How I Survived My Diving Certification

I have to tell you that for someone who gets claustrophobic and who is terrified by the idea of being underwater without air…getting my diving certification was a big deal. It was going to really involve mentally pushing through my fears and focusing to get through the skills I needed to learn. And I have to tell you…a LOT went wrong.

  1. I wasn’t aware that I needed to have the online learning done before coming in on day 1, and so I was up until 2 in the morning getting through the entire online course before class on day 2.
  2. A wasp flew directly in my face and I dropped my air tank on the ground.
  3. My mask was too big and kept leaking.
  4. My regulator wasn’t working properly at one point and every time I tried to perform the skill where I was required to remove my mask and breathe for a minute without it on (WITHOUT holding my nose), I would suck in air. (I will add that I did perfectly fine when I switched regulators.)
  5. My mask was too tight when I was 20 feet below the surface and every time I tried to clear it, it flooded worse, until I finally was forced to surface.

Let me say that these problems did nothing to EASE my fears. After the final dive where I finally relaxed, the instructor pointed out that that was the first dive where she hadn’t noticed me shaking. Great.

On the bright side, I finally conquered my fear. Or at least enough to finish my certification!

I was thinking about it on the drive home today…how in business, we hit road blocks and things go wrong and some days we just want to throw in the towel (pun not intended). The idea of embarrassing ourselves or screwing up is just too dang scary to even think about. Who the heck do we think we are, anyway?

There are so many voices inside our heads that tell us all the things that could go wrong…but it’s in those moments we need to just focus on the task at hand. Just get through that moment, and then the next moment, and the next… until you realized that you’ve passed the test. Your fear may not go away, mine certainly didn’t! But if you keep learning the skills you need to pass those tests you will be successful (even if you get a few bumps and bruises along the way).

And like in diving, make sure you don’t go it along. Have a dive buddy, or in the case of business, an accountability buddy. Someone who can help you deal with being overwhelmed and can help keep you on track. Let your accountability buddy be that person you share air with when you’re 40 feet under and terrified to move.

How I Learned to Start Saying “No”

I was sitting at brunch with a friend and very successful entrepreneur one Saturday morning chatting about her business. As we sat there sipping our mimosas, we were talking about how far she had come. When she arrived in Tampa/St. Petersburg she literally knew no one and immediately started attending networking events and laying the groundwork for her business.

“But how did you go from that point to where you are now?” I pressed.

“I just started saying ‘yes’ to every opportunity that came along,” she said.

I can do that, I thought later.

So from that point forward, I committed to saying yes to every opportunity that came along.

Big mistake.

I swear it was almost overnight that I started to get offers to get involved with this and promote that. I agreed to be part of a network marketing group. Soon after I agreed to take over managing someone’s social media platform, even though I was already beyond my limit.

I was working every weekend and staying up late at night to get everything accomplished. I was burning out fast.

I finally had to come to terms with the truth – I have many talents, but network marketing is not one of them. I also had to eventually drop the client because it wasn’t lucrative enough to be worth my time.

I realized that I didn’t need to learn to say yes. What I needed to do was learn to say “no.”

Just like anyone else, I only have 24 hours in a day. The question is, how will I spend that time? Like most entrepreneurs, I have my driven, masculine side, the part of me that says, “you need to push harder, work later, go faster, stronger, and longer,” but how in the world could I ever free up space in my life for the really amazing opportunities if I was wasting my valuable time with all the BS that came along?

As entrepreneurs we love new ideas and trying out new things, but the problem is we need to focus on what we are good at and stop wasting our time with every bright, shiny object that comes along. This doesn’t mean you don’t ever go outside your comfort zone or that you don’t stretch your limits, because that’s important too. But this does mean you let go of the things that don’t fit into your core mission or that don’t utilize your strengths.

