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237: In Conversation: Mary Roth and Joeli Kelly about goals, milestones and Starship

It’s always amazing knowing you aren’t alone in business. Listen in as two wonderful creative business owners talk about how they met their goals and milestones at TaraSwiger.com/podcast237

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You told me you'd like to meet other makers and here about their business, so by popular demand I bring you our new semi-regular series: In Conversation!

In today's conversation, Joeli Kelly, teacher and coach, will be talking to Mary Roth, the mad scientist and dyer behind Elemental Fiberworks, where you can find science-inspired yarn and fiber to geek out over.

Both women have created amazing businesses and both have been Starship Captains!

(The Starship is open right now, if you'd like to join them!) In this conversation they discuss the milestones in their business, the goals they've reached, and how the Starship helped them.

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.

236: What I’m reading: December 2018

I explore my enthusiasm by reading… a lot. Learn all about the books I’ve been enjoying over the last month at TaraSwiger.com/podcast236

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follow my enthusiasm by reading…a lot. And once a month, I share (some of) the books I read last month and the books I intend to read this month. You can join the informal book club by sharing your own list with me on Facebook and find all the posts here.

(The usual disclaimer applies.)

What I read this month:

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.

235: Trust Yourself: A beginner’s guide

Trusting yourself is vital to building and running a thriving creative business. But isn’t something we’re ever really taught. Learn the basics of beginning to trust yourself at TaraSwiger.com/podcast235

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Trust yourself about what direction to go.
Trust yourself about who you want to work with.
Trust yourself about what product to make, to launch, to go all in on.

A key element to building a business you actually LOVE and that fulfills you, is to TRUST YOURSELF. But how can you trust yourself through all the imposter syndrome, self-doubt and perfectionism? That's what we'll talk about today.

Trusting yourself and relying on your own intuition and sense of what to do is vital in creating a business you actually enjoy being in, so today we're going to talk about how to trust yourself. Before we dive in, you should know that I actually have a whole book planned about this topic, so we can't cover everything in one episode, but my goal is to help you start to trust yourself more, TODAY, even a little.

By the way, that book I mentioned, I'm thinking about actually writing it, IF it's something you, the person I create for, really want. So if you want a book about learning to trust yourself, go tell me at TaraSwiger.com/newbook. If there's enough interest, and you sign up there, I'll tell you about it before anyone else.

First, lemme define what I mean by “Trusting Yourself” – I mean, rely on your own sense, your own intuition, your own desires vs what other people tell you. Those other people might be your family, friends, your culture. They might be “experts”, teachers, podcasters! Or it may be the indirect messages you’re picking up from other people, like when you compare your business or life to someone else’s.

What I mean by “trust yourself” is, simply this: Recognize that you have your own goals, dreams, daily life and that you have your own skills, abilities, strengths, personality. Then, take all of that, and make decisions that are honoring this, that are a good fit for your life, your desires, your strengths.

In other words, instead of trying to do things the way you feel you “should” do them or the way other people tell you to, do things, from your daily business to your big goals, in a way that is based on YOU. YOU are the standard, not other people.

I can hear you say, but Tara, I can’t trust myself – Imposter Syndrome! Self-doubt! Perfectionism! Self-sabotage! I can't trust myself because I:

  • Hold myself back
  • Doubt my intuition
  • Never think it's good enough
  • Keep messing up instead of moving forward.

I know, and all of those reasons are why you need to get better at trusting yourself.

You see, those self-doubting thoughts aren't the reason NOT to trust yourself, they're showing up because you don't trust yourself.

Why don't you trust yourself?

You haven't been taught to trust yourself. You haven't been told you're allowed to and you haven't been taught how to do it.

In fact, you've been fed a steady diet of “you're not good enough” your whole life. Even if your parents were the best, most encouraging parents all the time, you still got the message that you needed to be better from teachers, from a zillion magazine articles about how to be hotter, smaller, smarter, less hairy, whatever. Or you read books or listen to podcasts that tell you that you need better habits, better morning routine, better consistency in social media.

And you see, a lot of those messages aren't wrong – if you can't do addition, you DO need to get better at addition before your teacher gives you an A. If you aren't consistent on social media, you do want to, well, you need to get better.

But there's an important distinction. You can need to DO something better, more consistently, more successfully, but that doesn't mean you first need to BE better.

Think about how you'd explain it to a kid. Yes, you need to get better at math. But that doesn't mean you're not already a good enough kid. You have all the internal worthiness you need, in order to get better at math.

