My 3 Top Non-Business Books for Female Entrepreneurs

My 3 Top Non-Business Books for Female Entrepreneurs
We often read business & entrepreneurial books to improve our business; makes sense, right?

But if we, as small business owners, essentially ARE our business or brand, it would also make sense to learn more about ourselves to grow. 

If we are stuck in a biz rut, or find ourselves at a crossroad, it makes sense to check in with ourselves to see how to move forward. 

So here's my top three non-business books for female entrepreneurs: 


Soul Modes by Carlie Maree
You know how one day you feel like you could take on the world & the next you want to crawl up under a doona?? This book explains how to embrace this rollercoaster and use it for your own good! 

Loved reading this book & being able to apply it to myself straight away. A great resource for planning anything (biz, family, life!) & learning how to be OK & actually enjoy those lazy days that appear! 

The Heart-Centred Woman's Guide to Healthy Boundaries by Lauren da Silva
If you struggle with the guilt of working from home, being a mum, trying to do ALL the things, and just feeling exhausted, wrecked and pulled in all directions; this is for you!

Lauren uses simply analogies & examples of how we can serve our family, clients AND ourselves so much better if we have healthy boundaries. My biggest takeaway is that boundaries don't mean excluding or pushing people away; they come from a place of love and care. Love the practical worksheets and questions too!  

Feelings Buried Alive Never Die by Karol K Truman
I think that every adult has experiences that they'd rather forget, but can't. This book looks into the why & how these experiences shape our present, and how we can reprogram our thoughts to build ourselves up, rather than keep us scared and failing. 

I will note that this isn't a "short & easy" read (as most of the books I recommend), but it has been super helpful in overcoming roadblocks and moving forward without making the same familiar mistakes over & over. 

Don't forget that for your business to grow, you need to grow too! 

x Billy

Tips for Managing your To-Do List: Is yours longer than Rapunzel's hair?

Tips for Managing your To-Do List: Is yours longer than Rapunzel's hair?
Is your to-do list longer than Rapunzel's hair?? 

We often feel like we need to do a massive number of things, and we'd like to do them all NOW! Cue overwhelm, frustration & often a lack of productivity, because our brain just freezes! In the end, we then feel even more frustrated & upset because we then feel like we've wasted time on... well doing nothing!! 

So if  you are feeling snowed under with a list that is ever-growing; here's my little strategy to get you moving forward again:

1. Write everything you feel you need to do in a notebook

If you've got a few lists around the place, or have the one on your desk that's looking at you all the time; it's time to consolidate them all & put them out of sight. If you feel like you have too much to do, then the last thing you need right now is a visual reminder of that. 

You will (subconsciously) keep re-enforcing to yourself that you can't possibly achieve it all. 

I am all for vision boards, big-picture planning, post it notes & the works; but if you are overwhelmed and trying to just take the next step forward; it may be helpful to just move them aside for a time.  

2. Choose 1-3 items for the day

It's up to you when; either just before bed or first thing in the morning; but choose UP TO 3 things from your big list for the (next) day. These items are not a stretch-goal or a 'hope to do' list; this is up to 3 items you WILL cross off your list. 

Write these on a separate piece of paper/post-it/whiteboard that you will have with you at your workspace. 

Why 'up to 3'? We all have days that we have less time to put into our businesses, so maybe it's a 1-task day. Even if it's a quick text you've been putting off or replying to an email; that's something off your list! 

Why not more? If you've got a full day ahead of you; why not choose more?? Because that's essentially duplicating the problem of a long list again... Stick with three.

3. close the notebook and put it away, out of sight

Remove the visual of overwhelm from your sight. You know how you hide the chocolate stash from your kids so they don't know it's there? It's the same for us. Take away the visual and we are less likely to think on it. 

4. do those 1-3 items that you CHOSE and then celebrate! 

With just a couple of items in front of you; tasks that you have CHOSEN, all you need to do now is tick them off. Cross them out, rip them up when they are done... and then celebrate!! Whether it's time with the kids, chocolate or a facial... it just has to be away from your work & something you will enjoy!

When we have a running to-do list all the time, we can get overwhelmed and never feel like we actually make progress. Mentally, this makes us feel like we are just running on a treadmill instead of making progress forward. And honestly, it wears us down & sucks. 

If we can finish our tasks each day, we can see the progress much more easily and have that sense of achievement! You know then you get a "second wind" because you can see the finish coming? Embrace that each day! So much better to end the day feeling accomplished & sets a much better tone for the next day. 

You have also CHOSEN to do those tasks; this power of choice is very profound. Rather than feeling obligued to do everything; which leads to a stifled & out of contol feeling, we have chosen and committed to these tasks. This sets your mind up for success.

Of course, sometimes we hit roadblocks that make it very challenging to even want to move forward. If you are feeling like this is you; check out my Stuck to Smashing It Challenge to break the cycle of being stuck & give you tools to smash your goals! 

