A Summer {Birthday} Special: Work + Life Harmony

It’s my birthday, and I’ll blog if I want to! ūüôā I love that my birthday falls in July (the 30th, to be exact) because it¬†inspires¬†a mid-year review and allows me to enjoy how far I’ve come in¬†all my thirty-something¬†years. And I’m especially excited about this year. This is my fifth year in business, and I feel like I’m finally stepping into who I’m meant to be.

This is the year I’ve decided to go all in,¬†on my terms. What that looked like in the beginning of 2014 was reduced working hours (I decided that the business was creeping into way too much of my personal life, so I began working four hours per day, five days per week). I made that decision because, though I’d built the career of my dreams doing what I love for a living, my work was draining and often left me feeling unfulfilled.

However, and by March, I’d become completely burnt-out while on a reduced schedule. I¬†was forced¬†to ask myself:

[Tweet “Is burn-out a necessary part of creative life? @_LisaJacobs_”]

Is burn-out a necessary part of creative life? Possibly. Can it be prevented? Maybe. More importantly, am I doing something to cause¬†my own burn-out? Yes; this I know for sure.¬†Here’s what I’ve learned about finding more work + life harmony …

Find Work + Life Balance in Creative Business | Marketing Creativity

Work + Life Harmony

I was tempted to use Work + Life¬†“balance” in the title, but I learned better than to actually seek such a thing years ago when I read Harmonic Wealth: The Secret of Attracting the Life You Want. In it, author James Ray teaches about honoring¬†the five pillars of a fulfilling life: (1.) Financial; (2.) Relational; (3.) Mental; (4.) Physical; and (5.) Spiritual.

You need to strengthen all five of those pillars in order to succeed, but those pillars can never be equally strong at any given time. Therefore, to seek (or for me to suggest) a life of “balance” is misleading and impossible.

The difference between harmony and balance¬†is that “all five areas must have some attention all the time – not that all five areas demand all your attention all the time.” To forego balance and¬†seek harmony is to strive for life to be a melodic song rather than a feast-or-famine struggle.

From Dictionary.com, harmony is:

1. agreement; accord; harmonious relations.
2. a consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity.

To find harmony, I had to reevaluate my work

One night earlier this year, I sat down for a reflection and pulled this card: ‚ÄúMake Necessary Sacrifices.‚ÄĚ My initial thought was: oh no, I‚Äôm working so hard! I don‚Äôt want to give anything up! And then I read the instructions, starting with these beautiful words:

“Is your heart set on a particular desire, yet you hesitate to commit for fear of what‚Äôs required for success? Are you wishing for more, yet unwilling to change anything to make room for something new?”

For every step you take toward your heart’s desire, you must step away from the comfortable routine of the moment. Be willing to make the fleeting sacrifices necessary to achieve your goals, and accept the temporary inconveniences and demands that come with the commitment.

You see, this isn‚Äôt about giving anything up ‚Ķ anything that‚Äôs important, anyway. It is about saying ‚Äúno‚ÄĚ to what‚Äôs not serving your big ideas and future success.

To find harmony, I had to say “no.”

In March (the same month as the burn-out article), I was working with or for other people in exchange for¬†a glorious stream of reliable income. Though I¬†was also working on my own business, my commitment to collaborations always came first. Therefore, my vision fell to the sidelines … and that’s a danger zone for creative entrepreneurs.

I said “no” to big things, such as:

  • Creating new¬†designs at the Energy Shop (I have hundreds of designs that I could recreate + re-list);
  • Guest posting on blogs that don’t support my vision;
  • Busywork + side gigs (such as, my position as editor for¬†another creative business blog);
  • Anything less than my dream client.

To find harmony, I had to back up my big ideas

In James Altucher’s amazing book,¬†Choose Yourself!¬†(currently only $.99 and chock-full of inspiration) he tells the reader to become an “idea machine.” I am (and have always been) an idea machine, but if you’re not, you can read¬†James’ tips¬†on becoming one.

The problem is, for most of my life, only a few people knew I was an idea machine. Even worse, I came off as more of a wishful thinker: somebody who has a million great ideas, but follows through on none of them. I lacked the confidence to use my own great ideas. I was always presenting them as more of a question: I have a great idea?

