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Category Archives: Business


Waking up on a Monday morning when you’ve spent the past eight hours on and off with your babe who thinks that sleep is the last thing we should be doing, can definitely give you the case of the Monday blues. As much as I tried to nap with my babe in the morning, I couldn’t do it, I knew I needed to get stuff done.

When you say yes to the first thing on your to do list, you begin the spiral of yeses for the day.

I hopped in the shower and enjoyed 15 minutes of alone time to just let my mind wander while the water cascaded over my body. Once I finished my shower I could have easily thrown my hair into a top knot, but I decided to spend another 30 minutes doing my hair and applying some makeup. While my babe napped I kept an ear open for any crying since doing my hair takes some time, but she slept perfectly.

After I fed her and let her play for a little bit she quickly went down for her next nap. I thrive off of these naps! It’s more time to myself to do whatever I need to do. Today, it’s continuing to say yes to my to do list. I was on the phone setting up appointments, filling out applications, folding laundry, vacuuming the house, putting away dishes, and now blogging.

With a new babe I’m still surprised I can get things off my to do list, but it all begins with yes.

You see, the moment I start saying yes, it builds and the momentum grows to keep on saying yes to the next task or project. Every day I easily could say no and decide to stay in bed in my yoga pants watching episodes of random TV shows, but instead I choose to say yes and slowly start seeing changes in my life and in our home.

Once I say yes I realize that half way through my day my house is clean and I’m being extremely productive. I also learn that I can’t be productive without a clean house and when I say no, nothing gets done.

See what I mean by it’s a spiral of yeses?

Obviously with a new babe it can be completely thrown off course and I spend the afternoon tucked away in my bedroom with a sleeping babe in my arms, but knowing that I’ve started my day with yes makes a world of a difference.

What do you do to help you stay productive and get stuff done? I would love to hear your method!

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Originally I was going to title this post “Suffering through burnout”. But let’s be honest, having to deal with burnout is suffering enough, but what we actually end up going through is life. And someway or another, actually moving forward. Because that is the truth of the matter, that even though we’re suffering we move forward.

I experienced the worst burnout of my life this past year, and mixing it with depression threw me into the deep end. Those six months, I suffered, and lived through it.

When we arrived in Vancouver all I knew is that we were supposed to be here. Every sign had pointed us back to our hometown, so we packed everything and moved back, but other then that I had no idea why or what I was supposed to do. Mister would go off every day to a job he loved and instantly succeeded in, but I was left with the hard reality that stepping away from a thriving business to having no purpose at all was a bigger challenge than I was willing to face. I fell hard, down the slippery slope of depression and with it, burnout.

I was so tired of feeling, doing, and being anything. I didn’t have the energy to get out of bed some days and the thought of starting a new project made me ill. I did not have the drive to put any thought or action into what needed to be done. I hardly had energy to meet with family or friends because I didn’t want to talk about what I was going to do now that I was in Vancouver.

I was tired of dreaming up dreams, writing down goals, achieving, and setting out to do good in this world. I was done, dead. All my emotion had left the building and I didn’t know if it was coming back. At first I was worried, what if I stayed emotionally dead? How will my marriage succeed, how will my business become what I want it to be, will I ever move forward? I struggled through these thoughts for months before eventually finding a stillness and soaked in the pleasure of emotional burnout.

  1. I stopped caring. Somehow all that achieving and pushing forward takes a backseat in your life and you stop caring about what other’s are achieving or doing. I found it a great way to stop comparing myself or feeling like I’m competing. I was able to step away from facebook and I quit my google reader as well, two things that I had always felt attached to as a way to stay ‘informed’.
  2. You learn to be still and enjoy a season of non creative energy. There is this idea that we always must be pushing and creating, without stopping. Feeding that idea will lead to burn out. But once you realize it’s okay to just be still and enjoy, it feels amazing! Plus it helps you create a sense of balance once the energy comes back.
  3. You take the time to truly appreciate the small things in life. It’s amazing how good it feels to have a spark of energy to go for a walk, talk with a friend, or sit down to a movie that makes you laugh until your stomach hurts.

