Progress not Perfection: You don’t have to fake it to make it

08/12

PNP 14

Just between us, what’s really going on? What are you really feeling? Where are you holding it together, putting yourself between two ends to make them meet?

One of the myths of our time is that you have to fake it to make it. You don’t.

Yes, we keep going. We find our resilience. We discover a way to move forward.

But we don’t have to serve up our sanity or our worthiness in order to do it. I promise.

Sending a big hug, a mug of something delicious, and five minutes entirely to yourself.

Jenny x

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PPS Two spots left on my January retreat!

Progress not Perfection: 10 ways to reset the tone of your day

04/12

PNP 10

10 ways to reset the tone of your day:

  1. Choose a word you want to cultivate and write it somewhere you’ll see it
  2. Put some different / new music on and have a dance party
  3. Go for a 10 minute walk and come back feeling fresh
  4. Set a timer for 5 minutes and tidy up your desk
  5. Take five deep, nourishing breaths
  6. Acknowledge everything you’ve already achieved
  7. Let go of non-urgent, non-important tasks
  8. Ask for help, even just a little
  9. Put the kettle on and go wash your face while it boils
  10. Take a moment to remember what you’re working towards

Progress not Perfection: Let’s have some fun today!

29/11

PNP 6 (1)

Okay, so to mix things up a bit, I thought I’d share the reminder to smile, laugh, and enjoy yourself, whatever you’re up to today.

For me, music is vital. It can change my mood, help me feel more connected, and I LOVE to sing and dance along – all good things!

I also love to laugh. It helps get my energy up. Carpool Karaoke, Eddie Izzard, and Peter Kay are all guaranteed to improve my mood.

What would be really fun for you today?

Get your favourite playlist on, or take 10 minutes to watch something funny.

Here are some of my playlists to help get you going:

Vintage Christmas

Gumption / Girl Power

Give Me Happiness (and make me dance)

Enjoy!
Jenny x

Progress not Perfection: Where there’s clarity, make decisions

28/11

PNP 5

We’ve just had Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so for many makers, creative entrepreneurs and business owners, there’s a mix of feelings.

For some, it’s already been full nose-to-the-grindstone work to keep up with orders.

For others, there have been some orders, but perhaps not enough, or not as many as hoped.

It’s a spectrum, so perhaps you’re in between or even more worried about whether there have been enough orders.

Wherever you are, I want you to know that this is a hectic time of year, and whether you’re slammed with orders or not, chances are you’re still pretty busy just keeping up with life and business.

So this is not necessarily the time to analyse everything.

Where there’s clarity, make decisions. Look at the numbers. Are order levels where you thought they would be? If not, what is working? What can you tune up in your marketing? Use the data to make decisions, because numbers offer clarity.

If you’re struggling to keep up, or worried about stock or staff, again, come back to the facts. What are the limitations? Where might you fall down? What are your options?

You don’t have to fix everything. You don’t have to do everything. You don’t have to make all the decisions about your entire business all at once.

Just start with what’s clear. The rest will follow.

PS These Progress not Perfection posts can be delivered straight to your inbox every morning. Simply sign up here.

PPS You can also add a lovely care package to help take care of you while you’re taking care of everything. Add it to your subscription here.

Progress not Perfection: Set your intention for today

24/11

PNP 1

Before you dive in to one of the busiest days of the year, take one tiny moment to set an intention.

We can’t control everything, but we can set a positive intention for how we’ll deal with good news, bad news, setbacks, and all kinds of things that head our way.

Intend to be calm. Intend to prioritise only the most important things. Intend to see the positive in each moment.

I like to decide for myself what “enough” is each day. Perhaps enough is simply getting the orders out.

Or decide what “good” will look like – knowing you’ve done your best, or responded to challenges with confidence that you know what you need to do.

One moment of positivity in the morning can carry through your whole day.

Get my free Progress not Perfection emails directly to your inbox every day until 4 January 2018.

