As a coach, I walk my clients through this process that I’ve outlined for you through The Intuitive Workweek whenever they’re battling with feeling unfulfilled, overwhelmed, and exhausted in their business. What I see come up for them over and over again is mindsets, fears, and limiting beliefs that hold them back from truly building a joyful daily grind for themselves. In Step 9 I just want to share with you some of the things I see getting in the way for my clients, in the hopes they can be of encouragement to you if you’re battling with them yourself as you work through this course.
Confusing joyful, impactful, and productive with “perfect"
Here’s the thing: there’s a huge difference between a joyful, impactful, and productive daily grind and a perfect, never-challenging, never-hard daily grind. The first one is oh so possible, the second one never will be.
Accepting that our daily grind will always have challenges along the way - because running your own business and living a wholehearted creative life is no easy feat sometimes - but knowing that it’s all about how we approach it is the pathway to a fulfilling routine along the way.
When we’re waiting for things to be perfect, we may actually miss how joyful things are right here exactly where we are.
Allowing the fear of change to hold you back
Sometimes it feels easier to stay stuck than it is to take a risk and make some changes. If you’re daily grind in your business is a little overwhelming, unfulfilling, and uninspiring right now, that may still feel more comfortable than making some bold and brave moves towards the possibility of something better.
But the truth is this: the first step to choosing more for ourselves is opening ourselves up to the fact that although change is scary, it’s the only way to bridge the gap between where we are now and where we want to be.
Losing motivation if change is going to take a while
A business is a complex eco-system - lots of things are happening all at once to keep your business functioning and moving forward. I believe that it is always possible to make a positive change if we’re unfulfilled in our daily routine in our business, but I know without a doubt in my mind that change may take a while to make happen too.
Especially if you really need to pivot, evolve, or refocus some core elements of your business model and the way you’ve built and structured your creative business so far, this is rarely something that can happen overnight as there are still bills to be paid and responsibilities in the here and now to honour.
In my own journey, it took me over 4 months from realising that my routine wasn’t working in my business to actually change it for the better - because my current workload needed that much time to pivot while still honouring the client commitments I already had. Even almost a year later since making those changes, I’m constantly evolving my routine in big and small ways when my intuition guides me to.
Change isn’t easy, or a quick fix solution, but it’s oh so worth it when we see it through and stay committed to our bigger vision for our creative work and life.
Not giving yourself permission to cultivate and build the life you really want to be living
Another battle I see my clients struggle with is giving themselves permission to actually live the life they want to live along the way. We can feel so much guilt and shame when it comes to the freedoms we can find as business owners, as we know not everyone has this option in their careers. We can feel self-conscious about the potential judgements of others - what if people think we’re lazy? Entitled? Privileged? Unrelatable?
The truth is, we don’t need permission to build a life that fulfils us. It’s a privilege to have these options available to us, but we’ve still worked hard to get to where we are. And the more fulfilled we are in our lives - the more our daily grind is joyful instead of stressful - the more we will be able to have a positive and supportive impact in the lives of others too.
We have to take the opinions of others off the table and remember that we don’t need anyone’s permission to build a meaningful life for ourselves but our own. And the people who matter? They’ll root for you every step of the way.
Not being brave enough to honour your boundaries
When we find ourselves feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and unfulfilled in our daily grind, so much of that can be rooted in the lack of healthy professional and personal boundaries that we’ve put in place along the way. Once we discover, explore, and outline what our boundaries are, we may still struggle to honour them as we go.
We fear that clients may not want to work with us if we’re not available via email or phone at all times. We’re afraid customers will not invest in our products if it takes 24 hours to reply to a question. We worry collaborators will not want to partner with us if we only work certain days of the week. But the truth is - by honouring our own boundaries, we’re able to do better work, we can be more professional in our business, and we empower others to discover and honour their own boundaries too.
Comparing your joyful daily grind to someone else's
We all know that comparison is the thief of joy, and that couldn’t be more true when it comes to cultivating a joyful daily grind as a business owner. Once you discover what a joyful, impactful, and productive daily grind looks like for you, and how you can make it possible in your routine as a business owner, you can start to veer off track when you hear how others define their joyful daily grind along the way.
