I 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.
Celebration is SO important for the health of your business. In today's episode I cover the big reasons WHY you need to stop and celebrate and also HOW to celebrate (no, it doesn't need to cost money.) If you look back at 2018 and can't remember what went well or how your business did, tune in to make 2019 a better year.
The answer is science: Our brains are wired to have a negativity bias. We notice the negative (bad sales day, unmet goals, cranky customers) MORE than the positive. We give negative feedback more mental weight than positive feedback. Which is why it's easy to look at your business and remember what went wrong, but harder to remember what went right.
Making a BIG DEAL and celebrating your successes gives some weight to the positive – it helps you make a memory of the good.
Because here's the thing – one day you are going to feel run-down or overwhelmed or just cranky about your business and when you look back and wonder “should I keep going?”…if you don't have any positive memories (of celebrating good things), you're going to think there's no reason to keep going. You may slow down your business or stop altogether. You'll feel more burnt out.
Celebrating protects against burn out, it protects against negativity bias, and it leads to your success… because success is built on not quitting. Keep going.
How to celebrate?
It helps if you decide when you set a goal how you're going to celebrate the goal.
A few ideas:
Tell people! The people who love you and care about you want to celebrate with you! Let them in!
Make yourself something you enjoy but don't have often – whether this is a special dinner, dessert, or just take a bubble bath, do something that brings you joy!
Invest in yourself or your business – take that class, buy that book, set aside time to plan.
Here's to a celebratory 2019! I'll be celebrating all along the way in my IG Stories, so be sure to join me there!
Are you an introvert? Not sure? Think being an introvert is the same thing as being shy? We have a lot to talk about!
Hi, I’m Stacey. I’m an introvert. I’m also tremendously talkative, self-confident and not the tiniest bit shy. Sound like a contradiction? Not really. In this episode, I’m going to talk about what an introvert really is, plus dispel some misconceptions. I’ll fill you in on the strengths of an introvert, as well as some strategies to cope with challenging situations.
What is an introvert?
An introvert is someone who needs alone time to truly thrive. Interacting with people is often draining. Although being 100% introverted is rare, we all fall along the introvert-extrovert continuum. People with more than 50% introverted tendencies are usually considered introverts.
Think best on their own
Find ‘small talk’ draining
Notice subtle cues
Have a strong internal monologue
Are independent & work well on their own
Excel in 1-on-1 interactions and deep conversations
What are great strategies for an introvert?
Contrary to what you may have been told, being an introvert gives you AMAZING skills for running your own business! You work well on your own, driving your business forward. And for every situation that presents challenges, there are fairly simple solutions you can implement.
How to turn ‘networking events’ into an opportunity for genuine conversation, where you excel
Managing ‘group work’ and translating it into great individual work
Strategies to scheduling your day to maximize your energy levels
The power of working in writing
By the end of this episode, you’ll be on board with celebrating the joys of being an introvert!
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.
How can you plan to have the best year? Not just get everything done, but have a year you actually enjoy?
It is both important to reach the goals you have set, and enjoy your time. What’s the point in building a business if you aren’t enjoying yourself?
You’re never going to feel like you’re done in business.
You’ll always be changing, growing, setting goals. THAT is what building a business is. So be sure that you enjoy the process of moving towards the goal, as much as you think you’ll enjoy actually reaching the goal.
A couple tips as you sit down to do your New Year Planning:
1. How do you want to feel?
How do you want to feel as you work on your goal? How do you want to feel when you reach your goal? (Check out the Desire Map for more on feelings + goals).
You can bring these feelings into your planning – how can you feel this feeling RIGHT NOW?
It can be hard to plan, if you feel scared or compressed. So before you plan, get in a great mood.
2. Make a list of the things that make you feel how you want to feel.
Don’t worry about how it integrates with your work, just make the list! You’ll start to generate ideas for how this will integrate with your work.
3. Review what worked last year.
You aren’t starting from scratch, you already KNOW stuff! Remember what you learned last year, what worked and what didn’t, and be sure to apply it to this year.
4. Narrow it down.
Everything is not equally important. Pick one thing that will help you feel the way you want to feel. Pick one thing that will make the biggest impact (first domino). And do that first.
Need help getting clear on where you want to go and then turning it into an actionable plan? Map Your Business guides you through all of the tips above, and you end up with a doable plan, followed by monthly review and quarterly goal-setting.
Are you feeling a little overwhelmed? With holiday fun, holiday obligations and, uh, you're whole business to run? If so, you are not alone. This week we're going to talk about keeping your sanity and having as much fun as possible, while keeping your business going.
