A blog around the key learnings after attending the Retreat
I recently returned from my first curated Retreat for minority women in business in Mexico: Renew, Connect, Restore, Retreat. It was more than I could’ve expected. I wanted to pause and share five things I learned from sharing space with 12 exceptional women.
What Was The Business Retreat About?
The Renew, Connect, Restore Retreat was birthed out of the Mindset and Motivation Community for Women Entrepreneurs of Color. It has been such an uplifting virtual space that it naturally made sense to transition it to a live experience. As women, we often struggle to set aside time for ourselves because we are busy supporting everyone else’s life, with little energy left to create, ask for help, or continue to stretch ourselves. When we attempt to work on ourselves, we are so wrapped up in our heads that things like procrastination, worry, and overthinking rob us of our potential.
The community is an intentional space to refuel, encourage, teach, and share. Along the way, we foster skills to grow your business and voice. What’s unique about the group is you don’t even need to have a business! Just good intentions and a true understanding of sisterhood. Those values are what I took and curated in Mexico.
The Retreat was four days of connection, workshops on purpose, profits, and self-care, all facilitated by women from the community. One of the facilitators was my good friend from UCONN Tasha Smith, MSW, MBA from Peach Valley Co (an inclusive Real Estate and Tech Company) who happened to be in Mexico and volunteered to do a workshop.
Here are five of the most powerful business lessons I learned from attending the Renew, Connect, Restore Retreat for minority women in business:
1. The importance of building a solid and supportive tribe. I was reminded that I don’t need to rely on others outside my circle to help deliver an experience. Instead, I can ask within my tribe for support.
2. It’s very encouraging to share space with like-minded women. These women did not know each other, but you would swear we were best of friends. Being around other black and brown women striving for similar goals and willing to serve as mirrors to listen, be honest, and help identify issues that maybe you didn’t want to see on your own created such a safe and healing environment.
3. The Retreat was an opportunity for personal growth and development. The speakers learned as much about themselves as the participants did. I had the chance to coach some of them on expressing their gifts in creative and tangible ways, which led to dynamic and effective handouts for the group.
4. Leveraging your skills and experience to create new business opportunities is possible. There is a huge need for us to learn how to think outside our well-constructed professional box. I challenged the idea of “an expert,” had them identify tangible skills, and walked them through how to use that to create a product. The women were challenged to think outside the box and use their professional skills to create new opportunities.
5. I am capable of so much more than I realize. Challenging yourself with new and complex tasks or concepts that seem outside your reach will only push you to develop those tangible skill sets that can open doors. Pouring out in this capacity also has a counter effect of filling you with things like joy, confidence, and contentment. This experience showed me that I haven’t even reached my potential as an entrepreneur.
The experience solidified my purpose and strengthened the value of community and how far we can go together. If you are a minority woman in need of a tribe, we extend an invitation to you and hope you will join us.
And yes, by request, we’ll be hosting the Retreat again. We are thinking of a tropical place like Antigua. What’s your favorite island?
Let me know in the comments. If you don’t want to miss an invite follow me at Ig@amanda.fludd if you aren’t in the community already.
If you need help defining and implementing a digital strategy as you start to build your business, let us know if we can assist you.
Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is a Licensed Psychotherapist, Speaker, and Mindset Coach for high-achieving women and professionals venturing into business. Her joy is tackling mental health on multiple platforms and she is available for speaking engagements and training.
Disclaimer: There are affiliate links on this page, which means we get a small commission for anything you decide to buy. We only recommend quality products, but you should do your research before making a purchase.
Fear is a powerful emotion that we all experience in our lives, and it is something that can be very challenging to deal with, but you can learn how to overcome fear and anxiety with a few easy to follow actionable steps.
When we are pursuing a new experience, like a new job opportunity, relationship, or starting a business, fear can hold us back. It can make us see challenges as insurmountable or make us over-prepare to the point that it slows our growth.
