Giving Yourself Grace: An In-Depth Look at Making Grace a Reality

WHAT IS GRACE, EXACTLY?

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Grace:

Disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency

As small business owners, a common personality trait is that we are high achievers and have a certain expectation for how we perform. We want to be the best that we can be and provide the best service to our customers that we can. We plan out our calendar year, define our goals and build a plan for how we will accomplish said goals. We map out a plan for how we will market and continually refine our customer service language in order to provide the best experience.

As women who fulfill many goals in addition to being small business owners- friend, daughter, mom, wife and sister, we find that our plates quickly fill up and there are a multitude of obligations vying for our attention. On a good day, we may manage these obligations with ease and grace. On a bad day, it may feel like things fall through the cracks and we simply can’t keep up.

As high achievers, it can be tempting to fall into a habit of negative self-talk when we have a bad day. If we’re being honest with ourselves, the things that we say to ourselves when frustrated are nothing like the encouraging, kind things that we would say to a friend.

Why is it so easy to give grace to others, but not to ourselves?

It is always important to remember that we are our own worst critics. The people that interact with us and truly love and support us are happy to have us in their lives. They don’t want the improved, perfect, flawless version of ourselves that we sometimes wish we could attain- they want the real us who is unique and quirky and real.

In encouraging us all to give more grace to ourselves as we run our businesses, I’d like to go over some pointers to do so.

GIVE A NAME TO HOW YOU’RE FEELING

Primarily, it is so important to give ourselves a name to the feelings that we are experiencing. As women and especially as business owners, it can be tempting to gloss over our emotions or hide behind saying that we are simply “having a bad day”. Rather, I believe that we are worthy of giving our feelings a name and saying exactly what we are experiencing. If you are feeling unsure of yourself, timid about the level of skill you have or frustrated with yourself or a situation, it is important to say that. This enables us to reframe the negative emotions we are experiencing and face them head on. As we acknowledge how we are feeling, we are empowered to take the appropriate actions to resolve the situation. Sometimes the appropriate action means just giving yourself time to work through how you’re feeling. Sometimes that means journaling or speaking with a confidant about our emotions. As we do this, we are giving ourselves space to acknowledge our emotions, process them and then move forward in changing our focus to being productive in work rather than allowing the cloud of how we are feeling to hang over us. We can face our feelings head on and move forward in a healthy way.

WHEN YOU ARE OVERWHELMED:

In our society, the pressure to be perfect in every aspect of our lives can feel crushing. Social media makes it seem like it should be easy to wear a multitude of hats with complete ease, but the reality is that this is not only extremely difficult, but completely draining as well. You might be able to be “perfect” for a short amount of time, but that level of performance is not sustainable. As business owners, you can be good at your craft but struggle in networking. You can be innovative at marketing but struggle to make sure your finances are well organized. We all can’t be everything at all times to all people.

There can be so many contributing factors to being overwhelmed. We can have obligations in so many areas of our lives, and sometimes things fall through the cracks.

COMBAT BEING OVERWHELMED WITH FOCUS ON OUR CAPABILITIES

To give ourselves grace in this area, it is so important to remember that you are capable. While sometimes our to-do lists feel like they will overtake us, we must take a step back from our obligations and focus on our capabilities. It is only natural that the roles that we hold in our lives have a great deal of need associated with them. The list of things that we must do to fulfill our roles can be extensive. When we look at our to-do lists and find the inevitable feeling of overwhelm start to creep in, giving ourselves grace is essential.

To do this, we must remember that just as our lists grew item by item, we are able to be successful in tackling them by setting appropriate expectations and operate within a reasonable realm of capability. It is admirable to set high expectations for yourself, but some days you need to proceed within the grace of giving yourself space to tackle a much smaller list and give yourself space to breathe. If you manage your expectations of yourself by allowing for extra room to breathe in your schedule, you can practice grace as you check off each item and set yourself up for success. As you feel the effect of a less crammed schedule and to-do list, your productivity will grow, and you may accomplish more than planned. The lie that we may be tempted to believe is that our to-do lists will never get done. The reality is that they rarely ever go incomplete. Somehow, we always find a way to do all of the things we need to. So, by managing the quality of our processes by giving ourselves space in our schedules, we are also practicing grace by naturally reducing the pressure to perform on ourselves and giving ourselves space to thrive. In thriving, we may actually be surprised at what we are able to achieve.

LET GO OF THE “SHOULD’S”

I think that given the messages that we receive through society and social media, it is so easy to feel like we’re missing something, or we SHOULD be doing something different than what we are doing.