When you start looking at your strengths, identify who your ideal client is, and evaluate what you want your business and your life to look like, it becomes really clear when you need to embrace an opportunity or idea and when you need to learn to say, “no.” Chances are that for every “no,” a better opportunity will come along instead, because you’ve made room for it in your life.

Do you have trouble saying no? Have you found that saying “no” brought along better opportunities to say “yes”?

How to Use Twitter to Generate Ideas for Your Blog

twitter-birdDo you ever have those days when you know you need to write but you just can’t, for the life of you, think of what you should write about? We all have those days. However, did you ever stop and consider that there is a massive idea generation tool right under your nose?

Twitter is a great tool for finding specific problems that people are having…problems you may be able to help with! Check out these three ways to use Twitter to find ideas for blog posts and articles.

Advanced search.

Go to twitter.com/search-advanced to start doing searches on keywords in your niche. You can search specific keyword phrases or any of the words in your keyword phrase. More importantly, however, the advanced search allows you to select the Question box at the bottom and search specifically for tweets where people are asking questions. Be prepared: there will be a lot of useless Tweets you will have to wade through. However, you’re almost guaranteed to find a few great questions that people are asking.

Instead of simply responding to the Tweet with an answer, create an entire blog post answering the question. After you’ve finished the post, respond to the person with a link to your post answering their question. Chances are they’ll be blown away by your thorough response to their dilemma. (This is a great way to drive more traffic to your blog, as well.)

Search hashtags.

Have you ever searched hashtags related to your niche to see what kind of results you got? Try it! And don’t just try your keywords, try different phrases to see what people are talking about. And just in case you are still having trouble finding questions people are asking online, chances are you’ll come across some great titles for content that you could create. I am not in any way suggesting you steal someone else’s work, but by browsing through tweets, inspiration and ideas may just strike.

Check out trends.

If you spend any time at all in Twitter, you will have noticed the section on the left where Twitter tells you hashtags that are trending. Take advantage of the opportunity to write a blog post on or around that topic. After you’re done, tweet out your new post and use that hashtag. Take it a step further by asking your friends to retweet the post. Who knows, if you get enough people retweeting the new post, you may find your tweet with your new blog at the top of the trending tweets!

What do you do when you’re trying to brainstorm new ideas for your blog? Where and how do you find inspiration?

Top 3 Methods for Curating Great Content

content-is-kingThere is no doubt that the number one rule on social media is to provide value. However, there is no way you can possibly be the sole source of content for every subject in your niche…nor should you! Even the best content producers recognize the value in curating content for their followers. Mari Smith, for example, sends out newsletters with not only her own recent articles, but also other articles that she has found informative or useful in the past week.

Many are under the mistaken assumption that if you provide content written/created by someone else, that you will be sending your fans away for good. However, the reality is that by providing so much great content, from your own blog as well as other sources, you will continue to demonstrate that you are an authority figure within your field – because you took the time to sift through the overwhelming amount of information on the web and provide your best ones to your audience.

So how do you go about curating content for your fans? Check out these top 3 methods for finding content.

Google Alerts.

You can set up Google Alerts for keywords based upon your niche and the subjects your target audience is interested in learning about. Google Alerts will essentially search the “News” and send you an email for each keyword search with the best results. This is a great way of finding out the latest and greatest within your industry…without having to manually search.

Set aside a period of time each day that you will spend going through this content. Not only will it provide you with industry “news” you can share on your own social networks, it also provides ideas for blog content, information you could include in a tip series, or just information for your own education. Topics like social media are constantly changing and it’s important that you stay on top of everything. Google Alerts allow you to do so in the most efficient way possible.

Social Media.

Have you ever learned about late breaking news from social media networks? I know I have. Heck, I learned that Bin Laden had been killed through Facebook. People are constantly sharing information on social media and it’s a great place to find great content to curate. LinkedIn does this for you via email or you can log onto the site and sift through the articles. Create lists with influencers and other great content producers on Twitter as go-to sources when you need content to share. You can also do keyword searches using the Advanced Search functionality or search for specific hashtags. The Facebook app, Post Planner, is a great source of content that is trending on Facebook and you can create keyword lists for a wide variety of content based on your industry.

