Let’s talk about cost vs. worth.
This is something I bring up often with myself and my coaching clients. Every day we’re confronted with options - decision fatigue is totally a real thing (who’s with me?) - and these options are either a cost or they’re worth it.
Because I know that building a business is hard... we have SO much we want to do (#allthethings right?) and such limited time to do it all.
This year was definitely a transformational year. I found that I couldn’t keep doing things the way I was, I needed to change up my habits, say no more often, change my mindset and get more strategic about my business planning.
It was both the best year ever and the absolute hardest.
I have never been more vulnerable in my life.
So here’s what I want to share with you...
These are the 15 things I invested in either with my money or my time that had the biggest impact on my business and life. Here’s my list with my notes on how these things transformed my business/life.
1.) Make Things Happen: I was scared to death to go this conference at the beginning of the year. I didn’t know anyone, I went by myself and no one could describe to me fully what this conference was about - I just knew I needed to go. This was my favorite investment of 2017 and the most impactful… I’ll tear up even thinking about this experience because it was unlike any other I’d ever experienced. I made lifelong friends, found an accountability partner that is also now a collaboration partner, I found peace, understanding and clarity around some of my most heart-wrenching inner turmoil, I was challenged to change up my habits (which I’ve since done), and I was inspired to go beyond my comfort zone and try new things/ideas I’d never tried before! (Some of them paid off and some of them didn’t, the point is - I went for it!) Attending the MTH conference by Lara Casey and the Cultivate What Matters team was the catalyst for what the rest of my year would turn into it. This was the spark that started the fire for the rest of my year. Without attending this conference, I can pretty confidently say none of these others miraculous shifts in my business/life would’ve occurred.
2.) Therapy: Boy oh boy, this is a big step for me. I’ve struggled with an anxiety and panic disorder my whole life (PTSD even), and as a child, I had a very traumatic experience with a therapist and frankly never went back since. I was scared to death to try therapy again… BUT, I knew I needed it. I was having panic attacks almost every week for awhile (which is A LOT), and they would wipe me out. No energy, no joy, just anxious fear. I was miserable and felt so stuck and trapped, like this cycle of panic would never be able to leave me. After the Make Things Happen conference, I wrote down and made it a goal to find a therapist. I wanted to be brave (follow my fear) and try therapy again. I didn’t know where to look, but I kept slowly looking things up and eventually telling a few close and trusted friends/family. Then, low and behold one of my best friends suggested a therapist she had worked with to me - and voila! I started meeting with her and I can’t even tell you how my life has changed. First and foremost, the panic cycle is done and secondly, I’ve had revelations left and right about my own inner beliefs that have shed light on so much. Praise the LORD and Hallelujah! If you’re in the zone of knowing you need therapy, but being very afraid to try, let me be your encouragement now that it is most certainly worth it.
3.) Reading (or listening to audiobooks): Just this year I read/listened to 23 books. All of which helped me grow my knowledge and understanding of both my business and myself. Reading has been one of the most transformational things for me this year, because I have felt my mind be stretched (to amazing new heights!). The understanding that I received from books this year and then the personal reflection (which you’ll read about next), has been priceless - oh yeah, because I didn’t pay anything to listen to most of these books. :) Thanks OverDrive! (This is an app you can use that’s connected to your local library. You must have a library card to use this app).
4.) Personal Reflection: Every morning I take some quiet time for personal reflection. I love to journal, pray, reflect on the day before, take in an affirmation and a little bible study. I find that during this time I get a lot of “a-ha!” moments and connect dots. Whether it’s something I just read and am processing or something we just discussed in therapy, this reflection time has been one of the best improvements to my day. I started including this time after I attended the Make Things Happen conference because I wanted to replace my habit of checking my phone (Instagram, Facebook and Email) first thing in the morning. That old habit used to set me off immediately comparing myself and feeling less than...and that was before I even got out of bed! Now, I don’t even check my phone until my personal reflection time in the morning is done. It’s seriously been one of the best things I could do for myself, and it’s free! I’m simply investing my time. Also, I get up earlier and go to bed earlier because this is now my favorite part of the day and I don’t want to miss it!! (Which is seriously transformational for me… I used to be such a night owl!).