This is about growth mindset. You can listen to episode 49 if you have no idea what I mean about mindset, but the short version is: A fixed mindset says that you are what you are and you can only do what you're already good at. (Which means that if you can't do something, YOU suck). Growth mindset says that you can learn anything, grow and change. So if you can't do something, you just need to learn it. You are still worthy and good and capable. There's a whole book about the research around fixed vs growth mindset, it's called Mindset by Carol Dweck and I go into this more in episode 49.

So you see, if you've been taking all the messages your whole life that tell you how to improve, and have looking at them with a fixed mindset, then you're right – how the heck can you trust yourself? You have no idea what you're doing!

But if you realize that you are capable of growth and change, then it is ok to both be imperfect and to trust yourself.

Ok, so you can trust yourself, but SHOULD you?

First, we gotta acknowledge that trusting yourself is not a sure path to easy, failure-free success. There is no way to get success without some failures. There is no easy, sure path to reaching your dreams – not trusting yourself, not following someone else’s rules.

I need you to really absorb that. You will have setbacks, you will have failures, you will have bad days no matter which path you choose.

So much of our “which choice is best” comes down to us trying to avoid failure. And of course! Failure sucks!

But as my biz mentor, Liz, told me, “I think you just need to become MUCH more comfortable with rejection and failure.”

Whew, that’s kinda hard, huh? I talk more about rejection and how to get comfortable with it in episode 171.

That’s the thing – in order to have success, you have to accept that you will make mistakes, that some things won’t go well, that you may be wrong.

If you’re going to experience setbacks either way, you may as well trust yourself, because you’re going to be more aligned, and more centered during it all.

You see, if you follow someone else’s path, or you try to make other people happy, or you try to push yourself into someone else’s box…you’re going to be miserable AS you move towards your goals. It’s going to be that much harder.

But if you give yourself some grace, if you find a way to do it that works for you, if you go after your OWN goals and not someone else’s, you’re going to enjoy the process. And it’s ALL process.

The benefit: You’ll keep going longer. When you try to make your biz or life fit someone else’s ideal, you get burnt out and you quit sooner. But if you’re going about it in a way that fits you, that focuses on your strengths, that gives you enthusiasm and energy, you’re going to keep going with it.

And that is the difference between “capital F” Failure and some small failures on your way to success: How long you keep going. Remember my dad’s advice to me when I quit my dayjob “You haven’t failed until you’ve quit.” So if you can find a way to do it in away that feels good, you’ll keep going past what feels like failures, you’ll find your way to your goals.

How do you start trusting yourself?

Ok, now that you know you can trust yourself despite self-doubt, despite setbacks and failures, how do you do it? Well, like I said, this is a much deeper topic, if you want to learn more go sign up at taraswiger.com/newbook. But let’s hit on some of the steps and how you can start exploring them:

  1. Get clear about what YOU want. You want to be sure you’re working towards goals that matter to you and not just goals you think you “should” want. I help you do this in Map Your Business – we look at the really big picture, and then break it down into a doable goal and then the steps you’re going to take to get to that first goal. If you’re not clear about where you’re going, it’s going to feel impossible to trust yourself.
  2. Explore and accept who you really are. A lot of the feedback I get about trusting yourself comes back to: I want to be different. I want to be better. But honey, you have to accept and embrace who you are, you have to start to find the value and worth in that, so that you see how trustworthy you are. This can start by exploring your personality and your strengths. This includes knowing how you respond to expectations (which I cover in ep 61 about the 4 tendencies), what motivates you (check out the Enneagram), and what your strengths are (I really like the strengthsfinder test and system, it’s backed up by tons of research). I’ve taught a lot about the 4 tendencies but not as much the other systems I use, lemme know if you want me to do podcast episodes on strengths and the Enneagram.
  3. Look at all the ways you are trustworthy. Trusting yourself and listening to yourself is a skill that you’ll get better at the longer you do it. You’ll build that skill in part by proving to yourself that your trustworthy. Do this by celebrating your successes – make a list of what you’ve already done and accomplished in your whole life. Have you made a sale? Set up a shop? Made one product? Kept a baby alive? Graduated? Make a big list, and even focus on the smaller stuff, especially that stuff you listened to your gut about.
  4. Keep showing yourself trustworth by showing up for yourself and your goals, every day. Every day that you work on your goals, that you listen to yourself, is building the muscle.
  5. Tap into that inner voice. I do this through journaling, you can do it by asking yourself questions, by paying attention to your feelings, through prayer or yoga or any number of ways. Start to pay attention to what you feel about a situation and then listen to it. You can start small or big, but make a note when you’re listening to yourself and then be sure to note down what the outcome was. I have sooo many examples of how you can start small, lemme know if you want to learn more about it!