Progress not Perfection: Black Friday Eve

23/11

Tomorrow is a big day for those of us in retail: Black Friday. Whether you’re getting involved in discounts, small business social campaigns, or #noblackfriday, it marks the start of when customers start shopping in earnest.

It’s entirely possible that, this time tomorrow, you’ll still be working. And that, next time you look up, it’ll be Christmas Eve.

A little preparation ritual

This evening I invite you to do three things:

  1. Set an intention for the next few days. Perhaps you want to stay as calm as possible. Maybe it’s about reminding yourself that you’re working towards business success. Or maybe you just want to take every moment as it comes. Make a note of your intention and pop it somewhere you’ll see it.
  2. Have a little tidy up. Full disclosure: I’m not the neatest person. So when things get busy, I have to remind myself that just 10 minutes to clear a little space around my laptop will help me feel better. Even if you just take out the bins, you’ll feel good about it tomorrow.
  3. Stock up on things that will nourish and motivate you. Your self-care is why we’re here. And if you’re not cared for, it’s going to be really hard to get through the highs and lows of the next month. I’ve included some ideas below.

A few ideas of things to get or do this evening. Tweak as necessary.

  • A water bottle or jug and glass to keep nearby so you’re hydrated.
  • Your favourite tea or coffee. Go to town. Get the good stuff.
  • Cereal bars. Mince pies. Popcorn. Easy, store-able snacks.
  • Hand sanitiser. Hand soap. Tissues.
  • Hot water bottle. Blankets. Jumpers
  • Put a wash on. Make sure you’ve got clean socks.
  • Decide, buy, and prepare meals for the next 3 to 5 days.
  • Clear your emails.
  • Make sure your favourite mug is clean.
  • Go to bed half an hour earlier than you usually do / thought you would.

Ready? Feeling cared for? In need of some encouragement? You can get all the Progress not Perfection emails directly in your inbox every single morning for free. Sign up here to get the goodness!

Jenny x

PS Care packages go out on Monday! There’s still time to get these limited edition bundles of joy…

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Retreat with me this January

23/11

I’ve created a long weekend that takes care of you, where you don’t have to think about making dinner or looking after anyone else, and you can simply focus on looking after you and your business.

In my own life and business planning, I’ve found it completely invaluable to have time out, in a different (and beautiful!) place, with a group of like-minded people. You’ll have chance to reflect on your business as it is now, the things that have gone well, and the dreams you have for the future.

Small Creative Business Retreat 2017I’ll be running workshops that will help you identify your core strengths as a business and an individual, that will help you to plan for the next year, and that will inspire you to move your business forward.

The practical workshop stuff will be balanced with some real retreat stuff, too, to make sure you go home on Monday feeling rested, nourished and energised. You’ll be able to have a massage, sleep in, take naps, take walks in the beautiful gardens, and have time to read and write. We’ll do some simple meditations together that will settle us in to doing the important business planning work.

Small Creative Business RetreatWorkshops will be as a whole, and in smaller groups, and I’ll be available throughout the weekend to have some one-to-one time where it’s needed. I’m confident you’ll be leaving with plenty of ideas and tools to help improve your business.

Ready to book your place? Click here to choose your room and book.

Save the date: Friday 12 to Monday 15 January 2018

When: arrive Friday afternoon, leave early Monday.

Where: Pedington Manor, near Berkeley in the Cotswolds

Who: me, you, and a group of wonderful small creative business owners
(up to 12 people max.)

This particular retreat weekend is a mixture of new and repeat retreat-ers, all talented, thoughtful, creative women looking to connect and rejuvenate for a successful 2018.

Previous years

I’ve been lucky to have so many brilliant women at my retreats in previous years. Here are the highlights:

2015:

 

2016:

Accommodation and catering

We’ll be staying in Pedington Manor in the beautiful Cotswolds. It’s a gorgeous and cosy manor house with lovely and inspiring suuroundings. We have the whole place to ourselves, and lots of opportunity for comfort and relaxation.

