Today I want to give you some personal updates. I realised that since I started the podcast over 6 months ago, I haven’t really given you an update about my growth, both personal and as an entrepreneur. So today, I want to go through some of the feelings I’ve been experiencing recently, the challenges I’ve been working through, and the hard-hitting questions you can ask yourself if you want to grow as a leader, coach, entrepreneur, or as a person in general.
The past few months have been tough for everyone.
As I think we all know, everyone’s lives were turned upside down by Coronavirus.
Last week, I went and got my nails done, and afterwards I wanted to stop by my parents to give them a hug. I was talking to them and I said something along the lines of “the past few months were just really, really hard.” And my mom looked at me, and she said “it’s okay. It’s been hard for everyone. Don’t feel bad about it. Don’t feel ashamed. It’s just been rough.”
I think that’s something that a lot of us have been forgetting. I’ve been thriving professionally, but it hasn’t been easy.
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Before lockdown, everything was going well. My business was doing well, I was hiring people, and I had a plan. But then Corona and lockdown hit, and I told myself, “I can come out of this on top of things, or at the bottom. I can be the online business coach, or I can not be that person.” I made the decision to come out of this on top, and I’m proud to say that that happened. My team has grown. My client base has grown. We’ve done incredible sales. I am very proud of everything that’s happening, especially buying a house. All those things have been great, but it has also cost me a lot.
I just got back from Italy, and I can’t talk about everything, but let me just say that in a few areas of my life, especially personal, shit hit the fan, and that meant I couldn’t really relax. I also made the decision to stay longer in Italy so I could spend time with my brothers – but that meant I had to change some practical details of my launch, and had to work more when Charly was in Italy. A bunch of stuff which resulted in me never really being ‘off’.
Before lockdown, I had this really great rhythm of getting up, having a nice breakfast, going for a workout at 8:00, and then grabbing a tea at my favourite coffee place in Antwerp at 9:00. Then I’d go home, and by 10:00 I’d be home, showered, and dressed – and ready to start my day. By 18:00 or 19:00 I’d stop working and start cooking, and Charly would come over to watch Netflix and have a chill evening.
Lockdown changed everything.
I decided I wanted to come out of this strong, because that would be best for my business. Just because I have an online business doesn’t mean I didn’t have to fight: I have employees to take care of, too. I remember that one of the first things I did was talk to my team, some of whom are freelancers, and tell them that they didn’t have to worry about their income on top of everything else.
Lion versus Penguin energy
I don’t know a whole lot about masculine and feminine energy, but let me put it in my own words. I always joke that I have my lion side, and my penguin side.
My lion side can roar when needed, can set boundaries and can be really strong.
My penguin side is the softer side of me, and if you’ve ever had coaching with me or been in a Live with me, you've seen that I've got both sides in me.
I like the softer side in me, and I also like to be a bit brutal and say it like it is…which is why I’m sometimes given the nickname ‘straightforward Amy’. Looking back, I think I did good, but I’m exhausted. The lion side of me had to come out way too much, and I’ve had to be very strong.
I know that I’m very good at handling crises. If someone passes away, I can take control of everything from that moment on until the funeral, but then I’ll crash once everyone has been taken care of. I feel like that’s happening a little at this current moment too. There has been a lot to do. I’ve been building up two teams. I have a lot of new clients I care about a lot, and I have a perfectionist in me who wants to do everything right.
Through it all, I think I have become a better leader and really leveled up – not just in income, but in general. The flipside is that I neglected my body.
- My workouts fell away.
- My intolerances got worse.
- I gained some weight. I’m at the point now where the weight gain is probably just due to the chronic pressure of always being on.
The challenge for the future is to turn off. Here’s the thing: I like my work! I love my clients! But I want to be able to be ‘in the moment’ more.
This is something that was already important to me before all of this happened, but along the way I sort of lost that.
At the beginning of 2020, I said that my theme for the year was going to be ‘create and play’. Jessica, who’s my best friend and my co-founder of Alfavrouwen, even got me a necklace with the words ‘create’ and ‘play’ on it. I totally forgot that play was my theme for the year…
I was so overstimulated after coming back from Italy that yesterday, I went on a procrastination trip. I turned off my phone and went and bought some clothes and jewelry, and some notebooks, because that’s what you do when you feel overwhelmed. I got on a call with Laura, who knows she needs to manage my emotional side too, and I told her that it was all too much at once, even when I have breaks in my calendar and it seems doable. It’s just so much.