Looking back I realize that my burn out wasn’t all that I had thought it was while going through it. Now that I’ve lived through it, I know that I come out stronger and more focused than before, but it’s no vacation where you sit pool-side sipping cocktails all day. It’s an emotional roller coaster and takes a lot of energy, and you hardly have any to begin with, to fight your way back to the top.

To be completely open about my experience with burnout I am in no way saying it was easy. It’s a suffocating experience and I hope I never have to go through it again. If you happen to know someone who is going through one, be there for them, support and give them space. They’ll appreciate it, believe me. That being said, I’m thankful to have a husband who supported me while giving me the time and space to heal. Without him, I would probably still be wandering around burnt out, depressed, and stressed as well.

Image Source: Fredric Lagrange

Last week I sat around a makeshift boardroom table with other business owners sharing my dreams and passions. Out of nowhere they asked a question that had me feeling like a ton of bricks landed on my chest. How does it feel to have closed your photography business? I couldn’t breathe. Closing Adley Studio has been one of the most difficult decisions for me to live through.

Even though in the middle of 2012 I knew that I wanted to transition from photography into coaching women to live beautiful lives inside and out, but I figured I wouldn’t actually pursue it until some other time in the future. But right after baring my heart about how much I longed to help women build lives and businesses of their dreams, I didn’t realize I’d be closing Adley Studio within a month of declaring it. Moving to Vancouver accelerated all of my plans and left me feeling like I was abandoning my baby.

I couldn’t share how I transitioned from being self-employed to having no job at all, because it took awhile to accept my new position in life. But I figure now is a good time and hopefully give you some insight if you ever come to a crossroads between continuing on or shutting the doors.

 

The month before we left Europe meant that I had one last push for my business, and I pushed hard. I had a constant stream of clients and the biggest sales I had ever had – it felt amazing. When you start out in business you’re blinded to how many months might go by where you’re worried how you’re going to pay rent or how you’ll afford your next meal, so when you actually start to have a stream of clients paying your top package, it it feels wonderful.

It expedited my plans to transition from one dream to another. I had fully planned on not looking at what my coaching business would look like until late 2012 or even mid-2013, but with our move to Vancouver I knew that I didn’t want to market my photography anymore. I felt like I had an opportunity to really explore instead of being attached to my business.

That when you work and hustle, magic happens. It might take a bit to find out who is really interested in your services but when you do it’s an amazing feeling to know people value not only you but also what you’re providing.

 


I had enquiries for the fall and would get so excited, then realize  I couldn’t take them. It’s a difficult recation to face after you’ve been pushing so hard for so long that you suddenly have to turn them away – it broke my heart.

I had to turn magazine features down – talk about a slap to the face. When you’re hustling, most of the time what you’re wanting is recognition. To be featured on blogs, in magazines, and even on TV so when fashion magazines and one of the top health magazines for men starts calling you feel like you finally made it. Until you realize that when they feature you it will be the worst thing instead of the best because you’ll be getting enquires you can’t fulfill. All I can say is that there were days of hiding under the covers and tears streaming down my face.

Collaborations and relationships ended because I couldn’t fulfill my role anymore. With only a month between deciding to leave and close a business there wasn’t a lot of time to contact everyone and explain specifics, especially in the middle of summer when most of Europe is on vaction.

All of these experiences had me feeling like the worst business person, ever. There was a time when I felt like I failed, flat on my face didn’t make it. I tried to get a hold of as many people as I could so that I could refer my clients else where, aplogized for having to back out but no matter what I did I never felt like I never did enough. When you’re passionate about helping people it’s hard to be the person who has to say no.

 


It’s hard to look back and think about what I’d change, because I believe everything happens for a reason. But I do know I would have changed how I went about annoucing that we were leaving. I closed my business and left the country quietly and I know that did some damage that I won’t be able to repair. Not only did some fantastic people not get to say good-bye but I felt like I left with a lot of loose strings. At that time leaving quietly was all I could handle. Picking up the phone to tell my friends and collaborators that I was leaving would leave me crying for hours afterwards, I couldn’t handle a goodbye party, a facebook annoucement, or even comments left on the blog.

I would have created a better exit strategy. I believe in them whole-heartedly and had one for when I was old and gray, but never created one for if I needed to close up shop quickly. I should have taken a day to create a proper plan to close the doors with a pretty velvet bow.

