Episode #5

How to be Proactive Instead of Reactive in Your Business

Show Notes:

Are you approaching the tasks in your business proactively or reactively? If you're treating your business like a game of pinball, where you're just doing what you can to ensure you don't lose the ball, you're being reactive. Instead, consider ways you can treat your business like a game of bowling, where you're always focused on the strategy of knocking down the pins. Listen in as I share three ways you can leave the game of pinball that you're playing in your business behind and implement the strategy of bowling!

Are you ready to make an impact and income by writing non-fiction books? Sign up for my 5-day conference for women where we'll build a community and challenge you to share your story! Sign up for the Write the Dang Book Conference >>

Our destiny is not an uncontrollable future. It’s an active decision to write our own story.

Bowling as a Strategy in Business (1:57)

Three Ways to Bowl Instead of Pinball (2:44)

  1. Create before we consume.
  2. Batch your time.
  3. Pick one metric to focus on and check in once a month.

 

Review the Transcript:

Hey, everyone. Before we jump into this episode, I wanted to let you know, I'm hosting a free five day virtual conference called Write the Dang Book for women who want to get their non-fiction books published. Now you might not know, but during coronavirus, the self-help industry and the book space actually went up. So people are needing storytelling and inspiration now more than ever. So from September 21st to the 25th, you'll join a closed Facebook group of other women writers who are also on the same publishing path as you. Each day, I'll kick it off live, but you can always watch the replay later with a new topic, challenge or lesson around getting your book published. Then you can also listen to speakers like Amber Ray, author of Choose Wonder Over Worry, or Meera Lee Patel, author of Start Where You Are about their writing process and advice that they have for you to get your book out into the world. So head to Jessekstrom.com/writethedangbook to sign up for this free five day conference, so you can write the dang book.

What's up, everybody. It is Jess Ekstrom and welcome to Business on the Bright Side, the podcast where you can learn how to make a living and make a difference at the same time. Life is short and so is my attention span. So let's get started. One of my favorite birthday parties as a kid was when we would go to the bowling alley. I remember as a kid, show up at the bowling alley, everyone had matching shirts, there's cake, you can win prizes. I wasn't ever really good at bowling, even with the bumpers on, but it was something that I still think about to this day. One of the reasons is because bowling can actually be a really good strategy in terms of a mindset for our business, because usually my mind is more like a pinball machine reacting to balls bouncing all over the place rather than bowling, which is a precise strategy to try to hit certain pins. And I don't know if you've ever felt like this, but in the morning, instead of being intentional about your day, you're just flailing around trying to catch what's falling and make sure balls don't drop.

But instead, it's way more effective to have a plan, to have something that you want to achieve by the end of the day, which is more of a bowling strategy than a pinball strategy. So how do we train our minds to bowl instead of being a pinball machine? Here are three things that have helped me with that. The first is create before we consume. So at the beginning of the day, if you're like me, you set your alarm on your phone, your alarm goes off, you switch it off. And then in that same swoop to switch off the alarm, you check Instagram, you check Twitter, you start checking all these things. And then all of a sudden you've been 15 minutes in bed and you're going through your inbox. And you're like, "I need to start the coffee. I need to get to all these emails."

And you're starting the day with other people's needs before your own. And so what I try to do, sometimes I'm not as effective, but what I try to do is set my alarm, turn it off, not touch any of my apps. No Instagram, no email, no Twitter and open up my computer and write. So it doesn't matter if I'm writing a blog or if I'm just writing for myself, but just get my own ideas and listen to my own voice before I hear other people's voices in the morning. So create before you consume. The second thing that you can do to be more strategic and intentional about your day is batch your time. So one of my friends, Kate Rosenow, she is the founder of Work Well With Kate and she is like the batching time queen. And so she has gotten me hooked on this, but you can literally just whatever calendar you use.