Note: If you’re retweeting someone’s shared content on Twitter, I suggest adding a comment so that you add your own voice to the mix. Do you agree with it? Do you not agree? Is there a point that you find especially useful? Don’t just retweet, show that you have read the article and that you are contributing.

News aggregators.

Flipboard. This app is great for finding great content when you’re on the go. Designed to provide news in a more visually appealing way than a list view, it also allows you to pull in your Facebook and Twitter news feeds, essentially bringing all your content and social media channels into one convenient location. After downloading to your phone, you simply select from the topics that are of interest to you.

Prismatic. Available as an app as well as online, this tool provides you with content based on your interests. It also sends you updates via email, based on the interests you selected.

The reality is that there’s no shortage of tools to help you find content. The key to curating content is time. In our digital age, there is so much content that finding the time in your schedule to sift through it all is difficult. Setting aside a period of time every day to catch up on your “news” (over coffee in the morning, perhaps?) is essential to establishing yourself as a leader in your niche. It’s also essential if you want to stay on top of any changes or advancements in your industry. Consider it an essential part of your job…one you can’t afford to skip!

5 Ways to Create Epic Content People Will Want to Share

Technology and, more specifically, social media connects us in such amazing ways. I’ve connected with people not only in the United States, but in Canada and even Uganda! How amazing is that? Facebook, the first real social media powerhouse, currently has about 1 billion users worldwide! And 2.5 billion pieces of content are shared every single day. Incredible!

With all that content, though, it’s no wonder that Facebook has had to tweak the algorithm to improve what users are seeing. Yes, it makes it more difficult to get into the news feed, as a business, but such is life, right? It was bound to happen eventually and Facebook is a business with shareholder expectations…they have to meet THEIR bottom lines too. So what do WE do about it? Well, for starters we have to produce great content. No, scratch that, we have to produce EPIC, SHAREABLE content. Content that, even if it only gets into the newsfeeds of a few people, they will HAVE to share it. Check out these 5 ways to produce shareable content.

  1. Be authentic. In the past, courage in business was defined by being strong and controlled and in charge. Today that has changed. Today courage means being vulnerable and authentic – sharing the ups and the downs, the hardships and the wins. Share the behind the scenes moments in your life, the goofy things you do and the mistakes you make. It will help people to connect with you on a human level, which will encourage them to buy from you.
  2. Make them laugh. People love to laugh, and while you don’t need to have them rolling on the floor (#ROFL) with every single post, “sharing a laugh” with your fans will help to build connections.
  3. Create content that is visually appealing. You have a second or two (at best) to catch someone’s eye before they continue scrolling down the newsfeed, so your posts need to be visually appealing. That’s why photos are so popular (a picture IS worth a thousand words). Photos get shared on Facebook far more often than other types of posts, so don’t be afraid to put your text updates WITHIN a picture. WordSwag, PicMonkey and Canva are great options for easily creating beautiful, sharable content.
  4. Draw on emotion. Motivational quotes are popular because they resonate with people – they inspire, they play on our emotions, and even though some people may feel ridiculous sharing them from a business page….they work! If it makes you feel better, find quotes that inspire from a business perspective.
  5. Share BIG value. The more value you share with your fans the more they will want to share it with their friends and family online. Don’t be afraid of giving away too much, either. Give value to you fans without the expectation of reward and it will pay off, guaranteed. Even if a fan doesn’t need your services, they can easily become your biggest advocates and refer you to their friends.

So how bout you? What kind of content gets you the biggest response from your fans?