Meanwhile, the ideas I had the confidence to proudly present turned into huge successes. I mean, I thought up the Energy Shop. I thought up becoming a business coach to other creative entrepreneurs. I thought up a course that would be co-taught by multiple industry leaders so that we could all share our individual expertise. I don’t show up to work;¬†I make the work show up!

And then, the shift hit the fan.

(I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it. ūüėČ ) What I meant to say was, The Summer Shift happened. Back in March, I was doing a lot of client coaching (one-off sessions, similar to those I offer here). Though I’d talk to creatives all day long, I’d close up shop¬†feeling as though no progress had been made or that I’d repeated myself to different individuals throughout most of the calls. Our coaching time together ranged from 30-minutes to an hour with little to no follow-up unless the client booked another expensive session with me.

While the clients found the coaching useful, I knew there had to be a better way. That’s when I developed my signature “coaching concentrate” and launched The Summer Shift.¬†After deciding that I was only going to work with dream clients, I wanted¬†to fully commit to their success and track their results.

And once¬†I did, the most amazing thing happened: my work felt more meaningful and fulfilling than ever before, while¬†my clients saw the progress + results they so desperately craved.¬†What I realized is that most online courses and programs are knowledge-based (instructor’s output only), whereas the group coaching concentrate is result-oriented (client’s input + instructor’s output = desired results).

To find harmony, I had to rearrange my entire business model

Going forward, I have decided to remove my a la carte coaching options (one-off hours + shop critique packages will be deleted from my shop after July 31, 2014). This is slightly nerve-wracking for my future business model because of two reasons:

  1. Interest in my coaching is at an all-time high, and
  2. My current dream clients (and participants of The Summer Shift) hired me because we’ve done short work together in the past.

However, it must be done. My income reports are proving that the truer I am to my natural talents + abilities, the¬†easier the money flows. I know I’m on the right¬†path, but before I cross that bridge, I have a very special {birthday} offer for you:

Summer Coaching Special | Marketing Creativity. Expires soon!

Book a coaching session + shop critique now for only $57.

This is a limited-time¬†offer at exclusive pricing (this package is regularly $399). With this purchase, you’ll receive (1.) an instant download of my best-selling e-program, Shop Fundamentals, (2.) a 45-minute live coaching session with me (scheduled at your convenience), and (3.) a follow-up PDF that includes your shop critique, an outline of our call, and a list of next actions you can take to get to the next level.

As your coach I’ll lead the call, but let’s be clear: This call is about your success.

  • We’ll study your current business model and the results you’re creating.
  • We’ll discover where and WHY you’re stuck.
  • I’ll help you create a vision for your future, and a clear list of goals needed to¬†take it to the next level

My future in creative coaching

I’m currently designing a way that I can work with larger groups at an affordable rate, but otherwise, my coaching packages are going ultra-exclusive. Since I thrive on results, I like¬†to keep a file on your progress, build a winning strategy for your future, and follow your business through to success. Therefore, I’m only going to offer private, intensive coaching packages starting at $997 and three-month group coaching concentrates starting at $1,297 (coming soon).

As much as I love to fill my schedule with talented creatives, I love to follow their goals through to completion that much more.

I know the temptation that comes from seeing the expensive packages + testimonials of an experienced business¬†coach. I’ve even wondered,

  • Would I enjoy being “coached”?
  • Would it be a worthy investment?
  • Is this coach¬†really that good?

And this offer is your thorough sampling¬†–¬†proof that the answer, in my case,¬†is YES to all of the above. I have 20 spots available, and this offer ends¬†on July 31, 2014. Click here for the full details + what to expect after purchase. You have from now through September 30, 2014 –¬†book our¬†call at your convenience. I look forward to working with you!

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  • Wow, this post really resonated with me. I like the bit where you talk about harmony, rather than balance. I’ve been currently marketing and growing my business and of course that means spending a lot of time working. It’s impossible to find ‘balance’ if most of your day is at the computer. But I like the concept of finding harmony and taking time out during the day to give attention to those other pillars so things don’t completely fall apart.

    • Hi, Nell! I totally agree – spending time in front of the computer actually has a very unbalancing affect on the day, and yet it’s critical to our success in online business! I appreciate your thoughts; thanks for adding.

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