What are some examples of things that you feel that you *should* be doing that you aren’t?

We must recognize the source of the message we receive that makes us feel like we’re missing something. Why do we feel like we SHOULD be doing things that we aren’t? Why do we feel like we SHOULD be more to people than we are? What is the source of the message that we SHOULD be doing, being and giving more?

As we practice intentionality in letting go of the “should” feeling and make an effort to identify what we ARE doing, we can give ourselves credit where credit is due. A practical way to practice this is to write down the goals that we have had for ourselves over a specific period (this year, this month, this week?) and list out what we have accomplished. This way, when the familiar lie of feeling like we should be doing something arises, we can combat it with the knowledge that we are acting in the best interest of our business.

The only journey that we absolutely must focus on is our own.

When you let go of the should feeling, you give yourself grace to focus on what you should accomplish to best further your business, rather than trying to keep up with someone else’s arbitrary metric of you and your success.

WHEN YOU RECEIVE AN ANSWER OF NO

Rejection can be so difficult! In the world of entrepreneurship, it can feel easy to take things personally because we are representing a business that reflects our personal talents, skills and ideas or a product that we have created. In a sense, it truly IS personal.

As we encounter opportunities that we hope will ultimately lead to receiving an answer of “yes” or “no”, it can be a difficult pill to swallow when we receive an answer we were not hoping for. It can be disappointing at best and deflating at worst. 

As mentioned before, it can be tempting to engage in negative self-talk when we receive an answer of “no”. To combat that and create a space where we give ourselves grace, it is key to take a step back and acknowledge that our receiving an answer of “no” is not an actual rejection of you, the person. It could be that the timing is not correct, or that your path is ultimately being protected from something that could hurt your business in the end.

This is a concept that is much easier said than done. It is difficult to remove the personal feelings from receiving an answer of “no” that you very much wanted to be a “yes”. Give yourself space to process your emotions and adjust accordingly. Maybe the answer of “no” is simply a change in direction that causes little more than a blip on your radar. Maybe the “no” is crushing and you are deeply disappointed. When this happens, it is important to simply be gentle with yourself. Protect your space and surround yourself with activities, work and people who fill you up and make you feel whole again. In being kind to yourself and giving yourself permission to do what fills you up, you are practicing grace in a real and tangible way.

Ultimately, the bottom line is that we are all worthy of grace. It can be hardest to give grace to ourselves, because we tend to be our own worst critics. If we give ourselves an opportunity to take a small step back from being wrapped up in our day-to-day lives, we can be intentional about giving ourselves grace given our humanness. We can do great things, but we cannot do it all immediately.

When we make mistakes, we must remember that we will not be fully perfect at all times. We must acknowledge the details surrounding our situation (are we under additional stress? Is there something happening in our personal lives that leads us to be less focused than normal?) and give ourselves grace for sometimes making an honest mistake.

Personality Type: What It Means for You

We all have a personality type- it’s something we’ve learned along the way in high school or college. We’ve taken the tests online and been told the color of our aura and our spirit animal.

This information can be fun and somewhat insightful, but most of us may not realize that there is great power in discovering the name of your personality type and our preferences for how we interact with the world. Learning this information about ourselves gives us an opportunity to harness powerful insight into the why behind our preferences for our interaction with the world and our behavior.

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Root & Restore has teamed up with 16 Personalities to provide the comprehensive personality assessment used in our program. As you take the personality assessment, you may learn new insights into your personality. You may find that behaviors you have that have felt like simple quirks are actually a shared characteristic that many with your personality type have as well!

In order to help you better understand your preferences for interacting with the world, we would like to invite you to take the 16 Personalities assessment and download our free worksheet, linked below. This information comes directly from our workbook, so you’re getting an incredible inside peek at just a fraction of the content that Root & Restore participants engage in!

Did you find anything compelling in your personality assessment results, or did you uncover something significant in working through some of our content? Please share below- we would love to hear from you!

Click the link below to access your FREE download direct from the Root & Restore content!

Root & Restore Personality Type Download

Taking My Own Advice

The final checkout was completed, we arrived home and I scooped up my babies to greet them after several (wonderful!) days away. I kissed my husband hello, soaked in the familiar comforts of home and settled in to enjoy the after-effects of an incredibly uplifting, wonderful retreat.

I heard story after story about how wonderful the retreat was and heard first-hand how impactful the attendee’s time together was. I was on this incredible high for about a week after the retreat as I saw each of our attendees implement so much of what they’d learned and apply it to their every day life as an entrepreneur.