It’s my hope that you realize you can take your strengths, your experiences, your knowledge, your curiosity, and use it all to pursue your biggest dreams, to make it happen. I help people work through this and am diving deeper in some Starship-only resources this year, so if you’d like to learn more both about how to set goals, follow through, improve your marketing and do it all while trusting yourself, sign up to be notified when the Starship opens again at Taraswiger.com/starshipbiz.

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.

234: Six episodes you HAVE to listen to

Business can be overwhelming, and it can be easy to get sucked into endless archives of business podcasts and blogs. That’s why I pulled together my biggest and best episodes, together they form a foundation of business and life transformation. Listen in at TaraSwiger.com/podcast234

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Are you traveling or working for hours in the kitchen or just trying to escape family this week, for American Thanksgiving? Me too, so I thought this week we could take a look at the best of the past episodes. If you'd like me to keep you company during your holiday prep, you'd have plenty to listen to. These episodes will come in handy as you're wrapping up 2018 and planning for 2019. They are the most-downloaded, the most-shared, and the episodes more people tell me totally changed their business or their perspective.

Today I'm going to recap my biggest and best episodes, so those of you who have just found the show know which ones to go listen to, or those of you who have been around for a while can listen again and get reinspired. If you missed these, I really recommend you listen to them, as together they form a foundation of business and life transformation.

These six episodes are both the most-downloaded (each has over 2000 unique downloads) and the ones I truly love the most, which just reaffirmed for me that I should keep talking about what matters most to me, because it matters most to you too!

A quick note: In some of these episodes I talk about the Starship, which was totally overhauled this year and will be open again on Dec 27th. So if you want to learn what the Starship is now and be the first to be notified when it opens again, head to taraswiger.com/starshipbiz and just remember that what you hear me say in past episodes may have changed since then!

Just click on the header for each episode to find their audio, video and written transcription.

How to plan for what you really want in 2018

In this episode I walk you through the process of not just creating a checklist for yourself, but really focusing on what you WANT in your business and your life. It's just 13 minutes, so give it a listen here.

How to make a fresh start

This is one of my most-asked questions: How to you get back into business after a break? How can you make a totally fresh start after a bad year, or a bad week, or a bad review? Even if you've never met a goal before, you can start fresh TODAY, and that's what this episode walks you through. You can find it here.

Stop seeking approval

Here’s a dichotomy: You want to listen to your customers and your audience, to give them what they want, to create an awesome business. But yet, needing their approval has you frozen or afraid or feeling kinda needy. How do you balance this?

In episode 189, I break it down for you – how to unhook from needing approval, while still listening to important feedback. This was a HUGE business lesson for me in 2017 and this episode inspired more feedback than any other episode, you can listen in here.

Fear of disapproval, get over it

Right in line with not seeking approval, let's get over the fear of disapproval! Are you unsure of your next step, because you’re afraid of the reaction you’re going to get? Are you avoiding rejection, because you want to have the approval and acceptance of your customers and audience? Yeah, me too.

In this episode I teach you how to move beyond fear into ACTION, find it here.

How Emotions are Made

This was a really different episode, in it I shared the lessons from the book How Emotions are Made, by Lisa Feldmen Barrrett, PhD. It helped us understand how to keep emotions from screwing up your business or reacting rashly, by understanding how they're made. The author has done so much research on emotions and the brain and how emotions actually form. Realizing all the pieces that go into making an emotion, can help you understand how to work with your emotions. The big lesson, that emotions are “constructed, not automatic” shifted your perspective a lot, based on the feedback I got. Listen in here.

Stretch Goals

This episode was written in response to a question I got from the Starship: If Stretch Goals are good, how do you know what the right amount of stretch IS? How much is too much? What is ridiculous and what is a good kind of challenging? This episode helps you figure out if YOU are the kind of person who's motivated by a crazy goal or a doable goal and then helps you set some goals from there. Find that episode here.

Stand by your prices

This is the episode I refer people to most often, because we ALL struggle with what to say when someone asks us: Why does your thing cost so much? This is so so vital for the health of your business and your mental wellbeing. The more confidence you have when discussing your prices, the more sales you'll make. In this episode we talk about how you can get really confident and grounded in your prices, so you can share with confidence and make more sales. Listen to it here.

So there you go – the Top 6 episodes of the podcast, and the ones that will help you transform your business and your life in the coming year!

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.

 

233: Imposter Syndrome: How to stop it from stopping you

Imposter syndrome is something everyone struggles with at some point or another. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you, it just means you’re human! Learn how to recognize imposter syndrome and keep moving towards your dream biz anyway at TaraSwiger.com/podcast233

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What if I’m not good enough? What if they call me a fraud? What if everyone figures out I don’t know what I’m doing?

