Category: <span>Women empowerment</span>

Do You Have an Unhealthy Relationship With Your Business?

The Relationship Between Your Business and Your Mindset Can Be Toxic

Entrepreneurs are one of my favorite people because they’ve consciously decided to carve their own paths and take full responsibility for their success. Yet, as creative, driven, and ambitious these phenomenal humans are, they still encounter challenges in their growth that, just like you, they may not realize is an unconscious habit holding them back.

When you eat, sleep, and breathe your business, it’s sometimes hard to see the emotional patterns at play that often contribute to those moments you feel anxious, frustrated, stagnant, or stuck.

Allow me to help you out.

Here are three bad habits that may be compromising your entrepreneurial success:

  1. IGNORING THE INNER BULLY 

Everyone struggles with fear and self-doubt from time to time, and entrepreneurs and young leaders experience these emotions more frequently than others. When our performance and decisions do not meet expectations, our instinct isn’t always compassion and praise but self-criticism. When you say “I can’t” do this or embrace other negative internal dialogue, it flames the fire of imaginary catastrophic situations and leaves you susceptible to limiting beliefs. Negative and self-deprecating thoughts tend to keep getting bigger and ultimately put a wrench in progress if you aren’t intentional with addressing it.

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” – Willie Nelson

  1. NOT USING THE RIGHT PEOPLE 

You can’t start [or grow] your business with friends alone. A challenge for most entrepreneurs is recognizing their current circle may not have the knowledge, expertise, or even care to support their growth. No hard feelings towards them, but they can’t help you go to higher levels if they have never experienced that themselves. You may need friends in leadership, marketing friends, investor friends, social media friends… it’s time to diversify your friendships.

The reality is that there’s an entire community of other entrepreneurs behind almost every successful entrepreneur who understands the grind and can expedite your learning curve. The best of us recognize that we genuinely can’t do it by ourselves or with our walking friends.

  1. BURNING THE MIDNIGHT OIL AND DOING IT ALL

Let’s face it, work is never-ending, especially when success is dependent on you, and more often, that pressure can trigger our over-achieving perfectionism and push us onto the path of exhaustion. Burnout is real in this arena, and so is frustration with the hustle, stress, and losing the connection to why you started in the first place. That’s usually when coaching clients come to me when they don’t even know why they are working so hard anymore, and the stress and anxiety are overwhelming. What’s usually very evident is poor boundaries.

A good strategy I recommend is to commit to taking a few minutes each day to reboot your brain and reenergize your body. Most people ignore the importance of taking time away from their desks or implementing a hard stop time when doing work (or working from home).

When was the last time you took a weekend off?

The barriers between work and personal life can blur for many ambitious professionals and entrepreneurs, but the word is balance. I am the most creative and inspired when I take intentional breaks and travel, read, ambush my kids with nerf guns, engage in focused breathing exercises, or just nap.

A quick workaround here is to schedule time for fun just as you would professional tasks –whether it’s a call with friends, hanging at a new café, or that mindful moment, put it on your calendar. I think it’s also essential to build it into the workday- incorporate music into meetings, or end with a quick mindful minute. The pauses should be built into the work experience. Socializing, laughing, and relaxing is an excellent prescription for the entrepreneur’s soul.

Final pop quiz:

  1. What sabotaging patterns do you recognize in yourself?
  2. Are you in an unhealthy relationship with your business? What is something different you can do today to better navigate habits that self-sabotage your success? Take a moment to create a reminder for that one thing and schedule it on your phone. You may not be able to make a huge shift right away, but a shift is a start. And it’s a start in the right direction.
  3. How can you recognize these patterns in the future?

I hope that you enjoyed this week’s blog post on the importance of emotional awareness in business. I’ve written in the past about how important it is for entrepreneurs to remember that it’s okay to be vulnerable, to trust your gut, to take risks, and to go outside of your comfort zone. Hopefully this post has helped you rethink your inner-entrepreneur so that you can start focusing on the things that need to be done rather than the things that are holding you back.

If you’re looking for more information about business psychology or need support, you can connect with me here.

