No one ever said being an entrepreneur was easy. And if they did, they were lying and/or selling something. It comes with long hours, unexpected obstacles, and skeptical friends and relatives.
However, it shouldn’t be completely joyless either. Network marketer and keynote speaker Emily Vavra spent so much time comparing herself to other people in the early days of building her business that she almost missed the exciting parts.
Emily learned to cherish the progress she was making every day, putting routines in place to remind herself to slow down and appreciate how far she’d come.
“I thought success has to be painful,” she says. “Hustle culture tells us that—when in reality, if you have this harmony in your day, and you let go and remember to breathe, you can enjoy the entire process.”
In this episode of SUCCESS Stories, Emily tells Chief Storytelling Officer Kindra Hall why she stopped measuring herself against other people, the morning and night routines that set her up for a good day and how she argues back against imposter syndrome.
Hustling doesn’t have to hurt.
Working toward your goals will take blood, sweat and yes, probably tears. Just don’t forget to appreciate the fun parts too.
When you first throw yourself into a project, you expect it to take up a lot of time and energy. You’re probably also looking at the work of people who inspire you, and even your rivals, and letting that little voice in the back of your head compare what you’re doing to their latest success. Spend too long in this world, and you’ll understand why they call it the grind.
Hard work is normal. But being so busy and overwhelmed that you don’t take the time to find value in what you’re doing isn’t healthy or helpful in the long run. Even when you’re in go mode, give yourself time every day to hit pause and note everything you’ve achieved—and what you’re grateful for—before you charge on to the next task on your to-do list.
Find joy in small things.
Don’t keep all your excitement locked up for when you hit major milestones. When you’re rushing through life with your eyes firmly focused on your task list, deadlines and the big goal at the end of the tunnel, you miss the tiny moments that bring joy every day. It’s these that will sustain you while you’re working toward your most ambitious dreams.
Stop and note as many of these as you can. For example:
- Coffee isn’t just productivity fuel. Savor your morning cup; that means no checking emails.
- Escape the human tendency to rush around by getting out into nature.
- Instead of grimacing through your workout, appreciate what your body is capable of.
This practice of pausing to acknowledge even the tiny moments in your day that brought you happiness not only helps relieve stress, it makes you more approachable and easier to be around, which benefits your work and home life.
Build a routine that supports a positive mindset.
Create routines that set you up to start and end every day on a positive note. In the morning, appeal to whatever makes you feel connected to the biggest goals you have set yourself: for example, through prayer or meditation. Emily says that her friends and her team know she won’t even reply to a text until she’s gone through this ritual first thing.
In the evening, give your future self a helping hand by preparing your work and home environments in advance. Emily is big on cleaning; having a clear space improves her mindset and helps her think more clearly. She does a big sweep of her home before bed so in the morning, she’ll wake up in a clutter-free zone, physically and mentally.
Emily also recommends writing down the three most important tasks you need to get done tomorrow. This will give you focus and helps you look ahead instead of spiralling over things that may have happened earlier in the day.
Remember there’s only one you.
Imposter syndrome wants to tell you that you’ll never measure up to other people in your field. And all too often, so do people with social media accounts and too much time. If you let those voices in, you’ll start comparing yourself to everyone around you, and talk yourself out of pursuing your dreams.
Emily says that when you can feel those cracks emerging in your confidence, remember that no one else can do what you are trying to do because there is only one you. No one else would do this in exactly the same way you are. You are exactly the right person for the job. Shut out the doubters, restate your goal and do it your way.