Hello, this is Imposter Syndrome and girl, we all deal with this all the time. So in this week’s episode we’re going to look at what it is, what it means, and how the heck to move past it.

Guess what? I’m 233 episodes and 4 years into this podcast and I still worry I’m not good enough. I got a bad review earlier in the week I’m recording this, my first ever, and I thought: Yes, they’re right, I’m not good enough.

Thankfully I thought through how I’d talk to a client about this and I realized, “Wait, hold up! This is imposter syndrome.” I hopped on Instagram and sure enough, you all feel this all the time. In fact, I did a little question pop-up on my Stories and got more responses to this than anything else I’ve ever asked. You guys told me you wanted to know: What the heck is it? Does it mean anything? And above all: What can we do to get over it?

I think Wikipedia actually explains this really well:

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.[1] Despite external evidence of their competence, those experiencing this phenomenon remain convinced that they are frauds, and do not deserve all they have achieved. Individuals with impostorism incorrectly attribute their success to luck, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent than they perceive themselves to be.”

What does it mean when you feel it?

It means your human. That you are challenging yourself to do things beyond what you used to do, so you worry you’re not good enough, because you haven’t “proved” it to yourself and others yet. Or you have proved it and you’re just not giving yourself credit for it.

In other means, it doesn’t mean you should stop. It is not a “sign”.

How do you get rid of imposter syndrome? How do you deal with it?

  1. Recognize that you’re feeling it and that you’re not alone

First, you have to recognize it for what it is. This step alone can dramatically change the impact Imposter Syndrome has on you. Because by naming it, you realize it’s a way of thinking (that is very common!) and not FACT.

How can you start recognizing it?

Notice when you are backing away from something or stressing about something. Ask yourself – why am I afraid right now? What am I afraid others will say?

Then, say to yourself: It’s ok to feel this way, it’s ok to be afraid, I can do it anyway.

Just asking the question “why am I afraid” will often show you that you’re afraid of…

  • Someone calling you a fraud
  • Someone judging you
  • Not being good enough
  • Failing because you’re not good enough.

THAT is Imposter Syndrome.

In other words, it’s not necessarily true that you will be “found out’ or that you aren’t “good enough”, you are just afraid that you’re not good enough. There is a big gap between being actually bad at something and being judged to be bad at something.

Good news: JUST naming it can help reduce the effect of Imposter Syndrome!

An estimated 70% of people experience these impostor feelings at some point in their lives, according to an article published in the International Journal of Behavioral Science. So seriously, you are NOT alone.

In a 1978 paper, Pauline Clance and Suzzanne Imes first identified Imposterism, in their paper Imposter Phenomenon in High Achieving women (linked up below). They also found that “the realization that they were not the only ones who experienced these feelings” relieved the feelings. They concluded that “simply extracting the self-doubt before an event occurs helps eliminate the feelings of impostorism.”

In other words – recognize the feelings and realizing you’re not alone helps eliminate the feelings!

  1. Grow your self-worth

Do you minimize the value of what you’re great at?

Yeah, most of us do, because it comes easily to us, we think it doesn’t matter.
But it does. And if you devalue what you’re good at, you’re going to think you’re not worth much.

In times of high Imposter Syndrome, do a few things to boost your feeling of self-worth:
Start keeping a list of what you’re good at, what others compliment you for.
Keep a folder full of nice reviews/comments/etc
List all of the times you were new at something and succeeded.
List times you failed, but were fine anyhow.

  1. Reframe your reasons to intrinsic motivation

Researcher Queena Hoang found that moving your reasons for doing something from external motivation to internal motivation, lessened the Imposter Syndrome. She published her results in the paper The Impostor Phenomenon: Overcoming Internalized Barriers and Recognizing Achievements.

What does that mean? Change your reasons from “I have to do this” (external) to “I want to do this for me” (internal).

Some other examples:
“If I want this business to succeed, I need to keep going.”
“I know I can do it.”
“I am doing this for women everywhere.”

In fact, it’s this last one that helped me overcome my recent flash of Imposterism. I realized that if I let reviewers who don’t like my voice silence me, then I am telling all of you, the world at large that you should be silenced if people don't like you. Which is pretty much the opposite of what I believe. I believe everyone (and women and communities who have traditionally been silenced) should share their voice, their art, their expression, whether others approve of it or not. That we should not be silenced by the critics.

So next time Imposter Syndrome rears its head, look at what listening to it will communicate to your children, your friends, the world at large. Will you send the message that you have to be perfect before you can succeed? Will you communicate to our daughters that unless they have unshakable confidence they can’t go after their dreams?

Uh, no. So move forward, honey.