As time wore on and my gratitude for the work of so many people to pull off such a wonderful time settled in, so did my discomfort. I couldn’t pin point it, but I started to feel down. I should have been on an incredible high and I should have felt completely unstoppable.

The word was starting to get out about Root & Restore and every single bit of it was good. My dream of pouring into small-business owners and empowering them to have tangible tools to combat feelings of insecurity, self-doubt, comparison and much more became a reality. I had everything I could ask for at that time. I’d had a successful retreat. I also felt really sad. I identified so much with the feeling of a deflated balloon that was just blowing in the wind.

It’s so important to share that as the content of Root & Restore is incredibly valuable, it also matters that I take the information to heart and implement it for myself. I absolutely must practice what I preach. Since I wasn’t able to find the right next steps for myself, I did what I knew to do and turned into my Root & Restore community. I talked to some of the ladies that I had just poured into mere weeks before and allowed them to speak truth back into me. I also confided in past Root & Restore alumni to allow them to speak truth to me as well. What came of those conversations was not only deepened connection, but a reminder that in planning so fervently for the retreat, I failed to look beyond that weekend.

I was so hell-bent on making the retreat weekend an incredible time that I didn’t look even five minutes beyond that time, much less five days. This meant that as I settled back into my post-retreat work routine and tried to continue moving Root & Restore forward, I felt lost. I felt empty and weary.

It can be difficult to know in your heart and mind that you are doing good, appropriate work and simultaneously feel deflated. If you’ve ever felt this way, I want to encourage you that you are not alone.

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In a section of the Root & Restore content, we touch on celebrating achievements as they come. The big ones and the small ones.

Wouldn’t you know it… I ABSOLUTELY didn’t stop to celebrate this huge accomplishment of a successful first retreat! I didn’t give myself a single moment of grace to rest from our time together OR evaluate and celebrate the dream-come-true that the retreat was for me. I was so focused on my next steps that I gave no value to the work, thoughtfulness and intention I put into the retreat when they, in actuality, held IMMENSE value.

So, here I am, almost three months later. My real life consists of a sweet little babe who isn’t fond of sleep and a rambunctious 4 year old who loves to be on the move. I’m balancing motherhood, being a wife and entrepreneurship. I am truly just like you. Just like I tell every person who interacts with Root & Restore, I needed to give myself the space to 1. REST and 2. celebrate the accomplishment that is our first retreat. I’ve asked for help (a whole blog topic in and of itself!!) and have given myself space to rest. As I’ve done that, I’ve felt the passion & motivation for my work slowly start to seep back into each day. I’m working on celebrating my first retreat- that just takes a bit more intentional work.

Now, who wants to meet me for champagne and fun? We’ve earned it!

How We Came to Be

I’m not sure if you’ve heard our story, but with so many exciting changes happening and new friends coming on board, I wanted to take a minute to share it again. There are so many ways that Root & Restore could have never existed. The path to becoming just what we are today is full of twists and turns. Did you know that prior to ever being an entrepreneur, I earned a Master’s Degree in Community Counseling and worked in Higher Education? I loved being on college campuses and I love working with college students. I never, ever saw myself as an entrepreneur or a creative business owner.

Root & Restore came to exist because I first became a calligrapher. I felt compelled to try something for “me” after having a baby, and calligraphy piqued my interest. My husband encouraged me to really try it after confirming that I had skill in that area and I went for it. The only small problem was that while I loved creating beautiful work for other people, my heart was consistently set on fire not by the projects I delivered, but the people I met. I loved building relationships with new people and encouraging them in their creative businesses.

I would also receive incredible feedback from other creatives about how talented I was or how wonderful my work was. That was so nice to hear, but I seemed to constantly grapple with feelings of insecurity and self doubt. I constantly compared my work to others and if you’d have met me at the very beginning, my biggest goal was to be as good as a fellow calligrapher in the area. This isn’t a bad thing in and of itself, but it was not right for me. To take all of my gifts and abilities and weigh them against another person who was presenting their very best work at all times was not fair to me and what I brought to the table.

As I began to build a creative community, I felt comfortable sharing my innermost thoughts and feelings with the people close to me and rather than feel alone in my struggles, they were shared and related to and time and again, my load was lightened in being honest about my internal struggles as a calligrapher. The more I had these types of discussions, the more I realized that I was truly not alone in my feelings of insecurity and self-doubt. I was not the only one struggling with negative self-talk and rampant comparison.

