The Importance of Personal Growth for Your Business

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“Because if you take a risk, you just might find what you're looking for.”

― Susane Colasanti, Take Me There

2018 is over and a new year has begun. I can say unequivocally that 2018 was a year of personal growth, and one filled with lessons learned through both my disappointments and my successes. Looking back, it feels as though it passed in the blink of an eye. There were so many things I wanted to do and didn’t have the opportunity to, so many things I began but didn’t complete. Time continues on and some days, we just fall behind!

In today’s blogpost I wanted to share with you a little of what I learned in 2018, so that mine and your 2019 can be full of possibility and no regrets! ;)

One very important lesson I learned while listening to James Wedmore’s Podcast, episode 221, is that you will not be more successful in accomplishing goals and planning for the new year if you don’t properly reflect and review the year that has passed. I completely agree! Acknowledge your mistakes, wins and losses. Dig into old patterns and write down the lessons learned. This will help you clearly identify what worked so you know what to continue with into the new year, and prevent you from repeating the same mistakes.

I’m so happy I took the time to reflect. It allowed me to really look at all that happened last year in a detailed and compassionate way.

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What did I find out?

I learned a number of things about myself that I never would have admitted a year ago…

  1. No morning or evening routine

  2. Not showing up consistently

  3. Let fear hold me back

  4. I often make emotionally driven decisions

  5. Negative perspective before positive

  6. I don’t take enough time to work on my business

  7. Rarely take time to stop and celebrate milestones, jumping to the next item on the list to the point of exhaustion without joy.

  8. I’m a prisoner to perfectionism

It was only when I started to take time off and work on my personal and spiritual growth, that I began to see change.

Shanna Skidmore mentioned in one of her videos that she wasn’t in the habit of stopping, reflecting or celebrating and I could relate 100%. Are you taking time to reflect? To celebrate? Let me know in the comment section below!

I tend to forget to take the time to reflect, the time to celebrate. I race from one thing to the other and forget to pause, forget to practice any deeper reflection with each new month, neglect practicing gratitude and rarely celebrate small wins or big wins. But taking that time will actually help motivate you, and motivation is a driving force to really get moving, feel inspired and create.

What did I learn from this discovery?

  1. First and foremost, take time to pause! I’ve created a morning routine where I take time to read, pray, and keep a journal to write down my thoughts that begin the day. In the evening, I look back and write down the small wins for the day and at least 3-5 things that I am grateful for. This simple habit helps to shift your frame of mind from a negative outlook to a more positive one, and can help to lead to a happier sense of being.

  2. I now schedule one day each month where I review the month just passed, both the positive and the negative, and use what I’ve learned to help set goals for the month ahead. This helps push me closer to achieving the big goals I’m aiming for by year’s end.

  3. Lastly, I now take time to celebrate each month! My word of the year is CELEBRATE!

I was brought up in a family where perfection wasn’t good enough. The negative was always pointed out. There was no self-confidence building, no compliments, no praise or congratulations. In my mind, I always felt I needed to give more than 100% to satisfy people. What others said or thought about me was a major influencing factor in my life. I thought the opinion of others would add value to my work instead of trusting and believing in myself.

So, over the past 8 years of business, I have consistently compared my work to others.

I listened to what other people said about me and my work, thinking I had to work more, work harder, put in longer hours in order to satisfy these other people and be more like them... Until finally, I realized that I wasn’t being myself! I’d been letting those around me dictate and influence both my decision making and my art. I let my emotions and fear guide me.

There was a turning point last year where I decided enough was enough, and I chose to make a change. I attended Darcy’s Workshop in Scotland and had some amazing and fascinating conversations with other vendors, such as Carry from Type A Society as well as Darcy herself. Though there were many lessons learned, one that stood out and one for which I’ll be forever thankful occured when Darcy and I were talking about my struggles. Darcy said, Tanja, you are too emotionally attached to your business and your work. Let it go. Detach yourself from the emotions that surround it. Stop comparing yourself to  somebody who has been in the business so much longer than you have.

It took time for me to understand what she meant by detaching from my emotions,

Though in time and with reflection, I began to really get it. When you feel a certain way in a certain moment and make a decision based on that feeling, you can get stuck in that emotionally based decision and may find yourself unable to move forward. For example, you’re afraid of what others may think or say about you so you choose to hide. You choose to consistently not show up. If you find yourself feeling frustrated, if you feel ‘less than’ and choose to give up until you feel better, you will miss out on opportunities to learn, heal and grow.