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Fear and Anxiety
“Every time your fear is invited up, every time you recognize it and smile at it, your fear will lose some of its strength.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
The best way to deal with fear is to face it. In facing it, you get to see if the story you made up around the issue is true or what you may be lacking to help you move forward. The more we avoid the problem, the more anxiety we consequently cause around it. For example, if you are constantly thinking about whether you will do well on an upcoming exam, you can’t sleep. The consequent exhaustion then triggers even more anxiety because you can’t concentrate and study, further impacting your sleep– and just like that, the worry has just become a debilitating cycle, confirming your worst fear- you won’t be ready for the exam and will fail.
Instead, the goal has to become to lean into the fear so you can disarm it. What if you acknowledged what your worry and fear was in the first place instead of reacting to it. Could we possibly find a better response so it loses some of its strength?
How do fears get in the way of being successful?
Culturally, I’ve been raised to not speak over others, and I think I have this natural resistance to being seen, and it’s my kryptonite that shows up at the wrong time. I can still recall moments sitting “at the table” with people in my profession and listening to them give their opinions on things and wanting to give my two cents but struggling within myself to speak up.
Fear and anxiety work like that to cripple you within yourself.
Those experiences can be triggered by various fears like the fear of judgment, failure, or the fear of being alone, and sometimes even the fear of being successful.
When challenged in that space, it can have this counter-response that looks like overthinking, avoiding opportunities, missed deadlines, low energy, feeling disconnected from your work, procrastination, perfectionism, irritability, or indecisiveness.
How can we overcome fear and anxiety?
Fear is a built-in instinct to protect us, so we don’t want to get rid of it, but we do want to help our brains understand the moments we are safe and don’t need that fear reaction. The best way to overcome fear in that case is to repeatedly do the thing that causes it but in a safe and controlled way. During this process of exposure, coupled with positive coping skills, you can learn to ride out the fear or wave of anxiety until it naturally subsides.
Need a place to track and challenge those thoughts, and work on your wellness? Grab a Wellness Planner here.
When the emotion of fear or anxiety seems overwhelming, try to shift your focus to a healthier thought or a skill that will reduce the feelings, so it is more manageable. A stress-reduction approach like mindfulness or simply taking a break and disconnecting from the issue and going for a walk may help you better take the actions you need to be successful. I would also add to be patient and add some compassion into the process. Your mind is working to keep you safe when these responses are triggered. It can’t always tell the action you want to take isn’t a dangerous risk but one you can handle and necessary to improve your current situation.
How to overcome the fears of growth as a professional
Start by identifying the fears holding you back from reaching your next level. Our thoughts are powerful, but they can be damaging and limiting when building out your dreams. The fear of failure is like the dark cloud that follows most professionals as they work on advancing their careers, especially through entrepreneurship. Rather than simply stopping people from being entrepreneurial, fear of failure can also serve as a motivator for success with a better understanding of your response dynamics. To help you better recognize and challenge your internal reactions to growth we put together some exercises to help you find those fears with the Believe Bigger Workbook available here for entrepreneurs.
Here are a few prompts from the workbook to challenge your mindset:
Once you’ve identified a few of your fears, can you think of specific experiences from your life that might have formed these fears?
What do you feel is holding you back from more significant success?
Recall a time you were afraid. How did you move past the fear?
Pause for a moment and identify and write about five of your strengths.
To deepen this practice and find the root of self-sabotaging behaviors, try keeping a journal over a period of two or three weeks. Look for any patterns you notice, the source of those fears (family, culture, financial, criticism, etc), and their validity. Fear is often fed by false stories making your experience seem much worse than it really is.
Lean into your fears. Figure out what it’s about, and if it is valid for the direction you are going.
Practice stress reduction techniques like mindfulness or disconnecting from the source of distress at the moment.
Shift your focus to more positive thoughts or emotions. Use your imagination or visualization to picture that same fearful experience with a positive outcome, and embrace the positive emotions you anticipate feeling with your successful outcome. The control and calm you experience during your visualization can actually help you get through the actual ordeal with more ease.
Challenge your mindset around the fear with journal prompts like the one above and other exploratory resources like the Believing Bigger Workbook for Women in Business.
Practice Compassion. Your mind is only trying to keep you safe.
If you are a Minority Woman in Business and would like consistent support and accountability on your goals, the Mastermind Group may be a fit for you.
Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is a Licensed therapist, speaker, and Mindset Coach for high-achieving women in business. Her joy is addressing mental health on multiple levels from the boardroom to your virtual office.
Disclaimer: There are affiliate links on this page, which means we get a small commission of anything you decide to buy to support our tea-drinking habits at no cost to you.
We don’t always realize as women that we are the most important assets to our business, and it’s our thinking that leads (or gets in) the way of our success. The thinking patterns that drive our everyday interactions also carry over into how you show up for your business and feel about yourself.
Why do some of the most intelligent people sabotage their success?
We all have this humble inner voice that tells us what we should be doing with our lives, who we want to be ultimately and how we should behave. It’s often influenced by our past family relationships, traumas, environmental stressors, and all the stories you’ve decided to hold on to or have trouble letting go of. Even the most brilliant woman has a story that she probably needs to release.
Overall, the issue isn’t the stories or our mindset and thinking around our experiences, but that you’ve believed that these anxiety-provoking, limiting, or shame-based stories are true. Over time, these self-critical internal stories create an automatic narrative of how we view the world and respond to it, which also plays out with our business moves. A woman who defines her worth by her external success, and see herself as a failure when she isn’t a top performer, is more likely to be self-critical. That woman will probably feel less motivated when things don’t go as expected, may even question her whole business, and often think, “I’m not enough”.
How to Recognize Toxic Thinking Styles
Leading a business can trigger a rollercoaster of thoughts and emotions. We want to focus on the more negative thoughts or cognitive distortions that typically show up when you are worried, anxious, or upset. The clients I work with often struggle with overthinking, are huge procrastinators, and are good at talking themselves out of taking risks in their business. I find it empowering to help these women recognize how their thinking patterns play a role in their motivation, frustration, sense of self, and even problems like anxiety, stress, and making decisions.
How you can recognize if your thinking is an issue is to listen to how you speak to yourself. Do you hear a lot of self-defeating, harsh, or critical statements like “I can’t do this,” “this is going to fall apart,” or “If I don’t succeed at this, I’m a failure?” Another sign of toxic thinking is giving up easily. You are ambitious and driven with impressive goals and ideas but often focus on the failures, not the successes, and give up on them too quickly.
How to Know If Your Negative Thinking Is Affecting Your Business
While a few common unhelpful thinking styles can keep the most ambitious and intelligent woman stagnant in their business, do you know which one is common for you? Let’s take a look at five common thinking patterns that can damage your business strategy.
The Checklist of Unhelpful Thinking Styles:
One: Should statements are prevalent and are laced with critical messages (and usually unattainable standards) and often trigger guilt and anxiety. It involves thinking about things that you believe you “should” “ought to,” or “must” do.
It may sound like “I should be able to handle this,” or “I should be doing better by now,” or “I ought to be able to handle this .” These statements tend to dial up the pressure and make it very difficult to keep working on those business goals when you don’t achieve what you connected to those should statements.
Two:Catastrophizing is when you jump right to the worst possible outcome for a situation. When you are constantly worried about what could happen in a scenario, it can intensify your anxiety and minimize your actions when it comes to your business. So if I go live, no one will watch, and I’ll be an epic failure. . .so instead of leaning into the fear, you avoid and don’t go live, sound familiar?
Three:Discounting the positives is all about discounting your accomplishments and minimizing the positive qualities about yourself. For example, if you do an excellent job with that launch you’ve worked so hard on and it goes well, you reason that it was luck, it isn’t a big deal, and fail to give yourself credit for your role in the success.
Four:Jumping to Conclusions is when you interpret a situation without the facts. There are two parts to this thinking pattern; you can either be a mind reader or a fortuneteller.
Mind reading is when you assume that people react negatively to you or judge you when there’s no definite evidence for it.
Fortune-telling is when you decide things will turn out badly, “I can see it now, this just isn’t going to work” or “no one is going to come .”Have you ever done that?
Five: Mental filter is when you dwell on the negatives and ignore the positives, aka negative Nancy.
How many of those toxic thinking styles show up for you?
The next time you find yourself overlooking the good, procrastinating, or struggling to get out of bed to slay those goals, it could be you are engaged in a toxic thinking pattern. The good news is you can learn to shift your thinking so it’s more balanced, resilient, and encouraging to help you reach your goals and tackle the most challenging situations.