When planning the retreat, I wanted to find somewhere luxurious but cosy and homely – somewhere we could really settle in together and would feel like an escape. Pedington is full of open fires, squishy sofas, and comfy beds. There are places for a peaceful moment all to yourself, and plenty of room to connect and create with our supportive group.

A number of accommodation options are available to suit different budgets and preferences. I’ve included more info below.

Small Creative Business Retreat

The retreat is fully catered from Friday night to Monday morning. If you have any dietary requirements, we can work with that – just let me know. There’ll be copious tea and cake, naturally!

There’s plenty of parking available at Pedington. Your travel to the retreat isn’t included in the price, but I can help to coordinate travel from nearby train stations.

Rooms and prices

The accommodation at Pedington Manor is all gorgeous, with a variety of different rooms available to suit your budget and preferences.Small Creative Business Retreat

En-suite individual room: £1,200
Individual room: £950
Standard twin room: £750
Dorm room: £600 (up to 4 people sharing)

All rooms (except individual en-suites) have lovely shared bathrooms.

Please note prices do not include VAT.

Who’s coming

Our group will be a maximum of 12 – a number that allows us to get to know each other and create a truly supportive group. I firmly believe that everyone coming on this retreat will benefit not only from a restoring weekend, but will also receive the ongoing support of a close and non-competitive group. We connect with each other in a private group on Facebook before we meet in person, and we really work as a group to listen to and see each other clearly.

Why retreat with me?

I adore running retreats. It honestly feels like the work I’m meant to do in the world. My work as a coach and mentor brings me plenty of experience working with individuals and groups, and I bring a wealth of experience – personal and professional – to the table.

I’m open, honest, and I hold the space for you. I bring structure to conversations about who you are, who your brand is, what you really want, and how to move forward. I know from personal experience that big change can come from retreats and deep insights. Sometimes it’s gentle, sometimes dramatic, but it’s always from a place of truth and authentic growth.

If you’re up for a relaxed, informal, yet insightful way of learning how to improve your business and your life, this is the retreat for you. And you’re bound to make some friends along the way.

To book:

  1. Pop over here and choose your room type
  2. You can choose to pay in full now, or pay a £250 deposit with instalment options. If you choose to pay in instalments, I’ll email you to set this up.

Please note your deposit is non-refundable. If you change your mind or are unable to attend, your place can be transferred to someone else if available. Otherwise, you will be charged in full.

Any questions? Please let me know if there’s anything you’re worrying or wondering about. You can email me: jenny (at) thejennyhyde.com

I can’t wait to see you there!

Jx

 

Here’s the thing: the things we tell ourselves on the scroll

15/10

Tell me if this sounds familiar:

You see someone online doing something similar to you. Or something you want to do. You freak out.

You decide they’re doing it wrong or not the way you’d do it, and they’ve already cornered the whole market doing it their way so there’s no room for you.

Maybe you find yourself into a rage about how they’re making a ton of mistakes and screwing people over by charging for something so cheap. Or that they’re undercutting you and can’t possibly be making any money. Or maybe they just don’t have the design skills you do, or the communication skills. Or the experience. Whatever the exact detail is, the situation pisses you off!

Or you decide you could never do it that well. They’ve already done everything possible. They’ve done it better than you, or they’re first to market and that’s all that matters. Maybe they took an idea in a slightly different direction, and it’s your belief that it’s better. Perhaps they seem like they’ve got it all together already – effortless product launch with recommendations and referrals and people shouting about how wonderful they are. You’re not pissed off, exactly. Deflated.

And so you stop. Or you procrastinate. You stop putting your talent and effort and energy into something great. You try to find something else, even though you already have something wonderful, and unique. You tell yourself all kinds of stories about why it can’t happen now, and why it hasn’t worked out, and why you should focus elsewhere.

But ultimately it comes down to this: you’re just afraid.

Our brains are really good at being afraid. And turning up the volume on doubt and fear and just staying nice and safe. Our brains want us to be safe.

