Big visionaries behind small businesses share their insights and experiences in this series. Learn how to share your brand story here.
I love a proper holiday like those we have during the winter season as it's pretty much a forced relaxation time for me. Whereas I can skip over or work throughout some seasonal celebrations (I've managed to do this for Thanksgiving, Easter, Valentine's Day...) Christmas is big in my family (it's also my dad's birthday) and we often try to visit my parents in Michigan for at least a week during this time of year. No matter how much I promise myself I'll work and work-out daily during these times, the ever-revolving door of friends and family, along with the chance I get to spend quality time with those I love sees me break that promise annually. And I don't mind. This year more than ever I really disconnected: Katie and I planned and programmed newsletters and content in advance, I turned off my computer and left it in my old childhood bedroom for days on end, my cell phone was only used for taking photos of my adorable nephew or scanning Instagram, not for endless emails with the Tin Shingle team, coaching clients or other work-related correspondences. It felt good. But then as happens at the end of every vacation - especially one that coincides with the end of the actual calendar year - we returned to Brooklyn, reality started to creep back in and I slowly switched back on not only my computer but my brain.
Normally during this time of year I can feel a little bit funky during this time of year. I may find myself rounding up and listing my failures to myself inside my head instead of my successes, or taking note of what I didn't accomplish instead of what I did. In the past I have had moments when the feelings I had about the new year ahead were leaning more towards fear or anxiety as opposed to excitement or happiness. I also found that during this time of year I was just plain exhausted. I'd run hard and fast all year long and I was beat. But this year has seen me make more time for myself and my needs (including relaxation) and with that new state of mind came clarity. So instead of an exhausted and anxious Sabina, this New Year was greeted with a super-jazzed Sabina who definitely had her entrepreneurial groove back. And this Super Jazzed Sabina started her year off with a pretty awesome set of business and life "to do's" or, "rituals" as I'd like to call them (feels much better) that have kept me buzzing, moving forward and inspired for 2015. I'm sharing them with you in the hope that you'll adopt a couple (or all of them) yourself and see what a profound impact they can have on not only your business but your life!
Set Your Business Intentions Mentally & Physically: I set my business intentions in a few ways this year: First I found some quiet time, thought them over, and solidified them in my head first. Next, I expanded on those thoughts in a journal. After that I named and claimed them out loud: I toasted them and shared them in conversations with my husband, parents, business partner and a few close friends. Finally, I took those ideas, intentions, the feelings they evoked and the words/pictures that I related to them and I turned them into a vision board. I physically made a chart showing me what my intentions were that I can stare at every. single. day. Now not all of you are vision board people, to which I say, "Try it, it feels amazing and focuses your vision." If you still aren't into it, try a physical list on a poster board you can look at every day. There is great power in intention. It guides you. It focuses you. It inspires you. Make time before January gets away from you to name and claim your own intentions for 2015, and revisit them regularly. As Wayne Dyer said, "Our intention creates our reality" - participate, focus on and create your intentions, participate and take part in creating your life!
Fully Organize Your Physical Space, Your Mental Space will Thank You: The day before New Year's Eve my husband and I planted ourselves in our apartment, cranked up the tunes and each descended down into (that's sort of how it felt) our filing systems, paperwork, boxes of "stuff" we'd been growing through 2014, and anything that resembled clutter. By the end of this day I was even testing pens to be sure every pen on the desk and near the phone was in working order. The more we organized the better and lighter we felt. I found post-its with ideas I'd forgotten about in the rush of my entrepreneurial journey. I discovered to-do lists from months before that I could now throw away. I found piles of paper that were just taking up space and needed to head off to the recycling bin. I found articles I'd clipped and never made time to read. And of course we found countless piles of things that were no longer needed in our home, from tchotkes to old batteries, and they all were removed. My home office now looks and feels inviting. My filing cabinets with the new, well-labeled, rainbow hanging folders and files give me great pride. The next time I think of an inspired idea for our Tin Shingle platform I can reach for a fully functioning pen and notepad with ease. My space is now once again my Sanctuary for Success. If you've ever joined us for our weekly webinar, the #TuneUp, chances are you've heard me talk about the importance of creating a Sanctuary for Success for you and your business, no matter where (or what) your office may be. Because I work from home, an organized and "happy" home is an essential part of an organized and happy business, and an organized and happy Sabina. I urge you to take the time this month to be sure your Sanctuary for Success feels and looks the way you want it to, and if not, make those changes. Make it work for you and your mind and business will thank you!
Figure Out What Needs to Happen Every Day In Order for You to Work Well - and Do It
You and your business are like a race car, and in order to go the distance, excel and feel (and look) awesome doing it, you need to take care of yourself. Each of us has different kinds of "oil" and tuneups that keep us running at maximum capacity and the start of a new year is a great time to identify what you need and want, and make an effort to stick to it. For example, here are a few things I need to function well and clear, focused, joyful work:
Read inspiring, insightful and educational magazines, websites and success stories.
Get enough sleep (more than 6 hours).
Find time to fit in my gratitude journal (you'd be surprised at how powerful this is!).
- Cook dinner at home multiple times a week. Make time to enjoy it.
When I don't do these things my work and spirit suffer. It's no fun. I'm no fun. Interestingly enough, only one of these items is even directly connected to business. But they're all things that feed my spirit, soul, passion and purpose. Figure out what you need to make you happy and to keep you going. Grease your own wheels, oil your engine, and make a point to do it daily. That's how you keep going, grow your endurance and win the race!