I forgot my phone in my office one-day last week. As I went about the day, I didn't realize that my phone wasn't nearby until I returned to the office 6 hours later.
I had a very productive day! It wasn't tethered to something that keeps demanding attention.
The world didn't fall apart and I was able to accomplish so much.
Maybe we need to log off and be a bit inaccessible sometimes to recenter ourselves and remember we are human beings, not human doings.
Just a thought.
Moving forward would be so much easier if the path was straight and smooth. However, we know that in reality, forward movement in many aspects of life and business will mean that there are some dips and curves broken up with a few mountaintop experiences.
Everyone wants the highs and dreads the lows. We experience the confusion of the twist and the frustration of the turns. We want a linear experience, where we can see the end from where we are currently standing.
We want a clear vision without obstacles to our view. All the danger needs to be clearly outlined and the distance from where we are to where we want to be is measurable so we can plan accordingly. That however is rarely what we experience.
So for my fellow travelers who are moving forward bravely, but with some degree of uncertainty on this road with all its highs, lows, dips, and peaks, I want to encourage you to just enjoy the journey.
If you can find some fellow sojourners to walk with you, it will be even more enjoyable because progress is not linear.
Check out the "Balancing Act" space if you are serious about taking the journey forward with others who can support you as you build your business or career.
Solopreneurs often feel that they must stay connected because they don’t want to miss that sale or that connection that could advance their business. For many their cell phone is also their business phone.
When I started my business over 20 yrs ago I had an office phone that was a land line. It stayed at the office and my personal cell phone went with me. Only family and friends had my cell number. If you needed me for business you would call my office phone and leave a message if I was not available.
Eventually I gave up the office land line phone for a office cell phone. What I found out is that no being connected to a land line and cord allowed me to take my office phone home with me. So I began to carry around two cell phones. I had different ring tones on them so I could distinguish which phone was ringing.
At times I chose to answer the work phone during personal time and then at other times I turned it off so that all calls went to the voice mail. I soon realized though that I would check the work phone even on weekends. So I resumed leaving it back at the office to preserve my family time.
I eventually got a VOIP number that attached to my personal cell phone. This allowed me to have one phone which had two phone numbers. This has worked out better financially as well as convenience wise. I only had space in my purse for one phone anyway.
It was still a challenge to not pick up work call outside of work hours, but with discipline I learned to turn off my awareness of the work calls and texts until I am back at work.
It is these kinds of daily challenges that can keep us from separating work and life priorities in a healthy way. If we don’t handle them well we can become imbalanced in how we approach our professional life. Being more balanced with work phones vs personal cell phones may soon become easier according to this recent article. Companies are now concerned about security and providing employees with a dedicated work cell phone. This may be a win-win for both the company and the employee. It will make it easier for the employee to balance the separation between work and personal life.
How have you handled being available by phone to clients or your company or the your company’s desire to have telephonic access to you?
When I started my business, over 20 years ago, I found that pricing my service wasn’t challenging but asking others to pay for it was. I was in a field where my clients were hurting and in need of what I provided but didn’t have the funds to access my services without the help of insurance. Fortunately, I was able to get on most of their insurance panels, but for those, without insurance, my services were out of reach financially.
I was able to work through these feelings, but I recognize that these feelings about charging for my service can at times reassert themselves. The feelings were like fat cells, they reduce but never really go away and all it takes is a moment of weakness for them to expand again and become visible.
These are the four reasons which stand out to me for why people struggle with asking others to pay for their service.
You fear the feelings of rejection. Getting a "No" for your service is received as them saying “No” to you as a person as well as a service provider. Work on separating the offer of service from the offer of self or the professional from the personal.
You lack confidence or have imposter syndrome. You need to process where these thoughts are coming from. Is it from messages you received through experiences in your past? Is it because you are comparing yourself to others? Work with someone if this is a blind spot for you.
