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Session 1: Staying Positive is the Key to Success

In this last Module, we will be discussing how to grow not just as a business owner but as a leader. One of the biggest realizations I had during my first year in business was learning that I had to keep my head up during times of fear and doubt, and it is something I still continue to work on. I have learned to recognize and accept when I am feeling fearful and to know that it's ok. Instead of running the other way from what scares me, I accept it and move through it. Business owners take risks, but leaders get uncomfortable and vulnerable a lot. You will absolutely have to get outside of your comfort zone to become successful.

 
 

It's an inevitable part of the entrepreneurial journey: you will experience the highest of the highs where you feel like you are on top of the world, then come crashing back down to earth when something doesn't go the way you plan.  Understand that everything happens for a reason, and when things do not go well, it is important to take a deep breath (or a yoga session!), examine the situation, and get the appropriate help. Here are some of the ways to help you get through those moments of despair:

1. Appreciate your progress. 

Take the time to appreciate where you are currently at and recognize what you have accomplished already.  Treat mistakes not as an indicator of failure, but as a learning tool for knowing what to do better on next time.

2. Practice being positive.

A great practice to incorporate here is using only positive language. Language is a reflection of your beliefs so if it is always negative, then you will act and believe negatively. Disregard and ignore negative thoughts. Substitute them with constructive, happy thoughts. Every time a negative thought enters your mind, immediately replace it with a positive thought.

3. Daily gratitude.

A wonderful tool for handling stress and keeping positive is to write in a gratitude journal everyday. We highly recommend starting a journal for this whole journey, whether that be one that you write in, or just writing on a digital notepad. 

Simply start writing in your journal once a week to celebrate what you have achieved for the week, whether they be big or small wins. When you get in the habit of celebrating even the smallest wins, you allow yourself to step into your spotlight and recognizing what you have already accomplished. Celebrating your wins, even if they are from mistakes, is what gives you confidence to continue trekking forward

People who regularly practice gratitude and take the time to notice and reflect upon the things they're thankful for will experience more positive emotions. You inevitably will get stressed as a business owner, so this is one of the best ways to stay grounded and reduce unnecessary stress. In addition to writing down your gratitude, but go back to reflect and resonate with what you have written weeks before. It will provide a new perspective on how far you have come.


Activity

Write down two lists where you recognize what you have accomplished thus far.

LIST 1: Wherever you are at in your private practice journey, write down all that you have accomplished as an RD that you are proud of. If you are just starting out, that may be even just passing the exam.

LIST 2: Write down where you envision yourself 5 years from now if you can build the career of your dreams.


4. Know what works best.

Understand what time of the day you do your most inspired work. For some, this is early morning when your mind is fresh. Avoid the frustration of working on big tasks when you are tired at the end of the day.

On the contrary, the evening once the day is winding down can be some people’s most productive time. Use this time to reflect what you got done today, what the next steps are, and write out your next day's to-do list.

5. Your community.

It is so important to surround yourself with positive, rational people who can lift you up in your darkest moments. After all, you are the average of 5 people you spend the most time with. 

6. Believe in yourself.

Confidence in yourself is everything, and that starts with trusting yourself that you are capable and competent in everything that you put your mind to.  That is what will help you take big action, and knowing that making mistakes is what allows us to gain perspective and confidence.

7. Focus on your strengths and know your weaknesses.

Bringing your strengths to the forefront and facing your weaknesses must become a routine practice, as we discussed back in Module 1. This will help you stay confident in yourself as you continue to navigate through unfamiliar situations that will force you to grow.

8. Strive for fulfillment.

If you are spreading your passion and message, your job will bring you joy and it will be something you look forward to every single day. People remember the way you make them feel, not the way you look or not even always the things you tell them. You will feel fulfilled, by knowing that you are fulfilling other people's lives.

 



Session 2: Self Care Is Essential to Grow

Working 24/7 is not necessary to be successful. Of course in the beginning, you will have to work longer days, and even some weekends, but you should still be taking care of yourself along the way. You will be a better business owner and dietitian if you take care of yourself first by honoring the downtime your body needs for creativity. If you’re skipping a meal or staying up late to finish work, that’s not giving your all — that’s a sign of burnout. The difference in owning your own business and working a 9-to-5 job is your income will depend on how fully you show up each day. In this session, we will be talking about some of the things you can do to keep you in your zone of genius.