Maybe your joyful daily grind right now looks like a few weekend workdays throughout the year so you can fit all your business responsibilities in alongside some big life responsibilities too - and you’re at peace with this because it’s a trade off that helps you to prioritise everything that’s important to you right now. But then you see on social media a creative whose work you love talking about how they never ever work weekends because that’s their time to spend with loved ones, and you start to feel like you’re doing it all wrong and that they’re doing this whole “joyful daily grind” thing better than you are.
Whether that example resonates with you, or it manifests for you in a different way, the truth is that our joyful daily grind is going to look wildly different to other peoples at different stages in our lives. We’re all navigating the different seasons of our lives, and the only way to stay truly connected to our own joy and fulfillment is to stop worrying so much about what other people are doing and always remind ourselves that we are exactly where we need to be right now.
Losing perspective and working on the “non-essentials"
One of the biggest things that stops our productivity in its tracks is losing perspective on our priorities in our business and working on the “non-essentials” instead. This is why planning intentionally each quarter, month, and week makes such a difference - because it anchors us along the way so we can’t be distracted by the things that don’t truly matter.
We work intuitively by staying focused on what really matters to us in our business in the current season we’re in, and when outside sources or non-essentials start to dictate our workflow instead that’s when we start to lose our way. Leave yourself breadcrumbs through your intuitive quarterly, monthly, and weekly plans, and go back to them time and time again whenever you start to lose perspective as you go.
Struggling to stay flexible as you navigate each workweek
Even with all the intuitive and intentional planning in the world, unexpected situations are going to crop up from time to time. Whether it’s a personal or family emergency, or a last-minute business opportunity, it’s essential we stay flexible along the way.
What can happen is that if we over plan, we don’t give ourselves enough space to be flexible as we navigate our workweek. This is where margin comes in handy - by giving ourselves breathing room and by not over scheduling ourselves, we’ll be able to roll with the punches much easier along the way.
Unexpected situations are always going to pop up, and they can trigger a whole lot of stress and overwhelm if we let it. Especially if it’s a negative reason why we have to be flexible, we can start to wish that this never happened to us, but if we reframe our mindset and accept that this is what is happening and it’s our job to face it with grace and do the best we can, we remind ourselves we’re oh so capable of dealing with it along the way.
We are only capable of so much decision making throughout each workday - our brain is not an endless supply of energy and focus. If we don’t honour our limited supply of decision making ability, we can start to feel stressed, overwhelmed, and unproductive along the way. We also will have different amounts of energy available to us in different seasons of our lives too - if for example we’re battling with a health problem or navigating a family crisis, we will naturally have less focus to give business decisions in that time.
Limiting the amount of decisions you need to make each day, automating tasks where possible, implementing systems that save your sanity, and showing yourself grace when you’re running on empty is what I encourage you to do along the way if you’re struggling with decision fatigue in your daily routine right now.
Reframing your view of the “hustle”
The last thing that I see crop up often for my clients is how warped our view of what it means to “hustle” can become in our creative journeys along the way. We’re all encouraged to hustle hard, give our business 100%, and push ourselves to reach big goals in our career. I think for many of us this has started to stifle our ability to really embrace a healthy and productive hustle in our daily grind.
What if hustling hard just meant showing up wholeheartedly each and every work day? What if your devotion, commitment, and dedication to your business wasn’t measured by how exhausted you were by the end of the day, or how many hours you put in that week? What if we reframed the “hustle” to be about how fulfilled we feel at the end of the day, instead of how hard we worked in comparison to everyone else?
My biggest encouragement to you would be to define what the hustle looks like for you on your own terms. And it looks different in different seasons of our creative lives too, and we have to navigate those with different amounts of patience, grace, and grit depending on where we are along the way.
Next up I’m going to share some final exercises on how to keep the daily grind joyful in the realities of your day-to-day life...