How to Deal with these Mindset Missteps
A great place to start is by noticing when you are dwelling on any negative thoughts or when there is a significant change in how you feel (like maybe more anxious). Start to get into the habit of slowing down to reassess the situation by observing and cross-examining your thoughts with the following questions:
1. Is this thought realistic?
2. Am I basing my thoughts on facts or feelings?
3. What is the evidence for this thought? Don’t simply assume your negative thought is accurate, and don’t be afraid to prove yourself wrong.
4. Is there another way I could look at this?
5. What would a friend say, or is there someone else I can ask for perspective.
Over time, with practice, you won’t need to consciously ask yourself these questions to shift your negative thinking. It will become automatic, and you will better be able to catch them way before they spiral out of control and get in the way of your success.
Remember, many of these cognitive distortions or thinking patterns are common. Still, if you believe that it is negatively impacting your follow through with your business goals or your confidence, it’s a good time to talk to us about business coaching from a mindset perspective.
We offer support in our 90-day Business Mastermind Intensive here and through several other coaching programs.
Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R isn’t just a Psychotherapist and a Mindset Coach for Ambitious Women who are business owners or striving to be. She is here to help you move from fear to success, master your emotions, and use your strengths to achieve the next level in your business. For 1:1 coaching, or to take a look at how she can support you, learn more at amandafludd.com/coaching.
Disclaimer: There are affiliate links on this page, which means we get a small commission of anything you decide to buy to support our tea-drinking habits at no cost to you. We only recommend quality products, but you should do your research before making a purchase.
A lot of side hustle queens are not taught the right growth mindset to start their own business and grow their side hustle dreams to a successful business. This blog attempts to look at some of these mindset shifts and why they are essential to your success.
Starting your own business can be intimidating. You’re now responsible for your own income, your own money, and your own success. If you’re used to working for someone else, you might be excited about the opportunity but anxious as hell too. The issue for most minority women in business is the road can seem lonely with few mentors, families who don’t understand your work (or look at you with a side-eye), and a closed-lipped community of colleagues when it comes to the how to’s of growing a successful empire. This is one of the reasons that I started my journey as a coach. I wanted to give women a place to know their feelings are valid and to feel free to share what they were going through.
Before you even started your business, you probably experienced a lot of self-defeating thoughts. And, if you are like most business owners, these thoughts trigger strong emotions and reactions like procrastination, overthinking, and overwhelm that threaten your success.
HERE ARE 10 OF THE MOST IMPORTANT MINDSET SHIFTS TO BUILD A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS
Old Mindset: I don’t know enough to do this. I’m not sure I can be as good as the next entrepreneur.
Growth Mindset: I am unique in my approach, talents, and viewpoints. My education and expertise give me an excellent viewpoint to serve and help others.
We won’t be distracted by comparison if we are captivated by purpose. – Bob Goff
Something in you brought you to the conclusion that you have something to give or the ability to solve a problem in the first place- don’t forget that queen. As humans, we are prone to find the negative in situations, leading to self-doubt and avoidance. Is this a good idea? People won’t like it. Can I do this?
Yes, sis, you can. You’ve been doing many things in life that have gotten you to this point. You’ve been grooming yourself this whole time for this moment, and you didn’t realize it (you are the expert in the room). We are always learning, with areas to improve on, and as you put yourself out there, you will know exactly what you need to develop to fine-tune your approach.
Avoid comparing yourself (or your business) with other entrepreneurs and overthinking because it can work against you and create resistance instead of action. It’s ok to use others in your industry as inspiration. Explore what is working for them, how they get over their challenges, and what methods you can incorporate into your approach, but limit the time spent doing that. The amount of time you spend working on your business should be greater than the time spent learning about it or looking at what other people are doing.
“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Better use of your time would be to reach out to those other bosses, and who knows, end up collaborating instead of emotionally competing with them. To expand your knowledge base, you can also enroll in continuing education classes, read business books and blogs, or join the local chamber of commerce (I just learned about them this year and a tip is to look for the more active groups in your area).
