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Month: March 2020

Global Uncertainty: how to deal


I feel like I have been in intensive training for handling uncertainty and BIG change for the last year. As a foster parent, every 3 or 6 months we’ve had an entire new kid (or sibling set) move in our house. With new parents, new caseworker (who comes to the house weekly), new school, new personality, new food preferences – basically everything you take for granted in your regular life is turned on its head. In this time, I’ve learned some things about handling uncertainty and life changes, today I’ll be sharing them with you.

[Podcast]

Did my description of being a foster parent sound familiar? Everything that was normal and taken for granted, like your daily work and school schedules, the stores you shopped at, when you shopped, who you see and when you see them – everything has been turned on its head as we practice social distancing and for some of us, quarantine. 

I’m hoping that my experience and constant change has taught me some lessons that may help you. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m committed to bringing some hope and light into your life, while so much is hard and stressful. 

For starters, the truth is, the adjustment to the changes are going to be hard and it may take a long while. You are going to feel off-center, unbalanced and wobbly. That’s totally normal for any big change in your life, you feel wobbly as you try to get your equilibrium back and adjust to the change. That may look like swinging back and forth between worry or panic and dismissal “this isn’t even happening”. It may look like having really great days, followed by days when nothing seems right. 

It’s important for you to know: This is part of the process. This is not a sign anything is wrong. 

On top of YOU feeling wobbly, you are surrounded by people who are also feeling off-balance, who are going through their own changes in daily routines. 

So my first recommendation is: give yourself grace. Being mad or upset or judging myself harshly isn’t going to make any of it any easier. 

 

Know that this is part of the process, and give yourself grace. 


The next step is to adjust expectations – with your new schedule you may be more or less productive than you were before. Either one is ok. 

Here’s the real sticking point – you may have MORE TIME to work on your business but LESS HEADSPACE. Maybe it’s because the kids are home or maybe it’s because the news is scary or you’re worried about running out of toilet paper – but you may just have less energy to think. 

That’s OK. We’re giving ourselves grace…but the next part is to actually adjust your expectations. Put LESS on your to do list for the day. Hold yourself to lower standards. Give yourself a break. 

There’s a real reason why you may be having a hard time getting normal stuff done – cognitive load. ANY time you make a change in your routine, your brain has to spend more time thinking about it (because it’s not yet a habit), which creates a cognitive load on your brain. Right now, it’s likely you have a HUGE amount of things that are changed, so your brain is spending quite a lot of its energy just keeping up with the changes. I always remind myself with every new placement: New Tara may not be able to what Old Tara did. 

 

The good news, any new reality will become habitual, will become “normal”, freeing up your brain space to be creative and productive and have ideas again! Of course, you have a choice about this – you can set up routines that stay the same no matter what, routines that keep you out of the flow of news coming at you. 

 

There’s something else to remember about your brain – it is wired to have a negativity bias. That means that it is going to pay MORE attention to threats than to opportunities. That means your brain’s natural inclination is to pay a lot of attention to the scariest thing.  But we can control this by limiting how much time we give it. We can counterbalance the scary stuff by looking around and purposefully noticing what is going right. (You have a smartphone that still works if you are listening to this episode! You have enough food for today!)

Lemme be clear:  I’m not saying to ignore the important information or to go on with your life as usual. You absolutely have a responsibility to limit the spread of the virus to those who are most vulnerable. Follow the guidelines, pay attention to real information and to keep noticing what is good even while you’re taking the actions you need to take (like social isolation, quarantining if positive, getting tested if sick.) If the news you’ve been paying attention to has left you rattled, you can limit yourself to the CDC or WHO websites. They have all the information you need about limiting the spread of the virus, keeping yourself safe, and taking care of your loved ones. You need not need Twitter or Facebook to be a responsible citizen. 

The last suggestion I have is for when you are feeling a bit settled, and bit creative, and not in a stressed state. It is simply: Look for the opportunities to grow. Look, this is shaking up your life but it’s also shaking up the life of EVERYONE. Seriously, when does that happen? That means now is a great time to change the things that haven’t been working for you. It’s a great time to look at where you spend your time, your money, your energy, to look at your long term goals and ask: Is this the direction I want to keep moving. 

If yes, what can you do within today’s limitations to get there? (there is always something)
If not, what do you need to change? What do you need to let go of? What do you need to start doing? 

Maybe you need to let go of your super-high expectations of yourself or others and you need to practice more grace and forgiveness.
Maybe you need to adjust your business goal to suit the life you really want.
Maybe you need to stop letting fear hold you back from doing the scary thing.
Maybe you’re ready to commit to that scary goal and actually get yourself ready to do it.

Whatever it is, you can start to work on it and plan it NOW. 

If one of the things you want to spend your time working on is your business, if you’re going to use this weird time to get right on your profitability, your marketing messages and make a plan for your goals, the Starship is open right now. As a community, the Starship is encouraging each other, inspiring each other, and getting together every week to check in and adapt and grow in this time. If that sounds like what you need, head to TaraSwiger.com/starshipbiz to learn more about it. 

