Running a big hearted business is way more than just having a career.
It pushes us to grow, develop, and challenge ourselves in ways we may never have before. Through running and building my business for the past two and a half years, I’ve had the opportunity to grow in ways that have really pushed me to become a stronger, braver, and more intentional human along the way and I’m so grateful for all of that growth and so excited for all of the growth ahead to come too.
Today I want to share with you the six things that really support and hold space for me to be a stronger, braver, and more intentional business owner, in the hopes they can hold some space for you to explore the things that support you to truly thrive along the way too.
Travel is one of my life’s greatest joys and I am so grateful for the privilege I have to take the time throughout the year to go away and explore new places, and for the resources that I have available to do so too. Exploring somewhere new, having the space to switch off from all of my work back home, and experiencing a change in scenery, pace, and culture does wonders for my business and creativity - it holds space for me to find clarity and focus that I may have been disconnected from back home, it strips my daily routine back to basics so I can see what actually brings me joy and what doesn’t, and it energises me in a way that always leaves me excited and ready to create and show up again in my business once I’m home.
I don’t like to glorify travel - I don’t believe ticking places of your bucket list makes you a wiser, better, more interesting person - and there’s so much of travel that is less than glamorous and a little challenging too, but for me it’s something that brings me so much happiness and that I really prioritise in my life throughout the year. Whenever I wonder if it’s a little crazy that we invest a big chunk of our disposable income into travel, I remember all of the times that a trip has left me coming back home with so much more energy, focus, and commitment to my business and creative life and I know that, without a doubt, it plays a huge part in supporting me to live and work wholeheartedly along the way.
2. My husband
I feel so lucky to be sharing my life with someone who not only supports and cheers on my business, but has also been there every step of the way too. From my first ever blog post, to my first ever client, and now to the business that I have today where he is now a part time employee of it too, it means so much to me to be able to share this journey with Alex along the way and to have someone I can always lean on and bounce ideas off too. Having that support system has made such a huge difference to me - whenever I’ve doubted what I’m capable of, Alex has been there to encourage me to keep on going, and whenever I’ve faced challenges or stressful moments along the way he’s been there to help me find a solution and a way through.
For me, building a business alone isn’t reason enough for me - it’s knowing the part my business plays in supporting us to live the life we want to together, and that I’m able to do work that is so meaningful, fulfilling, and fun along the way too that gets me out of bed in the morning. Being able to share this journey together - and to support and cheer Alex on in his own business too - is something I’m so grateful for every single day.
3. My clients
This one’s a biggie. I feel so lucky that not only do I have a creative business that is my career, but it also feels like a vocation too. The work I do with my clients is so fulfilling and meaningful to me - to be able to see women take up space in the world, push themselves to take brave and bold steps forward, and be brave enough to live with intention and wholeheartedly along the way is something I feel so privileged to do each day. My clients teach me so much, and I feel so grateful for the relationships I develop and build with them, for the stories they share with me, and for the lessons I learn from them along the way too.
Seeing my clients be brave pushes me to be brave. Seeing my clients push through fears, mindset blocks, self-limiting beliefs, and stories they’ve been telling themselves for years so they can cultivate and build an impactful, fulfilling, and sustainable creative life reminds me that we’re all so much more capable than we think we are. Knowing that I want to show up wholeheartedly for my clients each week holds me accountable to making very intentional decisions with my time, focus, and energy each day. There’s nothing better than seeing my clients astonish themselves, to see them take up space in the world and share the stories they want to share and build the business they want to build, and it reminds me every day to keep on doing the same too.
4. Living with illness
This one may sound a little strange, and I don’t want to glorify living with illness as it’s something I wouldn’t wish on anyone, but the silver lining I’ve found in my experience of facing health struggles is that it’s brought with it the opportunity to have a whole lot of clarity and focus in my life along the way too. Living with mental illness and experiencing two mental health breakdowns, one when I was 19 and the other when I was 21, has taught me to choose joy and happiness each day - because I know what it feels like to experience neither for months on end. It’s taught me that taking care of myself, giving my mind space to rest, recharge, and recover, and showing myself kindness, patience, and grace each day is essential if I want to live and work wholeheartedly along the way. And living with chronic neurological and digestive health conditions have taught me that I am stronger than I think I am, that every day is a gift and not to be wasted, and that there’s no shame at taking life at my own pace too.
More than anything, living with illness has taught me not to waste time and has without a doubt been one of the biggest catalysts for my desire to live an intentional and wholehearted life. It isn’t easy - there are days when managing chronic pain can feel like a constant battle that I can never win - but this is my life and I plan to play the hell out of the cards I’ve been given.
5. Choosing rest
I don’t ever want to wear burnout, 16 hour workdays, and constant hustle as a badge of honour - I don’t think working myself into the ground makes me a better, more worthy, more committed business owner, it just makes me exhausted, disconnected, and unhappy along the way. Choosing to rest before I’m burned out, to make rest an everyday part of my life, and to choose to work less but do more focused, intentional work has allowed me to achieve more in my business while being happier, healthier, and more joyful along the way too.
I rarely work more than 25-30 hours a week (sometimes even less than that). In 2016 I took 10 weeks off, this year I will have taken 12, next year I’m planning on taking 16. But more than that, I give myself permission to lean into my natural ebb and flow, and I have given myself permission to redefine what it means for me to work hard and show up fully to my work and my life along the way. This approach may not be for everyone, but I’m happier in my business, I have more impact as a coach, and I take more purposeful and intentional action each day by making sure I’m well rested and feeling aligned beforehand. I’m not perfect - sometimes I push myself a little too much or skip out on some simple self-care that makes all the difference - but on the whole I choose to rest as much as I choose to hustle and I’m so glad that I do.
6. Reading and listening
Reading books and listening to audiobooks and podcasts fuel my creative work and life in so many ways each week. Opening myself up to other people's ideas, stories, experiences, and perspectives pushes me to examine my own, think differently, and explore different points of view and approaches too. It also holds space for me to switch off from all the noise and dive deep into a specific piece of content - as long as I choose my authors and creators intentionally. And they don’t even have to be business related - a lot of the time it’s fiction books or memoirs that I find most inspiring and the most effective at helping me feel aligned and inspired and ready to work.
Some books I’ve enjoyed recently are:
- You Are A Badass At Making Money by Jen Sincero
- Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise And Reign Of The Unruly Woman by Anne Helen Peterson
- Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney
- The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday
- Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay
And some podcasts:
- Invisible Office Hours
- Strong Opinions Loosely Held
- Stuff Mom Never Told You
- Budgets And Cents
- Ctrl Alt Delete
- Raise Your Hand Say Yes
- Dear Sugars
I have two questions for you before we wrap up.
First, what are the things that make you a stronger, braver, more intentional business owner? And how can you continue to make space for them in your life?
And second, if you’re aching for more courage and intention in your creative work and life, what are the things you can make more space for and surround yourself with so you can truly thrive along the way?
Here’s to being the bravest version of ourselves and showing up with intention and strength along the way - and to all of the growth and discovery ahead to come too.
As always, I’m rooting for you!
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