My opinion? Social media has such huge potential for connection. But it can also be hugely destructive force, especially where our soft spots and creative fears are concerned.

Here’s the thing:

The first step is always cultivating awareness. When do you tend to get sucked into The Scroll? Is it first thing in the morning? Last thing at night? While you’re waiting to pick the kids up? What time are you trying to fill by scrolling through Facebook or Instagram?

And then there’s being aware of why you get sucked in. Are you trying to find connection online? Are you really getting it? What does scrolling offer you? (Hint: if it’s numbness or distraction from what you really want, it’s time to change.)

These are the first big questions in my upcoming course: Self Care on Social Media for Business Owners.

Because we need your work in the world. And your business deserves great marketing. But if you’re getting stuck in fear and overwhelm and anxiety and just plain old procrastination, we don’t get to buy your products or see your work.

We’re going to tackle the fears that change our behaviours. We’re going to talk about how to live closer to your dreams and your fears. You’re going to get MORE out of social media – and out of LIFE!

I don’t want you to post less or market your business less. What I want is for you to feel confident in why and how you use social media, and what your contribution to the shared space is.

Let’s cultivate awareness, but more than that. Let’s change how you feel and how productive you are.

The course starts on Monday 30th October. Will you join me and other brilliant business owners?

Here’s the thing: why I don’t give advice (or write click-bait blog titles)

09/09

Hey friends. How are things in your part of the world? How’s September feeling so far? I would truly love to hear how things are for you – isn’t that why we’re here? For connection and support?

I’ve been a business mentor and coach for over three years. I started off using “mentor” because it seemed to fit the blend of professional consulting and the encouragement I offer. More recently, I’ve been describing myself as a coach, because coaching skills have become a bigger part of my repertoire.

Two years ago, I completed Tara Mohr’s excellent Playing Big Facilitator Training, and I’m about to embark on some more coaching training with the wonderful Randi Buckley.

Now, there are plenty of coaches out there for all sorts of different areas. Health, life, creativity – you name it, and you can probably find a coach for it.

The thing I love most about coaching, and why I’ve adopted it to describe my work, is because I am totally committed to the idea that I’m here to empower my clients, not tell them what to do. It’s the belief that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to the majority of business challenges – at least not one that addresses our own unique situations.

Coaching is not advice-giving. 

In fact, I’m slightly allergic to advice. One my most hated things to see or receive? Unsolicited advice. It sparks all kinds of sarcasm in me! Because not only is this all about you, you’re not even thinking about me or what I really need.

Advice is what we (as the would-be advice giver) think is best. Even with the highest levels of empathy, advice is filtered through our unique and limited life experience. It doesn’t take into account all the things we don’t know about the situation, person or possibilities.

Often, advice also has the potential to be laden with “shoulds” and the expectation that someone trying to help now deserves us to follow through on their golden nuggets of advice. “Well, Sally told me to do that. She’ll be offended if I don’t at least try it.” Not helpful. Not empowering. (NB Sally isn’t a real person here.)

So I don’t give advice. I ask questions. I allow space to explore the situation. I offer support.

And I share experiences. This is subtly different to advice – and when I lead retreats and groups, it’s one I have to watch carefully. In business support circles, sharing experiences can be so valuable. “When I tried this, here’s what happened.” Positioning your experience like this makes it a piece of helpful information, but leaves the other person in total autonomy to make their own decision.

Sharing experience keeps it as your experience, not universal and unequivocal truth – which is often how advice is offered. You keep the other person free to choose the best decision for them.

It’s so easy to offer other people advice! Our care-giving nature wants to help.  Of course we do! Especially if we feel like we’ve really nailed a particular challenge. And I don’t want anyone to feel their experience isn’t valuable: it is so incredible helpful and supportive to hear others’ stories that shine the light ahead – people who’ve overcome problems similar to ours or are further ahead.

But let’s keep them as stories, not as foolproof blueprints for how others should run their businesses or lives.