As a reminder, during this weird time, we are going to: 

  1. Give yourself Grace
  2. Change your expectations
  3. Recognize the negativity bias and notice the good
  4. Look for the opportunities for growth. 

 

301: 3 Mistakes to Avoid in your Creative Business

NOTE: I recorded this episode before the world changed pretty dramatically. We'll be talking about how to manage all this in my Facebook group and in upcoming episodes of the podcast. We're in this together. 


Why do you feel stuck? Why isn’t your business growing? It could be one of these mistakes that are common in creative businesses. I want to help you avoid these mistakes, so let’s dive right in. 

I’ve been working with product makers – yarn dyers, bag sewers, jewelry makers – and designers and shop owners for the last decade! I’ve been getting up close and personal with them, in my community, the Starship, since 2011. So I have seen a lot of what holds us back in our business, and what to do in order to move forward with confidence and profit. 

Today I wanna talk about three of the mistakes I see makers and designers make, in their thinking, that holds them back. If you want to avoid the three mistakes most creatives make in running their business, check out my free workshop on the 4 Foundation Method to a Thriving Business, where I explain the mistakes AND teach you how to avoid them (or fix them if you’ve already made them!).

This is not about shaming you. If you recognize yourself in the mistakes I’m about to share, that’s ok. Realizing you’re making a mistake is the first step to fixing it! So there’s no shame about making mistakes, there’s only learning and changing going forward. Ok? Ok! 

Here are the mistakes so many of us make in our thinking:

MISTAKE #1: Waiting for everything to be ready. 

Here’s the quick solution for this: Recognize that everything will NEVER be ready. 

Waiting for things to fall into line, for the timing to be right, for the technology to all work will leave you waiting for the rest of your life. 

One of the first questions I got last week was about how much of my journey I had planned or if I went with the flow. The truth is I had NO idea where my business journey would lead. I could have NEVER imagined the work I do now or the life I have now. There is no way to plan for what your customers are going to want from you in 2 years or 5 years. You can only show up today and listen to your customers and learn. You learn through trial and error over and over again. 

Nothing will every be ready because you’re not going to know any of those things you’ll learn BEFORE you get started. 

And if you’re waiting for your plan to be perfect, you’re going to be too attached to it. If you act when it’s PERFECT, then you’ll think it’s too perfect to change and adapt, and it will absolutely fail if you don't adapt. So you see a “perfect” plan that you wait for, is doomed to fail. 

So just get started today with what you do know and be prepared to fail and learn and try something else. 

MISTAKE #2: Waiting for YOU to be ready.

Guess what? You’re never going to be ready!
And you’ll certainly never FEEL ready!

And that’s ok, you are allowed to do what you want to do even before you feel ready! 

Because, just like your business, you are going to learn from DOING. You are going to be the kind of person who has the business youw ant by DOING what the business you want needs you to do. 

And if you really feel like you’re not good at DOING things, I have news for you! 

You do not need to be BETTER, you need a plan for how to follow-through. You need a plan that’s built from who you actually ARE, not who you wish you WERE. 

This is why I talk about the 4 Tendencies so much (go to episode 122  to learn more about the 4 tendencies) – if you know how you best work, you can make a plan that works FOR YOU. If you need accountability in order to get stuff done, by all means, get accountability! If you need to work from a list, work from a list! 

If you need to listen to the reasons why you need to something, well, that’s part of my teaching style – I will tell you exactly WHY we do things in our business. 

Don’t wait to be ready, decide you’re ready enough, embrace who you are and create a plan that works for you. 

MISTAKE #3: Being afraid of other people’s opinions. 

Oh man, I feel this one, deeply! It’s why I’ve done a few podcasts episodes about exactly this! (episodes 270 + 271 ). Most of us get stuck in this mistake from time to time, whether we’re just starting or we’ve been in business for a decade. 

When makers join my free Facebook group (fb.com/groups/taraswiger )I ask them what’s holding them back, and would you be relieved to know that over a quarter of respondents say something about fear and other people’s approval (or disapproval)? But they’re definitely not alone! 

Just like the other mistakes, this one can be avoided by changing your belief.
First, realize that other people aren’t thinking of you that much. (How often do YOU spend judging other people’s behavior and actions?). 

Very few people are thinking or judging you. 

The next question is: so what? DO you even know for sure that they will disapprove? If so, do you want them to run your life? 

Do you want to stay where you are? Frozen by their (perceived) opinions?
If not, that’s the belief switch: Realize that you are not AFRAID of their opinion, you actually don’t care to live your life by their opinion. 

So there you have it – 3 mistakes you may be making in the way you’re THINKING of your business. The next step is to look at the mistakes you’re making in RUNNING your business. To learn how to avoid (or fix) those mistakes, join my free workshop!

Remember: you can always listen and subscribe in your favorite podcast app! 
iTunes | Spotify

 

3 mistakes to avoid in your business

300th episode! Q+A – your questions with my husband

It's the 300th episode of the podcast! OMG!

