Helpful Mindset Reset: My letter to you as you start your year (or anytime)
“Glance back to move forward. Look at all the amazing things you did last year and take a moment to really recognize what you did.”
— Amanda McKinney
Let’s start 2022 (or anytime really) with a helpful mindset.
Whether you’ve just set your goal, you’re still celebrating last year’s success or you’re finding yourself bummed because last year didn’t turn out like you’d hoped. It’s time to find a helpful mindset as you move forward.
This episode is my pep talk to you so you can find the most helpful mindset for you. Let’s do this!
The concept of a helpful mindset
So let’s think about the concept of a helpful mindset. Whether you’re starting a year or starting a week or even a day, what type of mindset will help you make progress and have ease in that time frame. A helpful one. So that’s what we’re talking about today.
Please notice that I’m saying helpful and not positive. Yes, we want a positive mindset but that just isn’t the case 100% of the time. I wish it was, but it’s not the truth. So even if you can’t cultivate a positive mindset today, I bet you can cultivate a helpful one.
Where you might be today
I received an email from one of my one-on-one coaching clients that said this:
“I want to thank you for a year of support. I can’t believe we worked for a full year! I learned so much. Although I would like to be departing with a feeling of more success, I understand the business road is bumpy and there were many mini successes throughout the year. And I was so lucky that you were my coach on this road. You are compassionate, thoughtful, and patient. All the qualities that I need in a coach.”
While I read “there were many mini successes throughout the year” I could feel the sting of “I would like to be departing with a feeling of more success”.
That sting is real and we all feel this — this is entrepreneurship. I feel this, you feel this or will feel this and Oprah (yes, Oprah) has felt this. Every business owner on the planet has and will continue to feel this. This is part of being a business owner. And truthfully, it’s the part that sucks.
You and I as business owners are driven. That’s how we can succeed, but it’s also the curse we have. Driven means we will always want more, we will be driven to do more, achieve more, create more. Can I get an amen?
I feel this as I’m saying it to you right now. I will never claim that I know everything about entrepreneurship or say that I do everything right. Never. And I’ll be the first to say that this is probably my number one pitfall as an entrepreneur. I push for more. More revenue, more success, more, more, more.
This really helps me move my business forward each day, but it also stops me from feeling the success of the achievements I’ve reached. I have to actively, and often forcefully, stop to recognize and celebrate the achievements I’ve reached already.
This is why in episode #120 I talked so much about what your definition of success is and truly understanding that. Because this is critical. I want you to understand what your version of “enough” is. I was helped a lot when I stopped to think about the Amanda who started this business in 2017 — she would be freaking pumped at the business I have today! Her mind would be blown! But yet so many days I will beat myself up for not reaching the new, higher goal I set.
And so when I read that email from my dear client, I almost cried. I thought immediately “did I push her too much?”. I know that I didn’t, that she declared her goals and I helped her in every way possible but I couldn’t help but wonder. So if you find yourself doing this too when a student of yours doesn’t reach their goal, please remember you did all you could to help them along the way. And be sure to read all the words in the email or message and not just focus on the few words that stick out.
So what I’m about to share with you is what I shared with her in an email back, but I am going to make it more general so you can apply it to your business. And the overall message that I want you to hear is that to go into this new year (or whenever you’re reading this) with a helpful mindset, you have to truly take an inventory of what you have done. Glance back to move forward.
Remind yourself of what you HAVE done
Here’s what I wrote to my client:
I also want to remind you of how much you’ve done over the past year. I know it’s really hard to look at the numbers today and feel great about it all but like you mentioned in your email, running a business is an up and down thing and it’s tough. You know I know that’s true too! And sometimes it’s helpful to look at not just the numbers or the list but reflect on things overall — how many things you tried, all the times you wanted to give up but didn’t, and the things you didn’t think would work but they did! Plus it’s really really important to remember that no one year will ever be the same as another (especially during a pandemic!) so while we often compare year over year data/information it’s not always comparing equal things.