Get ready for this golden nugget: just because it’s possible, doesn’t mean you have to do it.
As a good friend once told me, just because there’s a gap in your calendar doesn’t mean you have to fill it. I’m great at time management, and I can get a lot done, but the reality is that I’m in a very reactive place with my work. I’m a very visionary person, so the moment I have an idea and I’ve sold it, I’m onto the next one. You might also recognise that in yourself. I’m always looking for new things to do, and new roadblocks to overcome, which you can also call being a ‘high sensation seeker’. But at the same time, I don’t like it when I’m overstimulated.
Working out my priorities
I’m now looking for better balance, and I’m starting to take action to give me that balance in my life.
We had been planning to do something in September that we’re now not going to do. Instead, September is going to be a month of working with the team to streamline and optimise all our processes. There is no use in me and my team feeling pressured – because that’s not a happy environment.
It comes down to a few priorities I’ve figured out for myself.
- On top of my list is a happy, healthy Amy. Some people might think that it’s a little bit egotistical, but I really want to feel good, and I want the connection between my mind and my body back.
- My second priority is a happy team. My team can only be happy if we make sure there’s a supportive container where they can thrive and be great at what they do. And I guess I'm part of my team, so that solves 1)!
- Third on the list is happy clients. I don’t really care about getting new clients. I have so many amazing clients who I want to see rise to the stars, and I hope that I can do everything to make them really happy.
These are my three priorities.
My company will probably do more than €1 million in sales this year. So success is inevitable – but what is success? It doesn’t really matter how much money you’re making, once you’re over a certain threshold. Once you’re earning more than a certain amount, there’s a limit to how much your happiness can grow.
So happiness can be achieved in the way we do things. We need to focus on the process.
- How can we trust the process?
- How can we embrace the journey?
It’s not about how much money you make, it’s the way you make it. It’s not about how many employees you have. It’s about those employees being happy, loving working with you, and being fun people! On that note, a huge shoutout to my team.
I remember years ago, I was working towards an end point. I used to compare myself to Marie Forleo. It always seemed like everyone had a perfect end result in life – happy family, and successful business. At a certain point, I realised that there’s never going to be an end point. It’s how you’re getting there that matters. For me right now, I love working on my businesses. Yesterday, I wasn’t loving it because I was so overstimulated, but I want to make sure I keep on loving it.
As my team grows, they need a lot of input from me, and I also want to keep messaging them with things I see. We’re rewriting manuals and creating Amy’s golden rules, and all those kinds of things. Everyone’s constantly being reactive, which is my most hated state of being. I love being proactive, in my flow, in my state of genius. For me, that means creating and coaching.
Making the 80:20 principle work for you
Let’s look at the 80:20 principle. Of course, admin has to get done. I have to pay my bills, and open envelopes from the bank. I don’t mind paying bills from a money mindset point of view, but I don’t like all the admin that’s involved.
What a lot of people get wrong with the 80:20 principle is that they start their business in order to be able to do what they love, but they end up doing what they love only 20% of the time.
I really want to change that! I love coaching, doing Lives, recording my podcast, doing interviews… but I don’t really like the operational, reactive side of things.
Going forward, we’re going to change some of our meetings to a new style, and we’re going to do operational stand-up meetings every day to streamline my team so everyone can flourish in their role. This means daily half an hour meetings between 10:30 and 11:00, but our goal is to reduce it to 15 minutes. Eventually, we’ll be able to have two meetings a week. This lets me work in my zone of genius, and feel abundant in my business. This is something I want to focus on in my business – the Abundant Entrepreneur sounds fun, right?
Being an abundant entrepreneur
Abundance is my anchor. My truth comes down to abundance. There’s always more. There’s always another option. Abundance means saying ‘yes’, and not saying ‘but’. But abundance isn’t the self-talk I’ve been hearing for the past few weeks. I’ve been saying a lot of ‘shoulds’ and ‘have-tos’ in my head. That’s not good. I didn’t do that for a while – so that’s something I’m going to be changing.
Working on yourself never ends. I do that by being really introspective, and while depression is in my genes, I don’t think I’ll get fully depressed again easily, because I’ve worked so hard on it. Obviously it’s a disease, and sometimes you can’t do anything about it, but for me personally, I feel like I’m at a good point where the lows aren’t as low anymore, but right now I am feeling like some of these things need to change.