You fear you are not charging the right amount. Not knowing the going rate for what you are offering, so you worry that you are asking too much or too little. If you don’t know the going rate for what you are offering, or something close to what you are providing if what you are offering is unique, do the research.
You feel like you are called to serve and that charging goes against your heart’s desire to serve. Having a missionary heart is great and seeing your skill as something that is a gift from God to help others is great. The Bible says that a workman is worthy of his hire (1 Timothy 5:18), which means that appropriate compensation for your effort is expected. Even a missionary has to eat and have some income to live.
Have you ever struggled in this area, if so which of these reasons resonates with you the most?
No matter who you are, waiting is difficult.
There was a famous social experiment done with children that involved them waiting. If they were able to successfully wait and not take the marshmallow, they would be rewarded with two when the adult came back. In the above video we see one version of the marshmallow experiment.
You can see the weight of the waiting on the faces of some of the children. I feel their pain, the wondering of how much longer do I have to resist temptation. When will this wait end? Is the wait even worth it when I have something I want in front of me right now?
Apply these questions to the thing you are currently waiting for. Are you going to be able to bear the weight of the wait?
What do you need to be able to wait longer? Do you need God’s assurance? Do you need people around you who can support your commitment to wait? Do you need to be distracted from the temptation in front of you? What will allow you to wait and not be so agonized about it?
The answer is going to be different for different people, but ultimately each person who waits needs to be confirmed in their heart that what they are waiting for is worth the wait.
Whatever you are waiting for, don’t wait alone. Find a group that will support you so that you don’t give into the temptation of the now, the immediate gratification. Stay focused on the better that waits for you and doing grow weary in waiting.
If you want to talk to someone about your particular wait, seek out your pastor, a trusted advisor, mentor or coach. I consult with busy, overwhelmed women who are trying to move forward professionally. There is a lot of waiting in professional pursuits also, let us talk if you are feeling the weight of waiting for your professional success.
I like fried eggs, the look of the yellow yolk so clearly defined in the middle of a white cloud with a slightly crisp edge. I like scrambled eggs, the soft almost custardy texture of the eggs. I dislike eggs that are scrambled-fried. How do we get scrambled-fried? By not being able to maintain the integrity of the fried egg so you then scramble the egg.
As I pondered my breakfast I wondered why a scrambled-fried egg bothered me so much. Surely it was edible. It was composed of two nutritious eggs that had been cooked. So what if the original goal of seeing them fried had been abandoned as they began to stick to the pan and break up. So what if I had decided to just scramble them mid cooking, after seeing that they could not be salvaged as perfectly cooked fried eggs. Yet I still looked at them with disappointment, trying to decide whether to discard them or eat them.
The look of them screamed failure. They were not what I had originally envisioned when I started. It had gone wrong, and my attempt to salvage had produced a product that was not palatable to my eye, as my eye was still aligned with my mind and seeing what it should have looked like. The thought of discarding the egg, a wasteful and foolish thought, still had appeal because of the depth of my disappointment, and the greatness of my desire to have what I originally envisioned.
I put my creation between two slices of warm buttered toast and took a bite. To my surprise, it tasted like fried eggs. That distinct fried flavor I had been craving; the look of it hidden between the slices of bread. So I was glad I didn’t discard it.
I wonder how many things are discarded because we just get disappointed that it didn’t turn out exactly as we envisioned. I learned the value of recognizing that at its core there is value in many things that are disappointing, it’s all about using what you have to make what you feel is lacking more appealing and palatable.
Are there things in your life that represent failure and disappointment. Before giving up on them (children, marriage, career), speak to someone who can help you perhaps find a way to recognize what core value may still remain. It would be a shame to discard something that with a little work could be salvaged.
Small Business owners can frequently feel discouraged.
An antidote for this discouragement is to ask yourself "At the end of the day do you love others; do you feel like you have made a positive difference in people's lives? If so, how did you do it?