5 Tips for Using Instagram for Business

As far as social media platforms go, I think Instagram is still elusive for many. It’s not like Facebook or Twitter. It’s similar to Pinterest…but not really. We all know that it’s the coolest kid on the block right now (that could change tomorrow, so beware) but most small business owners aren’t quite sure what to do to utilize it effectively. However, I think everyone would agree that with the rapid growth in 2013 and the growth expected to continue in 2014, it’s definitely something we should be paying attention to. Check out these 5 tips to learn how you can grow your following on Instagram.

Combine fun with business.

When you post images to your business account, make sure you’re posting a combination of fun, more personal images alongside the business photos. Pictures of you hanging out with your pet will let fans see behind the curtain into your life, which is just as important as the pictures of your products in use or photos you take around the office.

I tend to share far more day-to-day life images on Instagram than any other platform. I suppose it’s because I post directly from my phone, like most.

Be easy to find and engage.

Link to your Instagram account from Facebook, and make sure you use relevant hashtags so your content can be found. You can even post your Instagram images to Facebook with the hashtags you want people to use to find your brand. You also must like and comment on the images of other users to get them to engage with and follow you. Just like any other social media platform, you must be sociable and actually engage with your audience.

Create a posting schedule.

Instagram is NOT like Twitter, which requires frequent (think: hourly) posting. Test out the frequency with which you post; maybe start with once a day and see the response you get from followers. You definitely don’t want to overwhelm your followers with constant posting, but you do want to be visible. It’s a balancing act and you’ll have to test to see what works and what doesn’t. The same goes with content — you’ll have to test different content to see what your audience best responds to.

Test out Instagram videos.

Similar to Twitter’s Vine, but with longer, 15 seconds of recording time and the ability to add filters. Use this to post quick tips, share fun happenings around the office, or just catch something that would be of interest to your fans.

Use Statigr.am.

If you’re interested, it also has a paid feature that allows you to set up and manage contests for your Instagram account – which can create major buzz for your business should you decide to make the investment and use this feature.

This web-based management tool is designed to provide detailed analytics for your Instagram account. Use this to navigate easily through photos and videos, commenting, sharing or reposting as you go. It’s a fantastic tool since it allows you to put down your phone and use Instagram within your web browser and view multiple photos at one time. Use it to respond quickly and easily to the most recent comments on the images you have posted.

While Instagram does require time just like any other social media platform, the benefit of being there is that it’s still in the early adoption stages for businesses. Most businesses don’t really know yet how to capitalize on the tool. And as I said before, it’s also very much the cool kid on the block right now and definitely a favorite for teens and young adults – and if this is your target audience, you DEFINITELY want to be there.

Another benefit of Instagram, however, is that unlike Twitter and Facebook, which require frequent posting to remain engaged, Instagram is still a relatively laid back environment that requires somewhat less maintenance than other social media platforms (at least for now).

If you want to see the account of someone who’s killin’ it on Instagram, check out Chalene Johnson.

So what do you think? Do you see yourself using Instagram for your business?

5 Ways to Manage Your Social Media Accounts…Without Letting it Consume Your Life

One of the biggest complaints about social media is that business owners struggle to find time to manage it all. Between Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube, not to mention a company blog, managing your social media presence is a full time job in itself – and many small businesses just don’t have the time and resources to commit to this monumental task.

I’m not going to lie to you, social media does take time. There’s no way to get around that. However, there are some things you can do to make the most of your time. Use these 5 tips to better manage your social media accounts…without letting it consume all your time.

Set a timer.

It’s easy to get distracted when you sit down to post to Facebook or Twitter. You intend to scan the newsfeed for “just a minute” and the next thing you know, ten minutes has passed…if you’re lucky.

Carve out a specific amount of time every day for managing your social media accounts, set a timer and stick to it! Go into it with a plan for finding and creating new content and engaging your fans or followers. For me, I find that doing my social media scheduling first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee is the opportune time. Afterwards I turn off social media (and those pesky notifications) entirely and only check back every few hours to respond to comments as necessary. If you don’t keep your social media confined within a specific time window, it can very quickly consume large chunks of your day.

Produce content in bulk and schedule.