I then went on to list all the things she had done, tried, and accomplished over the past year. When I work with someone we keep a shared Google Doc of all the notes during our coaching sessions so I was able to look back at a year of notes! 20+ pages of notes to be exact! And what a reflection it was. There were times during my reflection that I found myself tearing up as I remembered the conversations we had. Some were HUGE celebrations — like when she had 20 people registered for a 6 week series and that far past her goal! And some were more of me listening to the tough stuff and providing an outside perspective — like when she was dealing with tech issues or struggling with registration for a series.
In my email back to her I wrote a bulleted list of all the things she did and tried and learned over the past year and this is what I hope you stop and do today too. Take an inventory of these things and truly stop to read what you did last year, and please don’t forget the things that happened last year, too. Because we often glaze over things that were out of our control but still impacted our year. Things like an ongoing pandemic, changes with family dynamics, health issues, financial stress, loss of a family member or friend, marriage, divorce, births, vacations or lack of vacations, challenging conversations and so many other things that could impact our lives.
Here are a few things from her list that I want to call out and adapt for you:
Becoming more confident
Over the course of the year we worked together she steadily became more confident as she priced her offerings and marketed them. And I bet this is true for you too (or will be this year). As you open an offering and see success in whatever that looks like for you, you will then become more confident in your price and might even raise it!
This isn’t something we can measure with revenue or email list subscribers, but it’s incredibly impactful for your business. This takes time but as you gain more confidence, your business will grow. And this often also includes navigating tough conversations. Maybe it’s a student who wants a discount on an offering but you say no, maybe it’s a collaboration that wants you to teach for free but you say no. These are hard days but they lead to more confidence and more yes’s in the future that fit your business better.
But for today, I want you to reflect back on your pricing and your growth in confidence last year. Even if you don’t feel like you’ve mastered this, focus on the improvement you did make!
More focused messaging and marketing
Another thing that we worked on together and I saw huge improvement with was her focus on her message. I talk a lot about marketing and messaging and finding your core message. Yes this is often tied to your niche but even before you declare a niche you can focus on a core message and once you do this, marketing gets easier. If you find yourself feeling like your marketing is scattered and all over the place, this is where to focus. Ask yourself this: if I could share one message with people what would it be? And start there, that’s your core message! Run with that today and let it evolve over time.
But for today, I want you to look back at your favorite message you shared last year. Was it an email that got more responses? Was it a class that really landed with the students? Was it a social media post that you couldn’t wait to share? Take that message and share it again and again and again — that’s your core message!
This is a biggie! As I looked back at a year of coaching notes I noticed how many things we discussed and she made decisions on, with confidence! Dang I was so proud of her as I read through all this. And I know I would be proud of you if I saw your list too. If you’ve never heard of decision fatigue before, it’s a real thing. Basically we have the ability to make a certain number of decisions in a day before we reach decision fatigue because making decisions is really hard. Whether it’s deciding what software to use for your website or what to wear that day, all decisions count.
But for today I want you to think about how many decisions you made as a business owner last year. Okay, that’s probably impossible because it’s so many but take a minute to think about the big ones — website platform, purchasing a course, choosing a freebie, deciding on which offerings to focus on, pricing, which social media platforms to use, which podcast episode to listen to, and on and on and on! It’s a lot and you did amazing with them all!
Tested & Tried Many Things
Just like the decisions, as I looked through our notes I realized how many things she tried and tested in order to find what worked for her. From finding an email rhythm to testing offerings it was quite the year. While I was amazed at this part of the reflection, this is where she felt that she failed. And if I had to guess, this is what might get you too.
She made the move from selling series to instead having a membership and unfortunately it didn’t work the way we thought it would. There are a million different reasons for why this could have happened but in the end what we know is that it didn’t work and that’s what she remembers. But what I wanted to remind her of is this:
You created an online membership! You took a chance and tried something new and pivoted your series to a membership model to see how it fits with your life and your students. I know this didn’t turn out the way you wanted but the fact that you put in the energy and effort and actually welcomed students into an ongoing membership is amazing! Seriously, take a minute and think about how many people have this as an idea but never took the chance to do it. Or they started but gave up really quickly at the first sign of trouble? You didn’t do this! You kept going and kept trying. This is entrepreneurship! As part of this you also adapted throughout the year inside the membership, too — you updated your onboarding (welcome emails and start here section and created a roadmap!), you communicated with members, you created lots and lots of content (that can still be used and sold!). You did SO MUCH!