We, as a community, have been talking about staying sane during the holiday season since 2010, when I created the first version of the Holiday Sanity Guide. This comes up every year, because, guys, this season can be HARD. You've got more family responsibilities, more business responsibilities, and on top of all that, EXPECTATIONS of how it should all go. So I wanna talk about that today, how to handle your own expectations while still meeting your responsibilities. And if you're new here, or you're just really feeling the holiday stress, check out alllll the past posts and episodes in a Definitive Holiday Sanity Guide at the bottom of this post.
First, you gotta acknowledge what is making the season hard: responsibilities and expectations. Sometimes we confuse the two, or we agree to unstated expectations, without really deciding if it's right for us or not. For our discussion Responsibilities are those things you really do need to do, or the things you owe other people. It may be that you see your family each year at the holiday, you promised that you would and it is important to you. You have a responsibility to your business to show up the way you promised to show up (whether that's delivering an order or publishing your podcast weekly). Take a minute and write down your responsibilities.
The Holiday season also comes with all these expectations, about what you'll do but also how it will feel. We have stated and unstated expectations for both ourselves and for others (and other people have expectations for us), about both actions and feelings. For example, maybe you expect that you'll bake a million cookies, or that you'll feel a certain way. OFTEN when I'm talking to someone about why they are stressed or not enjoying the season (or any season), it's NOT because of what they have to do (responsibilities) it's because of how they thought they'd feel (expectations) or the expectations of others.
So how do you deal with this?
Make everything explicit.
Take a minute and write down all of your expectations of the holiday season. (You can do this any time of year, especially if you're doing something very exciting in your business).
What do you hope to do?
What do you hope to accomplish?
How do you hope to feel?
Where do you expect to go?
And then meet with your loved ones and ask them what they expect of the holiday season, and of you. This “meeting” can be as formal or as informal as you like. You can do it around the dinner table tonight or you can call each of your sisters or parents up and ask them.
One way to frame this is “I'd love to make this season wonderful for all of us, so I'd love to know: What are your expectations or hopes for this season? What matters most to you?
Warning: Be sure you're only soliciting expectations from people you really desire to fulfill expectations of. (Hint: Maybe don't ask your never-happy-with-anything mother in law).
Now! This is really important: You get to decide what expectations you take on! You get to agree, with your immediate family or friend group, what expectations you'll meet and which ones they'll meet. For example, maybe your kids really want a billion cookies but you don't like to bake, so your partner agrees to do cookie baking, or you reach out to another family member who would love to spend that time with your kids.
Or maybe you have expectations of beautifully wrapped gifts under the tree – who is going to do that? Are you going to wrap them all? Do you want to ask for help? Could you maybe lower your expectations about beauty and let your 5 year old wrap some gifts?
The examples I'm giving here are lighthearted, but I know the season can come with some heavy feelings of obligation. That's why I'm suggesting that you first make everything explicit, and then you spend the time to decide what expectation you want to meet and what you don't. Here are three principles for that sorting process.
1. Focus on what matters to you
What makes this season wonderful to you? What drives you crazy?
Filter all the expectations through the values you care most about.
Look back at your responsibilities, are some of them just expectations? Can you let some of them go? Maybe you take a week or two off from your weekly business obligations?
The better you get at filtering things OUT, the happier your season (and your life!) will be.
2. Let go….without guilt
Once you've got your list of what matters, you gotta really, actually let go everything else. I'm serious. Just let it go.
Will you disappoint some people? Yes. That's ok, that's part of life.
Your job isn't to make everyone happy. It's to do your best and you can only do your best if you're taken care of.
I'm going to remind you of one of the first holiday related videos I ever recorded – people's feelings and expectations aren't about you. It's about them. What people say to you or expect of you is about who THEY are. It has nothing to do with who you are. (Yes, they may be pointing it at you, but it's still about them).
3. There is always more time.
You don't have to have all the gifts purchased by Dec 25th, maybe you'll give friends gifts on the 27th? You don't have to reach your business goal by Dec 31, maybe you can reach it Jan 31? Or next spring?
You have more time. The goal of your life isn't to cram everything into RIGHT NOW, it's to enjoy right now (because you might not actually have more time, and wouldn't you rather enjoy this while you know you have it?) and keep growing and learning. So let things unfold, let things go, and know that you can always do the thing when everyone's bored in Jan or Feb or next year.
This process of focusing on what matters, letting go of the rest, and planning in a way that lets you enjoy where you are right now? This is the process of building a business and building a life. You're going to need to do this over and over, to keep realigning with what you really want and where you really want to go. If you'd like to do that in your business this year, and do it in a community with other makers who are making the same decisions and sharing the reality of that journey, check out the Starship. It opens Dec 27th and in it I guide you through figuring out what you want in the New Year, making a plan to get it, fixing your profitability so you CAN reach your money goals and improving your marketing so you can reach the right people. You can sign up to learn more about it Taraswiger.com/starshipbiz
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!
I 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.
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.”
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!