Then, a life changing question came to mind: Why are we not more honest about this? We don’t necessarily have to make our struggles the biggest part of our conversations or connections, but having the freedom to be genuine and vulnerable when it is appropriate can make a world of difference in our trusted, professional relationships.

I started Root & Restore because I believe that small business owners and creative entrepreneurs can thrive when given the space to be vulnerable and real about the hard parts of small business ownership.

We can more authentically connect and encourage each other when we are invited into the inner workings of the person behind the business and the brand.

The beauty of this type of connection is that when we work towards our goals, the small accomplishments become magnified because we are invested in the person and we know the significance of every step forward in their business growth. When we have difficult days and everything seems to be falling apart, the same people are able to step in and remind you of your greatness because they are invested in your day-to-day well-being.

Will you join us? We would love to have you attend a workshop or join us at a retreat. We are excited to meet you, just as you are.


Fall 2018 Retreat Recap!

Just last month, we were on our very first Root & Restore retreat. We are so very excited to share our time with you!

We were welcomed into an absolutely stunning home right on the beach in the Texas Gulf Coast. We had gorgeous flowers by Amanda Bee Floral Design to brighten up the space and give it a luxuriously comfy feel. The decor and location of our retreat helped each attendee to feel immediately relaxed and cared for as she walked into the home and took in the scenery on the balcony.

As we started the course material, immediate connections began to form as each woman shared her dreams and motivations for starting her business. This gave each of us an opportunity to connect on a fundamental level, as we opened our time together by getting to the heart of why we are on our entrepreneurial journeys.

The beauty of opening our time together in this way meant that genuine connections happened very quickly. As connections of the heart happened, this led to more in-depth, authentic conversations over insecurities, comparison, and self-care. Furthermore, the retreat attendees were able to quickly rally around a new friend when tears came and frustrations were shared.

As the retreat facilitator, it was such an incredible honor to see each retreat attendee step into the gap for each woman, meet her where she felt inadequate and lift her up to reach for her fullest potential.

The conversations over meals and over course content was inspiring, real, transparent and encouraging. Because of the Root & Restore content, our retreat attendees felt that they could be exactly who they were and use their unique voice to speak life into each woman’s heart.

As we navigated through topic after topic in the workbook, walls came down, vulnerabilities were shared and dreams were spoken into life. Each woman knew that her innermost thoughts were safe in our group. She knew that she could share her big, scary dreams and that they would be held with respect, honor and have life breathed into them. Her vulnerability was honored, not used against her.

Our most powerful session was on Self-Talk, which led to some life changing dreams being shared and incredible goals being put into play.

We were able to dig deep into connecting each woman’s passions with her vision, which resulted in some powerful ideas coming to life that can truly change the world.

One of my absolute favorite parts of working through Root & Restore content with different groups is to see which topic is the one that changes lives. It has varied with each group, but it is an incredible testament to the power of Root & Restore and its ability to help an incredibly diverse audience.

As a result of working through the Root & Restore content, each woman gave as much as she received, she shared her heart and listened to the hearts of others, and each woman saw the power in being vulnerable in a safe space. We saw strength and vision ignited in their hearts and minds and we all left feeling truly honored to have had an opportunity to join in these women’s stories.

 Our gorgeous booklets were designed by  Lynsey Creative  and were absolutely perfect for facilitating our conversation over three days and three nights.

Our gorgeous booklets were designed by Lynsey Creative and were absolutely perfect for facilitating our conversation over three days and three nights.

AS IF THAT WEREN’T ENOUGH, WE WERE TREATED TO THE FOLLOWING AMAZING RETREAT PERKS:

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In-House Catered Meals

We were treated to deliciously made and beautifully styled meals made with lots of love by Chef Alfreda with The Purple Orchid.

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Yoga & Massages

While our bellies were taken good care of, Wilma took incredible care of our bodies and minds by guiding us through a personalized yoga course as well as calming, relaxing massages.

Our gorgeous gift boxes included goodies from Houston-area vendors and were the ultimate in self-care with goodies like bath bombs, candles, sugar scrubs and a gorgeous journal for jotting down every single thought and emotion during the retreat time together. 

We had an abundance of laughter, heart-to-heart moments, some tears and more warm memories than we could count. All of these wonderful times were accented by a gorgeous view and the calming sound of waves on the sand throughout the duration of our time together. 

We all walked away from our retreat weekend with incredibly full hearts and friendships that are certain to last a lifetime.

