Have you ever come back from a holiday to find that you’ve lost your business inspiration? You look at your to-do list, and the stack of appointments in your diary, and feel demotivated and overwhelmed. What are you even in business for?!
The same thing can happen after a disappointment – the launch of a course that didn’t go as you expected or a quarter of low sales.
You’re not alone in feeling that way. I’ve had those feelings in all of those circumstances!
A few simple changes here and there and you could regain your lost business inspiration. Let’s dive in!
1. Listen to your thoughts.
It can be tempting to push those feelings aside, tuck them away, put your head down and get back to work. Hoping that everything sorts itself out. It might, yet you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t pay attention to what your brain (maybe your heart too) is trying to tell you.
If you’re anything like me this, is the step you’ll want to skip. “I want to get on with fixing it”.
When things aren’t going well taking the time to sit with your thoughts can be uncomfortable, so we look for ways to avoid them. That’s human nature right there.
But, because I know you want more from your business than what it currently offers, I’m going to encourage you to pay attention to what those negative thoughts are telling you. Because they’ll come around again and again to bite you in the butt if you don’t. I’m speaking from personal experience here!
Noosa, Australia where I temporarily lost my business inspiration…
2. Get curious about what isn’t working in your business.
Let’s get those thoughts out of your head and onto paper. I recommend pen and paper rather than a device, so you don’t get distracted by what else might be going on in your business. Give yourself space for this exercise.
Do you have a lack of focus?
Coming back from a break to a massive to-do list will drain the energy of the hardiest business owner.
You may have a lack of focus issue. Ask yourself:
A. Do you have clear goals for the next month and the next quarter?
Are your goals front and centre in your working day so you can maintain focus and avoid distractions? You may have them pinned to your wall or in a planner that you open each morning. Or, are your goals hidden away on a spreadsheet somewhere and you can’t remember the last time you looked at them?
B. Do your goals excite and inspire you?
If they don’t, then have a CEO date with yourself to review and refine your goals.
If you tend to stuff as many goals as you can onto a page, then strip them back to the essentials that you want to achieve in the next quarter.
There is no point in having 10 goals if you know you only gave time to work on 3 of them. You’ll get to all 10 over time, just not right now.
Do you have a messy middle?
If you have clear goals, but you’re not sure what you need to be working on next Tuesday, then you may have a messy middle.
This happens when your goals have become disconnected from the milestones you need to reach in order to achieve your goals, and the daily actions you need to take to make your milestones happen.
I see this happening a lot with the people I work with. They may have a clear goal to grow their email list by a certain percentage this year, but they haven’t got a strategy for how that will happen so there are no fixed milestones to guide their everyday tasks.
Is your time management missing a beat?
We all have the same amount of time in a day, yet some people get so much more done than you do. How do they even do that?
If you’re feeling like your days are packed but you never make enough progress, then your time management might need looking at.
Having good business habits and systems in place is the not-so-secret key to being productive, without having to start work at 5am and finish at midnight.
Peppers Noosa (Australia). Somewhere is my business mojo is hiding…
3. What bugs you in your business?
If your business is working well in most areas but the few parts that are bugging you are taking up a lot of mental energy it can be hard to get excited about opening your laptop again after a break.
To uncover those areas, I have some journalling prompts for you. Resist the temptation to go into straight into problem solving mode as that can cut off the thoughts you really need to uncover.
~ What drains you in your business?
Get specific here. You might start with “My clients!”. Dig deeper, is it only a small number of your clients or all of them? What are they doing that is bugging you?
We’d all lose our business mojo if we continually have clients that aren’t right for us. They might be at the wrong stage of their journey, or they might be the wrong personality type for us.
The energy draining clients takes up a LOT more mental energy than our wonderful clients so be sure you have a balanced perspective of how many clients are energy draining and how many are a delight to work with.
~ What do you need less of in your business?
There is still a message out there that we need to work hard. Being busy is a positive goal to aspire to.
Yet, more and more of the wrong things can lead to lost business inspiration. Taking an honest look at what we want less of in our business can help us to make good decisions going forward.
4. What have you been avoiding in your business?
We all avoid doing some tasks in our business.
~ What are you avoiding?
Having a difficult conversation with a team or learning how to use a new piece of software. Get it all down so you’re clear on the areas that need to be addressed.
~ Is the environment you work in right for you?
Where we work has such a big impact on our state of mind. You may not have flexibility to change where you work (I’m typing this from my dining room table where I work from most days) but there are always things we can change in our current environment.
Do you work best with a clear desk, but its currently piled high with notebooks you mean to use, sticky notes crammed with ideas?
Is there something in your line of sight that is constantly distracting you? A tree that needs pruning, a path that needs sweeping.
Those are small areas that are quick to fix and could make a big difference to how you feel each day.
Every business conference venue needs it’s own pond. Well done Peppers Noosa (Australia).
It’s not always an easy task to uncover what hasn’t been working well in our business as our inner critic can join the party too, using your answers as an excuse for stirring up your self-doubt.
~ What is your inner critic telling you?
Get it all down on paper. I like to imagine my inner critic as some bloke sitting on the sofa – greasy hair in a ponytail, crumbs scattered down the front of his grubby sweatshirt, trying to distract me from living my best life.
Your inner critic is not you. He is the voice of Resistance. You don’t need to pay attention to what he’s saying.
5. Get curious about what is working in your business.
Let’s switch things up. You’ve made a brilliant effort getting all of the negative thoughts out of your brain, now let’s look at what is working well. Even when you feel like quitting, there are still gold nuggets hidden within your business if you take the time to look.
Start a new page. Grab your pen and let’s begin.
~ What delights you in your business?
If you’re feeling uninspired the answer might be “Nothing!”. Think back to before your holiday, what did you enjoy most about your business? Are there certain clients you really like working with? Why? Are there tasks in your business that you love to do? Why?
~ What do you want more of in your business?
This will be unique to you. While one person wants more clients, another might want more lunchtime walks by the river.
Consider this question in relation to tasks, people, and feelings.
~ What kind of lifestyle do you want?
Do you have that now? If not, how does your business need to change to support the lifestyle you want?
~ What would easy look like in your business?
No need to be realistic here or limited by your current budget. When we allow our thoughts to flow without restrictions, we can come up with really good ideas for ourselves.
6. Now what?!
You’ve got a bundle of notes written down, with lots you’d like to do and your inspiration returning but how do you keep from creating a massive to-do list for yourself and getting overwhelmed by All. The. Things?
By recognising that we don’t need to change everything right now. Instead ask yourself…
~ What is one quick action I can take today that will have a big impact on the way I feel about my business?
~ What is one area I want to change in the next month?
You probably don’t need to burn your business down and start again from scratch. It’s more likely that you need to make some changes to address the areas that aren’t working for you.
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