AEP 002 – The Art of Taking Time Off

Welcome to Episode 2 of Fun & Profit for the Active Entrepreneur Podcast!

The Art of Taking Time Off

Today let’s talk about the Art of Taking Time Off. I just got back from over a week of being fully disconnected and loving every minute of it.

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Work Hard, then Play [Business Flow Video]

When you work hard or experience intense learning as a small business owner … you need time to decompress, get into your body, and integrate.

 

It took me a while to learn this important lesson, but now I do it consistently.

Here’s a little video from my recent trip showing you how to do that.

When you work hard as a #smallbiz owner, you need time to decompress, get into your body & integrate.Click To Tweet

Use Purposeful Tangents to Give Your Business an Edge

Purposeful Tangent - Making Cheese

The latest purposeful tangent: cheesemaking class.

What if I told you there was a secret sauce that could both give your business an edge and get you interested, excited, and feeling alive again?

No, I’m not going all rah rah “I have hidden secrets!”, “Blah blah blah stay tuned for a big reveal” on you.

I’m getting very real with you about one of my favorite ways to have fun, stay fresh, and do unique things in business. That thing is engaging in purposeful tangents.

I recently had an epiphany and connected what I innately do with the idea of purposeful tangents.

I was reading an article in Success Magazine where the author talked about only going to conferences that had nothing to do with the industry he was in. I thought – Eureka! That is what I already do.

What is a Purposeful Tangent?

A tangent is digressing off of a path or straight line. And a purposeful tangent is doing it (you guessed it) on purpose! Rather than do the same thing that everyone else is doing or have the same schedule day in and day out, you do something different, unexpected, and seemingly unrelated.

Why Do This?

Have you ever felt just a little bit dead inside from the boredom of the same old stuff? Maybe you’ve gone half insane from trying the same thing and working harder and harder only to be less than thrilled with the results?

Uh huh… I’ve been there…

A purposeful tangent is the perfect way to learn new things and break out of an emotional, mental, or “same old” rut. You get to surround yourself with people who have different and varied experiences and stretch your thinking (and yourself) in new ways

How it Helps You

Purposeful tangents help you personally and can really freshen up your business to take it to a new level. Specifically it:

  • Teaches you new things that are common in another industry you can apply to your business in a unique way
  • Revives your spirit
  • Gets you thinking differently
  • Lifts you out of any rut or preconceived way of doing things

And did I mention that it can be a lot of fun?

Examples

As I considered this further I realized I already do some of this naturally. I have climbed trees, worked with horses, painted, performed improv, and done all kids of activities that stretch me out of my comfort zone and usual way of doing things.

Every time I do something like this I not only come away renewed but also learn practical lessons I can apply to my way of doing business.

And More…

I plan on taking this concept even further going forward. What might it look like if instead of attending business conferences, I attended a conference in an entirely different industry? What if instead of taking a business training, I returned to my music or took a series of classes on something else entirely?

I invite you to consider using some purposeful tangents in your business. What might that look like to you? Share in the comments below… I would love to hear.

Need new ways of looking at your business so you can grow to the next level? Contact me for a discovery session and we will be explorers together on behalf of your business success.

 

 

Why I Do Improv (And Why Every Business Owner Should Too)

The Unusual Suspects Improv TroupeIf there were a magic pill that would make you stretch outside your comfort zone in a way that benefited every area of your business and life, would you do it? Even if you had to get up on stage in front of an audience without a script to perform short sketches with other people you barely knew?

I did.

And, boy am I glad!

You see about 7-8 years ago I took a presentation skills class and one of the instructors was an improv guy. He was extolling the virtues of improve and I thought… “Hmmm that could be cool!” Since there were no classes nearby I let the idea slide into wishful thinking…until… two years ago. A colleague of mine started offering adult improv classes and I jumped in hook, line, and sinker. I never dreamed it would have had as huge of an impact on me and my business as it has.

Besides being more fun than you could possibly imagine having with very cool people and laughing until your sides split, there are some very tangible reasons why improv is the perfect fit for the self-employed business owner.