Life was spoken into our dreams and passions through the Root & Restore content. We also received incredible value on business strategy from Melinda with The Lovely Creative. She also was the amazing photographer during the retreat and we were so blessed to have her! 

As if our time together couldn't have been more special, we were greeted by an incredibly intense rainbow as we wrapped up the retreat and prepared to head back home.

It almost felt like a promise- that as we each went our separate ways back to our lives, that we had been seen, known, loved and cared for and that our journeys were not by mistake.

What a powerful image to wrap up our time together.

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Will you join us for our next retreat? We believe that our time together has the power to change your life and we want you to be in on it all. We can’t wait to celebrate you!

When the Answer is "No"

Preface: Most of the time, Root & Restore will be a place of encouragement and empowerment. However, something that is more important to me than lifting people up is being real. I believe with every part of my being that in order for me to be an effective encourager, it is vital that I be genuine and real. That way, when I say the fun, kind things, the recipient of those words knows that they are hearing me speak something that I truly believe in rather than just anecdotal happy words to lighten the mood. 

So, to jump right in... 

A very real and normal part of building a business is being told "no" or watching doors close that you wished would open. If entrepreneurship was an easy path to achieving wild success, everyone would do it! However, it's actually a difficult road that is full of detours, delays and disappointments. 

Part of those disappointments can show up as rejection. A lost bid, a rejected idea, a "change in direction". All are forms of the answer "no" and all have the potential to be a nuisance at best and crushing at their worst. 

Today I'd like to share with you some thoughts on how to deal with rejection- from a lost bid or a disappointed client to losing a client to a competitor.

1. Understand that it doesn’t feel good. 

  • Allow yourself to feel sad over receiving “no” for an answer. It takes time to process the feelings you’ll have over rejection- from relief to disappointment, etc. I believe that in our boss-lady culture, it can be tempting to gloss over our feelings of hurt or disappointment and try to put on a brave face.

You don't have to show the whole world your broken heart or ruined vision board, but it is important to be honest with yourself about how you feel. If you're relieved, that's ok. If you're upset, that's ok too.  If you're crushed, it simply means you are human. 

2. Be kind to yourself. 

  • Being rejected is not fun, regardless of how you look at it. However, it doesn’t mean that you are a failure. It doesn’t mean you should quit. It doesn’t mean that you have no value. It can be tempting to jump to those types of conclusions, but being told “no” doesn’t mean that the whole world rejects you. It just means that the situation you were wanting to be in was not for you, or not for you in that time. Being kind to yourself and giving yourself room to process your emotions (be it for 5 minutes or 5 months...) is key to moving on in a healthy, effective way. 

3. Protect your space. 

  • I was once told no over two very big projects that were deeply disappointing. I just KNEW I was the perfect fit and the “yes” was so palpable I could taste it. Then, I got a no for both. I was SO upset!! It felt like a punch in the gut and while I knew I’d ultimately be fine, I had to take a minute to protect my space to protect my sanity. This meant taking a step back from specific social media pages for a while and intentionally surrounding myself with things that would lift me up. I took on projects that made me happy and I spent time with people that really knew me and loved me. Instead of scrolling on social media, I spent more time away from my phone than I normally would and found such peace and joy in simply protecting my space. 

4. Try to accept that not everyone/everything is for you.

  • This can be difficult, because it’s so easy to feel like you want to be all the things for all the people. This “no” could have been a case of bad timing: maybe you weren’t ready for the opportunity, or maybe the opportunity wasn’t ready for you! Maybe in 2, 5, or 10 years, things will be different. OR, maybe you will simply grow out of the need for that opportunity and saying “no” now positions you for something that is a much better fit later.

Maybe your business growth would be hindered by the opportunity you’re seeking now and you are being protected for something more significant in the future. I’ve heard the concept that “there is enough success for everyone” and I sincerely believe that’s true. However, the success that someone else has may not fit your life in the same way. That same concept works for why some people get “yes’s” and some people get “no’s”. Your opportunity will come, and it will be the best fit for you. An answer of “no” can be painful, but it can also be a protection for what is meant to come into our lives.

What is meant for you will find you! 

5. Try to find the lesson.

  • Finally, I strongly believe that we are told “no” in life for a plethora of reasons. These closed doors can be deeply disappointing and painful, but they can truly shape us and our businesses for incredible growth if we let them. Maybe experiencing rejection ourselves helps us to be more compassionate and considerate when we have to tell someone else “no” to something. We can be more kind and understand how they may feel.

