A reader asked me to help her with this: I want to fall in love with my business and be interested in it again.
Aw, I feel you on this one.
As someone who’s been self-employed since 2009, I can assure you that the ebb and flow of love, excitement, enthusiasm, drive, motivation, you-name-it in business is real.
Whether this is something you’re experiencing now or not, it will likely show up in your business and life at some point (or many points). It impacts everyone.
Start With This First
First, know this feeling is normal and to be expected when you’re in business for any duration. Release any thoughts that say you shouldn’t feel this way.
Second, notice how often popular culture tells you to “do what you love and love what you do” (just one of many overused sentiments) and how that idea adds extra pressure to our already pressure-filled lives when we aren’t feeling the love for our businesses.
Release any mental burdens you’re feeling from culture, too.
Now, you might feel a tad lighter. Even just a little bit helps.
When you release the weight of the mental burdens, you can look more clearly at your situation and do something about it—if you want to.
That last part is important.
You see, last month I took my son to play with his cousins at a park near their house.
There were a bunch of sayings on the fence outside the park and one said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” All I could say to myself was, “…if you want to, and it’s okay not to want to.”
For a few years now, I’ve been feeling exhausted from trying to achieve everything I can dream of and am seeking (inner) permission to not do it all.
I simply don’t have the capacity for everything I want to do. Not even close.
Yet our culture has driven into us to do more and achieve more.
My sick, tired, aging, still-recovering-from-pregnancy body just can not anymore. But wow, it’s hard to unlearn this way of thinking, being, and doing.
What I’m saying is, see the mental burdens placed by culture about how you’re supposed to love your business and decide if those are helping or hurting you.
I’m not saying you can’t love your business, but notice what is true for you in this moment in your current capacity compared to what is culture telling you how you should feel … and if they align or not.
Not everything is always in perfect alignment, and that’s okay.
After You’ve Released the Mental Burdens, Do This
Once you’ve created inner separation from the mental burdens, start looking at your business.
- What aspects of your business do I no longer love?
- What about it is no longer working for me?
- What needs to change?
In a nutshell, you look at the information you have about the work you do and the clients you serve and the results you help them achieve, then you ask yourself how to help your clients get even better results.
You look at the potential adjustments, make the ones that seem best, try the new offer out, and see what happens.
You serve clients then learn from the process of doing so. Based on what you learn, you adjust, then serve and learn again. Then repeat. Forever.
In the same way, as you and your business evolve, you’ll need to look at yourself and your business and see what needs to change to make things better (for you to love your business).
Notice what could be better, make adjustments, see how you like it, and adjust again. Then repeat. Forever. (And always with a scientist’s mindset.)
It’s possible you’ve outgrown your business model, are ready to shift to new kinds of clients, or want to work in a different way.
What comes up for you when you ask yourself what needs to change?
You might get a big idea or a small one. Either way, it’s perfect.
If you have a big idea …
It might feel big and scary. It might be followed by a slew “yeah but” excuses.
If that happens, don’t stress. Remember my addendum to the fence quote: “… if you want to, and it’s okay not to want to.”
You can add on more to it: “… and when you’re ready.”
Just because you see the new idea doesn’t mean you have to take action on it or act on it immediately. Take a breath and thank yourself for being honest. That’s a great way to start.
If you see only a small idea …
It might feel too small to solve your problem, like it’s not the full answer.
If that happens, don’t stress. This is actually great.
We’ve been taught that we need to see the full plan before we can take action. It’s simply not true. I call that the smart person problem, and it’s a near-guaranteed way to never achieve the results you want.
I used to be very guilty of this in my business up until a few years ago. But I’ve learned that the tiny pieces are such a gift because, if I’m willing to trust that my intuition is guiding the bigger picture, then all I have to do is the one small thing right in front of me. And that is totally doable!
This means, whether you’re seeing the big picture of what needs to change or just one small step, you’re now charting a course toward a business you love a little bit more.
Changes My Clients and I Have Made
Here is a partial list of things I’ve personally adjusted in my business plus things my clients have adjusted as well. Maybe some will resonate with you.
- The clients you’re serving
- The way you work with clients
- What you charge
- The work you do with or for clients
- Your “why” for being in business
- Your work schedule
- Your salary
- Your team
- Your offerings
- Your business model
- Your skillset (needing to learn new things)
- The tasks you’re working on
One Final Thought
Sometimes we’ve put all the pressure of our life’s joy and excitement onto our businesses. Outside of our business, we don’t have enough je ne sais quois to fill us up. Sometimes we need to add more life to our lives, and not fix our businesses. Not always; but sometimes.
If this post raises questions for you that you’d like me to answer, or if you have input you’d like to add to the conversation, please ask me and chime in below.