Have you ever done one of those “perfect day” exercises? You know, the kind where you imagine what your perfect day looks like from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed at night?
When I first started my side hustle and I was just super stressed and all over the place, I would dream about that perfect day that I had designed for when I was free of my day job. And it kept me going – it pushed me through those hard times.
I imagined that I would naturally wake up around 6am and immediately work out. Maybe I’d even go back to Crossfit since I quit going when I started my business!
Then I’d make some coffee, have a healthy breakfast, and spend some time journaling. Then I’d jump in the shower and get ready for the day.
By 9am, I’d be at my desk working, and then around noon I’d take my dog for a walk, come home, prepare a healthy lunch, and then work for another few hours.
Around 5pm, I’d close my laptop for the day, head downstairs to start dinner, and then spend the rest of the evening hanging out with my husband.
The day would be totally calm, I wouldn’t feel stressed, and everything would be totally organized and running like clockwork. I’d be feeling amazing, sleeping great, and I’d be finally losing that extra 30 pounds that I’ve been talking about losing for the past 25 years.
On December 29th (my last day at my day job), I thought, “This is it! This is the last day of the stress. The chaos. The last day of having no time to work out or eat healthily. The last day of hustling and grinding. The last day of not being in control of my time and my schedule.”
What I didn’t realize is that all of those feelings were choices I was making. And it wasn’t just going to suddenly change because I didn’t have to go back into the office on January 2.
Don’t get me wrong, these past three months have been amazing. Most days I don’t have to be anywhere. I have access to great coffee. I can wear yoga pants all day. I get to snuggle with my puppy any time. I have natural light in my office. It’s quiet. I love the work I’m doing. I’m not interrupted all day long. I don’t have to sit in rush hour traffic.
Many days look like my perfect day, and I’m super grateful for it.
FOUR REASONS WHY LIFE DIDN’t MAGICALLY Change the day I became self-employed
That feeling of chaos, disorganization, and stress just didn’t disappear on my first day of self-employment.
Especially not in January, certainly not in February. I didn’t start to feel like I really hit my stride until the last week of March.
And after taking some time to reflect on the past three months and why this last week of March has felt so – I don’t know… different – here are four reasons why I think life didn’t just magically change the day I became self-employed.
1. I’m used to operating in chaos and stress
I’m always in reaction mode. And that voice in my head says things like,“I have to” or “I need to” or “I gotta.”
When I say things like that to myself, it creates urgency and stress. It removes my choices. And it makes it feel like everything needs to be done all at once.
I’ve conditioned my mind to believe that I don’t have a choice, so even when I’m aware that I do have a choice, it still uses that urgent, stressful language and I go into reaction mode.
And guess what? I’ve always had a choice. My day job never held me back from anything I wanted. I held me back from what I wanted. And I know that I had to go on this journey of building my business to discover that I actually have the power to create anything I want in my life.So I’m starting to notice all the “have-to’s” and changing what I’m saying to myself. “No, you don’t have to. You get to decide if you want to, and if you do, then you get to choose when you do it.”Click To Tweet
And in order to make the choice and have it not feel stressful, I needed to have a plan.
2. I hadn’t mastered planning
Creating a plan and creating a to-do list are two totally different things.
I’m fantastic at making lists of all the things I “have to do.” I’ve got pages and pages of those.
And I’m also awesome at writing down lists of ideas of what I want to happen, and things that I can do to make those things happen. Like, I want to double my email list this year and these are all the tactics I can implement make that happen.
And because I’ve got my weekly schedule where Monday is my writing day, Tuesday is my project day, and Wednesday is client work day, I even have days where I’ll tackle all those “have-to-do’s”.
I even have things I plan to do each month like webinars, for example.
So, to me, the combination of those four things has always been my “plan.”
Even with all that, I’ve still been totally winging it.
I have an awesome VA team, and I’m not utilizing them as much as I want to because I’m down to the wire getting my content created, and that doesn’t give them enough time to do their part before the deadlines, so then I end up doing it all myself to get it out in time.
Again, chaos and stress.
But I recently realized that I’ve been missing a really big piece of the planning puzzle, and that’s having a completely separate calendar that lays out all the dates that all the things I create are released to you guys – also known as a content calendar.
It seems so obvious to me now – but it honestly never occurred to me to plan my promotion dates first, then schedule out all the topics that would lead up to those promotions, decide exactly what blog posts to write and content to create to lead up to those topics – all on its own calendar, and then refer to that calendar when I’m writing down all my to-do’s on my own calendar.
I really thought that what I was doing was creating a plan, and I couldn’t figure out why I always felt so behind.