I know the sting of something not working and it really freaking stinks. I have lots of other words I could describe this as and they aren’t as nice as “freaking stinks”. It’s awful and I don’t want to gloss over that at all but after the initial sting I hope you remember this: you’re still here. You survived the tough situation of trying something that didn’t work and now you know you can make it through a “failure”.
Plus, you learned a lot. If you tried something that didn’t work you can learn so much if you take time to reflect and figure it out. Ask why it didn’t work — ask yourself and look at the data and ask your students why. Sure it will totally suck to hear that someone didn’t like what you spent so much time and energy on but you better believe you’ll be less likely to do the same thing again if you know what they didn’t like. Ask them! And the good news here is that the more you ask “what didn’t you like” or “why didn’t you buy this” the less it will sting. I actually LOVE hearing what I can improve on now! The more I know this, the more I can succeed!
But for today, I want you to identify one thing you feel you failed at last year and identify the learning lessons that came from it. And if you need to reach out to students, do that ASAP! I promise you will gain so much more from one 15 minute conversation than you could from 1000 of survey results! Have a quick conversation!
Work/Life Balance Lessons
This was a biggie! When I looked back at our notes, I remembered how she said she wanted to take off time in August so we started prepping for that months before it happened. But the cool thing is that she did take time off and she enjoyed the heck out of it! We celebrated that she did this and it helped us realize that she liked working ahead and taking time off. Another thing we realized throughout the year was that she enjoyed doing less live teaching. She’s fantastic on camera and her students respond well to on-demand type classes so it helped us figure out how we can get to her ideal work/life balance.
And I bet if you look back at your work/life balance over the past year you can identify things you learned too. Maybe you enjoy live teaching only so as you go into this year you know you’d rather have more live classes but in order to honor your ideal work/life balance you need to have more spots filled for a 1 time a week live class instead of live classes every day for a handful of people.
But for today I want you to write down a few lessons you learned about what you want as part of your work/life balance.
Your next step: Declare a 90-Day Goal
Glance back to move forward. As I was recapping all the amazing things that she had done over the past year it was such a heartwarming feeling, but we have to move forward. And I want you to as well.
So after you glance back and recognize all that you did, tried, accomplished and learned, it’s then time to set a 90 day goal. That’s right, 90 days, not a full year. Yearly goals are awesome, but I’ve found that 90 day goals are where it’s at!
This is your next step — declare a 90 day goal to work towards over the next 90 days. Maybe it’s to define your core message to help your marketing feel less scattered. Maybe it’s to launch a workshop. Maybe it’s to take a break and find a better work/life balance. Whatever your goal is, set a 90 day goal and write it down.
And if you want help with this, please join Thrive because this is how my membership works: You set a 90-day goal and track your progress week by week. All the while I’m helping you where I can and so are the other amazing Thrivers!
I’ll leave you with how I concluded the email to my client:
As you can tell, I will never stop cheering you on with this. 💕 I believe in you 100% and I know whatever you define as your version of success in 2022, you will achieve it with grace and determination. You are incredibly driven but also balance that with boundaries and it’s inspiring to see you work. Thank you for trusting me to stand in your corner to cheer you on over the past year. It’s truly been my honor and pleasure! And I’m always, always, always here for you!
Enjoy this process and until next time, give yourself permission to celebrate all you have done and grace along the way!
For more stories like this, listen to the Marketing Yoga with Confidence Podcast.
About Amanda McKinney (Marketing Coach for Yoga Teachers)
Amanda McKinney is a Marketing Coach with a passion for helping yoga teachers find the tools and the confidence within themselves to build the yoga business of their dreams. She does this through her podcast: Marketing Yoga With Confidence and online offerings. All of which focuses on building confidence and community with an extra dose of encouragement every step of the way.