5.) Write the Word Journal: Purchasing my Write the Word journal from the Cultivate What Matters shop made my mornings SO intentional. There’s rarely a morning I miss doing it because I absolutely LOVE writing and reflecting each day. Once I decided to create a morning reflection routine, I knew I would need something to help me do it each day (and frankly, buying something beautiful really helps). So I bought the whole suite of Write the Word journals so I could work through each theme. I’ve since then loved them so much I already gave some away, but the journal itself has been a heaven sent tool in helping me cultivate a better morning routine, a better relationship with God and the Word, and more sleep coincidentally (because I can’t wait to wake up in the morning and journal!).
6.) Mastermind: This WOULD be #1 in my book… haha! But, it took the 4 things I listed above to give me the courage I needed to even step up and start this high end mastermind with a 3-day retreat. I learned and grew just as much as the three other women who supported me in creating my Brightly Immersive Mastermind. It was mostly, at our in-person retreat in Anaheim (yes, this included a trip to Disneyland), that I felt the most growth. For instance, this experience grew me as a leader more than any other leadership role I’ve ever had before. I learned how to create a safe, brave space and hold so much love for others, plus accept constructive feedback without feeling deflated. I learned more about myself, because these three other amazing women spoke such truth into my heart. We saw each other, supported each other, loved greatly without judgement, sat in the “muck” together with understanding and patience and allowed for growth to happen at its own pace. This was one of the most magical moments I’ve ever experienced with other human beings. We experienced miracles, overcame limiting beliefs, embraced ourselves (for who we really are), gave permission to be honest and vulnerable, accepted our own and each others flaws with love and grace and also discovered MAJOR business goals, decisions and dreams. We took the time to fill each other up and I couldn’t imagine my life without these women now.
7.) Powersheets: *Fun fact; before I even went full-time with my business, this was one of my first business investments (and I’ve been hooked ever since). I adore Powersheets. These are the most meaningful, thoughtful and intentional goal planning sheets I’ve ever used. It took me just shy of 2 years to really get in the habit of using them to their full advantage, but even when I first started I felt a huge shift in how I was setting my goals and my lack of balance. ;) That’s why Powersheets will ALWAYS be on my best investments list, they help me balance my business with my life. They set my sights on matters most and keep me focused there. The clarity I receive each year I use a new set of Powersheets is seriously incredible (and each year I gain more and more clarity and confidence in my goals). One of the best things about Powersheets is the internal work it makes you do before you even set goals like I said above I think that our own personal growth is the most important work we can ever do.
8.) Business Coach: This is one of my favorite things that I invested in this year. One, because I am a business coach and I always want to practice what I preach, so getting my own business coach was one of my #1 goals for the year. Two, because Reina Pomeroy of Reina + Co helped me push past some of my limiting beliefs and build up my confidence. Having someone to talk to about ALL of my worries, fears and doubts was HUGE for me because I can get very stuck in my own head… she helped give me perspective, helped me focus and adjust my goals to what mattered most, plus pushed me to think more of myself (because that’s what an awesome business coach does). I’m so grateful for this relationship and getting to work with a business coach to help me navigate this business world...I’m all the better and more equipped to help others because I invested in this.
9.) An Assistant: I actually hired and got to work with a good friend of mine who was just starting to grow her virtual assistance business. So this to me was a double benefit, I not only was receiving the help I needed in my business, but I was getting to work with someone I adore! It’s probably pretty obvious of why this was awesome, but one thing to note is the amount of time I saved on busy work and how amazing it made me feel to not be in this business alone. I very specifically chose the name Brightly & Company, so that I could provide jobs to others and have a team (company) of people that could seriously love their jobs. Hannah (my friend and assistant) is such a sweetheart with an incredible eye for design (because she’s also a painter), she’s a very fast learner and probably still doesn’t know to this day how much she’s helped me. ;)
10.) Date Nights/Weekends Off: I very intentionally take weekends off, because this is the time I get to spend with my guy and my family. I love this relax/fun time with the people I love. It’s given me the time I need to travel and see family and stay at home to relax with my guy when he’s home from work. PLUS, date nights have been a HUGE help in reconnecting with him and making us both feel special. We have a particular wine bar that we adore and to help us both shut down “work mode” we’ll go there on a Friday night to enjoy new wine, chatting and a delicious cheese plate (this is one of our favorite days now). Our relationship has grown and it helps us to calm down and just enjoy what we have around us, which is each other and our friends.