Um, you can’t blame this on having a day job because you haven’t left the house in five days…
Now, I’m not saying that I’ve totally mastered planning, but I think I understand some things differently than I have before, and it just feels like it’s clicking.
And Vicki, if you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking, “Aaargh!!! I’ve been telling her this all along!!!” Vicki is my business coach, you guys.
And here’s why I wasn’t hearing what Vicki was telling me:
3. What I believe determines what actions I will take
Not how much time I have. Not how much money I have. But what I believe to be true.
If you tell me to do something and I’m already bought in, you can bet that I’m totally going to do it. I’m going to take massive action and I’m going to execute.
But what I’ve discovered about myself throughout this whole journey is that if I don’t fully believe something, deep down in my bones, I’m not going to do it.
You know how when you really want to do something different, and you know all the reasons why you should do it and you have this desire inside of you – but you still don’t take the actions you know you need to take to get the thing?
That’s because you don’t really believe it.
And the challenge for me is that I don’t always realize when I don’t believe something to be true.
This, my friends, is called a BLOCK, and this is why we hire business coaches and mentors – to help us identify these blocks and help us to change our beliefs.
I might have to hear something several different ways, multiple times, from different people, and then experience the pain for myself before something inside of me shifts and I believe it.
And the belief that I’ve had up until very recently is that my day job was getting in the way of me having the time to be organized and having a plan.
And that’s why no matter how much Vicki explained to me how to get organized and how to create a content calendar (not the exact words she used, but essentially that’s what she’s been telling me to do), I just couldn’t wrap my mind around it.
I didn’t believe that’s what I needed – I believed more time was what I needed.
I had to go through three months of not having the excuse of having a day job taking up 50 hours of my time to realize that I what I was doing was not a plan.
Which leads me to my final discovery…
4. Freedom takes planning and consistency
To me, freedom is more than just being able to do what I want when I want – it’s having a sense of calmness. Of relief, even.
So to have relief, I can’t be up against the wire all the time when it comes to meeting the deadlines I set. I want to be ahead. And in order to be ahead, I have to have a plan.
A plan creates relief. All of the decisions are already made. I LOVE having decisions made for me. That’s why I use meal delivery services like Blue Apron and HelloFresh. Not only for the time savings but because I don’t have to DECIDE. The box shows up, and that’s what we’re having for dinner, end of story.
So if I can take three hours and make all of the decisions for the next three months, that’s relief. That’s almost like having someone do it for me, right? Shannon From 3 Months Ago already took care of all of this!
But if Present-Day Shannon is not following the plan, then none of this will work. And it takes discipline and consistency to follow the plan.
Historically, I haven’t been great at either of those. In those first few weeks of self-employment, I had pretty much no consistent schedule. Again… chaos and winging it.
I just need to get ahead a little bit, and then I can make a plan.
No… make the plan, put in the time to get ahead in the plan, and then follow the plan. And the relief and calm are built right in. Shannon From 3 Months Ago took care of all of it.
When I got back from Social Media Marketing World in early March, I made a decision that I was going to get on the treadmill first thing after I got up in the morning. Even if I only spent five minutes on the thing, I was getting my shoes on, going to the basement, and doing it. And, yes, there were days that I stayed in bed longer because I was procrastinating, and other days where I stopped after ten minutes – but I did it. And now it feels like a habit. Like brushing my teeth in between blow drying my hair and running the flat iron over it.
Oh, this is what consistency feels like.
Not winging it, not fitting it in, just doing it.
Now, I have an actual plan, I know when I’m doing what, and I’ve made the decision that I’m going to DO IT.
So here’s the best part of all of these discoveries:
I look back at everything I was able to accomplish while operating in chaos and stress with barely a plan, and I think WOW. I was able to quit my day job and hit my revenue targets in my first three months operating like that.
I can’t wait to see what I’m able to accomplish now that I’m dialing in my plan and executing it with consistency.
I can’t wait to find out what other beliefs I have that are holding me back from everything I want. And I can’t wait to share with you my discoveries all along the way so that maybe I can be the person helps you change what you believe so you can have everything you want too!
Leave me a comment below – what beliefs do you think you need to change in order to move forward?
+ Want to know how you can build a website for under $100 in less than 5 days? Click here to learn how!!
++ Do you work full time but dream of freedom? Do you want to build on online business so that someday you can quit your day job? If you want to learn how to build your website, grow your audience and turn your expertise into income, then check out Serious Side Hustlers!!
+++ Need someone to build a website for you? Let's talk! Click here to see my services, pricing and schedule a free 20 minute consultation!*Affiliate Link