Soon I’ll be celebrating my first year as an entrepreneur. Before I share what I’ve learned, I want to share how at the start of this year I had to stop beating myself up because I hadn’t met my perceived goals for the business.
When I launched my business, I envisioned that by the end of the first year, I’d have my group course programs available; several clients; speaking engagements booked and completed.
Don’t get me wrong. I have booked speaking engagements which have all gone exceedingly well. I’m getting ready to beta test my first course: The Art of Saying No. I’ve had a few clients.
However, at the start of the year, this isn’t where I was. I felt so behind. I began beating myself up because the work I was finally doing is what thought I should have been doing months ago. Before I get to the trick and 5 steps I use to stop beating myself up, let me back up just a bit.
I left the corporate world in February of 2022. I planned to take a few months off and then officially launch my business in the spring. That is not what happened. First, I did not realize the extent of my burn out. After almost 30 years in the corporate world, I was exhausted and weary. When I left, I knew I was burned out and needed a break but I didn’t comprehend how much of a break I actually needed to rejuvenate my mind, body and soul.
Second, I began THE CHANGE. My body decided it was officially time to move into the menopause transition. Wow, did this hit me for loop. While I had many symptoms, the two that impacted how I showed up in my business were a lack of drive and motivation. I worked with my support team (doctors, therapist, coaches and acupuncturist) and found solutions that worked for my symptoms but it definitely took longer than I anticipated. (More on the impacts of the menopause transition in a future post)
By February 2023, my drive and motivation were back, I finally was able to begin focusing on the work that in my mind I should have been doing the prior year. As I started doing this work, I began beating myself up because I thought:
- The work I was doing “should have” been done months ago
- I needed to be further along than I was
- I wasn’t working hard enough
When I’m beating myself up for something it’s usually because I didn’t meet a standard that I set for myself and it’s always me who is the judge and jury on whether I’m doing a good job or not. As a recovering perfectionist, in the past I wasn’t able to stop beating myself up. It was a go to behavior for me and I had to learn how to stop beating myself up for the mistakes I made, my perceived failings and missteps and for not getting things “perfect”
Here is what I learned to do to stop beating myself up:
I asked myself, “How is this behavior serving you?” And the answer was: It isn’t.
It was time to use my trick: Shifting the conversation in my mind when I heard my inner voice starting to beat myself up
How do I shift the conversation? I use the phrase Who says? When my mind says you should or says You didn’t do that correctly or the way it should happen.… I say Who says?
90% of the time this can stop things right there. As the answers that come back are usually it’s me and that I’ve created facts to the stories I’ve told myself which are NOT really facts. I’ve learned to question the “facts” that I tell myself and examine those stories and standards.
However, there are times the creative mind trick doesn’t work and I keep going down the beat myself up rabbit hole. When that happens, there are five steps I use to stop beating myself up:
1. Recognize, acknowledge and say it out loud: “I’m beating myself up & it has to stop”
2. Get curious. Ask yourself questions, like:
- Who’s standard am I trying to meet? Are they even mine?
- What happens if I don’t do this / don’t get things done in this order etc?
- Is what I’m even saying true?
- Is what I want to do even realistic?
- Am I getting tasks done?
- Have I been consistently making steps forward?
- Why am I putting this pressure on myself?
3. Shift the focus to the things I have done INSTEAD of all the things haven’t done
4. Reframe my thoughts. I changed you should be further along in your business to:
- You are making progress. Look at everything you have gotten done already
- You are doing the work despite all the challenges thrown your way
- You are making small steps forward and that is better than NO steps forward
- It’s supposed to be hard. Keep doing the work. You’ll get where you need to be
5. Adjust the plan. Focus on next steps – the tasks that will help make small steps forward
What do you think? Give them a try (either the shift conversation trick or the 5 steps) and let me know how it goes, I’d love to have you join me in the stop beating yourself up club 😊
In a few days, I’ll be celebrating my first year as a solopreneur. Am I where I thought I would be? Nope. Am I beating myself up for it? Nope.
For the first time in almost a year, I feel settled and grounded. I have some exciting things coming and I can’t wait to share them with you. I am making progress and that is what matters to me; way more than beating myself up for an imaginary standard and deadline that doesn’t serve me.
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