 
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1. Taking care of yourself.

Society creates the illusion that "being busy all the time" is equivalent to a sign of power. Wake up early, "hustle" all day, feel stressed, stay late, complain to everyone that you have no time to do anything, and the list goes on. But the truth is, you can organize your life such that it doesn't have to be this way, and you do not have to feel "busy" to be successful.

It all goes back to how we perceive what success is in our lives. We want someone to notice how much we are doing so they will see us as important. When I first started my private practice journey, I quickly learned that all of this drama actually made me less productive and wasted so much valuable energy. Burnout can bring building your dream career to a halt. You are in charge of your happiness, and feeling good every day is something you deserve. Investing in yourself, just as you have for your business is crucial! 

Here are a few ways to care for yourself:

  • Have a morning routine to reset your energy every day 
  • Try yoga or meditation classes
  • Download an app for guided meditations
  • Take a walk outside
  • Unplug at the end of the day: put your smartphone and laptop away
  • Listen to an inspirational podcast
  • Get a massage, pedicure, manicure or go shopping
  • Take a long bath
  • Visit a new coffee shop to do work
  • Find your creative outlet: coloring, journaling, listening to music

Activity

Commit to starting something new for yourself that you have never done before.

Select one activity from the above list.  Schedule it on your calendar, commit to doing it at least once per week.  


2. Staying positive will keep you afloat.

One of the biggest ways for you to feel more powerful is to bring happiness into your life. When you are happy, you attract happy. We are visual beings by nature, so when your social media feed is full of negativity, you internalize just that. Positive changes come from filling your life with more of what makes you feel good.  

Here are some ways to start experiencing a positive message every day:

  • Discover on Instagram and Pinterest what kind of inspirational quotes lifts you up and fills you with encouragement and inspiration.
  • Listen to podcasts, read motivational blogs and books, or talk with a mentor.
  • Clean up your social media feeds, notifications and subscribed emails you receive every day. 
  • Unfollow posts that trigger unhappy emotions or cause anxiety. 

 

3. Never get too comfortable.

By taking better care of yourself and becoming a more positive person, you harvest the energy for doing more things outside of your comfort zone. Getting uncomfortable is what allows you to rise up and make radical changes in your career and business. 

What does that feel like?

  • It's a powerful combination of feeling both scared and excited for the unknown and what's to come.  
  • You should intuitively feel like it's the right action even if you feel resistance. Otherwise, you can't operate from your zone of genius and at your highest potential if you are playing it safe.  
  • Always search for and be open to new opportunities, and let your struggles take you somewhere.

Everything happens for a reason. It won’t always feel fun and will even feel scary, but continuing to push forward every day is how you stay successful. 


Activity

Take a glimpse of what the start of an entrepreneurial journey can feel like and read this story from Monica.



Session 3: How To Grow From Vulnerability

You can’t be successful at building and creating something unique without getting vulnerable. You can’t grow and thrive without vulnerability. There is a reason Brené Brown’s 2010 TEDx Houston talk, The Power of Vulnerability, is one of the top ten most viewed TED talks in the world. I highly recommend watching it if you haven’t and rewatching it if you have.

 
 


In Module 1 we discussed how important it is to get to know your values and philosophies. We want to enhance that conversation by talking about vulnerability. You can’t discover your “why” or purpose without getting vulnerable. We have to allow ourselves to be seen and the more we are seen through being vulnerable, the more confidence we gain.

 

Why is it so hard to be vulnerable?

Being vulnerable is hard and we are often afraid because we think we will be judged or say something someone won’t like. It is human nature to desperately want to be liked. However, we have to be seen to make genuine connections with people and making connections with our clients is the most important part of being in private practice.

We often hide from being vulnerable and putting ourselves out there because it feels uncomfortable. It is uncomfortable to express your opinions, talk about your emotions or what you are passionate about when you aren’t sure how people are going to respond. However, if you are always just comfortable you can never get to the next level and be fully authentic which is what set us apart from others.

 

Here are some steps you can take to grow from being more vulnerable:

  1. Do the work to develop a deeper understanding of yourself.

    • Revisit Module 1 if you need to evaluate your values.

    • Give yourself more respect. All experiences are an opportunity to learn so if something doesn’t go the way you planned have self-compassion and use kind language to yourself.

    • Other people will gain more respect for you when you gain more respect for you.