Here’s why I continue to do it (and you should give it a try)…

Improv teaches you to:

Think on Your Feet

You have to be on your toes when you play these improv games. You never know what scene you could be in, what role you will be playing, or what might happen. You can’t plan, script, or rehearse your way into success. You can practice skills that support your performance (like listening, experimenting, being present, thinking on your feet, etc.) but that is the extent of it. The rest is up to you – in the moment.

Be Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

Who is totally comfortable with standing in front of a crowd knowing just about anything can happen? No one. Even the most seasoned performers will tell you they feel excited and a bit nervous before a show. Knowing that you might succeed or fail spectacularly is just part of the game. You may shine like a hero or look like a jackass. Either way is OK. You learn how to show up fully and make friends with the unknown.

 Trust Yourself

Fundamentally you have to trust yourself. Learning to trust your instincts, ideas, and input is non-negotiable to the process.   The only way it works is if you take an idea, commit fully, and go for it. Even if it bombs. As my improv leader Aviva says, sometimes the best thing you can do is die (as in let the idea/character die). [Read more…]

Don’t Be Afraid to Hit the Rocks

Paula G Sea Cave KayakingAs I was nervously sitting in a sea kayak on the Pacific Ocean eyeing up a sea cave that I would soon to be paddling into, all I could see were the rocks.  The big rock walls, the many rocks in the middle of the path between here and there, and images in my mind’s eye flashing before me saying, “stay away from the rocks!”

After all, in my many years of traveling and being drawn to coastlines, I’ve seen my fair share of safety related signs that say things like:

  • “Stay back! The ocean is unpredictable.”
  • “Beware of rogue waves”
  • “Keep off the rocks”

So I was perplexed about the wisdom of my desire to paddle directly into confined spaces within large rocks as the waves sloshed and crashed around me.

Even though I am an avid kayaker, this was a first for me – ocean kayaking that involved paddling through breaking waves and into sea caves.  I trusted my fine guide (folks at Central Coast Kayak were really great) and I yearn for adventure (at least when I’m sitting at home!) so what was the problem?

Fear.

Oh that.

After a few nerve wracking trips in and out of some caves I found I wasn’t really loosening up a great deal.  I was still hyper focused on trying to make my lines so I could enter and exit the cave unscathed.  Until something my guide said allowed my stress and anxiety to melt away.  He said, “Don’t be afraid to hit the rocks!”

I thought to myself … “Oh, it’s ok to hit the rocks? Who knew?”

Obviously we’re not talking about paddling headstrong straight into the rocks, but rather if you bump them along the way it is totally ok.  More than likely you’ll simply be helped along your way and your course will be swiftly righted.

I can’t tell you how freeing that was!  It didn’t change my desire to hit my lines or make clean turns.   What it did do was free me up from the overly tense and high pressure state I had my mind and body in that was stressing me out and making each skill test take my breath away (and not in the good way!).

The amplified sounds of crashing waves were intimidating enough inside the caves (serious acoustics in there). At least I no longer needed to panic about hitting the rocks. This little bit of permission I was given made a world of difference in how I felt and ultimately in my ability to enjoy the journey and do it safely.

It reminded me of all the different ways within our own businesses that we get all strung out over something when we could just give ourselves permission to ease up a bit.  Permission to be ok with hitting the rocks once in a while and knowing that the boat will right itself if need be.  It will all be ok.

So I ask you to take a set in your own virtual kayak beside me and ask yourself in what ways are you:

  • Pushing too hard and you need to ease up?
  • Being too unstructured and could stand to firm things up or accelerate them a bit?
  • Creating a lot of stress and mental anguish that need not be there (suffering is not a prerequisite for success)?

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below…

Need a trusted guide to help you navigate the waters of growing your business?  I would love to speak with you.  Let’s schedule a complimentary discovery session to explore where you are, where you want to go, and how I can help!

How to Prioritize When Everything is a Priority

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