Let me know if these tips and the review questions were helpful in the comments below!

Cheers to your success, Amanda Fludd

Lean into Discomfort to Achieve Your Goals

Photo by Barbara Olsen from Pexels

I’m not sure who in their right mind chooses to be uncomfortable, apart from exceptional people who understand that whatever we don’t face becomes our limits.

If you want things to really be different and grow personally and professionally, you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. 

The feeling we associate with discomfort is fear or anxiety. As creatures of habit, we prefer safe and calm, but as you go after your dreams, it requires risk and uncertainty, which can be scary. People don’t always realize that any perceived fear can trigger your internal fear response, prompting avoidance or withdrawal. That fear response can look like: Overthinking, procrastination, headaches, unnecessary mistakes and trouble focusing, to name a few.

The more we back off in the face of discomfort, the more we reinforce our fears and limits. The antidote to that is actually to partner with our fear.

Making Friends with Fear

Declare a truce between you and that feeling you’ve been fighting for so long. I use a great book in therapy and often discuss with coaching clients, Visiting Feelings by Lauren Rubenstein. Essentially, it invites you to think of the feeling like a friend who is visiting- would you answer the door and ask what the hell are you doing here? Or maybe you are the type not even to answer at all? Maybe close the windows, slide down the couch and hold your breath as if the friend wasn’t even there? Hopefully, if an unexpected visitor showed up, you would open the door and get curious about why they came to see you or even get excited to engage in a conversation. With that same spirit of exploration, you can learn to befriend even the most difficult emotions with acceptance and equanimity, giving space for a more considered response to the feelings.

But won’t that make things worse?

Your anxiety won’t escalate if you acknowledge it as you take risks, embrace failure, mess up big time, and manage distress. It’s when we fight against it or run from it that we reinforce adverse outcomes.

Each time you face the fear, it reduces the emotional reigns it has on your life.

Let’s take a look at three approaches to intentionally confront the fear standing in between you and [enter goal, task, or project here].

  1. Just Breathe. Our conditioned response to fear is to speed things up. Your breath is the most powerful tool you own that can slow down your internal reaction. Use your breath to settle the excitement of seeing your friend (aka fear). Visualize each deep inhale, connecting you back to the moment, and each complete exhale providing relief.
  2. We tend to overthink and not act. Sometimes the more you accomplish, the more you feel like a fraud and doubt your abilities, but feelings aren’t facts. Rely on the facts, not your emotions or catastrophic thoughts. Instead, think about another time you were successful, what worked for you then, and how you could that possibly apply now to support continued action.
  3. Plan for the obstacles. You eventually will confront the beliefs and reactions that typically show up to hold you back. So plan ahead.  Try listing your fears or concerns and for each note your typical reactions that make it difficult for you to proceed. Now for each, write a plan of action to respond. A part of that plan should include acknowledging the fear and defusing it with a curious, good to see you attitude, as well as using your breath (you always have that with you).

It takes consistent work and awareness to notice and better respond to the experience of discomfort. Still, it is in partnership with that experience that you can take charge of your life and lose the fear of stepping outside of your comfort zone.

What’s your favorite way to handle discomfort? Let us know in the comments below.

Cheers to your success, Amanda Fludd.

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is a passionate advocate for positive workplace culture, supporting the ambitious mindsets of women through coaching, and improving mental health in all settings. The goal is to simply get you out of your head, so you can stress less, and focus on your success.

Make sure to register for “Catch your Breath” a free live mindful practice series for Minority Women Who Lead running through the end of  2021. #minoritymentalhealthmonth #strongcommunities

4 Useful Ways to Ease the Stress of Change for Women Who Lead

The mass exodus back to normal has heightened stress levels, and it’s important to acknowledge that change can be stressful. If you are someone who gets upset and loses focus when things don’t go as expected or strongly dislikes change, automatically expects the worst, and struggles to adapt, this piece is for you.

 

Do you think we are ready to return to ‘normal’? 