PS. If you have done your 1-3 things; you can always go for more if you are on fire!!

x Billy

Don’t underestimate how exhausting uncertainty is...

Don’t underestimate how exhausting uncertainty is...
I’m just gonna say it straight up; today I felt completely unmotivated and exhausted. 
And after some thinking, a cup of tea and some quiet time, I think I’ve nailed why: not knowing what your weekend is going to look like is super stressful.

I'm not talking about not having plans made for the weekend, or wondering about which café your going to go to with a friend for brunch. No, I’m talking about when you don’t know what you are going to physically (legally) be able to do on the weekend. When the choice is actually out of your control. And it's been highlighted to me, coming into this "snap lock down" (3.0 for Melbourne!), that it is exhausting trying to mentally compute how the next day & week is going to look like; let alone the next month.

But why? It's because deep down, we like a bit of order; or to put it another way... We naturally like to be in control. 

The reason we make plans, in one sense, is so that we don’t have to think about what is coming up next; we can free up mental capacity if we can go into "auto-pilot" instead of working out a new move (similarly to why we instinctively label people). 

It’s why meal planning works so well (when we actually do it!). When you have a meal plan, you free up mental real estate; in your head you can say "it doesn’t matter if I can’t remember what we having for dinner, because I know it's worked out; I don’t have to think about it any longer.". It means when you come to 4:30 or 5 o’clock in the afternoon, without any mental real estate, dinner is made. You just have to "do"; you don’t have to think & do. 

In the same way, we made plans to make life ordered for us; so we have to think less & make fewer decisions about what we’re doing moment to moment.  When we have a plan, it’s like that section of time is blocked out and no longer up for grabs for rearranging & thinking about. For example, if you have an appointment or a class to attend, you automatically know you cannot schedule anything else in that time; it’s accounted for. Once you’ve acknowledged that, you can move on and use your your mental capacity for other things!

Now when there is uncertainty around those plans; when you have uncertainty around what you can & can't do, instead of having one certain path ahead of you, it’s like the end of the rope has a frayed and there’s so many possibilities that you. And instinctively, your brain wants to think and consider ALL those possibilities. And when you start thinking about all of these possibilities, all these different parts that may play out without being able to discount or delete some of them; it becomes really mentally challenging. So we’re sitting here, on a Tuesday evening, and don’t know whether or not on Thursday we will be allowed to go clothes shopping to to a restaurant: it may happen it may not! And after a LOT of mental capacity completely "wasted" on trying to work out if it will be a "yay!" or a "nay"... I am no closer to knowing much at all or which option is more likely, as it is totally out of my control. (To me, quite a waste of mental capacity, right?). 

All of this thinking is constant. If anyone has been in a state of uncertainty, whether it’s lockdown or uncertainty for other reasons, you will know that it is extremely difficult to switch off these trains of thought, these unraveling pieces of rope, that are computing all the time. 

So if you get to the end of today, the end of tomorrow or even lunchtime any day, and you feel drained; give yourself some grace. Your brain is working overtime at the moment to try and work out how to make things a little bit more certain with something that is completely out of your control. 

So what to do? I would encourage you to focus on things you CAN do; things that are in your control. There are still many things that we are able to do even when so much is out of our control. So plan some of those things that you can do and that you know you can actually achieve. Whether that be a work out at home, a movie night or a few hours sitting with a book or Lego; whatever the things are that you can do and are in your control; put some of those in the diary. 

And most of all give yourself grace and extend grace to others. Everyone is living through these times differently, with different difficulties, different challenges, different perspectives and different outlooks on life currently and how it will look like in the future. We need to remember that life isn't "going on as usual" and that there are extra stressors right now that not only impact our physical well-being but also our mental well-being.

So, is today a day that you need to give yourself grace or give someone else around you grace?

What "labels" do you have? And how to do you label others...?

What "labels" do you have? And how to do you label others...?
Have you ever introduced yourself like this: “Hi I am <insert your name> and I am <insert your profession, career, job etc.>?” And then the new stranger has given you “the look” & you just know probably not going to be best buddies & you’ve slid to the bottom of the respectable ladder JUST in that first sentence? 
Or let’s flip it, have you ever had that thought about somebody else as they’ve introduced themselves to you?

Sometimes we forget just because someone has a label, whether it be a profession, diagnosis, characteristic, attribute etc., it doesn’t mean they fit into your perception of that label.

You see we are very quick to put people into a box when we hear what they are. We do this for two reasons:
 Firstly because we may have had experience with other people who have claimed to have the same characteristic or profession or label and our memories of that relationship now cloud or change our view of the word itself.