A few months back, I had the same feeling. I was like, “urgh, what the fuck is happening?” but it was literally just growing pains. Scaling a business is hard. Maybe some of what I’m saying is familiar to you. That’s a good thing, because you’re out of your comfort zone, and you’re growing. What we want to make sure is that you don’t snap back into your comfort zone, but that we create a new state that’s even better.
My new mindset is embracing the journey, and building in lots of rest.
It means that just because I can fit many hours of coaching in a day, doesn’t mean I have to.
I want to go back to stopping work on time, turning off my phone, and cooking.
It means spending 80% of my time on things I love in my business.
It means spending less time online, and being in the moment when I am online.
It means running my morning meetings in a way that leads to happy Amy, happy team, happy clients.
It means embracing the journey and making the journey epic.
If you have satisfied customers, I do believe a successful business will follow. If you do what you love, you’ll be good at it, and you’ll get there. ‘There’ probably doesn’t exist. The only thing that exists is the here and now.
It’s up to us to trust the process and embrace the journey.
Don’t be like “on Monday, I’ll change”. I sometimes find myself thinking “oh, when I’m in the new house, I’ll do this” – but I shouldn’t do that. That’s just postponing your life.
One of my favourite quotes is “never borrow from tomorrow.”
It’s the actions you take today, that define your tomorrow.
If you’re spending hours online every day and feeling overwhelmed, you’re going to feel the same way tomorrow. Break the cycle.
I want you to think about your answers to these questions:
- What is important to you?
- What makes you happy?
- Where is your energy draining?
- What is fueling you?
My path to embracing the journey
I’ve been thinking of some ways in which I’m going to start embracing the journey.
I’m starting to push back the time I start going on my phone, which means normally I’ll try and look at my phone only from 10:00 a.m. onwards. I live with Charly, and he’s the only person I want to talk to earlier than that anyway…
Another great way to instill peace in my days is taking more breaks, and scheduling in more than enough time. When I schedule a 30 minute drive into my calendar, I’ll schedule in 30 minutes. But from now on, I’m going to add an extra 15 minutes. I need to plan for life. Instead of doing it in 15 minutes, I’m going to do it in 30 minutes.
I saw this video of Ru Paul a few weeks ago, and he talked about how he was always late for appointments, and at a certain point he figured out that was his way of creating chaos for himself so that he could get that adrenaline rush.
That really resonated with me.
I think that being on time is so important, but I often leave a little bit too late. That might be a secret, subconscious way of looking for an adrenaline rush. For the past years, I’ve been fighting. For my business, for myself, for my finances.
There was a point a few years ago where I had to pay for everything myself: my food, my clothes, my studies. I was running my business while studying full time, so I had to be a warrior. This is something I realised a little while back, before I went to Italy. When I was 10, I suffered from depression, and also became physically unwell. My mom’s best friend – who was also the mom of my best friend – passed away, and that had a really big impact on me.
Whatever has happened in your past, you’re safe now
What I realised in hindsight is that I’ve been fighting for 17 years, but I’m safe now.
Maybe you’ve been financially unsafe.
Maybe you’ve been physically unsafe.
Maybe you’ve been mentally unsafe.
Maybe something happened in your childhood to make you feel really unsafe.
We often go into control mode – control becomes our bandaid.
I knew I was safe, but I didn’t feel it – and that’s what I’ve been working through.
There are always going to be things that trigger you, but the trick is turning back to your core and realising that you are safe no matter what happens.
My challenge is to break my set point of being a warrior and a fighter. My new set point can become rest and ease.
A fun question is, what if life could be easy?
What if business could be easy?
I’m working on that for myself, and I hope you work on that for you, too.
I’ve been growing a lot, as a person, as a leader, as a daughter, as a coach.
Having shared this, some people might think they wouldn’t hire me as a coach, because I ‘have issues’, but I think my strength lies in always looking for support, always growing, and always learning so I can teach people the very best things in the very best ways.
You are safe.
You are probably safer than you feel, especially at this trying time.
It’s okay to have issues.
It’s okay to not be okay.
And it’s time we all embrace the journey.
To listen to episode 39 of my podcast, head to Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts, and search for The FastForwardAmy Show. Don’t forget to tag me in your stories so I know what you think!
If you’re serious about growing your business and building the life of your dreams, sign up for my Business Freedom Elevator, my brand new 6-month program that will pretty much change your life. Check out all the info here and get in touch if you have any questions.
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