Comparing yourself to others is the number one killer of creativity and productivity. I wasted so much time last year that could have been used on creative work, and instead scrolled through and obsessively checked social media. I looked into my activity statistics and was shocked to see how many hours were wasted on Instagram and Pinterest, looking at other people’s pages instead of focusing on my own work. I felt so disheartened and completely unmotivated. I wasn’t good enough. They’re better. They had better features, better travel photos, better, better…I sunk into this negative, depressed and uninspired place instead of taking time to connect with myself, to write, to let my creative self connect with what I’ve been called to do. This was a huge lesson for me. The addictive quality of social media and it’s negative impact on our self confidence is astounding.

Celebrating what I learned from this experience!

  1. I now write down the weekly hours spent on Instagram and other social media apps so I can keep track and hold myself accountable.

  2. I write down top 3 goals each day that must be accomplished.

This helps me to stay focused and not jump haphazardly from one project to the next, stressing about the neverending list of things to do!

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What else did I learn from last year’s failures?

I wasn’t taking time off each week to really work on my business. Instead, I was constantly playing catch up with every other thing I felt I needed to accomplish from day to day.

  1. I’ve learned to stop using my to-do list as a distraction from sitting down and really planning for my business and the goals I want to accomplish within it. I now sit down on each week and have made this time part of my routine. I take a breath and focus, I plan out the annual quarters, the months, the weeks and the days by writing down specific goals (personal, professional and financial) and then write the milestones within these goals and the action I must take in order to accomplish them. By being so specific, you’re able to hold yourself accountable to your schedule, staying more focused with the knowledge that you know exactly what needs to be done. There is no debating what to do next, therefore no time will be wasted. For me, this keeps me from feeling overwhelmed and helps reduce anxiety. I also no longer have the excuse that I simply forgot to do something!

  2. Another awesome lesson I learned is the power of a positive mindset! Have you ever taken the time to stop and observe your thoughts? I noticed my mind instinctively points out the negative first. The negative too often guides so many of us and our emotions from day to day. We end up feeling angry and miserable for an entire day just because we let something insignificant that happened that morning at the bakery, or on the road or when you read an email, guide us and how we proceed.

There were many days last year that I felt frustrated, stuck and angry because something wasn’t working.

  1. I chose to change the way I was thinking, and forced myself to find something nice or good to say when I wanted to complain, my way of thinking began to shift. I began to start the day with an open mind, looking for things that I made me feel happy, finding people and experiences that I was grateful for. It truly helped make me a happier person! I felt more relaxed, I had fewer arguments with my husband and felt more emotionally balances. I didn’t let negative emotions rule my day.

  2. Take the time to practice gratitude, build it into both your morning and evening routines. Reflect upon yourself and the feelings that come up within you. Identify these feelings with kindness and compassion, asking why it is showing up and deciding if you want to allow it to be a part of your day.

The final mistake I discovered is the idea of not showing up and not being consistent. This seems to me to be a result of all of the previous lows that I allowed to rule me from day to day. Being afraid, allowing emotions and feelings to completely dictate what you decide to post, blog or craft, being driven by negative thoughts and talk, not having a strategy and plan for the year, quarter and month, comparing yourself to others and too much distraction...all of this leads to confusion and overwhelm, and your instinct is to protect yourself by not showing up and avoiding any situation that may make you feel ‘less than’. I was never consistent with my writing, my social media posts and marketing or even with teaching what I love, because I didn’t feel confident enough, I wasn’t perfect and I felt scared.

  1. I learned that fear is a sign that you have to do it. If your dream isn’t scary, it isn’t big enough! Neale Donald Walsch said, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” So when I wrote down my 2019 goals I made sure I had at least a few really scary ones to push myself outside of that comfort zone and allow myself to grow.

  2. If you want to truly grow, you need to let go of worries, fear, procrastinations and the need for perfectionism.

To close, here are a few reminders that I have hanging in my office to
keep me focused, positive and accountable.

  1. Follow through, even when it seems scary

  2. Take care of yourself (weekly gym session, sauna or massage)

  3. Don’t make excuses

  4. Save each month

  5. Take Sunday off

  6. Maintain a morning routine

  7. Don’t play the victim role

  8. Detach from unhelpful emotions

  9. Declutter

  10. Finish what you start

  11. Plan weekly date nights with Hubby

  12. No more impulsive investing

  13. Stay focused on the goal of content creation,

  14. Remove distractions

So to help you have an incredible 2019 – take a day off and write down your wins and loses of 2018. Write down lessons learned and celebrate all that you accomplished. Then start setting your big goals for 2019. Finally, take a leap of faith and begin! It’s the only way to overcome your fear of failing and get you out of your comfort zone. ;)

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For the brave ones, share your biggest lesson learned from last year in the comment section below :)

Thank you so much for joining.



Photographer who photographed me was Kristy Ryan from Blushwedphotos.