Well, whether we’re fully ready, we have to be prepared and adapt. In the ever-changing landscape of life and work, adaptability is a crucial skill for managers, leaders, and anyone looking to navigate change successfully. Adaptable people tend to be happier and more content as they’re not struggling against the resistance of change, and can skillfully ride the wave.

 

The Brain Behind Change

Our brain hates the unknown that comes with change, and that can show up as anxiety, which is your brain’s way of protecting you from the unfamiliar. However, that can mean saving you from a necessary or required action. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “stress is a response to a threat in a situation. Anxiety is a reaction to the stress.” The threat is that feeling of not knowing and the associated fear of what could happen in the future. Sometimes that fear is rational, and sometimes not. Sometimes it’s about something that will happen in three minutes (getting on a call to close a deal, for example) or in 30 years (having enough money to retire).

Depending on how you respond to your brain’s conceptualization of the fear can make change or transitions so difficult. It’s easy to feel powerless in these moments, but your power is in the ways you decide to navigate change.

You can decide how you want to think about the situation and what you want to do about it.

We can’t resist returning to work, going back to college, or whatever transition is on the horizon, but you always have a choice within the change. I’m not dismissing that it won’t be hard at times, but this is about being skillful so you can continue to live, lead, and enjoy life.

Let’s jump to 4 quick tips to navigate change and ease the fear of transition:

  1. Notice when an interaction or the thought of a situation upsets you and examine why. Acknowledge out loud any unhelpful thoughts going through your mind, then take those thoughts and challenge their accuracy to determine whether they represent reality. Perhaps you can then find another way to think about them that allows you to move forward.
    How you think or what you are ruminating over is often connected to the experience of procrastination, perfectionism, overwhelm, or feeling unmotivated. Learn to challenge and change the thoughts behind those responses.
  1. Successful leaders often react to anxiety by working harder, holding themselves and others to impossibly high standards, only to cause further stress or burnout in themselves and others. Examine your use of time and what you are asking of others. Putting in place a support infrastructure that includes breaks for you and your team and time to discuss expectations openly.

 

  1. Find a practice that eases your stress. Sometimes our minds operate like a runaway train. If you can quiet your mind for just a moment, you may notice there is always a fork in the road. One road allows your anxious thoughts to derail you, and the other will enable you to inject more positive thoughts and intentional actions.This can look like daily mindfulness practices, laughing, or sometimes more high-intensity activities like running or a good cardio workout. These practices short circuits the stress response by getting you out of your head, incorporating your body, and allowing the experience of stress, anxiety, and worry to subside.
  2. Don’t stay on your island; build connections. You are an expert at what you do, and getting things done is your superpower. However, we all will face the challenge of transitions and change that can make you feel alone or cause you to isolate and withdraw. Do the opposite. Instead, try coming out of your office and chatting with a colleague, or reach out via text, call a friend or  maybe even perform a quick act of kindness. Be open to also ask for help or outsource tasks to create more time and space for wellbeing.

 

In this time of crisis and change, where many are experiencing anxiety for the first time, it is an opportunity to develop our ability to adapt and contribute to a culture the prioritizes the importance of emotional wellbeing.

 

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is a passionate advocate for positive workplace culture, supporting the ambitious mindsets of women, and improving mental health in all settings. The goal is to simply get you out of your head, so you can stress less, and focus on your success.

Make sure to register for “Catch your Breath” a free live mindful practice series for Minority Women Who Lead running through the end of July 2021. UPDATE: The series was such a success it WILL CONTINUE through the end of 2021. Every first Monday of the month.  #minoritymentalhealthmonth #strongcommunities

 

HOW TO SET GOALS THAT STICK

Almost the end of the year, time to reflect on what you have done. Did you achieve your dynamic goals? Did you accomplish anything at all?

No shade sis, but we are about to wrap another year, and I’m just curious if all those ideas are still in your head or typed up nicely on that google doc somewhere on a cloud. Reflection is good for the soul.

Before we get into what we haven’t done, take a few moments to map out your achievements for the year so far. Sometimes we are moving too fast to embrace our efforts, accomplishments, failures (and the lessons gained), and our success.

Back to Goals

Truthfully, goal-setting is easy. It’s the accountability side of things people struggle with.