I use, I think it's Google Calendar. Go in and then just block off times that you know you want to do certain things, even if it's just blocking off creative hours or blocking off time to work on your book or blocking off time to work on your speech or your start-up. You don't just have to use your calendar for commitments with other people or deadlines or things that you have to do. Use your calendar to batch your time for things that are important to you. And sometimes the things that are most important, like our creative hours, are the things that we forget to make time for or the things that usually come up last on our priorities. So batch your time so you know that you're making time for the things that you want to be doing, the things that make you feel at your best and doing the deep work and not just the shallow end.

The last thing I like to do to make sure that I am bowling and not pinball machine in my head is just pick one metric in your business or in your life to focus on and check in once a month with it. So you might hear the fancy term KPIs, key performance indicators. And we do that at Headbands of Hope, where we have a monthly meeting where we go over our numbers from that month and compare them to the same month last year. But it's really good to do this even just in a small way with one single metric. So I like to pick an impact metric. What is the thing that I can measure that shows that I'm on the right track, that shows that I'm fulfilling this mission or this thing that I've set out to do. So for Headbands for Hope, it's headbands donated, for Mic Drop Workshop, it is women enrolled in the course. Whatever it is, pick one metric that you can keep a pulse on.

That way, you know are all the other things in your business working, or are there things that maybe there's a glitch that you need to go back to the drawing board for? When you have that one metric, you can be more intentional about pulling the levers of your business. Do you need to send out an email to get sales to go up this month? Do you need to make more time for your staff or whatever it might be, but instead of inundating yourself with tons of different metrics and a million different numbers that you're not sure what story they tell, just pick one metric that you're focused on and how can you make that one metric better? And that, my friends, is bowling. So I'll leave you with this. Our destiny is not an uncontrollable future. It's an active decision to write our own story.

Thanks for listening to Business on the Bright Side. I'm your host, Jess Ekstrom. For all the show notes, head to businessonthebrightside.com and be sure to tell me what you thought of this episode on Instagram. And if you're picking up what I'm putting down, subscribe and write a review, wherever you consume podcasts. See you next time and keep chasing the bright side.

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Finish this sentence: by the end of the year, I bet I will ________________. 👇👇👇👇
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My husband always laughs at me because I HATE gambling or making bets. If I’m going to put $5 on something, I’d rather put it towards my business. I like betting on things that I can influence- so I like to bet on myself 🎲
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By the end of the year, I bet I will ________________. 👇
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Facts about my family 🥰👇
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- we’ve been living and traveling in an @airstream_inc since March 2019
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- Jake and I met in class at NC State. He claims we met when he passed me a pencil but I told him I haven’t used a pencil since 1997.
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- we found our pup, Ollie, on Craigslist
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- our favorite band is @zacbrownband (our wedding song was Free)!
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- Jake is an enneagram 7 and I’m a 3 😅
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- shows we’ve binged together: entourage, game of thrones, alone, the good place and all bachelor series (but he’ll deny the last one) 🤣
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Tell me a fact about you and your family! 👇
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I’m a recovering people pleaser.
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I thought my ticket to success was winning people over...
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But if you try to win over everyone, you’ll actually lose people because that means you’re not standing for something. Don’t be afraid to pick a lane and drive in it. The right people will join you there.
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Figure out what YOU want, what you stand for and what you want to create. Find or create the community that you can serve with that message. Listen to other opinions but listen with a filter.
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Are you a recovering people pleaser? What are some strategies you use to stay true to yourself?👇
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Right now we have a few people on the platform testing it and we’ll slowly roll it out over the next few months. 😬 If you missed Business on the Bright Side podcast episode yesterday, head to wherever you consume podcasts to listen to yesterday’s journaling episode to hear more about it 🎧
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Follow @writebrightpages and then head to brightpages.com or the link in my bio to sign up for the waitlist!
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Are you excited to try out @writebrightpages?! 👇
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Some high quality education 🎓
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Leave me a comment if your business school was Google 😂👇
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You know I’m down for a good IG challenge 💪
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On the left was my first @headbandsofhope table when I started the company in college. I “employed” my best friends @ajdinkel and @emily_wheet to help me sell headbands. Oh- and the headbands are displayed on oatmeal boxes that I spray painted yellow. #winning
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On the right is my first appearance on @qvc last year. We’ve had dozens of airings since then, but it’s crazy to think about where we started and how far we’ve come as a team 🥰
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Remember, you can cringe at your beginnings and still be proud of them ♥️
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You just have to start ⭐️
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My job is to help women look for meaning in their moments so they can write books and give keynote talks. 🎤📖
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But sometimes I encourage my students in Mic Drop Workshop or Book Pop Workshop to step back before they slap a label on a season of their life.
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We’re so quick to say a moment was: good, bad, helpful, or hurtful. But the reality is sometimes we have no clue how our moments will play out in our story.
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It took me 11 years to share my story about my family in chapter 2 of Chasing the Bright Side because I was still connecting the dots.
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We’re all going through a season right now. The lesson and the meaning is still taking shape. Some silver linings just take longer to develop 🌈
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I’m speaking 🎤
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Two simple words that puncture centuries of silence.
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Our voice is one of the most powerful things we have. Let’s teach young girls to use it by using it ourselves 🗣