This is huge when it comes to time management, because it allows you to quickly post your content without having to come up with ideas for new content day after day. This will take some planning ahead, obviously. In your free time (yeah, I know, who has free time, right?) create a list of 100+ tips that are relevant to your niche that you can post to Twitter every day (keep them to 130 characters to leave people room to retweet you).

You can take those same tips and put them into images using PicMonkey or Canva and post them daily to your Facebook page. They could also make a great board in Pinterest. Make sure you put your logo onto the images to brand them for your business.

While all this content creation takes time, it will be a no-brainer when it’s time to schedule content. Simply go down the list and schedule posts hourly for Twitter using Hootsuite (unfortunately frequency is necessary here since the average Tweet has a lifespan of 30 seconds). You can follow the same approach with scheduling 4-6 Facebook posts on Facebook, 1-2 of which could be from that tip series.

Another way to save time with content creation is to multi-task when you’re doing more mindless tasks. If you’re sitting enjoying some down time in front of the TV, why not create some motivational quotes on PicMonkey or Canva?

Start small.

It’s really tempting to want to jump in and start a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a Google Plus business page, a YouTube Channel and an Instagram account all at once. However, if you do that without the time or the right strategies in place you’ll burn out very quickly.

You’ll also do a poor job of managing all of them.

You know the expression, “jack of all trades, master of nothing”? That will be you. It’s better to start small on the platforms you’re either most familiar with, or the ones on which you know you will be most successful.

For example, if you’re a chiropractor, you might find most of your success networking on Twitter and sharing tips, articles and inspiration on Facebook and Google Plus. But it also makes sense, if you don’t have the initial time, to refrain from setting up accounts on YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest. Not to say that you can’t be successful on those platforms (you could eventually create videos where you demonstrate different procedures or show how different equipment in your office works), but you may want to start small and work your way up to that.

Sit down and brainstorm which platforms are best for you, and start where you will have the greatest impact.

Use your “dead” time.

I hate “dead” time. I can’t even drive without chatting on the phone (via Bluetooth of course) or listening to a podcast. So sitting at doctors’ appointments, cab rides, time at the airport, or other “dead” times is torture.

That’s not to say I don’t even my free time or that I have to work 24/7! But getting from point A to point B or waiting on someone with nothing to do is painful. Cell phones (or, more accurately, smart phones), the internet and social media have, for better or worse, left us in a position where we are used to being “plugged in” at all times.

However, you can take advantage of these moments of dead time to respond to comments, retweet people on Twitter, and even create new content…all from your phone while you wait! It’s a great way to get some simple but vital tasks accomplished. And hey, what else were you going to do?

Create a content schedule.

Have a plan in mind for the types of content you want to post each day. Do you want to post a tip daily? Do you want to post something motivational? What about a humorous post or a question to get some engagement? Think about what your content strategy looks like and have a plan for what TYPES of content you plan to post each day. This will help a ton, since you will spend less time brainstorming what you should post (when it could be anything and everything) and instead think, “okay, I know I want to share something inspirational, so what should I post?”

Facebook killed my organic reach…now what?

There’s no one who’s going to deny that Facebook has moved to a ‘pay-to-play’ model. Even Facebook gurus like Mari Smith have agreed that they have seen a decrease in reach. In the past, marketers have tried to ‘game’ the system. For example…

Facebook shows pictures more than strictly text updates so every update was a picture of some kind. Then it appeared that brands’ text updates were being shown more, so the switch was made to do more of that…

What I’m going to suggest you do, instead, may blow your mind… and it may not make the powers that be (who are interested in metrics) very happy. But what I suggest is that you stop worrying so much about the vanity metrics like “Talking About This.” <gasp> Yeah, I know it’s hard to do since it seems like it’s ingrained in us.

Instead, focus on creating EPIC content that your fans will WANT to share.  I have listed below 20 different types of content that will help to get your fans engaged.