I hope these strategies help you overcome your Imposter Syndrome, but above all I want you to remember: You can feel like an imposter and do it anyway.

You don’t have to get rid of it completely, but learn to be able to act even when you do feel it.

Bibliography:

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.

232: What I’m Reading: November 2018

I explore my enthusiasm by reading… a lot. Learn all about the books I’ve been enjoying over the last month at TaraSwiger.com/podcast232

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follow my enthusiasm by reading…a lot. And once a month, I share (some of) the books I read last month and the books I intend to read this month. You can join the informal book club by sharing your own list with me on Facebook and find all the posts here.

(The usual disclaimer applies.)

What I read this month:

You can hear more about Body Positive Power on Take Care of Yourself, my book + self-care conversation podcast with Joeli! 

What I was reading in November in 2016, in 2015, in 2014 and 2013!

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.

231: How stress is affecting your biz (& what to do about it) with Joeli Kelley

Chronic stress can have disastrous effects on your life. And when you run a creative business, these effects can spill into affecting your business too! Learn more about how to balance out the stress we all feel at TaraSwiger.com/podcast231

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Do you always seem to be coming down with some cold or bug? Do you feel exhausted all the time? When you sit down to work, do you find it difficult to focus and get distracted by Facebook and social media? Do you find yourself struggling to get motivated to send your newsletter or record that video? Well, stay tuned, because today we are going to talk about the one factor that might be the reason for all of those things.

I'm Joeli Kelly, and I'm filling in for Tara this episode

Today I want to touch on something I've been severely affected by and see affecting my friends on a pretty much daily basis: stress.

Firstly, let's define what stress is: Stress is an extra physiological demand on your body. It can be physical, environmental, or emotional and it can be painful or pleasurable. Basically, stress is anything that disrupts our current state of being.

Next, we need to talk about our nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system maintains normal functions when we are not under stress. It keeps the heart rate at a reasonable pace, supports healthy digestion and relaxes our muscles. But when we are under stress, the sympathetic nervous system kicks in and starts responding to that stress so that we stay alive. One of the ways the body reacts to stress is by releasing stress hormones. When we experience a stressor, the adrenal glands get a message to release noradrenaline, adrenaline, and/or cortisol depending on the situation and the perceived threat. When the stress is gone, everything is supposed to go back to normal.

These hormones affect more than the areas we might think they do. For example, we all have probably experienced a moment of stress that sent our heart rate soaring, made our breathing get shallow, and our palms get sweaty. But there are other effects that are less obvious. The hormone cortisol regulates the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbs. It gets released because in times of stress the body wants us to start using up the fastest available energy first. So cortisol instructs our bodies to release a flood of glucose and then it also inhibits insulin production, so the glucose is used and not stored. This is good if the stress is short-term like during a workout, but pretty bad if we are experiencing chronic stress.

What are some examples of chronic stress? Not sleeping enough. Not eating a nutritious diet. Being in a job with a lot of pressure or high demands (even if these high demands only come from ourselves). Going through times of uncertainty or significant change or very emotional times like grief and loss. Dealing with worry about money and finances.

Long-term stress (either chronic or too many periods of acute stress like overexercising) starts to affect our physical well being. It can cause headaches & muscle pain, and fatigue. Stress affects the absorption of nutrients, raises levels of stomach acid (causing heartburn and stomach upset), and can cause inflammation in the intestines – there is a significant link between IBS and stress. It can also cause sleep problems and a lowered immune system. So if you're getting sick all the time, you're most likely under too much stress. It also affects our mood due to its effect on other hormones in our body which causes us to feel anxiety, unmotivated, unfocused, overwhelmed, irritable, and depressed. I don't want to get into too many details here, but you can research further how stress affects serotonin levels for example (which it's been shown that low levels lead to anger control issues, depression, migraines and IBS.) The main point is that stress affects our body physically by raising certain hormone levels and affects our emotional well being by lowering the levels of other hormones, and long-term this can be very damaging.

Now stress is normal, and in the short term can even be good (for example our muscles grow and get stronger by first being stressed through exercise), and we are never going to eliminate all stress. That's absolutely not the goal. The goal is to balance things out. We all know that after we exercise we should stretch and rest. The same is true for other areas of our life. If we have a stressful job, then we need to balance that out with something that brings the scale back to the center.

There is a chemical our brain makes called GABA which is an inhibitor – basically, it lowers the activity of other cells, particularly those that cause anxiety – which in turn helps us relax and balances our mood. If we don't have enough of it, it leads to anxiety disorders. (Many drugs that are anti-depressants work by interacting with GABA and its receptors.) One of the things we can do to balance periods of stress is to get our body producing more of this chemical and others, like serotonin that we mentioned earlier.