Thank you @rowlandjordyn for this tweet. #vote #vote2020
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I got mad at myself the other day.
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A hiccup happened at work and I broke. My mind went swirling: am I even qualified to do this? Why do I have a business if I keep failing at it? I’m letting everyone down! I’m supposed to be the optimist author and I’m drowning in negative thoughts 💭
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Then I thought to myself: I used to be able to handle this stuff and not fall off the deep end. What changed?
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Well, 2020 changed. And it’s important to recognize the impact this year has had on ourselves.
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I finally realized yesterday that on a scale from 1-10, my anxiety has been living at a steady 6 this year. Usually, it’s at like a 2 or a 3.
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So something small that happens at work or in my life used to just bump me up to a 5 or a 6. But now, the small things bump me up to a 8 or a 9 because my foundation is already high.
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That realization was actually a relief for me. I could finally give myself some grace and say: you’re still strong. You can still handle everything life throws at you. Your strength hasn’t changed, just your environment.
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So I want to propose the same thing to you. Go easy on yourself this year because our starting point for anxiety and uncertainty is already high- so knowing that the little things can impact you differently makes you stop questioning yourself and start understanding our environment.
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To me, this is good news. Give yourself some grace. Go easy on yourself. Take time for your mental health. Go outside. Watch silly Netflix shows. Take a bath. Get the fancy latte because you want to. We can handle this. ♥️💪
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This is usually the dialogue when deciding on takeout. 😂⁠
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Anyone else?! 👇
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Do you consider yourself an optimist? 👇
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#maskup but make it fashion 😷💃
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So proud of my girl @mrs.bgauvin (our @headbandsofhope Wholesale Director) for selling out on @qvc last night during her FIRST SHOW! 📺
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The torch has officially been passed 😂 y’all head to headbandsofhope.com to stock up on our tube turbans and masks! 🛍
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I’ve had a few “check yourself before you wreck yourself” moments this week 🙃
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Sometimes when we feel ourself reacting, we need to take a step back and look at WHY we’re reacting instead of what we’re reacting to.
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I talk about this in the Business on the Bright Side episode this week (link in bio).
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Do you feel like you’re self aware? I’m working on it! 👇
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Bring on the PSL, fall scented candles and sweater weather 🍁
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Tag someone who loves fall in the comments 👇
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You can’t write an amazing book without a messy first draft. 📖
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When I read this concept in Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird, it changed who I am as a creative.
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In fact, you can’t do anything well without a messy beginning. 🙃
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If that’s the case, then don’t put so much pressure on your first drafts. You can’t edit a blank piece of paper, but you can edit pages of jumbled mess and start to make sense of it.
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This week in my Write the Dang Book Conference we have over 2,000 women from all over the world starting their messy first drafts and I couldn’t be prouder to be their guide 🥰
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You can still grab your free ticket for day 2 with the link in my bio. All videos will be available until October 1st, so if you can’t make it live, you can watch the replays until then.
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Cheers to messy first drafts 🥂
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