“Continuous learning is the minimum requirement for success in any field.” – Denis Waitley, motivational speaker.
Old Mindset: This is going to be great, and success will happen like right now.
Growth Mindset: My race. My pace.
All that pretty stuff you see out there took time: the massive followers, beautiful websites and pages, organized systems, hefty contracts, and increased income. Social media tends to make it seem like it happens quickly and right away, but this is a marathon. That means there will be days it sucks, the doubts will come, there will be days you need to walk away, but understand that greatness takes time, grind, and commitment. Even more motivating is that you’ll constantly be pushing your limits as you supersede them.
The key here is to start from a realistic standpoint and acknowledge that your efforts will reflect your success. It’s what you want to do, how you want to do it, and the pace that works best for you.
“…you must always be yourself and do things at your own pace. Someday, you’ll catch up.” ― Natsuki Takaya
That said, come up with great short-term goals. I want you to have the more significant milestones for your business, but it’s equally important to set short-term, attainable goals. Otherwise, you will get discouraged when your big dreams aren’t realized quickly and may give up to soon.
Old Mindset: What If I fail?
“I knew that if I failed, I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.” – Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.
Growth Mindset: What If I succeed?
I don’t think I ever had the direct thought of what if I fail at the businesses. However, that fear of failure shows up with aspects of the industry like, will this launch be successful? Will I make enough to sustain my family now that I’ve left my career job, etc.? Failure may sound different for each woman in business, and it’s ok to have that experience. The next time you notice those failure-related thoughts, challenge them or get curious about them.
Here is an exercise I do with clients. Once they notice the fear, I have them explore why they feel afraid. See, our feelings have a lot of information for us, like a friend coming over with the latest tea, we have to get curious about why they showed up. So lean into the fear, figure out what the fear is trying to tell you- determine if it is a want or a wish, and ask yourself how can I move closer to that instead of allowing the fear to trigger any avoidance. You can download the complete Fear Reflection worksheet here.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb.
Take this potential fear of failure as a learning opportunity. It’s a chance to succeed at many other things like trusting yourself, exercising courage, learning a new trade, and making additional income.
Old Mindset: I don’t know what I’m doing.
Growth Mindset: I am doing the best that I can. I am capable of figuring things out.
Girl, who knows what they are doing? Many of us know how to play it off really well or figure it out. As women, we sometimes have this false narrative that we need to know everything, but is that realistic?
When we faced audits at my prior position, we were trained to say, “I’ll get back to you” when asked something we didn’t know, and that was ok once you took time to find that answer and came back with a response. It’s OK to give yourself grace and space in that way and be clear on your limits. While people may expect a certain level of ability, you should never lie to anyone about your experience. Still, you don’t have to minimize your value either or be critical of yourself for not having an answer. Just like you’ve done your entire life, your confidence is in your ability to figure things out.
“Women have the power to choose which path they wish to take. We have to believe great things are going to happen in our lives, and we have to do everything we can to make them happen.” – Gabriela at w4.org
To develop your confidence, it’s a good idea to take a few minutes every day or at least reflect once a month on your achievements so far. Remind yourself of what has gone well for your side hustle and your role in that.
Old Mindset: I have to do this by myself. It’s all on me. No one gets it.
Growth Mindset: I need a tribe.
While the responsibility of your business is yours (and no one will love that baby as you do), you can’t grow without the proper nourishment. It sounds super cheesy, but your business / the boss behind it will be as good as the company she keeps. Find a tribe that understands the world of entrepreneurship and who can pour into you and celebrate you. You can even join a mastermind group to exchange ideas or hire a business coach whom you trust.
“The best bosses do more than charge up people and recruit and breed energizers. They eliminate the negative because even a few bad apples and destructive acts can undermine many good people and constructive acts.”
― Robert I. Sutton
Old Mindset: I have no idea how to start this business.
Growth Mindset: Well, somebody does, and I am open to guidance and coaching to create a profitable business I enjoy.