There are many ways to achieve this balance, but I'm going to touch on six that I think are easy enough for everyone to do.

The first way is exercise. Yes, too much exercise actually raises our stress levels, but you should be moving your body in some way every day. Exercise releases serotonin and dopamine and helps burn off some of the excess energy that our body creates as a response to stress. Doing gentle exercise like walking and yoga is an excellent option if you don't want to do anything too strenuous.

The next way is getting enough sleep. You need a minimum of 7 hours, with 8-9 being the ideal. The importance of getting good quality, restful sleep really can't be emphasized enough. It's a time for our body to rest and reset.

Third, diet and hydration. I know this is a bit boring. But poor nutrition and dehydration add stress to the body. So drink water, eat your fruit and veg, get your B12, Vitamin D, Omegas and maybe add a probiotic if gut health is a concern. Of course, a doctor or qualified nutritionist should be consulted if you need specific advice in this area.

Fourth, meditation. Meditation has been shown to increase levels of GABA and reduce levels of cortisol and noradrenaline. Studies show that 20 minutes a day is ideal, but honestly, 5-10 minutes is going to do you wonders. Even one minute of focused breathing can help calm down our stress responses.

Fifth, connecting with friends. A lot of times when our anxiety is high, or our mood is really low we withdraw from our friends and social situations. This is actually really counterproductive. Studies have shown that when we spend time with friends our cortisol levels go down and endorphins are released. Basically spending time with friends, having fun, and talking about our problems is vital for balancing out our stress.

Lastly, having a hobby. Having something that is fun and we can look forward to can be really helpful for managing stress. Hobbies might bring us into social situations, or it might be something we do alone. But if it's fun and feels relaxing, then it's worth doing. (Note: mindlessly watching TV that we don't really enjoy doesn't count nor does binge-watching Netflix for long periods of time.)

Now we can carry on for months and months in our high-stress lives, and not think of anything of it until something happens which forces us to rest. When that illness or burnout hits, we might turn to things like mediation and healthy eating to help us get back on track. But then when we start feeling better, our healthy habits start to slip away again, and we go back to the grind. Please don't do this. Please don't wait for things in your life to slow down before you rest, or say “well I just get through this launch and then I'll rest.” Because you know and I know, that you most likely won't rest. You'll find something else to throw yourself into. And meanwhile, the stress builds and builds in your body.

Start getting yourself back in balance today.

Now, we all are aware that knowing what to do and actually doing it are two different things.

If you:

  • need help identifying the habits that would make the most significant difference to your life
  • want to design an action plan that you're actually excited about
  • would like to understand your motivation style so you can actually get stuff done
  • and want to be held accountable along the way, so you actually follow through with it all
  • then you might want to work with a coach.

You can google “wellness life coach” to find people trained in this area, or you can get in touch with me! I've been helping women create lives they love for the past few years, and nothing would make me happier than to see all women reduce a bit of the stress in their lives. (After all, we can't smash the patriarchy if we're all burnt out!) I offer a free 20-minute introductory chat so we can talk more — you can email me hello@joelicreates.com or find me on Instagram (I'm @joelicreates there) if you would like to chat more. And be sure to let me know you heard me on Tara's podcast!

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.

230: Play Your Own Game

Comparing yourself to other businesses is a really easy trap to fall into. So is doing something “because someone else does it that way.” Learn how to play your OWN game and not fall into the comparison trap at TaraSwiger.com/podcast230

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Are you getting distracted by what other people are doing? By what you *should* be doing? Today let's go beyond the Comparison Trap and instead look even deeper at how to play your OWN game.

I think we all know a lot about how easy it is to fall into comparison, but I wanna challenge you today to go deeper. The question isn't just “am I comparing myself to others?” but “am I even playing the game I want to play?

A while back I was talking to Jay about our future comic book shop and he said, “{The other shop in town}, they are really good at X. Maybe my shop should get better at X.”

And I said, “But is that the game you want to play? Do you want to get good at selling X, or do you want to do something completely different? When you talk about what you love about the shop, you talk about making it inclusive, having the friendliest customer service, making it a place to spend time and feel like you belong no matter who you are. That's just a totally different game than what the other shop is doing.”
“Oh, you're right.”
(I love hearing that.)

I hear this from the makers I work with, all the time.

“She started classes and made a lot of money.”
“Do you want to teach?”
“Uh, no. “

“He said Facebook Lives have done wonders for his business.”
“Do you like to be on video?”
“Uh, no.”

You see, when you look at what other people are doing and compete on their grounds, you're playing their game.

