Take a Breather

“Life’s a Beach.”  Have you heard that expression before?  Most of us will take the word, “beach” and substitute it with another word that has a negative connotation.  This month, let me encourage you to take the word, “beach” and think of being at the shore or, if you’re not a water-lover, someplace else that makes you relaxed and happy.  Why?  Because if you’re always thinking about your work, what you have to DO next or who you need to please, stress takes the place of “relax” and you may become a “beach” (or the like for the guys!)

This month’s feature article titled, “Confessions of a Business Coach” is the first part of a two part series.  It is my own story of how I went from being an over-worked and over-whelmed entrepreneur to discovering the benefits of work/life balance.  In addition, don’t miss my Top Time Management Tips – they’re beneficial for any and all.

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Jennifer’s Top Time Management Tips

  1. Build in Margin – Be sure to leave some time in between appointments and other items on your calendar for the unexpected.
  2. Use your calendar – Whenever you think of something that you need to do, immediately place it on your calendar. Once it’s there, you can let it go until the day you need to take action.
  3.  Time blocking – Set aside chunks of time to take care of things you do daily. For example, I work on non-urgent emails first thing in the morning and at the end of each day.
  4. Take the lead – When setting appointments with someone, give him or her a specific day and a couple of times that will work best for you. This puts you and your calendar in control and cuts down on several back-and-forth emails to chose a time that works for both of you.
  5. Project Binder – This is one of my favorites! I have a separate binder for every client and large projects. For smaller and short-term projects, I use one binder (appropriately titled Project Binder) and write-on dividers to separate each item.

Confessions of a Business Coach

I was thrilled when I signed my first coaching client.  After months of presenting my new coaching services to networking groups and business associates, my hard work finally paid off.  I was employed.  The new found confidence I had in myself and my business was quite infectious.  Before long, I had several new clients, moved from my home-office to a “big girl” office in the city and had money to spend.

Exactly one-year after I began my coaching business, my husband came home and told me we were moving to another state.  “Yikes!”  “Another state?”  And, on top of that, the other state was so far away it felt like we were moving to another planet.  I finally had my dream business and I did not want to shut it down just because I was moving away.  So, I got “smart.”  I negotiated a deal with my clients that I would meet face-to-face with them the first two weeks of each month and the third week we would coach over the telephone. They all agreed and I began driving back and forth between the two states (868 miles) every two weeks.

I kept up that arrangement for nine months.  It was in that last month I realized that I could not run my business that way any longer.  When I was in town with my clients, I routinely worked from 7:00 am until 9:00 pm every day.  I was exhausted, not growing my business, neglecting my friends and family and generally not taking care of myself.  I began daydreaming about quitting it all and going back to a quieter, gentler life…

At the end of the ninth month, my husband and I moved my office back to the home in our new state.  Because my clients were used to meeting face-to-face, only a few wanted to continue coaching strictly by telephone.  The good news was that I had worked with them long enough to see them through tremendous growth and most were ready to “fly” on their own.  The bad news was that I felt like a big failure; I had to practically start over with my business and was exhausted physically and mentally.  It was at that point I discovered the importance of developing a strong personal foundation.

What is a personal foundation?  It is, “a structured basis to support an individual in living an exceptional life*.”  I wanted to be an excellent business owner and live an exceptional life.  The thought of getting there in a planned fashion was very appealing…

Stay tuned next month for Part 2 of Confessions of a Business Coach.

*Coach University – CU 500 – Personal Foundation