When I moved to Philly almost 8 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 solo-preneurs 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. Currently I’m working in pottery and improv. 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.
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 understand. When you’re working as a solo-preneur, 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. I’ve also become involved with a community through the improv workshops.
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 honest just to be nice. The key is that they honestly believe you can accomplish your goals. Research shows, over and over, the power of the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. If your friends – and sometimes your coach – secretly thinks 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.
Happy New Year! Please leave a comment about your own experiences with moving to the New Year.