Be Your Own Damn Guru with Christine Yodsukar
Growing a business is the most invigorating experience there is. It can also suck the life out of you. You worry if your client is going to be happy with their images or if they think you’re a slimy used-car salesman at in-person sales. And you brought in so much money last month, so how come there isn’t any left? So many obstacles come up when you’re running a business, and with them, endless strategies to become more adept at navigating all of those obstacles. As you continue to grow, you’ll start hearing a lot of the same information. You know how to price your products and you’ve heard all about tracking your expenses. You know which lens to use in which situations, and you’re saving time by outsourcing your editing. So why is it still hard?
The inner work, the work that seemingly has nothing to do with business—that is the next-level work. And it is not only how you better yourself as a person, but it is actually how you better your business too.
The health of our business correlates with our physical health. If we are having a hard time making it through life’s day-to-day routines, then chances are we are having a difficult go in business as well. The most major times of growth in my business have been directly tied to self-development. There is no question. And if we ignore the health of our bodies and minds, we are capping the potential of our business success.
Here are some of the best ways to begin to better yourself to better your business.
Learning from others in person is amazing, but I’ve found that reading is really powerful because even though I’m learning from someone else’s words, reading is a solitary activity, so I can take in information at my own pace (I sometimes reread pages over and over again). I can digest information any way I want to. I take photos of things that impact me while I’m reading so that I can go back through those photos later and take notes to further digest the information. I can perceive the information any way I want to. It’s much different from learning in person or by watching a video.
Let your mind be still. If you’re working through shit, then you need to let your higher self come through the noise and give you some guidance, and it can’t do that if you’re constantly running from one thing to the next. Whether meditation or just taking a walk with your dog is your jam, giving yourself time to relax and calm your mind is incredibly powerful. It’s like when you’re in the shower and you suddenly have the best business idea ever. That’s a result of allowing your brain to relax. Just don’t let that idea slip away—it’s probably an idea that will change your business if you actually follow through on it.
Heal your wounds
When your gut is freaking out, you’ve hit a nerve, and this is when you’ve found something you need to work through, not around. This is the basis for all self-development, figuring out all the ways in which you’re broken and bruised and healing those wounds and releasing the emotions you’ve held onto for years, sometimes decades, because of it. The longer you hold onto those emotions, the stickier they become and the more painful it’s going to be to release it all. I now actually enjoy facing my fears and working through my issues. When I come across a situation that brings up my fears or anxieties, I now know how to respond in a way that helps me. Nature, meditation, spirituality—these are the things that help me work through long-held blocks. And once I release the blocks, it’s like an explosion of abundance in all areas of my life: business, money, opportunities, love, support. It’s endless.
Don’t be a dick
Talk nicely to yourself. If you speak kindly to yourself, your reality changes for the better; if you speak ill of yourself (or your business, your skills, your work ethic, your money-making ability), your reality will change for the worse. If you speak badly about yourself in any way, you’re making a decision about who you are and what you are capable of. Once you’ve made the decision about who you are, you will look for evidence that supports your beliefs about yourself while also thinking that anything outside of that is just plain luck. So if you’re going to pick one of the two to think and be, why not pick the positive side of things?
Care about others in such a way that you are giving to them, putting yourself in a position of empathy. You’re caring more about them than you are about all of the things you want to complain about, and that will change how you appear to the world. Empathy puts you in your customer’s shoes, which makes you a better resource for them. You’ll be able to market to them better, serve them better, think of new and exciting ways to grow your business. Customers want to invest in valuable resources, not businesspeople who are selfish and upset all the time.
Create habits that help you do a better job
You don’t have to wake up at 5 a.m. or have a binder suited for AP Calculus class, but habits that serve your best life help you in your personal life and business. Some of my favorite habits are centered around the following.
Planning my weeks, months, quarters and year. I crumble when I feel overwhelmed, and a surefire way to help me feel calm and in control is by creating plans for both my personal and business lives. I create a plan for my year and each quarter at the end of the previous year, I have my quarterly goals up on a big whiteboard in our office. My team’s monthly goals are in Trello so we all can work from them, and my personal monthly goals are written on papers that I keep with me whenever I am working. My weekly goals are written in my notebook along with other things like journaling, gratitude, and mastermind and meeting notes.
Household activities like grocery shopping and cleaning. I make a meal plan every Saturday and go grocery shopping every Sunday. This way, I don’t have to frantically try to figure out what my family is going to eat on any particular day, and I give myself some grace by planning to not cook on the weekends. I have a nanny who also does the cleaning, so that decluttering toys is about the extent of my home cleaning. It frees me up to focus on family time and personal time when I am not working, which allows me to focus on work when I’m working.
Taking a break when I need one. This habit doesn’t have a time and date attached to it, because it is a habit I created that happens in response to an emotional feeling. I am an extremely emotional being, and I know myself well enough to know that for me to be at my best, I need to honor my emotions and not suppress them. If I suddenly find myself feeling anxious or overwhelmed to a point that it is affecting my work, I make it a priority to relax. Even if it is for 15 minutes (although it’s usually about an hour), taking that time to stop the madness and get back on track can save my workday. It may sound counterintuitive to stop working when things are falling apart, but I noticed a night-and-day difference once I started taking peaceful breaks when I really needed them. In fact, I have come back from many of these breaks and made phone calls and landed contracts that have completely changed our business.
Be your own damn guru
Take in all of the information you feel called to consume, but at the end of the day, only you know what your gut is saying. Joseph Campbell said it best: “You become mature when you become the authority of your own life.” Research, do, assess, make changes, do again, live. Find your own answers to the questions, and you will watch your business begin to flourish unlike any other.