And you're always going to lose someone else's game, because THEY set the rules. They are currently holding the world record for that game. (Or else you wouldn't be checking it out, right?)

Instead, play your OWN game.

What's your own game?

You set your own rules of what success is. You decide how to move towards that goal. You decide what “counts” and what doesn't. You decide what to measure and what to ignore.

Play the game you care about

Get as awesome as possible at what YOU love, not at what other people have success with. It will be WAY easier to go to work every day, and it will free you up to create something totally new.

This is one of the keys to standing out in your industry – do something that you most care about, in the way you really want to, no matter what is bringing other people success.

I shared a bit of this in a live video a few months ago, and a viewer said, “But people might not like you, if you do your own thing.”

I want to challenge that.

For starters, your people, the people you're serving and providing awesomeness for, they are LONGING for what you alone can offer. If you give them something no one else is doing, they are going to LOVE you. Adore you. Buy everything you make.

When you step up to being the best at your OWN game, there are going to be customers who love it.

Will everyone love it? Nope! But “everyone” doesn't love what you're doing now! Your job is not to create something everyone likes.

“Everyone” will never all love the same thing. (See: Coke vs Pepsi.) If you feel like “no one” likes what you're doing, go listen to the episode “Upgrade your Everyone.”

Your industry, your “competitors”, the people in your life who don't get it … they might not like it. They might not get it. They might think it's super strange, fringe, or inexplicable.

But that doesn't mean they don't like YOU.

Beyond that, it doesn't matter. Your business is not counting on everyone approving of it. It IS relying on some people to be so passionately enthusiastic about it that they can't wait to buy.

And that's only going to happen when you start offering something YOU are enthusiastic about, that shines out something only you could do.

So please, don't be troubled by anyone else. Play your own game.

What is your own game?

I don't know! But here are some things to ask to yourself: Am I doing this because everyone else is? Or because this is what I want to be great at?

  • Products you offer
  • How you offer it (subscriptions, one-offs, exclusives)
  • How you launch it
  • How you describe it
  • How you photograph it
  • Where it's sold
  • How much it costs
  • Who you serve

What do you think? What's the game you are playing?

P.S. The game I'm playing: providing you with enthusiasm and encouragement to become the best expert in your own business and life. If you know someone who needs to hear this, share it with them.

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.

229: Taking Parental Leave, with Stacey Trock

Just because you run your own business, doesn’t mean you can’t take time off. Learn more about taking parental leave at TaraSwiger.com/podcast229

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Whether for planned or unplanned circumstances, it’s easy to feel like taking time away from your business is committing career suicide. Totally not true! In fact, taking leave from your business can provide an opportunity for valuable revitalization of your business trajectory and your life!

In this episode, we’ll cover the basics of a plan for taking a leave from your business. So whether you’re adding a new member to your family, taking time out to care for a family member, have a medical emergency or are taking a well-earned sabbatical to dream big, this episode is for you.

Basic timeline of a leave

A typical leave can be characterized in three phases: a complete leave (where you don’t lay a finger on a business-related task), a ‘maintenance mode’ (where work for a very limited number of hours, focusing on only the most essential tasks) and a ‘rev up’ phase (where you slowly transition to ‘life as usual’).

The more that you can plan in advance for an efficient maintenance mode, the more successful you’ll be!

What are your goals?

To optimally plan your leave, you need to know first where your business is at and what your goals are. To do this, you’ll need to document how you’re currently spending your time and gather your full current budget (income and expenses). Only then, will you be able to identify the essential tasks you’ll pare down to during your leave. You want the most bang for your buck (or, limited hours!)

You may identify a financial goal (to make X amount per month during your leave) or a business-related goal (i.e. to maintain your current customer base) for your leave. You will probably not experience growth during your leave time, but you’ll be focused on making the most happen in your available work hours.

Plan in advance: how to trade time, energy and money

If you are entering a planned leave, then you have the luxury of time (not so for an unplanned leave caused by an unforeseen emergency). The easiest strategy for keeping content consistent during a period of leave is to ‘work ahead’ before your leave begins.

A leave may be a time when you want to consider hiring help to take on tasks that you won’t have the time to complete. It is best to document your business procedures and search in advance of your leave to find the right fit. Hiring someone from a hospital bed is probably not the best timing!

I encourage you to look at your whole life when planning. Maybe during your leave period, you decide to hire out the cooking of meals to leave more time to dedicate to your business. That’s totally legitimate! You’ll be able to make these types of decisions once you’ve completed documenting how you spend your time and setting your priorities (goals).

You ready?

By the end of this episode (even if you’re not taking leave), you’ll feel ready to streamline your business and focus on the essentials!

Book recommendations:

Find me!