Mapping out your achievements is a great way to reflect on what you have achieved and keeping it in front of you.  Your brain loves visuals!  Having a vision board is a great way to help you focus on what you want to achieve or need to keep building on. Typically, when you think about goals for your business, you probably think of pages of text, boring stats, and numbers. You know, the kind of thing you’d nervously push across the desk to a bank officer in hopes of securing a loan.

write out the vision

I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of anything I like less than to have to piece together that kind of stiff, formal business plan. I’m not saying don’t know your numbers and projections, but let’s infuse some creativity into your growth process.

Instead of thinking about the words and the numbers, think about the pictures. It’s much easier to see the future when you can see it.

The Business Plan That Isn’t

What if you could plan your business with fun, colorful photos, and inspirational quotes and phrases instead? What would that do for your daily motivation?

Well, that’s exactly what a vision board will do for you. By collecting images representing your dreams and aspirations, you’ll have a constant reminder of where you’re going and even why you started your business in the first place. Maybe you want to spend more time with your kids as they’re growing up or have enough money to finally take that vacation to the Maldives. What about that house in Panama City Beach or upgrading to that house that’s calling your name? You haven’t invested all this time and energy into your success to flop now.

None of these things will find a place in a traditional business plan or the occasional google doc or note app you never visit on your phone, but they’re perfect for your vision board. More importantly, they’re critical to your long-term success. Without your dreams, it’s nearly impossible to remain focused and on track when it comes to growth, but with visual reminders, it’s easy!

Why Vision Boards Work

Does all this feel pretty airy-fairy to you? You’re not alone. Many of us were raised to believe that business had to be all about numbers and stats and that there was no room for fun when making money.

I completely disagree!

In fact, some of the most successful people in the world routinely use vision boards to help clarify their dreams and keep their goals front of mind. And that’s precisely why vision boards work so well. By keeping visual reminders within sight, you’re constantly aware of your “why,” and that’s a powerful motivator, no matter what you’re working on.

As we [almost] wrap this year, it’s time to get very specific about those big audacious goals and not lose that desire to finish.  Don’t be afraid to set goals that scare you, but also set goals that reflect and represent you. It’s easy to get caught up thinking that our goals need to be monumental or based on what success looks like for another person.  Sometimes that leads to focusing too much on the numbers, whether it’s a paycheck, followers on Instagram failed launches and profits.

What do you really want?

What makes the most sense for you at this point in your life?

The Homework (my favorite thing to give my clients)

Instead of thinking about Q4 as a cue for what you haven’t done, let’s get a handle on what you need to do to finish strong. Let’s take this last chunk of the year (90 days) and break it down into bite-sized pieces. Try to visualize it as 3 separate chapters (October, November, December).

Where do you want to be at the end of, say, October? And what do you need to achieve to get there? Take those goals and break them down into visible milestones that will become your vision and virtual motivator for the year’s balance.

The more you can help yourself see the next step in front of you, the more likely you will remain consistent and connected to the process. That said, keep it simple. Focus on fewer, more meaningful goals so it doesn’t feel overwhelming and kick up any anxiety or your favorite friend, procrastination.

Don’t overthink this process. Give yourself the freedom to dream, to break out the glue stick and get messy and create.

 

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is passionate about supporting the dream of ambitious women and improving mental health in all settings. The goal is to simply help you get out of your head, stress less, and focus on your success.

We Need To Talk: Gossip, Slander, and the Biased Water Cooler

Unless you are a woman you have NO idea what it’s like to be a woman building an empire and navigating the workplace! Don’t worry, we got you. Our talented list of panelists from the recent Protecting Your Mental Health in the Workplace Summit joined me to break it down. The first topic we unravelled with the help of author and therapist Kendra Hathaway,  was Gossip, Slander, and Toxic Relationships in the workplace. When the word, “toxic” is defined the words most commonly associated with it are: harmful, poisonous, destructive, and venomous just to name a few.  Although not only women experience these obstacles in the workplace we certainly seem to be well-versed in it. How many times have you been at work and overheard one employee complaining about the next? You have those that are loud about it and don’t care who knows what they are saying, and then you have others that are more hush hush about it and you may see them whispering as if you don’t exist. 