I would not have allowed myself to feel like a failure. I worked hard, I hustled, I pushed myself and my business in areas I never even imagined and for that alone I should have felt like a champion. Even if I never got featured in those magazines, the most important part was not that they called, it was the fact that what I did changed the lives of my clients.

When you’re running a business or building a life that you’re passionate about, there is this weird pressure to perform. To constantly be busy building, creating, inspiring – delivering something no matter what it may look like. There seems to be this thought that as long as you’re delivering something into the world,  you are doing something productive. I’ve been tripping over this since my decision to end my journey with photography and take up my passion for helping other’s build a life they love.

It’s difficult to tell you how badly I want to be a consultant for small businesses, a lifestyle coach for women. That when someone asks me what I want to do with my life and I answer with the above they look at me and say “well, why aren’t you doing it yet?”. And I’ve never been able to come up with an answer till today.

I’ve been struggling with the pressure to perform, to deliver, to put anything out into the world just so that people know I’m doing something. But as much as I’ve been struggling I’ve been feeling more like a failure because I haven’t delivered. I’ve had thoughts of doubt that maybe I don’t actually want what I want because I’m not actively pursuing it or pushing it forward. I’ve contemplated throwing in the towel and saying “forget it, I’m not made for this”. I’ve wanted to end it all.

But today after coming home from my work out I opened my laptop and came across Justin Timberlake’s new single (which I love!) and then there was this one minute clip of him discussing what happens when someone asked “are you done?” and his answer was just perfect.

I’m the one who sits and is obsessive about it before you even get to hear it
As close as I get to it
I don’t know that I could physically torture myself that much year in and year out
And expect it to fulfill me the way that it does and the way that it is right now
I don’t wanna put anything out that I feel like is something I don’t love
You just don’t get that every day
You have to wait for it

I wanted to yell: Yes, that’s it!

I’m the one who is obsessing about it before anyone knows about it, I want to know the inner details of what I’m going to deliver. I can’t put anything out that isn’t my heart & soul, what I don’t love. I can’t deliver anything that I know won’t fulfill, challenge, and inspire me. I won’t torture myself that way. I have to wait for my muse, for my spirit to feel released to create. And when it does, you’ll know I’m ready.

I no longer feel the pressure, but I’m excited for when that moment comes and I create something that finally blows me away!

 

Something I’ve been contemplating for quite some time now is what would my life look like if I didn’t live my life through social media. What would happen if I stopped status updates and never checked in anywhere. Would anyone care but most importantly, would I?

I wanted to unplug from using social media in the spring of last year but felt that it was too important to let it go. But slowly I found myself cutting back from updating or checking Twitter. It happened so naturally that one day I realized I had no desire to even look what people were tweeting; it felt amazing! Then when June came, we made the decision to move to Vancouver I stopped updating facebook from June to August as we didn’t want everyone to know. Once we arrived in September I found myself only updating once a week, which was hardly anything compared to the amount of time I used to update before than. It was a huge relief to know that my life still went on, it was still beautiful, and I was more aware of my environment than having my face in a screen updating what I was doing.

And then the next thing I knew it was Christmas and I was still wondering what would my life look like if I wasn’t addicted to checking facebook and what my ‘friends’ were doing. On Christmas Eve I was suddenly tired of it all and deleted the app from my iPhone and blocked it from my computer. I had no desire to let people know that I wished them a Merry Christmas or that I was eating turkey leftovers. I decided that if I wanted people to know that, I should pick up the phone and tell them. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders!

It’s been almost two weeks since I stopped checking in and my life feels more relaxed and simpler. There are moments where I wonder what my friends are doing or what is going on in the world, but again, I should pick up the phone and ask – not rely on social media. Perhaps one day I’ll go back and see a bunch of notifications that I’ve missed, but perhaps I’ll never want to log back in. But right now I’m relishing in filling my time with reading books I’ve always wanted to read, cooking meals inspired by cookbooks, and taking walks around the seawall instead of refreshing facebook and twitter hoping someone updated.

It’s a beautiful life living social media free!

If you’re interested in blocking your social media outlets for periods throughout the day or all together I used the following:
Chrome: Website Blocker
Firefox: LeechBlock
Safari: Waste No Time