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Business

My 5 wisest words of advice for creative entrepreneurs

In the last 8 years, Jesse and I have created two businesses. The whole point of this entrepreneur adventure, for us, is to share all we have with the world and hopefully by doing this, we’ve made someone’s life better. Oh, and we definitely dig mid-day bike rides and soaking up sunshine on the coast (which certainly has something to do with us living and loving this gig, too).

Since a quarter of my life has now been spent in entrepreneurship, and I’ve had approximately 97 meltdowns along the way, I figured I’d share with you what I do know. My lessons learned over the years. My 5 wisest words of advice for creative entrepreneurs…

Grace
Take it easy on yourself. No matter what you do or don’t do; no matter if you meet your expectations for yourself or not, give yourself some grace. We are our own worst enemies. Think of the respect, grace and understanding you offer your best friend when times are tough. Are you that kind to yourself? I know I’m not, a lot of the time, because perfectionism wiggles its way into my mind and I can be really hard on myself. But the more intentionally I work on grace, the less disappointed I am. I am happier, freer and actually more productive and successful.

Boundaries
There are two ways I’ve learned to use boundaries to my advantage. The first is probably the most obvious: establish boundaries for work/life balance. Shut the office door at night. Put fun, social, personal things on the calendar first each week, so you don’t run yourself into the ground. Create office hours. STICK TO THE OFFICE HOURS.

The second way is this: Guard your heart. Not everyone is going to understand, be interested in or possibly even support your ideas and decisions in entrepreneurship. That’s okay. Keep those relationships about something else. Don’t pour out your heart about your business dreams to these people if you know their response will disappoint you. There are so many people who DO get it (umm, hello, we’re right HERE!!!).

Strategy
The fastest way to get to where you want to be is by having a strategy. This comes in all shapes and sizes, for all sorts of things like networking, how you spend your time working on your business and in your business, social media advertising, marketing . . . you name it, you need to have a strategy for it!

Ask yourself: What is my purpose? What can I do with this partnership, Instagram post or conference I’m going to that will better my business and take me to the next level? How can I make this a win-win situation for everyone involved? If strategy isn’t your strength (yet), write one of these questions on a Post-it and put it on your computer as a reminder to guide your business in that direction.

Persistence
Those who make it to the top of the mountain have had plenty of crummy days in the valley. But the reason they “made it”? Persistence. You will doubt your dreams. You will want to give up, for good. Don’t do that! Instead, cry it out. Do some yoga. Just breathe, and maybe get yourself a brownie, too. And then, tweak your plan and try again. Repeat after me:

“Fear, pride, comparison, naysayers, self-doubt and failure will not stop me from living to my fullest potential.”

Use those challenges and setbacks to grow and position yourself as a leader whose ways are tried and true.

Gratitude
Gratitude is a cure-all. It makes you feel warm and fuzzy and experience true joy. And it’s the absolute BEST way to start your day. Even in the crappiest of situations, there’s something to be grateful for. Nothing is too little to go unnoticed either! Wake up each day and set the tone for all that’s to come. Make it a new habit to inject gratitude into your day.

Soon, this new habit will shape your new sunshiny perspective. This is HUGE when you’re a business owner because there will always be ups and downs. The more successful you become, the more potential there is for complicated challenges. Gratitude is one vital piece of the puzzle when it comes to a solid mindset.

No matter what situation I’m in or challenge I’m facing, one of these words is usually the answer. Try them out. Let me know what words have taught you the most and help you be and do everything you’ve dreamed up for your business!

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Business

I’m So Over Instagram

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Don’t get me wrong; it’s my favorite social media platform. We normally rave about it. We even have a course teaching you how to use Instagram + Facebook ads. We know how powerful a tool it is to build relationships + make money. Buuuuut…

It’s causing people we know + love unneeded stress.
It’s stealing time from other profit-producing activities.
It’s making people feel like they’re not good enough or cool enough (including me, at times!)