One thing that is true about both types is that the gossip spreaders are usually looking for attention or are trying to hide some type of pain. (There is another theory or possibility that we will consider in just a moment.) So now that we know what the problem is, let’s discuss how we can cope with such working conditions and figure out a solution. It is important that you pay attention to how you feel in situations, noticing if any negative thoughts and feelings come up for you, that’s a sign this is probably a toxic situation. This is a part of you protecting your mental health. If you stumble upon a co-worker being messy or you’re involved in a conversation that suddenly becomes demeaning or unproductive, walk away. Dismiss yourself, choose not to be involved. If you need to, take a moment to regroup and rid yourself of their negative energy. It’s ok to separate yourself from what is no longer serving you. If you feel strongly enough about the issue, confront the gossiper at a later time when you can engage in a calm conversation sharing your thoughts on gossiping about another coworker and be honest about how uncomfortable it made you feel. We have to take a stand for mistreatment in whatever form it shows up, including toxic communication, abuse, harassment, gender bias and racism in the spaces we exist in.   

Subtle manifestations of discrimination may significantly impact the everyday lives of women, the compiling effect of which may result in hostile work environments and distressed internal emotional states

Next, we unpacked Gender Bias in the Workplace. In the previous paragraph we discussed potential options as to why some employees behave the way they do and we mentioned that there could be another valid theory. Our next panelist reminded us to think about the beliefs that have been built into us. From birth people project their views and opinions of how girls are different than boys. A baby girl is rumored to cry less than a baby boy. Says who? As girls grow older we are taught not to speak or dress a certain way, what sport is lady-like, what toys we should play with and the list goes on. By the time we enter the workforce, we have so many rules inside our heads that we begin to doubt our abilities in our work space. Internally we are replaying all of the things we were told we should be as women, and unbeknown to us, our subconscious is keeping us tethered to the expectations of gender bias and we begin to acquiesce before our thinking brain kicks in with a conscious response. When you are presented with an idea or a situation and feel that hesitation, or fear, check in with your thoughts- “is this something you were told that you will not be able to accomplish? Do you believe the voices in your head?” Now take note of your response to others, particularly other women. Ms. Araika-Zawadhafsa Mkulo, Psychologist, shifted our awareness of our relationship to other women- “are we subconsciously sabotaging our fellow women co-workers based on biased views that were projected on us? Are we even conscious that we are doing so?” I want to encourage you to pause through your day and tune in to your relationship to yourself and others at work. 

Ask yourself what are you accepting in our own roles or in those around us that need to end? As Araika shared, be open to unlearn. What micro step can you take in this moment to shift that experience in the workplace? 

We have the unique opportunity in this day and time to change the narrative.

Notice the story you tell yourself. Where does it come from?

We live in a time where it is ok to speak up for yourself as a woman and ask for what you need. We no longer have to stand behind a man and wait to be spoken to in order to have a voice. Take risks, do things that scare you in order to advance in your career. Don’t allow yourself to feel as though you cannot be a wife, mother, and successful career woman. Those ideas are false and do not serve you. Ignore the Imposter Syndrome that makes you believe that you do not belong in places that you have earned your right to be in.

What have you been taught to be? Agreeable, beautiful, quiet, the parent, the responsible one? Is it showing up in your career and just isn’t working towards your success anymore? Let’s dive in together and get the work done together. That is the benefit to partnering with a women’s mindset coach to collaborate on healing and unlearning. We can have difficult conversations, model new expectations, challenge core beliefs, make core shifts, and become the best version of you. Sometimes you need that little nudge in the right direction to unleash your confidence, get clear on what you want to do with your life and implement strategies that work, as women and the organizations that support them. Are you ready to shift the narrative?

 

Amanda Fludd, Psychotherapist, Corporate Trainer and Women in Business Mindset Coach is here for your Mental Health needs. Sometimes you just need that professional nudge in the right direction to implement strategies that work.

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