11.) Ashlyn Carter’s Copywriting for Creatives Course: I have always felt like I was TERRIBLE at writing copy, until the amazing Ashlyn Carter came along. I swear she just speaks my language. Her copywriting course made copywriting finally “click” in my head. I am so grateful to her for creating something so fantastic and talking about it in a way that made perfect sense to me. I re-wrote almost my entire site in just a little over 7 days, and I’m seriously blown away by that stat. This was my first attempt at truly copywriting and my confidence has grown by at least 70%! I feel so much more comfortable with copywriting now, I know it will still take more practice, but DANG girl - thank you!! Hands down one of the best courses I’ve ever taken.
12.) James Wedmore’s Business By Design Course: Speaking of courses, here’s my second favorite! James Wedmore is one of my favorite entrepreneurs, I just can’t get enough of the mindset talk on his Podcast “The Mind Your Business Podcast”. He has created an amazing e-course that seriously helps you launch, anything in your business. But here’s where this course actually helped me the most...James walks you through how to plan and structure your business. I was blown away with the clarity I received after working through his exercises. This course helped me see the bigger picture, but also set-up a strategy to make it happen. I will be utilizing this course many times throughout next year for inspiration, motivation and strategic thinking.
13.) A Nutritionist: Until this year, I had NO idea how much your digestion affected every other part of your body/being. Working with a nutritionist helped open my eyes to how different foods (and lack of nutrients) were truly affecting my body and mental health. After working with a nutritionist and getting some of the nutrients my body needed, I’ve seen a HUGE decrease in my anxiety and for the first time in years I’ve seen an increase in my energy levels. Cassie helped me understand food. haha! That sounds so silly but it’s true!
14.) May Cause Miracles: This book right here. So many amazing insights, affirmations and you guessed it, miracles. Gabby Bernstein made this book more like a workbook of sorts - a morning routine and an evening routine, and it was incredibly eye-opening for me. Word of warning, this book has got some "woo woo topics, but you know what else? It has seriously tangible insights that you can take with you and use on a daily basis. After reading this book I realized there were so many lies I had been telling myself for so long...it’s powerful to release those limiting beliefs and forgive, and this book helps lead you through that. Yes, you can call this a self-help book, but if it helps your self… then that’s just awesome.
15.) Blue Apron: Cooking is not my forte. To be completely transparent with you, I don’t plan ahead (because I hate it) and I’m always WAY too tired and lacking energy to cook dinner at the end of the night. Without Blue Apron, I’d still be living off of a lot of Mac n' Cheese… Blue Apron has great recipes and my guy and I actually cook together. It helps us connect, put the laptops away and enjoy a really delicious meal. I’m usually an adventurous eater, if I don’t have to cook it, but Blue Apron helps me cook it and also gives me the adventurous tastes I’m looking for. PLUS, they deliver it to my door. Best thing ever. Because the other truth is… I really hate grocery shopping, I have ever since I was a little kid (my poor Mom).
The transformations I’ve experienced this year have been bigger than words can express… I’m more aware of my own inner limiting beliefs, I’m more forgiving of myself, I have a clearer picture of what I want (in my life and business), I have more confidence, I’m more open to change and new ideas, I am more joyful, I am more connected with God, my guy, my family and my friends, I’m braver than I was before, I have even bigger dreams (that’s my favorite part), I’ve witnessed miracles happen and I’ve grown so much as a leader in all of the best ways possible.
This year has been my favorite, even though it was also incredibly trying and difficult.
Whew! Okay, I know 15 things is a lot, but my list started at over 20! Haha! So I did at least narrow it down a bit… Now I would seriously love to hear from you, what are some of your favorite investments this year (either with money or time) that have helped transform your business and life?
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