Our culture is so prone to giving advice. And right now there’s a whole industry of bloggers offering tips and suggestions to help others – and the intention behind that is wonderful. But in my own online experience, I find it essential to have a high awareness for click-bait blog titles promising neat and tidy advice that’ll solve all my problems. Because honestly? There’s no possibility that they can dive into the subtleties of my experience. And so many posts I see use fear or scarcity to encourage readers to click through. There’s nothing like someone trying to convince me I have a problem I didn’t know about!

A recent example: “7 ways to have more boundaries between work and life.” Now, this is a topic I care about a lot. But there’s no way that there are only seven ways to develop healthy boundaries. And boundaries are so powerful and complex – in my experience – that a quick-fix list isn’t going to tackle the values, energy, practice, and self-worth it takes to tend to them.

Yes, these kinds of posts can be taken as inspiration. For sure! But I have to practice awareness when I come across them so that I’m not sucked into believing that the list (and advice) is comprehensive or appropriate for me.

Here’s my critical awareness checklist:

  • Does this post resonate with my experience?
  • Do the stories shared help me to understand my situation (or the situation of those I care about)?
  • Do I actually want the results this post is hoping to address?
  • What positive inspiration can I take from this?
  • Is there any fear, scarcity, manipulation or irrelevance I need to leave behind?

Here’s the thing: self-care around advice and online content

If you made it this far through the post, thank you! Thank you for listening and for giving your time to this post. I really appreciate it!

So what are the benefits to you? Well, I really want to share this idea that advice and feedback often tell us more about the person giving it than the person receiving it. In fact, Tara Mohr goes as far as to say that it only tells us about the person giving it. It’s always our choice whether we want to buy into their opinion.

(Meta moment: even as you read this post, you’re welcome to disagree with it or dismiss it if it doesn’t resonate with you!)

There is so much wisdom in the world, and the internet makes it more accessible. Hooray! But volume isn’t always the most helpful. Just because someone wrote a thing doesn’t mean it’s for me or going to help me. (And, most of the time, if there’s a click-bait, scarcity or fear based title, it’s already in the “nope” category for me.)

I’m learning to be more discerning about what I consume online so that I’m not feeding the depression or anxiety. It’s a practice – I have to remind myself every day. But today I offer this experience, and my opinion, to you too.

With love and much care

Jenny x

PS I’m planning to teach resilience and self-care around social media for business owners this October. There’s a teeny tiny bit of info here if you’re interested.

Here’s the thing: how I first became aware of depression and anxiety

18/08

depression and anxiety 18 08 (1)First, a big thank you to everyone who got in touch after last week’s blog post. I had a LOT of “me too” emails, and I can’t wait to bring you more support if you are managing depression and/or anxiety in your life and business.

Today I thought I’d share a bit about when I first became aware of depression and anxiety for what they are, as well as some of my beliefs about what it’s like to live and work with mental health challenges. It’s in telling these stories and offering tools and resources that I hope to help other business owners thrive, even with limitations.

When Jenny met Depression

I was on the bus. I was maybe 19, and travelling between my part-time job and my shared house. It was miserable outside, I remember that. I felt like, despite long hours on uni work and a part-time job, I wasn’t getting anywhere. I felt stuck. I had a boyfriend, but not in the same city, and we didn’t often have the time or cash to visit or call or text. I had friends, but didn’t feel I could share feelings with them – we were meant to be having fun and changing the world and having an awesome time. It was raining, and the prospect of getting home to more work and eating something rustled up from fairly empty cupboards wasn’t particularly cheering.

This is the first moment I remember being aware of depression; aware of the heaviness and the potential for hopelessness. I felt the stuck-ness, and it felt like it was sucking me in.

My external circumstances weren’t great, but they weren’t dire. This was the day when I realised it was more about the internal landscape than the external. This wasn’t “having a bad week”. It was a sense of futility and sadness and loneliness that I couldn’t shake with an early night and decent meal. It was longer term and further reaching than being in a funk or struggling with a heavy workload.