Instagram is all the rage right now. We totally get it! It can help you do incredible things in your business. But I wanted to check in with you and ask you a few things I ask myself every now and then…

  1. Is the time you’re spending on Instagram taking away from other important parts of your business?
  2. Are you taking all this community and encouragement OFFLINE (partnerships, coffee dates, sending referrals to these new Insta-friends)?
  3. Do you feel life So-and-So’s success is making you jealous?
  4. Are you connecting with people on Insta that make sense for YOU and YOUR business to connect with?
  5. Are you missing out on real life relationships because you’re on Instagram or looking for an Insta-worthy moment?

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in exciting movements + #hashtags. I just wanted to shoot it to you straight today…

Remember who you are, what your strengths are and why you started this business in the first place. Use Instagram to connect, encourage and be real with your people. Just don’t let it steal your confidence, joy + too many hours of your life! Create a content plan and posting schedule. Get in and get out and get on with sharing your beauty + creativity with the rest of the world!

Go get ’em (on + offline)!

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Business

7 Things We Stand For

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Maybe you’ve been around for a while and you have a good idea of what we’re all about. Or, maybe you’re new to Idealust, new to us, and you’re thinking to yourself…

“Hmm. Becky + Jesse seem alright, but I’m just not quite sure yet.” That’s cool! We get it! There are LOTS of posts darting around out there in cyber space! But here’s the thing, we don’t want to be another random business that emails you about business coaching for creatives. We want to know what’s going on in your world (so we know how to best help you!) and we also want to be super transparent about who we are.

Sooooo…

In case you aren’t sure if you know what we’re all about or what we stand for, we figured we’d come right out and tell you 🙂

  1. We believe morning routines + date nights are sacred.
  2. We believe in getting outside of our comfort zones, in all areas of our life. Sometimes (okay, a lot of the time) that feels awkward and uncomfortable. But, that’s the point. We know firsthand that’s where all the good stuff happens. What does this actually look like? Good question…
    • Going to CrossFit when we aren’t thrilled about the work out.
    • Getting in the same room with and building relationships with those who we admire.
    • Being frustrated that something isn’t working (even though we’ve tried a handful of times) in our business and not giving up. Tweaking our efforts and trying, YET AGAIN.
    • Adopting a baby!
  3. We believe that we discover our best ideas after soaking up copious amounts of sunshine and riding our beach cruisers or playing in the waves or hiking up mountains or taking road trips. Fresh air is, quite literally, one of our business partners. 😉
  4. We believe in doing what we were designed to do…and I don’t mean only with Idealust, I mean making the most out of absolutely everything we’ve been given (opportunities, skills, passions, etc.) and that’s why we feel so ALIVE!
  5. We believe we all have the freedom + capability to create the lives we want for ourselves.
  6. We believe that kindness + gratitude are key ingredients to being a successful entrepreneur.
  7. We believe that not everyone was created to be an entrepreneur, but those who are, well, it’s undeniable. Those dreams + ideas don’t fade away. You can’t sweep them under the rug. We believe there’s only one way to see if they’ll make it, and that’s to offer those dreams a chance. And we want to help you. That’s why we’re here. That’s why we started Idealust 🙂

I feel like maybe we can be friends now?

Categories
Business

How to prevent entrepreneur overwhelm

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What we have for you here, is a little roundup checklist of years of experience: How to prevent entrepreneur overwhelm! Yes, you really can prevent it! And, it’s glorious when you do! These are the things we do so that hairy beast of a bad place doesn’t get to us in the first place.

Don’t wait until you feel like you’re going to crack, cave or cry. Be proactive! Start checking these things off the list and we promise your business will run smoother. You’ll feel happier and lighter.

Start a morning routine and stick with it!
☐Set realistic + SPECIFIC goals, that are still challenging.
☐Do ONE THING at a time. Multi-tasking is a myth.
☐Know what you want and be confident in going for it!
☐Get organized! Plan out your weeks.
☐Schedule YOU things (exercise, coffee dates, long lunch breaks) first, every week, every day.
☐Get your work to 90% and then move on. Done is better than perfect. Boycotting perfectionism is not being sloppy.
☐Do not go on social media until after 11am!
☐Read before you go to sleep, instead of scrolling through Instagram.
☐Know your ideal client so you can make fast marketing decisions that are valuable to her! Fast decisions = less time beating yourself up trying to figure it out = less overwhelm.
☐Tidy up your workspace. Shave your legs if you have to 😉
Stop procrastinating!
☐Read Essentialism and implement ASAP.
☐Surround yourself with like-minded people who just get it.