If you’re looking for more information about taking/planning a maternity leave, you might like my Creative Live class: https://www.creativelive.com/class/returning-work-after-maternity-leave

Stacey Trock is a consultant in brand management and social media. She helps small businesses engage authentically with their customers by developing both long-term content plans and live social media event coverage. Stacey teaches and writes about business for Creative Live, industry organizations and trade magazines. You can find her at StaceyTrock.com

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.

228: When you have too many ideas

Every creative person generates a million ideas. And if you have a creative business you need those ideas to keep your moving forward, but sometimes they can get overwhelming. Learn what to do when you have “too many” ideas at TaraSwiger.com/podcast228

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Have you found that whenever you're really busy and you do NOT have the time to work on something, you get a MILLION ideas for it?! I know! Me too!

So what do you do when you have too many ideas? How can keep from losing them? How can you keep creativity flowing? How can you be sure to choose the right one?

When I asked the Starship what topics they most wanted me to cover on the podcast, this came up over and over: What do I do when I have too many ideas?

First, know that you are not alone if you both have times of NO IDEAS AT ALL and ALL THE IDEAS, OMG! That's just a natural part of the cycle. Creativity and business is cyclical, you'll have times of planting, times of harvest, times of a totally fallow field (I grew up surrounded by cornfields in rural Ohio!). The important thing, the vital thing to keeping your creativity healthy and alive is to RESPECT the season you're in, don't try to push it. So when you have no ideas, just rest and get to work on the things you've already planned. When you have ALL the ideas, don't try to squash them down or ignore them.

Now, you can't always work on the ideas you have as soon as you have them! And some projects take a long time so even if you start right away, it's going to be a while before it's finished. So what do you do with all those ideas? You don't want to squash them, but you can't work on them?

The super simple, obvious answer is to WRITE THEM DOWN.

Ideally you're going to write them down in the same place every time, so you can find the list when you're out of ideas!

Here's a few things to keep in mind when writing your ideas down:

  • Put them where you'll find them again!
  • Look at what else you have coming up, and see if an idea fits in to your plan?
  • Does it have a deadline (like a Black Friday Deal idea)?  Does it need you to work on it by a certain time to make it happen?
  • Prioritize what you'll work on, based on what your current goal is, what makes sense for your business, and what you're enthusiastic about.
  • Keep going back to the same list and adding to it, all the time.
  • Review the list regularly! Ideally you'll do this when you're planning and thinking about your goal for the quarter and at the very least every 6 months. Maybe some of the ideas fit with your new goal, or maybe your goal is to implement an idea you still love.
  • Don't be precious about your ideas, you will have a million more. Cross out ideas you're not still excited about!

What I do:

  • If it can be done this week, write it down in my daily journal
  • If I’m not sure when to do it, I add it to a big list in my quarterly planning journal
  • If it has moving parts or a deadline, put it in Asana

That's pretty straight forward right? That's what I thought, so I was confused by the panic that this question seems to elicit in people and I wondered: Why does it upset people to have lots of ideas?

I have a few possible ideas:

  1. It's frustrating to be excited for something and not get to work on it right away. But trust yourself to come back to it, and then DO come back to it, and you'll build up that self-trust, you'll start to believe that you WILL get to what's important, and you'll start to feel less upset about it over time (I can tell you this is true from experience!)
  2. You worry about picking the RIGHT idea. You worry that if you have to pick between your ideas, you won't work on the right one.

I can understand that, but I have a secret for you that is going to totally change your life. Are you ready for it?

There is no right idea. There is no right answer.

I'm serious! If you have an idea for an Instagram Challenge you want to hold and you have an idea for a Black Friday Sale, you know what? Both ideas will go great. Both ideas are likely to grow your business! There isn't a RIGHT choice between the two – pick the one that either makes more sense for your current goal, your current ability and/or your current enthusiasm level. That's it!

One way to look at this is that there is no “right” answer, because no one knows the answer! You have to try it and see!

The other way to look at this is that EVERY answer is the right answer! Taking action, at all, in your business is better than NOT taking action. EVERYthing you do, if you pay attention and learn from both the successes and failures, is going to be progress.

Remember, there are very few things you need to do in your business. They are, in this order:
Have enough products in your shop (that are priced right)
Show up consistently, communicating with your community (where your buyers are)
Reach out to new audiences (like doing a craft show, getting in shops, etc)

Within those areas, you're going to have a goal or a focus – pick the idea that aligns with that current goal.

And above all, trust yourself!
You are going to have more ideas!
You are going to implement the really great ideas.
You are going to move forward.

Don't let too many ideas keep you from taking action. Take action, and you'll get more ideas.

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.

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