  1. Funny pictures, related to your business or otherwise.
  2. Fill in the blank statements that are fun and easy to answer.
  3. Tips and tricks related to your business in some way, even indirectly.
  4. Motivational quotes.
  5. Funny quotes.
  6. Beautiful, eye-catching images (especially good if you take them yourself of your clients or your business).
  7. Personal stuff that allows people to get to know you better.
  8. Insightful infographics that provide value to them.
  9. Well written, informative articles that provide value to them (seeing a pattern here?).
  10. News and tips from events you attend.
  11. Fun questions.
  12. Funny videos.
  13. Anything controversial (you may not want to go here, depending on your brand, but controversial news stories can really get people talking).
  14. Contests.
  15. Predictions.
  16. Tips for new tools that your fans would find useful.
  17. Instgram pictures from your desk or wherever you’re working.
  18. Movie recommendations.
  19. Recommendations for services/pages to follow for great content.
  20. Deals and special offers, because isn’t this the reason everyone really follows a brand?

Visit my free Facebook group for more tips to grow your business on social media.

Conquering Your Fear

Have you ever noticed that there are some people who are just born to be entrepreneurs? It’s like they were born with some gene that prevents them from considering the possibility that they might fail, as if they were born fearless. I, I am sorry to say, am not one of those people.

When I decided to start my business, I had many people say, “I hope that works out for you.” Which technically sounds positive but I could HEAR the skepticism in their voice, and I would walk away wanting to scream. It also didn’t help calm my fears, which were growing at a rapid pace. And even though the job market is still somewhat unpredictable and people are still losing their jobs daily, the ideal of walking away from my full time job seemed like walking away from my safety net.

Fear, unfortunately, can be debilitating for many of us, and can prevent us from taking the necessary steps to achieving the lives we want.

For me, my fear was based in the fact that I might fail. However, I asked myself, and you should as well, “what is the worst that can happen if I DO fail?

If the first thing doesn’t work out, you simply try something else until you get the service, product or even just the messaging right. Instead of being afraid of failure you need to use the fail fast approach. Learn quickly what doesn’t work and then make changes until you figure out what does work.

Fear of failure isn’t the only fear many of us face, however. There’s also that fear of looking stupid or affecting the way others perceive us, fear that is grounded in our ego. On those occasions you have to just think bigger picture and ask yourself, “What is my purpose?”

“What is my intention?”

“Why am I doing this to begin with?”

In many cases, you’re doing it because you have this thing, this product or service that you’re passionate about bringing into the world and you can’t wait to share it with others. By taking yourself to that place and looking at the larger picture, you will hopefully be able to move past your fear because you passion is stronger than the fear. And aren’t you simply curious what will happen if you DO try and you DO take that risk?

And if that doesn’t work, try a few deep breaths and then simply try to put it out of your mind. I often do this when my fears threaten to get the better of me. You have to do your best not to spend too much time and waste too much energy being afraid of things that may never come to past.

And whatever you do, don’t let your fears prevent you from acting.

Remember: it’s okay to smart small and imperfect. It’s better than not starting at all.

5 Things I’ve Learned as a Military Wife…And How They Apply to Business

Hello! This is my first entry on my new site and even though my mission is to help business owners, particularly female entrepreneurs, in the health and wellness industry to grow their businesses on social media…I wanted to start by sharing something a little more personal: my experience as a military wife, the lessons I have learned and how they have helped to shape the way I see business. Here are five lessons I’ve learned as a military wife…and how they apply to business.

You Have to Be Flexible. Shortly after we married, my husband learned that his squadron was being transferred overseas…and that, for the time, I would not be allowed to go. While it was a major hit for us, changes like this happen all the time for military families. Troops are deployed unexpectedly, squadrons are transferred and deployments are shifted or extended. I think one of my biggest struggles is that I am a type-A personality who likes to be in control. The military and I have definitely been at odds on more than one occasion because of its unwillingness to comply with what I need. However, the same is true in business, isn’t it? Deals don’t come through as expected. Deadlines aren’t met. Changes have to be made. In business, just as in military life, you have to learn to be flexible and take things as they come. You have to accept that things aren’t always going to fall into place like you would prefer. All you can do is do the best you can with what you’re given. Remember: It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.