Being rejected for an opportunity can give us freedom to pursue new, unexpected avenues of our businesses that we might not have otherwise. We never know what growth opportunity is waiting just around the corner!  We can also take the opportunity to learn from our experience. Maybe we were weak in certain areas of our business and this gives us the opportunity for true, honest reflection and improvement. 

We are told no for so many reasons, so many times in our journey as entrepreneurs. It is a difficult part of pursuing your dreams, but it can be a refining part of our journey if we allow it. If we choose to let our experiences of rejection be fertile ground for growth and positive change, these “no’s” can become the very foundation that we build our empire off of. 

I'll have to give you the details over coffee sometime, but there have been a few "no's" in my life that I truly thought would crush me. I did not feel that I could stand under their weight and getting through a day felt overwhelming and downright impossible. I don't share these things lightly or ignorantly... I know that if you really had your heart set on something and it doesn't work out, it can feel as if oxygen suddenly was in short supply.

This is when it is best to engage in serious self-care and tangible tools for success... care for yourself at your most basic level, meet your immediate needs and let the rest fall into place. 

One final thought: I am no spring chicken... HA!  I’ve seen a lot and experienced a lot in my life. I just want to encourage you that there has yet to be a “no” in my life that I didn’t come to eventually appreciate, no matter how much it hurt at the time.

A dream deferred can surprise you in the ways it does come true, in its own time and in its own way. 

I am cheering you on, friend. I would love to hear about how you handle rejection and how you've come to appreciate how hearing "no" can shape your journey. 

A Measure of Success

How do you know when you’ve succeeded in life? What will it take for you to measure your life as a success? I have friends who are practicing surgeons and Ph.D’s. I have friends who are successfully parenting four or more children and are cultivating real romance with their spouse. I have friends who are completely debt free and have bodies now that would make their 16 year old selves green with envy. I know person after person who, when ranking my accomplishments against theirs, will out perform mine time after time. 

In trying to live what we would consider a successful life, accomplishments rarely tell the entire story. It’s easy to see how we fall short because we aren’t as rich, skinny, popular, healthy or spiritual as the next person. We aren’t as gregarious or well spoken and dang it, I can’t even make sure all members of my house are well fed, much less compete on all the levels with all the people! 

I’ve found that the story often ends in the same way: I will always find someone out there with more accomplishments than me. Someone who has made more of their business than I have and someone who has capitalized on turning their skills into a dream job.

However, when we take accomplishments away and stop the comparison game, we find that we each have our own sphere of influence. We are fully capable of reaching the people in our sphere of influence and the messages we send to them can radiate in ways we never could have imagined. Some of us have Beyoncé level spheres of influence. Some of us have spheres of influence that may touch our partner or our children or our parents. 

Regardless of how large or small our reach goes, the messages we send are still of critical importance. Do we empower the people we interact with? Are we intentional in lifting them up and leaving them better than we found them? In interacting with your 3 clients or your 30,000 clients, the fundamentals are the same. We are all worthy of encouragement and we are all capable of speaking life-giving truth to those we touch. We are able to treat each person like they matter, because the truth is that they do. The truth is also that no one story is more or less important than the other. When we make this a fundamental philosophy of how we run our businesses, customer service does not need to be a notch on a checklist, because it comes naturally. 

Now, I’m also not here to say that you can’t experience disappointment. It can be difficult to see others achieve the dreams that you have. It can be hard to see others succeed in the areas you had hoped for. I don’t have all of the answers, but what I do know is that we all have our own path to take. What is meant for us will find us, in life and in business. If you’re walking through a moment or an extend time of frustration with not being able to reach your goals, it is important to acknowledge that and feel that frustration. When you give it a voice, you empower yourself to walk through why you may be disappointed and frustrated and what you can do to change it. 

The process of business ownership is a journey. It ebbs and flows. As we navigate through the process of building and growing our businesses, it is important to recognize and celebrate the successes that come our way- from each new, individual client to the realization of the big, scary, out of this world dreams that have come true. The small, barely noticeable successes eventually collect to become the big dreams coming to life. Keep at it, friend. you are making a difference by showing up, and that's something I'd call a success. 

Cheering you on,

Catrina

Giving From an Empty Cup

Do you ever feel empty and worn out? Like you're trying to give from a completely empty cup? 

Maybe your heart is totally in your craft, but getting down to the nitty gritty of checking off an endless to-do list can feel just about like climbing the Rockies. You could be feeling this way because you're dealing with something in life that has you overwhelmed or down. Maybe there is a big life change you're experiencing that has you distracted and feeling like you're not yourself. 