It can be so easy to withdraw, especially when things are hard, or not working out as you want them to. However, if loving others is a motivator it will keep you from discouragement.
Business owners who have direct access to customers, clients, vendors, or just people in need of their services or products tend to feel more engaged. However, there are many business owners who operate in the background. They spend their time working on their business. They are building, creating, planning, and strategizing so that the business can run effectively and be successful.
Sometimes these roles are all filled by the same business owner. The owner has to not only be client-facing but must be business-facing also. It is easy to lose track of “who” you are working so hard for if you are not directly in front of them, or if you are wearing so many hats.
When you don't have access to positive feedback from your clients or customers, you then rely on the numbers to tell you everything about your effectiveness. So low, slow, no sales or customer engagements can be very discouraging.
That is why remembering that you are going for positive impact is helpful. Today, as you build, plan, create, remember your customer, client, vendor, the “who” whose life you are improving by the work you do. Make sure that when they eventually engage with your service or product, they will feel the love that you put into it for them. Your impact will last way past the last sale.
This will keep you motivated even in slow times when discouragement can creep in.
So you have a lot of followers, subscribers, or connections.
You attend every networking event. When you show up you receive a “Norm” like welcome as seen in the sitcom Cheers. Yet you think that success has eluded you.
It could be that your definition of success needs to be revised.
Are you selling a product or a service, or are you impacting lives? You can do both. You can promote, or sell your product and service as well as positively impact lives. If you are doing that, then isn’t that a good measure of success?
Some people may feel like they have not been able to increase their sales or interest in their product or service, but they have made some meaningful connections. If people smile when your name is mentioned in a group setting and it generates some positive feelings due to a past interaction with you, then that is impact. Can that be a measure of success?
For many in business, the bottom line is measured by how much money is generated. Looking at that alone leads to feelings of discouragement.
Today set your goal for impact, positive impact. How many lives can you pour into today? Your connections, followers, and subscribers are yours for a reason. Is it only because they are potential consumers of your product or service? Redefine success and you will feel successful.
Here is a radical idea, don’t try to get more. Try to give more, more to those who have already shown interest in your social media posts. Engage for impact.
I talk a bit more about this in this video, take a look. https://youtu.be/CIkTsLhdcKA
Confirmation that you are walking in your purpose is when you get on the enemies radar. This is especially true for faith-based businesses.
The enemy recently sent one of his disciples to my social media page with a message for me. It said “I got connected to you in my prayers, hit me up in my DM immediately is very urgent, There are spiritual blockages that’s been in you for sometime now” This message came from someone who identified herself as a “priestess”.
First of all, if she had really understood who she was targeting she would never have tried such a tactic. I don’t play at religion, I’m not even religious. I am a servant of the most High God. I serve the Creator, the one who holds the universe together. I am His, child, loved and highly favored. So I am not confused, I know who I am and who my father is.
She first tried the tactic of trying to connect with me through the use of religious language, “in my prayers”. I am sure she prays, but do we pray to the same God, “No”. Because if we did she would have understood that my God is not like her god. My God speaks to me through His Word, and those who follow His Word. If you are not a follower of His Word, then nothing, no sacred knowledge that you have is important to me, no matter how “urgent”.
Then the next tactic: applying urgency to see if that get’s me to meet with her. That is a salesman’s tactic that taps into fear. Fear of missing out (FOMO), fear of lacking knowledge. For it to have worked I would have had to believe and trust that she had special knowledge to impart. Why would God give her this knowledge to give to me? He has access to my heart and my mind. I am surrounded by His people, because I fellowship with them. They are godly people who hear from Him daily. If he wanted to give me knowledge, he would use one of His own? I believe she could have heard something about me, but from her master not mine. Mine talks to me directly or uses His people not the enemies’ people to send me messages.