Celebrate with me in this episode as my husband and business-encourager asks me YOUR questions. We discuss the very twisty journey that brought me here in my business, how I plan my weeks, and how I order my coffee.

Listen in by pressing the play button below or see our adorableness by watching the video above. 

Questions were asked by Starship Captains Theresa Burich of Serenity Ranch Handmade and Dawn Craig of Fairy Tale Yarn Co.

Help me celebrate by:

  • Leaving a review on your podcast app! (Here it is on Apple Podcasts)
  • Joining the free Facebook group where I'll be going LIVE this week with a celebration!

Explore Your Enthusiasm episode 300

299: Why Instagram Stories

Are you using Instagram Stories in your business? They can be incredibly effective, but they can also be overwhelming and intimidating. Learn more about using Instagram Stories effectively at TaraSwiger.com/podcast299

Are you using Instagram Stories? Is it connecting with your customers and helping you reach your goals? Or are you confused about what to do to make it effective? Today I’m going to answer your questions about WHY you should be using Instagram Stories and HOW to make them work for you!

Today we’re diving into the tool Instagram Stories and how you can use them to connect with your right customers, build trust and make sales.

If you’re reading this podcast, thank you! You may wanna hop up above to the video of this episode as well because the video has a few extra minutes of showing you what exactly I’m talking about! You’ll find it at the top of the post.

What is Instagram Stories?

Instagram Stories is an extra feature on Instagram, where you can post images or 15 second videos from your day. They expire after 24 hours.

You can shoot them “live” from inside the app, or you can use the photos in your photo library on your phone. You can also share your regular Instagram posts (if viewers click on them they’ll be taken to your post where they can like and comment) and you can share other people’s Instagram posts, which means you can share your customers photos of your work!

Why do Stories?

What is the best way to build trust with potential customers? It’s in-person events. Customers get to talk to you, touch the product, then buy directly from you. The second-best option is live video, it is the most similar to being in-person. The potential customer gets to see how you really talk, see what you’re working on.

This builds relationships and it builds trust. And more trust = more sales.

Stories allow you to show way more than you can in your Instagram grid. Are you packing orders, getting supplies, making products everyday? In Stories, you can show that!

What do you have in common with your customers? You can share that in Stories. For example: reading, relationships, personality type, preferences, etc.

Remember: You get to decide what to share.

How do you use Stories effectively?

What kind of Stories build relationships?

  • Personal
  • Unedited

Use Engagement tools

  • Polls,
  • Questions,
  • Sliders

Use DMs

Use Stories to tell your Marketing Message, and then save it to “Highlights”

You may be thinking – uh, what is my marketing message? What do I talk about? I outline what goes into your effective marketing message in my free workshop “4 Foundations” and we can work together on your Marketing Message inside the Starship Program. To watch the free workshop and learn more about how we can work together go to TaraSwiger.com/foundations

I’d love to hear how you are using Instagram Stories in your business! Come tell me on Instagram. I’m @taraswiger.

I’m going to give you homework right now to put this into practice:
Take a screenshot of your podcast app as you’re listening, then open Instagram Stories, share this photo and tag me @taraswiger and add the hashtag #exploreyourenthusiasm. This is such a low-stress way to get started, you don’t have to talk to the camera or anything.

While you’re on IG, send a DM and tell me what you learned from this episode!

Thank you so much for listening and I’m wishing you an enthusiastic week!

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

March TBR Jane Austen // Weekly Vlog

I’m reading Jane Austen this month! Join me!

I’ll be reading in publication order and following each book with its adaptations (linked below)…and vlogging it all. Follow on Instagram Stories for daily updates: https://www.instagram.com/taraswiger/

I realized after I recorded that this qualifies for the Backlist Readathon too!

LINKS:

My set of cloth bound Austen’s complete works: https://amzn.to/2wjn32E
Jane Austen: a Life by Claire Tomalin: https://amzn.to/2I8xCZ9
Publication order of Jane Austen: http://jasna.org/austen/works/
Jane Austen fandom: https://www.wired.com/story/the-pride-and-prejudice-of-online-fan-culture/

ADAPTATIONS:

Sense & Sensibility (movie with Emma Thompson) https://amzn.to/2whVyGS
Sense & Sensibility (BBC mini-series) https://amzn.to/38aw4IA
Pride & Prejudice BBC mini series (aka, the best thing ever) https://amzn.to/2TfWu7G
Northanger Abby: https://amzn.to/2TfMP0M
Mansfield Park (2011 movie) https://amzn.to/38cOAQr
The brand-new Emma: https://amzn.to/2TcFA9M
Emma (with Gwyneth Paltrow) https://amzn.to/39j0udc
Persuasion (BBC) https://amzn.to/39iEW07
Persuasion (movie) https://amzn.to/2Tv298F

Disclaimer: if you use my links I may earn a small percentage of commission.

⭐️⭐️⭐️

GET MORE:
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Free Defeat Overwhelm Training: https://taraswiger.com/overwhelm