  2. Start expressing exactly what you are thinking.

    • If someone asks, “How are you today?” Don’t simply respond with, “I’m fine, how are you?”

    • This is an auto pilot response. Instead, use this as an opportunity to practice vulnerability. For example, “I am feeling calm and refreshed today so I am able to be creative in a project.” or “I am feeling anxious today as I have 2 deadlines approaching and I need to improve my time management skills.”

    • This is a simple exercise that can make you more present and aware of how you are really feeling.

  3. Accept that not everyone will agree with you or like what you say.

    • As you start to operate from your most authentic self, you inevitably will not be able to please everyone and that’s ok.

    • Embrace imperfection and know you will make mistakes. This is ok too.

    • Most importantly it is an opportunity to gain more confidence in your truth.

  4. Stop trying to control everything.

    • This will backfire as perfectionism doesn’t exist.

    • Being vulnerable means you are willing to accept that you don’t have it all figured out. Fully believe what you are doing today is enough.


ACTIVITY

1. Ask yourself: what are actions in your business that scares you the most?

(e.g. Being a podcast guest)

 

2. Commit to taking one step this week toward facing those fears. 

Reach out via email to several of your favorite podcast hosts asking if they are accepting new guests.

 

3. What is an area of your business that you could ask for help in that has not been working out or has stalled? Identify these as areas that you may need to invest in help on. 

Which experts can you reach out to for more information on how they can help?

 

4. Start asking others how they are feeling or doing. When they ask you how you are feeling in response, practice vulnerability by answering how you are really feeling in that moment.

Acknowledge and appreciate how these honest exchanges between you and others make you feel.

 



Session 4: How To Deal With Overwhelm

Undoubtedly you are going to feel overwhelmed as an entrepreneur and it’s completely normal. If you never feel overwhelmed, then you probably aren’t far enough outside your comfort zone. However, there is a difference in pushing yourself to get uncomfortable and being so overwhelmed that you jeopardize your creativity or no longer enjoy what you are doing.

 
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As high-achieving individuals, you can reach a state of overwhelm before you even realize it’s happening. Take a deep breath and remember what’s most important. What do you want your life to be about and who do you want to become? What will actually cause you to grow and what is just keeping you busy? Besides, after a state of overwhelm, we often realize that it’s never as bad as it seemed. Things usually work out either the way you planned or a new path is created. Here are a 2 things to consider:

1. Slow Down

It’s ok if you’ve arrived at this place of panic and overwhelm. You might feel stuck and unable to move forward, or that all of your creativity is gone. As entrepreneurs, our tendency is to overachieve and operate at an incredibly fast pace, however this actually allows our work to consume us.

Have you ever experienced the days where it is hard to focus and feels like you are in a fog? My advice is to close the laptop and take a step back. There will be another day where you are more organically productive if you give yourself that down time.

Take a look at everything that is currently overwhelming you. We often overcommit because we have so many ideas we want to achieve. It is important to first focus on the most critical tasks that are pertinent to immediate goals. While everything else might also be important, it could be that crowding your brain space is creating a barrier to move forward. Get rid of the clutter so you can create momentum and progress in one area at a time.


Activity

Make a list of everything you currently have on your to-do list.

How many of these items are self-imposed stressors? Can you distinguish between tasks that are “musts” and ones that you think you “should” do?


2. Be Aware and Avoid Overwhelm In The Future

It is important to keep your resource tank full and identify warning signs of overwhelm to help you set boundaries, prioritize self care, and keep your inner critic quiet. The inner critic is the voice or thought bully that perpetuates the feeling of overwhelm by making you think you need to do more to be better. Another way we deplete the resource tank, is by spreading our energy too thin which causes anxiety to soar. The things we do to to take care of our mental and physical health keep this tank full, such as sleep, nourishing our body and even laughter.

The next time you are feeling overwhelmed, there are a few questions you can reflect on. Follow along in the activity below to bring awareness back to the cause of your overwhelm.


Activity

What have the past few days looked like?

  • For example: excessive multitasking, less than optimal sleep, eating really fast because you have no time, elevated anxiety, working on your phone or laptop late at night.

 

What warning signs might you have ignored?

  • For example: eating to avoid working, not sleeping enough, skipping activities that bring you joy, feeling moody or exhausted.

 

Are you allowing yourself to be mentored?

  • For example: are you utilizing your support system and those with more experience than you?