You Must Have a Support Group. Military wives are notorious for trying to go it alone. After all, our spouses are out risking their lives for our country. The least we can do is hold everything together on the home front. So what do we do? We try to be superwoman. We try to do it all. However, over time, cracks start to form and the next thing you know you’re home alone, rocking back and forth on the sofa in a catatonic state (okay, a slight exaggeration, but you get the point). My bigger point is: we all need help. We all need a support system. This is absolutely true in business. No matter how good you are at what you do, there is always going to be someone better (unless you’re someone like Donald Trump or Bill Gates, maybe). There are always going to be new ideas in marketing and new ideas in sales and the only way you can grow and become stronger as an individual and better within your business is to have a solid support group who you can go to for enrichment. Some take classes, others use Meet Up groups and others attend networking meetings. It is imperative, however, that whatever you choose, you have an outlet of SOME KIND for support and the exchange of ideas.

You Must Be Prepared to Make Sacrifices. You know, no matter how prepared you are when you marry into the military there is no way to comprehend what it’s like to go through long periods of separation (I’m facing a six month deployment and cannot comprehend what it must be like for families coping with year-long deployments). But I did know, going in, that I would be making sacrifices…and isn’t the same true in business? I have a few friends who own their own small businesses and I can remember on more than one occasion waking up at 6:00 in the morning and seeing posts as recently as an hour before where one of those friends was up, working still. The other works regularly on nights and weekends. Fortunately for them, they put in the long hours because they love what they do. But, at the same time, you can’t tell me that they haven’t, at times, wanted to be out having fun on a Saturday night instead of at home working to meet deadlines. In the end, however, the pleasure of owning and running your own business and the long-term paybacks of that business should outweigh the sacrifice.

You Have to Give Yourself a Break Sometimes. This one was a hard one for me to learn. You know how I said that we all try to be superwoman, but that eventually that level of energy and dedication just can’t last? Well, often when you realize you just can’t do it anymore, you experience a feeling of defeat. On those occasions, it’s important to tell yourself: it is okay. Likewise, it’s really easy to beat ourselves up when things don’t go according to plan in our business. It’s easy to push ourselves past the point of exhaustion and think we have to keep going (well maybe not easy, but it’s easy to think that’s what we SHOULD do). But it’s extremely important to sometimes just give ourselves a break. Allow yourself a day off to do something you love and leave the smart phone behind. Spend the day lying in bed watching movies and just “be.” Chances are you’ll go back the next day more rested and rejuvenated and ready to work 10x harder than before.

You Must Create balance. I think this is a tough one for anyone. We want to be the best we can be at our jobs but, as a military wife, there are times you have to be both mom and dad (this goes back to my superwoman point), which means you don’t have the luxury of throwing all your energy into your work. While I haven’t yet had kids, I have had to reassess the balance in my life. Learning when to unplug from email and social media and focus on my friends and family (and not isolate myself in between the unplugging and reconnecting process), can be challenging. It’s really important for business owners to take a long hard look at their calendars and really assess how they’re spending their time. Are you constantly on your phone in the evening? Are you checking your phone 10x a day during family vacations? Ask yourself how you spend your time during the day, from the moment you open your eyes till the time you go to bed. Assess how you are managing your time and make sure you have the right work/life balance so that your family doesn’t have to sacrifice on the quality time they spend with you.

The most important thing to remember is that no one is perfect and no business is always going to run smoothly. All you can do is take each challenge as it comes. To quote Zig Ziglar, “Failure is an event, not a person. Yesterday ended last night.” Each day presents the chance for a fresh start and another new opportunity.

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