Adios, overwhelm!

Categories
Business

7 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Breeze Through Setbacks

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We all do it. No matter how far we’ve come or how successful we are, we all do it every now and then. We FREAK OUT!!! PANIC!!! We feel like life is over because of a setback or failure that feels like a dagger through the heart. The intensity of how much we feel these setbacks is valid, considering the amount of effort and soul we pour into our work and businesses.

But I’m here to tell you that failing is fabulous! Because guess what, you’re likely in this place because you put yourself out there, tried something new and got outside of your comfort zone and that, no matter what the outcome, deserves something so much greater than what we have the tendency to reward ourselves with. And even though you feel like throwing in the towel, you have an opportunity to take this setback and turn the bus around!

So, when you’re in freak out mode because something didn’t go as well as you’d hoped and you’re panicking about the state of your business and the state of your perseverance, here are 7 ways entrepreneurs can breeze through setbacks and get back to your go-getting, confident, money-making self in no time.

1. Get it all out.
I’m a firm believer in purging yourself of all limiting beliefs, negativity, self-doubt, fear, disappointment, frustrations, etc. as soon as possible. Vent. Cry. Be upset. But give yourself a time limit for all of this, because you have some really important steps to take next. Whatever you do, don’t stop here.

2. Focus on what you already have.
This is a great time for gratitude. Think about how far you have already come! Think about all the people who have worked with you and raved about you, your products or services. Go ahead, read all your incredible reviews. Also, take inventory of your current clients’ satisfaction level. Is there anything you can do to improve their experience? Go do that.

3. Shift your mindset.
A big part of why that setback sent you reeling is likely because you haven’t been strengthening your mindset enough as you should be. Have you been sticking to your morning routine? Check out The Miracle Morning. Page through Think & Grow Rich. Get off social media for a few days; no need to compare yourself to others in this fragile state. Instead, work on getting your confidence back ASAP.

4. Create a game plan.
Think back to what got you through your last setback. What worked for you? Do those things! What didn’t? Don’t do those things! If you’ve veered from your strengths, get back to them! Do what you’re good at and confident in to gain traction and momentum.

5. Add value for others.
It’s so easy to be self-absorbed when things aren’t going our way. When all you can think about is how you wish you could just catch a break, go be that break for someone else. Get outside of yourself and see what you can do to help someone else succeed. I promise this will make you feel better AND by providing value for others, down the road, they will provide value for you.

6. Seek advice from the wise.
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. A lot of times, the answer to your problem is simple and just requires you to do a little tweaking. Get advice from your coach, mentor or other successful entrepreneurs in your life. Learn from their challenges, setbacks, and failures. Model after their perseverance and strategies.

7. Trust in the process.
You’ve likely been here before. I have. I have been in that place numerous times over my 7 years as an entrepreneur, and you know what, it always works itself out. So, trust in the process. Know that you will have another chance to accomplish what you hoped to do the first time around. Use this setback to make version 2.0 that much better! And then, get back to work.

You got this!

Categories
Business

We Are Strikingly Different

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We are very different from a lot of those around us. Those climbing 9-5 ladders. Those working on house projects one weekend after the next. There are people in our life doing these things. And we love them so. We are just strikingly different.
Our goals are rooted in freedom, creativity, travel and living out passion and skills we’ve been given. We are working toward working from a hammock in Costa Rica, and someday (hopefully not for a very long time!) dying empty, with all of our ideas and efforts left to better the world.

The contrast in lifestyle is apparent. And as a whole, it makes a lovely picture. But it’s so important to find community on our side of the fence. So, the distinct line continues to portray beauty, not hardship. Take some time this week to build your creative entrepreneur community. Schedule a coffee/work date with someone you know or someone you’d like to get to know. Take time to encourage and genuinely compliment those you bump into on social media. Freely and enthusiastically give out high-fives to other creatives, who are hustling but may be feeling stuck or too much like a #solopreneur.