As a black woman in business, I’ve struggled to find people who were open to sharing tips and strategies about their success to support mines. There is an intense competition factor (or intimidation) within minority communities. Outside of that, in larger (more white based) coaching circles, the information may be there, but not the level of connection to the psychology behind success and the skill to move someone through that process. Maybe my expectation is different with a background as a psychotherapist, but that’s how I coach and mentor- from this place of your success is my success and incorporating proven strategies to engage your Mindset to get you there. If that’s what you need, you should be working with me, and here is how.
Suppose you are worried about the legalities of a business, like how to form an LLC. In that case, I think the easiest way is to use Incfile to take the overwhelm out of the process and get all that support in one area.
So now we’ve covered a few essential mindset shifts to dismantle the doubts and build a successful business. Which Mindset shifts do you need to make? Let me know in the comments below.
Changing your mindset and embracing a growth mindset is not easy, but they are necessary to take your business to the next level. When I started my business, I didn’t realize how much I didn’t know logistically and how much of my skills as a therapist would be needed to thrive as an entrepreneur. That’s why I coach now and want to help my fellow sisterpreneurs move past the fears and achieve their goals.
Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is a Licensed therapist and Mindset Coach for high-achieving coaches and online entrepreneurs. Her joy is helping them move past their fears to practical business goals.
Just as we all learn very differently, practical goal setting can look very different as well. What works for someone else may not work for you – and that is just fine. Stay with me as I give you a few creative tips for setting your goals in a way that works for you.
Defining The Goal
When you say “goal,” the term can mean just about anything. You could have a goal to make more money, save up for a larger home, expand your business, etc. These are not wrong goals, but they are not necessarily effective goals. The idea is too broad, with no clear measurement for success, making them that much harder to attain.
An effective method for setting goals is to create SMART goals. SMART is an acronym system for developing actionable, achievable goals. A SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Assignable, and Realistic.
Once you have decided what you want your goal to be, you can begin to break it down into smaller digestible or smart pieces. Essentially, specify what you would like to achieve, assign a time frame you would like to achieve it in, understand who is responsible for the success of the goal, and assure that the goal can realistically be achieved.
BOOM – that’s it.
Once you have a clear goal, you can shift to the work required to get there. To help you with this, try our free vision board planner from a recent workshop we did helping other women entrepreneurs get clear on their goals. It’s an excellent way to collect your thoughts and get them out into action steps.
Tips for Making Goals Work
If you have taken the time to create your SMART goal, you must also spend some time with it. Schedule a consistent time to look at what you want to achieve and work on the action steps to get there. By consistently showing up to work on your goals, you are developing new success systems and habits. Habits, once formed, are automatic. They rewire our brains with the discipline needed for success.
If your goal were a plant, the time you spend with it would be the food it needs to grow. With consistency, it will thrive in its proper season.
The Language of Goals
First, figure out your goal language. Are you a visual person? Do you need to think things through? Do you thrive in peace and quiet?
Whatever your goal language, roll with it!
If you are a visual person, spend some extra time creating a vision board for your goal. Having a visual map of your plan will allow you to visualize success better. When you envision what you want to achieve, you consciously decide to look for information about the situation that will improve your performance outcomes. High-performing athletes do it all the time- I should know, I was one of them. Before a race, as I settled my nerves, I would see myself running the event. My muscles would fire at the gun, and I would rise out the blocks into formation and turn gears across the 400-meter track- gliding over hurdles along the way. This process helped me create a clear picture of what my body needed to do to get me to where I needed to go.
If you are more of a process and analytical person, try to journal out your goals. Getting your thoughts onto paper will allow you to work through them, see the holes, and may even inspire new inspiration. In fact, you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. Writing also helps to reduce stress, anxiety, and overwhelm- factors that work against goal attainment.
If quiet reflection is your goal language, find some quiet time and give yourself the space to dream and create. Try a practice from Stop, Breathe, Think, or Calm.com, and dedicate time to starting your process there daily with meditation, then writing. This daily or even weekly practice can help you stay motivated and keep your head clear.
We all want to achieve better results. Writing down your goals is a good starting point. It’s an easy technique that helps you become more efficient and reduce your stress simultaneously. Let us know your goal language in the comments below and what you are working on.
Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R gets a whole lot of practice writing wellness goals for corporations and helping individuals navigate goals to improve their emotional and business wellbeing. Jump on her calander if you need to connect!