, Sally told me to do that. She’ll be offended if I don’t at least try it.” Not helpful. Not empowering. (NB Sally isn’t a real person here.)

So I don’t give advice. I ask questions. I allow space to explore the situation. I offer support.

And I share experiences. This is subtly different to advice – and when I lead retreats and groups, it’s one I have to watch carefully. In business support circles, sharing experiences can be so valuable. “When I tried this, here’s what happened.” Positioning your experience like this makes it a piece of helpful information, but leaves the other person in total autonomy to make their own decision.

Sharing experience keeps it as your experience, not universal and unequivocal truth – which is often how advice is offered. You keep the other person free to choose the best decision for them.

It’s so easy to offer other people advice! Our care-giving nature wants to help.  Of course we do! Especially if we feel like we’ve really nailed a particular challenge. And I don’t want anyone to feel their experience isn’t valuable: it is so incredible helpful and supportive to hear others’ stories that shine the light ahead – people who’ve overcome problems similar to ours or are further ahead.

But let’s keep them as stories, not as foolproof blueprints for how others should run their businesses or lives.

Our culture is so prone to giving advice. And right now there’s a whole industry of bloggers offering tips and suggestions to help others – and the intention behind that is wonderful. But in my own online experience, I find it essential to have a high awareness for click-bait blog titles promising neat and tidy advice that’ll solve all my problems. Because honestly? There’s no possibility that they can dive into the subtleties of my experience. And so many posts I see use fear or scarcity to encourage readers to click through. There’s nothing like someone trying to convince me I have a problem I didn’t know about!

A recent example: “7 ways to have more boundaries between work and life.” Now, this is a topic I care about a lot. But there’s no way that there are only seven ways to develop healthy boundaries. And boundaries are so powerful and complex – in my experience – that a quick-fix list isn’t going to tackle the values, energy, practice, and self-worth it takes to tend to them.

Yes, these kinds of posts can be taken as inspiration. For sure! But I have to practice awareness when I come across them so that I’m not sucked into believing that the list (and advice) is comprehensive or appropriate for me.

Here’s my critical awareness checklist:

  • Does this post resonate with my experience?
  • Do the stories shared help me to understand my situation (or the situation of those I care about)?
  • Do I actually want the results this post is hoping to address?
  • What positive inspiration can I take from this?
  • Is there any fear, scarcity, manipulation or irrelevance I need to leave behind?

Here’s the thing: self-care around advice and online content

If you made it this far through the post, thank you! Thank you for listening and for giving your time to this post. I really appreciate it!

So what are the benefits to you? Well, I really want to share this idea that advice and feedback often tell us more about the person giving it than the person receiving it. In fact, Tara Mohr goes as far as to say that it only tells us about the person giving it. It’s always our choice whether we want to buy into their opinion.

(Meta moment: even as you read this post, you’re welcome to disagree with it or dismiss it if it doesn’t resonate with you!)

There is so much wisdom in the world, and the internet makes it more accessible. Hooray! But volume isn’t always the most helpful. Just because someone wrote a thing doesn’t mean it’s for me or going to help me. (And, most of the time, if there’s a click-bait, scarcity or fear based title, it’s already in the “nope” category for me.)

I’m learning to be more discerning about what I consume online so that I’m not feeding the depression or anxiety. It’s a practice – I have to remind myself every day. But today I offer this experience, and my opinion, to you too.

With love and much care

Jenny x

PS I’m planning to teach resilience and self-care around social media for business owners this October. There’s a teeny tiny bit of info here if you’re interested.

Here's the thing: when you're done with playing small

playing smallSome time last year, something switched for me. I decided to play bigger – with Copper Boom Studio, with my life, with my dreams.

I worked hard and I made big choices to rent a commercial space, to employ staff, to take on debt. Somewhere in there, I got overwhelmed. Understandable, right? After a huge expansion often comes a contraction. We stick our heads above the parapet, and then we want to duck back to safety again.

So December and January were very much about safety – keeping it quiet and small and manageable.

And then at the end of January, after I’d finished my second retreat weekend of the year, I was sat in a small tea shop with my dear friend Kelly, and it hit me: I’m done with playing small.

You see, after the expansion and contraction, you wait a bit. And the next wave comes.

I’m at the beginning of the next wave of playing big.

And this year, with pace as my guiding word and plenty of personal projects going on as well (a wedding, a home), playing big feels even more powerful. It feels more permanent, more manageable because it’s contained in this idea of finding a sustainable pace.

The feeling when I sat in that tea shop was one of quiet determination, and of clear boundaries.

I’m done with fighting the battles that aren’t mine.

I’m done with saying yes when I mean no. (More on that soon.)

I’m done with worrying all the time. I’ll still worry, but how about it isn’t the default?

I’m done with people pleasing so that I don’t even know what’s right for me anymore.

I’m done with hiding.

I’m done with fearing that it won’t work – I’m determined to make it happen.

So here’s the thing:

I know that being done with worry and fear and bullshit doesn’t mean that all magically goes away. So I’m not here to tell you that it will!

But what I do know is that making small changes, taking small steps towards upholding boundaries and getting more organised (something I’ve been neglecting in the huge growth periods) is doable and will help me to move past fear, worry and struggle.

For me, there’s a specific feeling in my body. It feels like focus, like I did when I stepped on stage with a saxophone in my hand to play in front of hundreds of people at school. (True story.) It feels like energy, but in a calm way, rather than chaotic freaking out energy.

Kelly said she could see it in my eyes, and I can feel it now, too.

So, what’s true for you? Are you in expansion or contraction right now?

Have you had a phase in your life when you felt like you were just done?

What are you done with now? What are you ready to release?

What are you ready to embrace instead?

What practical steps will you take to move forward towards your dreams (and away from fear)?

I’d love to hear!

Jx

PS Achievable Dreams, my monthly in-person workshops to help you play bigger in a manageable way, are now open for earlybird tickets – just £45 and payable in two installments.

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