We’ve all been there. We’ve felt isolated and like we don’t quite fit in with those on the other side of the fence. We don’t. We are #gutsygogetters. But that’s why fulfilling our purpose is so important. Being who we’re meant to be makes for a perfectly beautiful and balanced picture.

So remember, you are strikingly different. And that’s a good thing.

Categories
Business

Strategy: Making better decisions for your health & business

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As an entrepreneur, developing and implementing strategy is the difference between having a struggling business, versus running a thriving, successful one. In terms of health, well, it’s very much the same.

But first, let’s define the word “strategy” before we dive into how to make better decisions for your health and business.

According to the good ol’ Merriam-Webster dictionary, strategy is defined as “a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time.” Furthermore, it is also “the skill of making or carrying out plans to achieve a goal.” Strategy is one of my favorite words of all time. Why? Because it’s how I run my life and my business; I’m always coming up with new strategies to help me achieve my goals and develop skills that otherwise make my life and business flow. I actually have my own personal definition for strategy: constant and never-ending improvement.

What’s the goal of strategy? Well, in a few words, the ultimate goal in your health and business should always be to up performance, create ease and reach new heights of success and happiness. Without strategy, things can get pretty chaotic and you’re just not able to serve anyone well, much less yourself.

“The role of the starving artist, the broken healer or the dead broke creative is a thing of the past, or at least should be. There are more than enough clients for you and there’s more than enough wealth in the world to support you in creating a booming business and vibrant health.”
We’ve been immeasurably blessed, as millennials (which I’m assuming you are), to create thriving businesses online, or in our small communities because of technology. The role of the starving artist, the broken healer or the dead broke creative is a thing of the past, or at least should be. There are more than enough clients for you and there’s more than enough wealth in the world to support you in creating a booming business and vibrant health. But, you have to realize that when you don’t have bulletproof strategies, you’re capped on how much you can achieve, and thus limited on whom you can serve. And if you’re here on this site, I know your intention is to do what you love, serve others while following your passion, and create freedom in a life you’ve designed by hand. If you’re not already actively pursuing it, at least that’s the ultimate goal, right? We owe it to everyone else to be killer strategists so we can be of service to the world. We owe it to ourselves to get really smart with our strategies so we can be vibrantly healthy, perform well and kick small-business ass. Can I get a HUZZAH?

Here are some business and health strategies you can implement today:

· Enlist support. Whether it’s a part-time VA, a housekeeper, someone to prepare healthy home-cooked meals or a dog-walker, the more you can delegate, the more time you’ll have to actually DO the work you’re doing. If you’re feeling guilty about hiring a personal assistant, realize that not only are you providing a job for someone else, but you’re utilizing the most brilliant strategy of all: work smarter, not harder. Not financially stable in your business yet? Start with hiring someone for just 1-5 hours a week (depending on your budget) and get ready for a mind-blowing, freeing feeling when you have more mental space available to create, coach, photograph, serve, etc. Sounds to me like a formula for more clients + more money in the bank = more money to spend at Whole Foods. I’ll never forget the feeling of hiring someone to help me in business for the first time. It was, in one word, EMPOWERING.

· Break up with perfection. Get cozy with persistence. What in the world are you doing trying to be perfect, anyway? I hate to burst your bubble, but perfection doesn’t exist. If you’re looking for all the answers, you will never find them. I know this doesn’t go over well with the type-A personality, but you have to come to terms with the fact that you won’t know what you’re doing sometimes, and that failure is imminent. Napoleon Hill says, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” Stay persistent with improving yourself, your health and your business.

· Realize the improbability of balance. As an entrepreneur, there probably won’t be much balance on most days. Some days you’ll work straight through lunch time, and other days will be as lovely as a warm California day. Be armed with healthy snacks for when you can’t get away from your desk, drink Bulletproof coffee (hint: you’ll be so satiated you won’t need as many meals), go with the flow, be open to what new projects come your way, be resilient with disappointments, stay on top of your game with wide eyes and a clear mind, no matter what challenges occur.

· Take care of yourself. Make time for fun and for you. This ought to be a non-negotiable for all of us. Get a massage, spend time with your favorite people, take a painting class, get outdoors and leave your phone at home. Whatever gets you into high vibes. Don’t work yourself to the bone and then expect to have lots to give come Monday.

