I know I say this all the time, but it can be hard when you’re running a business around motherhood – trying to fit all the things, into a truncated day.
It can be challenging at the best of times, being the accountant, the cleaner, the cook, the taxi driver, the social media manager, head of sales, the marketer – oh yes and doing the actual job!
With the best will in the world, it can be easy to lose your motivation. It’s called being human. Even the most positive, resilient, person, can have a ‘flat moment’. In the case of juggling motherhood around a small business, it can be even harder – as you’re typically the one to ‘pick up the slack’. And that can make you lose your stride.
So what can you do when you lose your motivation and how can you help find it again?
Here’s a few tips & ideas, to dig into, when you’re having one of those ‘why am I doing it’ moments.
Be kind to yourself
This might sounds obvious, but if you’re having the sort of day where you’re just feeling a bit rubbish, be kind to yourself. That’s not to say ‘chuck the duvet over your head and ignore the world’ but break things into smaller chunks. Have a comfy clothes kind of day, with a little splash of colour that makes you smile. Self-care is really important, when it comes to running your own business around motherhood.
At the end of every Freelance Mum Coffee Morning, I ask everyone to write down one thing that will bring them peace. Then remind them, it doesn’t matter what peace looks like – peace can be getting a tick on a to-do list, it can be going for a walk, it doesn’t matter what it looks like, the important thing is, to make time for you and bring a little bit of peace to your life.
After all, one of the perks of being a Freelance Mum, is being able to call the shots. So make sure you do the things that you need, to help get you through your day. And if that’s taking your foot off the gas a little, that’s fine. You can only do your best, but you’re not a robot. So ‘your best’ will look different every day. Be kind to yourself.
Focus on smaller tasks
I always love the saying, ‘how do you eat an elephant? Chunk by chunk’. If you look at the whole thing, it can feel impossible, but if you break it into chunks – it’s a much more manageable and rewarding. There are so many different methods to approaching work, ‘start with eating your frog’ (in other words, start with the thing you least want to do). But in moments when you’re struggling with motivation, have a smaller, achievable list. Pick the easy jobs, that you can easily tick off and leave you feeling better. Chances are, by the time you’ve put a few ticks on the list, you’ll find yourself gathering momentum again.
Listen/watch/read inspirational stories – about people who’ve ‘done it’. There’s no clear route to success and great business leaders have also had to overcome several challenges along the way. Although not a ‘freelance mum’, I always find watching Joe Wicks story. Not least because he gets so emotional telling it, but because it always draws me in and he’s so relatable. He starts by sharing his story, of wanting to make a difference, handing out leaflets and not cutting through – but never giving up. He says it so much better than me. Have a watch.
Connect with the why
Which brings back to Simon Sinek and ‘Connect with the why’. I say brings me back, as I also reference him in the podcast –it’s such an excellent exercise (and so simple too) it’s really useful to keep referencing it and ‘Connect with the why’. Keep reminding yourself why you do what you do. Remember, connecting with the why and how you do it, are two different things. You can still connect with you why and do things differently (IF you want. But that’s a much bigger exercise. If you’re lacking in motivation, just keep life simple and break things into chunks. Just connect with the why – that’s enough.
Do some exercise
It really doesn’t matter what – ideally something you enjoy, but just get your body moving. It’s well documented the feel-good feelings after exercise, then feed into the rest of the day. Put on a piece of your favourite music. Dance like no one is watching. Do a work out at home. Walk in the rain. Jump in cold water. It doesn’t matter what. Just do something. Better still, do it with a friend -once you’ve had a good ‘download’ and got your body moving, chances are, you’ll start to feel boosted again.
Practising gratitude, is one of the most simple and yet boosting things we can do. Just take a moment to give thanks for three simple things. It doesn’t have to be business related. Close your eyes and take a few minutes to run through your mind, of 3 things you can give thanks for in your life. The task of scanning through your mind, is a really useful activity and proven to be a really useful took, for your brain to start scanning. Once to start looking for ‘glimmers’, you start to see even more!
Take a moment to step away from the grind of every day life, sit in your favourite chair, look out at your favourite view and just take a few moments to visualise success. If it helps, there are plenty of guided meditations along the way, that can help you. Really dig into the details, of that picture – imagine what it looks and feels like to live in that moment. Feel what it feels like, what you look like and take some beautiful deep breathes. Visualisation is a really useful way, to keep your mind focused.
And at the end of dreaming that beautiful, big picture, go back to thinking of one small step you can towards it.
Find people you can be honest with, you can take your ‘game face’ off and say ‘I’m feeling a bit (inset word, I was going to go for ‘meh’ – but maybe that isn’t it). Chances are, you won’t be alone and having someone else who ‘gets it’ can be really helpful. At Freelance Mum, it’s what we do every day. It’s the core of everything – being there, to support others and share the FM highs & lows. So make sure you have a network of people who surround you and can help share the murky days and your goals.