When I moved to Philly almost 10 years ago, I had to decide what to keep and what to toss. I was tempted to follow the maxim, “When in doubt, throw it out,” but in fact sometimes taking something along will actually save time and space in the future.
Moving to a New Year also encourages the question, “What do we take along? What do we leave behind? And what do we look for, if we don’t have it already?”
My recommendations may seem counter-intuitive, but they’re based on my experience working with busy, successful solopreneurs and independent professionals. What I’ve found is that each of these tips actually expands your opportunities because you become more energized, more alive, and just more of who you are.
A passion *outside* the workplace.
I don’t know about you, but I make better decisions, think more clearly, and get more creative when my week includes escape routes.
I’m an especially big fan of things that require doing instead of watching. Since I work with words, I like to experiment with activities that call for other kinds of creativity, even though I have no talent. Before Covid closed us down, I was working in ceramics and improv. I’ve also done stand-up comedy. These classes help me become a more productive business owner, even though I can’t trace a direct cause and effect.
Dogs count! When you have to take that dog for a walk, no matter what, your brain shifts into a new gear, often with surprising results. My wonderful Gracie crossed the bridge last August and I’ll always be grateful for her firm insistence on 4 walks a day, rain or shine. I still walk and 10X my productivity with workouts from obefitness.com (I don’t get anything for mentioning them).
Your tribe: community and identity
When one of the marketers I admire talked about her “tribe” at a local organization, I didn’t get it. “They’re like my family!” she would say.
But now I’ve got a couple of tribes in Philadelphia and I finally understand. When you’re working solo, your life can get lonely. Your clients and your coach appreciate what you do, but where’s the community?
In Philadelphia, I now work mostly in IndyHall, a coworking space, something I never thought I’d like. It’s a place where I’m recognized and it’s impossible to have a bad day for more than about 5 minutes. We’re currently closed but we do a lot of connecting online.
I’ve also become involved with the comedy community through the improv workshops and standup.
Of course, your tribe might be a family, a club like Rotary or Kiwanis, or a neighborhood. What’s important is that you’re respected as a person. You’re more than what you do.
Supporters who believe in you and your business.
You don’t need cheerleaders who will say, “You’re wonderful,” even when they see you driving yourself into a wall. And you don’t need naysayers who try to be supportive by saying, “Maybe you should just get a job.”
We all need supporters who will say encouraging words when the going gets rough – but who won’t hold back on honesty just to be nice. The key is that they genuinely believe you can accomplish your goals. Research shows, over and over, the power of the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.
If your friends – and sometimes your coaches – secretly think you’re a loser, don’t be surprised if you keep hitting walls. If your family members discourage you, consider working with a family therapist. I know people who reinvented their families but that’s a very personal decision.
Why these 3 take-alongs?
Chris Guillebeau (author of Side Hustle and other books) told an audience to forget about perseverance. The key, he says, is being open and adaptable. If you can’t reach your dream one way, be ready to try something different.
When you’re finding joy, community, and support, you’ll avoid being stuck. You’ll be in a place of playful creativity where you’re open to new ideas, willing to make major shifts, and get the support you need to keep going.
Happy New Year! Please leave a comment about your own experiences with moving to the New Year.