What strategies are you excited to implement in your health and business? Share in the comments below!

Categories
Adventure

Paper football showdown

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You know that voice that tells you it’s not going to happen, you’re just not going to win or make it or get what you want out of all of this? Get some duct tape and force that loud mouth to shut it. You know why? Anything is possible. Yeah, yeah, that’s cliche. But I know it’s true because I won a game of paper football that no one would have EVER guessed I would.

In-N-Out is our favorite place to play our version of paper football. The white slippery tables are perfect for sliding our meticulously folded receipts. If you haven’t had the pleasure of dining with us and aren’t familiar, each player pushes, tosses, slides or flicks the paper triangle across the table. You get a point if any part of the football hangs over your opponent’s edge. Back and forth. Back and forth. The game ends immediately upon hearing your order number called. Whoever is in the lead at that moment, wins.

I usually win. (Jesse will argue that statement. But come on, who are you going to trust?) But that one particular day, I wasn’t doing so hot. Jesse had the lead. 6 to 0. Bum town. 7 to 0. He was on a roll. 8 to 0. He was talking some heavy smack. I couldn’t wait for my burger to get to the table. Then, I got 1. And another. Our number was called. But, lo and behold, they brought us the wrong order! Game on. I still had a chance. Back and forth went the black and white receipt. Back and forth went the lead.

What happened next was wild. Never seen before in any of our MANY games of paper football. I got 9 points in a row and took the title (for a day). 15 to 9. I literally went from being all slouchy and defeated in our white burger booth to shaking my triumphant fists in the air.

Never underestimate how quickly the game can change. Never underestimate how quickly the game can change.

You’re trying new tactics and techniques, but you just can’t seem to make it to the edge of the table. You’re so close. You might have to make some big changes or change your perspective, altogether. You might have to scrap an idea, an approach, and work another angle. DO NOT GIVE UP. Something will pan out. You’ll book a new client. You’ll sell that piece you’ve been wanting to. You’ll meet someone who knows someone who’s exactly the someone you needed to meet.

This whole full-time entrepreneur life isn’t for the faint of heart. Success seems to come in waves. There are lots of valleys and mountaintops. When you’re working your way through those darn valleys, keep your head down. Keep making little itty bits of progress. It may not feel like it at the time, but those tiny steps forward add up in a BIG way. No matter how gradual or quickly that momentum comes, it’s key to win the game. Use it to your advantage. Let your adrenaline drive you to keep pushing, tossing, sliding. You’ll get there.

And when you do, as you shake your triumphant fists in the air, think back to that scoreboard when you felt like a zero, and celebrate all you’ve accomplished. Maybe with a chocolate shake.

Categories
Business

Dealing with boredom at a job you created & (most of the time) love

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Boredom has some nasty effects on creative entrepreneurs. It makes us feel lethargic, lazy and drives us into a deep, dark pit of comfy blankets where we watch Arrested Development reruns instead of work. So I’m told.

Don’t get me wrong. Watching Arrested Development reruns IS fun, if we’re taking a day off and are actually happy about our current state. It’s not so fun if creative collapse and/or borderline depression have a foot in the door.

Sometimes boredom exists and we just have to deal with it. As creative people, we want to be inspired and moved and productive all of the time. But that’s not real life. Even if we outsource tasks that aren’t our strengths (accounting, SEO, etc.) and outsource tasks that aren’t the best use of our time, we’re still going to get bored. At these random little moments of resistance, we must push through! Practice discipline. Sit down and do our work!

Boredom usually happens when we get a little too comfortable with routine. Let’s stop getting comfortable with routine! Boredom for creative entrepreneurs looks like this:

1. We’re feeling uninspired.
2. It seems like everyone else is doing something awesome.
3. Thoughts like, “ugh, ick, bleh” run through our heads.
4. We feel antsy every time we sit down to work.
5. Our tasks seem tedious.
6. We’re overwhelmed.