It would take me another couple of years to seek dedicated support or even say aloud, “I think I’m depressed.” But this was the moment when I knew it was something that was more than “normal” struggle.

At the time, I turned my attention to working harder. I read some self-help books. I dealt with it in the way I’ve often dealt with adversity: by over-performing. I thought if I just “snapped out of it” and found success, I’d feel better.

Well, I got a degree and a job and had a good relationship, and I still found myself feeling hopeless and tired and emotional. I found a therapist. I started admitting that this wasn’t about the circumstances. I started to realise that no matter how much I achieved, Depression wasn’t going to fade.

And this is why I believe so many self-employed people can struggle with depression – because we’re always waiting for success to tell us we’ll be okay, that we deserve it.

I’ve heard from people who thought their depression was one-off, was based on a specific occasion. And while certain circumstances can trigger grief and sadness, they can also open our eyes to patterns and to the realisation that something bigger is going on.

My journey with anxiety

My experiences with anxiety are different to depression. In general, these days, I don’t struggle with anxiety very much. But I certainly have. The first time I really struggled was maybe a year or so after that day on the bus, and just after I’d started seeing a therapist. I was at a gig, and had that sudden sense of not being safe. I couldn’t get out of the building – I couldn’t see the door.

For me, panic attacks are nauseating and light-headed. I can’t stand up by myself and I can’t imagine walking. At that gig, I got outside and sat in probably a pretty horrible smoking area and waited until I started to feel normal again. At the time, it was coupled with the fact that I felt I’d ruined the gig for my friends, so I was desperately trying to be normal. I think I even went for a drink afterwards. (Which isn’t what I’d recommend!)

These days, I’ve worked through a lot of the things that triggered anxiety for me, and it’s a long time since I had a panic attack. I’m more grounded than I’ve ever been, mostly because I don’t fight myself anymore.

But I remember. And I know how anxiety can affect people. So it’s also here, as part of the work and the support. Anxiety and worry – chronic or otherwise – has already been a theme of my work with clients. So many come to me when they can’t see the wood for the trees. I’ll keep working with it and talking about it, alongside depression.

Here’s the thing: your story

First, there’s no shame in acknowledging that depression and anxiety are part of your life. Especially around here. I think some people are afraid of it, and I understand that. But I truly believe it’s possible to live a good life and to manage depression and anxiety – so many of us are already doing it. (Around one in four adults struggle with depression. One in four! Let’s talk about it.)

And as I said in my last post, if this isn’t for you, no worries! Maybe you’re not as far down the line as “depressed”, but you’re still interested in integrating human with business. Because a lot of the depression management I know about can also apply to heart-led, soulful and highly sensitive people. Or maybe you’re just interested. That’s cool. Great to have you.

If you know you struggle with depression and/or anxiety (or suspect that you do), I encourage you to remember when you first noticed it. By claiming your experiences and your stories, you get to notice that you’re bigger than the struggle.

Here are some writing prompts:

  • What’s your first memory of experiencing depression or anxiety?
  • What was going on at the time?
  • How did it feel, physically and emotionally?
  • What was your reaction to it? Did you try to stop feeling “bad”? Did you seek help? Did you accept the experience or squash it?
  • Looking back, what did you need at the time?

I’m not a certified therapist, so go gently with this, and seek support if you need it. These prompts are intended to help you explore your experiences, but please take care of yourself if you’re not in the right frame of mind to explore this right now.

What’s your story?

As I build up my resources for business owners with depression, I’m inviting anyone who wants to to get in touch with their story. Not only do I want to support you and allow you an outlet to share your experiences and understand your story, it also helps me to understand what I can offer in more detail.

So please, if you want to, let me know your story. Get in touch. Let’s talk about how we can survive and thrive while managing mental health challenges.

Jenny x

Meet Jenny

I’m passionate about creative small businesses and the people behind them. My unique blend of industry experience and creative intuition allow me to guide entrepreneurs towards their full potential, whatever stage they’re at. My specialities are storytelling and finding clarity in busy and often messy places. Read more.

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