It can be so difficult to not want to fight against the the frustration that can come from feeling distracted and out of focus. Sometimes it feels like if you just push hard enough, you can figure it out and break through that wall. 

We hear popular phrases encouraging the consumption of all of the caffeine and all the hype music and all of the messages telling us to just keep pushing until we make it. However, what if sometimes, (not always), but sometimes, the answer is to just give yourself permission to rest? Permission to close the computer, put down the paint, NOT edit the pictures and take a day to just be? There are times when pushing through can be completely appropriate and VERY useful. There are also times when giving ourselves the space and grace to rest can not only recharge us in a significant way, but we can also position ourselves to do our best work. 

I encourage you to give yourself permission to rest and recover as you need to- as often as you need to. Sometimes this looks like a quick trip through the drive-thru at your favorite coffee shop to give you a pick-me-up. Sometimes this looks like taking a day off to rest and recover and spend time with the people you love.  

The work will still be there, as will your talent and the demands of this amazing job you've created for yourself. Maybe, just maybe, you'll do better work faster because you're doing it from a place of investment in yourself rather from giving from an empty cup. 

Cheering you on, always. 

Catrina 

Confessions

In the vein of being vulnerable, I'd like to share a quick story with you- something that requires me to be open and honest with you. 

I am in the middle of a major life change- my family just recently welcomed our second son into the world. As a second-time mama, I have been so excited for this big life change but also fully aware of how much of my whole world will be affected. I still remember the days after I brought our first son home from the hospital and how I truly felt that my world had been completely turned upside down. 

When you're trying to launch a business and prepare for a baby at the same time, there's alot of humbling that can happen in the process. You don't have all of the energy you might have had otherwise and balancing work, dreaming, planning and implementing with new-mama brain and a very active toddler can make small tasks seem nearly impossible. 

All of that being said, I had a plan for something big to happen in my business before the baby came. My husband, being the wonderful man that he is, lovingly convinced me that maybe, just maybe, the timing wasn't right and that blindly pushing towards my goal could potentially cause more damage than good. 

Y'all... I didn't handle that conversation well. I didn't handle it well at ALL. I wanted so badly to reach my goal, to plan my event, and ride off into the sunset of new motherhood with all of the recognition and accolades that this event would bring. When I was held accountable and faced with the (correct) decision of letting that go (for now), it genuinely hurt. I was disappointed and frustrated. I was mad at him for being right and mad at myself for not seeing it on my own. 

This experience, which, if I'm being totally honest, took a few days to get over. It left me feeling bruised and deflated. However, it reminded me of how hard it can be as business owners to let go of short-term goals that feel so important to best accomplish the long-term goal.

In an effort to feel like we've got control of our businesses, it can be tempting to focus on the little things as a substitute for the big things. It can feel easier to focus on a flawless social media account than it is to dig into our insecurities and dream big dreams for our businesses. It can also feel easier to take on the clients that aren't your ideal instead of raising your prices and saying no to projects that don't set your soul on fire.  In my personal case, it was easier to focus on planning a big party than it was to admit to myself that I should focus on building the foundation of my business and let that be enough for now. 

However, pushing ourselves to go to the uncomfortable parts of owning a business (bookkeeping, goal setting, networking, etc.) can make us more well-rounded business owners and can help us to see areas of success that we might not have otherwise. 

Allowing ourselves to let go of what feels like the big things in order to build a solid foundation for our business can be so hard to do, but can be such a worthwhile investment. I know that this is much easier said than done, because it is a huge struggle of mine as well. It's so much easier to focus on the things that come naturally to us than the things that are outside of out comfort zone. Similarly, it is so easy to focus on the goals that feel good to accomplish and come easily versus the ones that are more time and labor intensive, but that take our business much farther than we might have imagined. However, in choosing to stretch ourselves and say "no" to the smaller, easier goals in lieu of the bigger, more intensive goals, we are truly investing in ourselves and our business growth in lasting ways. 

Cheering you on, friend. Always. 

Catrina

Vulnerability

Have you ever struggled to make eye contact with the person in front of you... your heart is pounding and and your mouth goes dry because you're trying to find the right words to say? You're about to share something big with them- something you've never said out loud but that means SO much to you. You're about to take the leap and be vulnerable. 

Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is hard. It's terrifying and keeping to yourself feels safe. It feels like you're betraying your instinct to self-protect, and what if your vulnerability isn't received well? What if they don't get the weight of what your heart is trying to say, or what if they just don't care? 