These thoughts/feelings are valid. We can go ahead and slump and pout around our offices. Give a good yell or long and exaggerated sigh. And then, we have to knock it off! Boredom is our own fault. We are creative people, afterall. Let’s get creative with ways to keep our businesses and our mojo for our businesses riproaring in the right direction. There is beautiful and bright light out there, just passed the dark and swampy blahs. We just have some creative problem solving ahead of us. We need to seal up that little black box of boredom and chuck it in the ocean. Intention is half the battle. If we sit at our desks and think, “I’m bored. This sucks. Bleh. Booooooring.” That’s how our days are going to go.

If all we did, as wedding photographers, was meet potential clients, shoot their weddings, edit their weddings, design their wedding albums and deliver their images and did that over and over over and ooooovvvvveeerrrrr again, we’d meet a lot of awesome people and get to be photographers BUT, I’d get bored. Not to sound like I don’t love love and happiness or I don’t enjoy my job, but we crave newness within our routine. We thrive on ideas and adventure. So, we do all of those things over and over and over again, but we’re always giving ourselves new challenges along the way with these tasks and the time we have between these tasks.

A few examples of things we’ve said over at our wedding photography business when boredom crept in:

  • Let’s make a mini vacation out of that New Orleans wedding coming up.
  • How can we streamline album design, so we can get the books to our clients even faster?
  • Editing is getting me doooown. Let’s figure out our options for outsourcing.
  • You know all those people we know dying to learn how to use their DSLRs? Let’s teach them!
  • It’s been a busy few weeks, I’m sick of sitting at my desk, let’s watch Arrested Development reruns and eat ice cream (SEE!).
  • It’s been a busy few weeks, I’m sick of sitting at my desk, sunset run on the bay tonight?
  • Michael & Perrin LOVE film, let’s shoot a roll for their wedding and surprise them with it!
  • Let’s start taking our potential clients to get frozen yogurt instead of going to coffee.

Not every idea has to be monumental. But a little change in direction will get us to that bright, beautiful place where inspiration and productivity are bumping elbows, racing to our doors.

Categories
Adventure

Don’t Let Social Media Get You Down

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Every few weeks or so, I’d get caught up in the tornado. Swirling round and round in a world of comparison, self-doubt and a good old-fashioned pity party. “Look how many weddings they booked.” “Look where they get to go.” And on and on. Poor me. I’d let social media’s negative effects creep into my veins until my blood boiled and my business partner cracked the whip. Jealousy and comparison are NOT allowed at Limelife HQs.

“A Facebook fast for you, Baby Cakes,” he said to me. The kibosh. An end to the madness.

So, for 10 days, every time I would have gone on Facebook, instead, I’d text and check in on one of my friends. I’d be thankful for something awesome going on in our lives or business. I’d get more accomplished! I’d read a business book. I’d brainstorm new ideas for our future. I made a plan and new approach for when I could re-enter the world from which I had been banned.

(All of this probably sounds a bit dramatic to some of you. It’s just social media. I know. “I am passionate. I am competitive. I strive for greatness. I am sensitive. And I know this mighty combination can also breed disaster without proper boundaries.”
But, unfortunately, some of my greatest strengths are also my greatest weaknesses. I am passionate. I am competitive. I strive for greatness. I am sensitive. And I know this mighty combination can also breed disaster without proper boundaries.)

These are the new rules I follow:

1. Use social media to encourage and motivate others.
2. Use social media to be excited about, but not brag about, our business.
3. Use social media as a tool, not a lifestyle.
4. Use social media as a tool to karate chop comparison & self-doubt. Be happy, not bitter.
5. Use social media sparingly (to post business-related content & encouragement to others, NOT to scroll a never-ending feed).
6. Never sign in to social media to check how many comments & likes our posts have.
7. Use social media to connect with clients & continue relationships.
8. Turn off all social media notifications on our phones.

My pity parties and sensitivity to social media, more than anything, reminded me to refocus. What’s important in life and how we run our business? Well, it’s loving others and doing what we love. It’s working hard & encouraging others along the way. It’s counting blessings, not comparing blessings. It’s dreaming big & being proactive about those dreams. It’s recognizing opportunities & walking through open doors. There’s no room in all that awesomeness for pity parties. No room at all.

What are your rules for social media? Leave a comment below. Or, tell us about it on Twitter!