Lastly she tried using a piece of generalized knowledge to peak my curiosity. “Blockages”, what is that? There are some things that I have been in prayer about for awhile and am patiently waiting for God to answer. Who doesn’t have areas of struggle or concern? Whose life is so perfect that there are no areas that you are working on, or frustrated with, or are in prayer about? Being a Christian doesn’t mean everything is perfect and honky dory here in Christianland. We are in this world, with its many tribulations, but we are not of this world. We belong to an eternal kingdom. We are the ultimate realists, not delusional. So yes things are not perfect, and won’t be until Heaven. Her knowledge about some vague “blockage” is just a smoke screen to get me and others to view her as having some secret knowledge.
Listen, don’t fall for these kind of appeals on social media. Know God, through his word. Don’t do like Saul did, when he consulted the witch of Endor (1 Samuel 28). Do instead like Nehemiah did when he refused to be pulled away from the work God had called him to do (Neh 6:3), he “ sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” These mediums, psychics, and witches can only know what their master has told them. That information is to enslave you and not bring you health, healing or success. Consult with your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and with Him alone to have true success in this life and the one to come.
Have you had similar appeals emailed to you or posted on your social media? How have you handled them?
Have you ever found yourself explaining to God why your disobedience made sense? I thought about this recently after a conversation with my grandson.
When I put him to bed, I took the TV remote out of his room so that he wouldn’t be tempted to turn on the TV and watch it instead of sleeping. I got up the next morning to find the TV on, the remote on the floor and him sitting with the game controller in his hand. He took one look at my face and said, “Grandma it was a live event.”
Not being a gamer, I didn’t know what that meant, so my husband took over. He explained to our grandson that it didn’t matter what was going on, he had been sent to bed and was expected to be sleeping. To which our grandson again said, “but it was a live event”.
Frustrated, my husband said. “I don’t care, did you sleep at all last night?”. Our grandson looked down, and mumbled “it was live”. He was clearly fixated on the idea that his taking the initiative not to miss a “live” event was somehow worthy of consideration by us, his grandparents. It wasn’t.
Like our grandson I think we sometimes get stuck muttering rationalizations that we insist that God should take into consideration when looking at our sin and our disobedience.
Whatever the rationalization, we repeat it over and over again when we are confronted. We read something in the Bible that is convicting, so we pull out our rationalization. We hear a sermon that pokes at us, again we can defend against it with our rationalization. Holy Spirit illuminates our sin and shows us clearly we are in error; we whip out that handy rationalization again.
It didn’t work for our Grandson, and it doesn’t work for us with God either. He doesn’t say, “Ah, now I understand why my Word is for everyone else, but you are the exception. Thanks for explaining it to me.” He continues to, require obedience.
But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22
I know that sometimes obedience feels like a sacrifice, but God’s word says that it is actually better than sacrifice. It tells God that we trust Him; it tells God that we trust that He is looking out for us and we believe that the distress we feel in obeying will yield a reward.
Our grandson after crying because his remote control and gaming remotes were all removed and he was told not to get out of bed until we told him he could, feel asleep (within 20 minutes). He slept for 5 hours then woke up refreshed to start his school work. He would have been miserable all day had he not gotten proper sleep and would have probably earned some form of discipline due to his emotional dysregulation due to his lack of sleep. With proper sleep, he had a good day and was able to enjoy school with his peers.
When we obey God’s commands, we position ourselves to enjoy the opportunities that he opens up for us later in life.
Can you identify your go to rationalizations that mute God’s voice? Can you hear yourself saying like our grandson “but it was a live event” in the face of being confronted by God’s word.
In the end it really comes down to this choice.
“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse— the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.” Deuteronomy 11:26=28
Sometimes rationalizations are why we struggle to balance our professional and personal commitments. If you feel you have blind spots about your rationalizations, let's talk and identify them so that you can walk in obedience.
Allison is a Professional Life Strategist, helping busy professional women maintain healthy relationships professionally and personally as they move forward in their lives. She gives you tools to build the life you want.