The other reason we do it is because we want to kind of build a base/foundation very quickly of what we can expect from the next part of the conversation/relationship. We start preparing what this new person may be interested in talking about or how this person will think, so we start actually building the relationship from the perception we have of other people that also have this label. It’s kind of a time-saving thing in our mind however it’s not always beneficial and actually it can be quite detrimental. 

It’s part of our defence mechanism in a sense. If we’ve been hurt or had a positive experience with someone with the same label; we either put our guard down & take off our helmet, or pull on ALL the armour, sword in hand. Maybe you can relate? 

What is important to realize is that we rarely start a new relationship off with a clean slate. Our perceptions in some form or another, are already! It may be as simple as the person is wearing the same type of sunnies that an ex-colleague used to wear… or they have kids… or they have been to the same college as you. 
When we’re dealing with people and have no preconceived perceptions, we come at it from a place of curiosity: Who/what is this new thing? What can I learn about it or them? Does is this something that I am wanting to incorporate into my life? So we come at it from a point of curiosity which naturally is more positive than if we have a preconceived negative opinion.

You may even have names of people that as soon as someone introduces themselves with that same name you’re brain fires off a million memories & you may even physically react (eyes roll, stomach turns over). Immediately it’s like the person has to dig them self out of a hole before they’ve even said a second word!
Obviously the opposite can happen to you and you may have an amazing memory about a particular profession or a particular name or characteristic and just because that person has the same feature then they automatically step up a notch; just for holding that attribute.
The reason to remember this, especially when you’re dealing with new clients and colleagues, is that these people are brand new they don’t have any previous relationship with you. You need to be aware of any pre-creek conceived opinions you have about these people; because it’s not actually them. It can be detrimental, very detrimental in some cases, to the relationship going forward. 

I want you to finish the sentence out loud:

When I think about a <insert a profession> then I automatically think <insert exact image or thought that comes to mind when you say that profession>.

No filters; there’s no one asking you to justify this thought or saying it’s right or wrong. Right now it just is. 

(I just want to note I am refraining so hard from not giving you an example; because that example will come with my preconceived opinions about that profession and I do don’t want my preconceived notion to cloud what you’re thinking about. Make sense?)

And how would that influence a conversation, if you randomly met someone with that label lining up for coffee? Would you rather not talk to them? Would you be MORE engaged with them? Would you smile and take a step back? 

This is not to say that all of these people in that profession don’t have this specific attribute; but it also doesn’t mean that ALL of the people in that profession have this attribute. It’s not an absolute.
Maybe you’re thinking, “But seriously, all xxx are like that!” Are you sure? Is that just your brain telling you that, so that you can easily categorise them? 

Again, this is not to point the finger at you; we all do it. It’s more to help you recognise the behaviour, so you realise that it’s there. If you identify that; then you can choose to do something about it. Or not; it’s your choice. 

What I’m basically trying to say is that when you meet need people; new clients, friends, random associates and acquaintances make sure you give them a fair go & let them be the first one to write on the slate.  Come at new relationships with curiosity & positivity, rather than preconceive negative opinions about the labels they may carry.

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Did you celebrate your baby steps?

Did you celebrate your baby steps?
Do you remember your first steps? Maybe not... but do you remember your kids' first steps? 

I remember my both my girls first steps very well. My first daughter took her first steps in my husband’s office in our old house and walked three steps between me and my husband. I was standing near the door; he was sitting in his office chair. I can recall that image perfectly and the joy on her face as she did it. And my second daughter, her first steps were in my sisters kitchen; it was like the world opened up for her! The look of amazement , joy and satisfaction that she had when she walked those first steps was gold!

Do you have that same joy when you make first steps in a new area in life? Maybe it was when you finished a hobby project, coached your first client, created that first page on your website... or even when you just decided that THIS is your business & you’re committing to it. 

These baby steps, these first steps, are SO critical to our long term trajectory, yet we often gloss over them and don’t celebrate them as we should. Baby steps are small, but so vital and they should be celebrated! Remind yourself that these are amazing things & that you’ve taken the BIG first step and now each step along the way is a little easier, because you’ve taken those baby steps. 

So when you think about your first steps, your baby steps, think about them with that little smile that you get when you have fun memories... oh do you remember the time when I ran my first workshop? (Probably wasn’t “perfect”, but it’s done! And people enjoyed it!) 
There should be a sense of achievement & perhaps a little nostalgia, just like your kids when they first took their first steps. 

Chances are your kids may not remember their baby steps as well as you do. Last week I was reminded of this when a friend said to me "WOW! Your voice is more confident than when I met you four years ago." We hadn’t seen each other for a couple of years, and she noted a lot of little changes that I had just taken for granted.  Just to be reminded of that was a blessing. 

So remember if you see someone else who is taking their baby steps, taking the first steps towards their goals and dreams, whether it’s in business or whether it’s in another area of life, remind them of these small steps, so that they too can be reminded of the leaps and bounds that started from something small. 

Celebrate your baby steps in our online community
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