But.... what if they do? What if your choice to be vulnerable shows strength and truth, because we really can't do it all alone? What if your vulnerability shows and the person you confide in utters some of the most powerful words in our language, "me too"? 

As we allow ourselves to be open and vulnerable with people who we trust and care for, we give space for authenticity to grow. As uncomfortable as vulnerability can sometimes be, it opens the door for genuine relationship to develop. It gives the other person the freedom to share their own insecurities and concerns, which are deeply personal to them. As the freedom to be authentic is created, the ability for genuine connection is strengthened and we are able to begin to form trust in our relationships. True trust, where we know that the friends we have can love and support us when we are at our very best and at our very worst. 

Vulnerability is never easy. It is scary and uncomfortable. In a world where we can be easily tempted to post perfectly curated squares and are motivated by likes and comments, vulnerability can seem like the last thing we want to do. However, it can be a vital part of  helping us to develop true, lasting and genuine relationships. What steps towards vulnerability can you take today? 

Your Worth & Your Voice

Have you ever completed a creative project or job and gone to share your work on social media, only to have those familiar pangs of doubt rise up and make you hesitate before hitting "publish"? Or, have you proudly showed your content on social media and looked forward to the engagement your post would receive, only to scroll down and see someone who posted the same thing you did, only sooner, with better styling and a wittier caption? Oh, the frustration that sets in. 

Sometimes those feelings can lead to a deeper sense of unrest, where you wonder if your work is even worth it. Is what you have to say good enough, or valuable enough to stand out? Some days, and really, if I'm being terribly honest, most days, I feel like the answer to that question is a resounding "NO". It takes courage to put your work and your heart out into the world. It takes heart to think of something meaningful to say to accompany that perfect little square that is supposed to represent an entire project or job or workday.

Hear me say this loud and clear: It is difficult to share what you have to say with the world, only to see someone else do it "better, faster. stronger", as Daft Punk says. It can feel like a punch in the gut and it can take the wind out of your sails. 

However, those feelings aren't a reflection on reality. It certainly feels real, and seems real, but the truth is that no one can do what you do. No one can be who you are and no one can speak with your voice. Why? Because there is only one you! You were made on purpose and you were made uniquely. Your set of circumstances that have led you to creative entrepreneurship are a culmination of gifts and experiences that you and you alone possess.

How do I know this, and I don't even know you? Well, because I know that the same is true for me. As we put our gifts out into the world in the form of creative work, we are creating unique content that is worth sharing. As you are true to your creative passion and your voice, your work becomes a reflection of that voice, and no one can duplicate that.

Are there details that can be refined? Sure. Are there strategies that can be implemented to help us all become more skilled business owners? Absolutely! However, there is nothing that can compare to the uniqueness of your voice and the beauty that is created out of your passion for what you do. Never forget that, and never let it be snuffed out. The world is waiting! 

Onward,

Catrina 

A New Year, A Fresh Start

New Years are synonymous with fresh starts. The calendar is clean, the year is fresh and we are all full of hope and determination. Resolutions have been made and plans are set in motion. The clock strikes midnight, Auld Lang Syne is played and we're off to the races!! 

Then comes a new day (or, in my case, lots of days, which add up to weeks and, huh.. looky there... a whole month!). With new days come disappointment. We mess up, we don't meet our goals and we're back to feeling like we don't measure up or that we're doomed to repeat our normal mistakes. 

For me personally, I err on the side of people pleasing. I want to make everyone happy at the expense of myself and the people that I love the most. I've learned that this is simply something I can't do- I can't make everyone happy by doing all the things for all the people. I'm not chocolate, after all. What I can do, though, is invest in myself. I can give the people around me the best of myself by setting healthy boundaries and giving myself permission to rest when I need to. I can learn to say "no" and *try* to be OK with how people respond to that. (Can we all just agree that it's MUCH harder to actually be OK with the results of our saying no than it is to say we're ok with it??)

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When I do those things, I put the investment that I would normally send OUT back IN. I invest in myself with the goal of putting myself in the position to give from an area of health and rest rather than depletion and overexertion. 

This year, I want to encourage you to choose YOU. Let's not choose ourselves in an overtly selfish way, but in a way that gives the guarantee that as we are well, we love others well. In the spirit of giving our best to our clients, partners, coworkers, employees and community, this is an investment that will give us the most effective returns, time and time again. 

You are worth it. You, my friend, have always been worth it. 

Onward,

Catrina