Handling the Hard Parts of Owning a Business

Don’t get me wrong for even one second.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE what I do. In fact, I wrote a whole post about it recently on our Leaders Blog.    I sincerely believe I have the best/coolest/most rewarding job on the face of the planet.  And really, who could argue with this cuteness? Music Class With Katey

But that’s where the conversation usually ends with most people who also think they have the “best/coolest/most rewarding job”.  Most business owners I know won’t openly divulge the icky, not-so-fun parts of what they do, which is terribly unfair.  Business ownership is often put on a tall, shiny pedestal without so much as a mention of how that pedestal was built, how it stays standing and polished, and what it takes to stay there living the perceived awesome entrepreneurial life.

Want the honest to goodness truth??  It takes a lot of hard work and grit. We are talking serious determination. Long hours. Unpaid work. Tons of trial AND error. Revisions like you wouldn’t believe. And so on and so on…

There are things I have dealt with as a business owner that I never thought I would encounter in my life, let alone before I was 30.  I have had to learn so many things outside my general scope of knowledge and way outside comfort zone (website building anyone).  I am challenged and encounter something new nearly every day.  I have had to learn to rely on other people in my life who love me (especially my incredibly supportive husband, amazing family, and outstanding business partner, thank you all!!) and learn to accept help… which is really hard for me.  I have had to accept that there are serious growing pains that come with trying to grow my business that also seriously affect my personal budget.  I have had to learn that there are very few things I have complete control of and that I have to trust the people and processes I am surrounded by.  I have had to have some serious moments and really tough conversations with people.  I have had to put on my big girl pants and become a real boss in both my personal and professional life.

Yes, those are the some of the hard parts and I don’t anticipate them to just going away.  Every day that I am a business owner, I fully expect to be challenged.  I understand, acknowledge, and accept that some days are going to be really rough and more often than not there is nothing I can do to change those things that occur.

The one thing I can control is my response. How I cope. How I react. How I handle myself in stressful situations. And how I learn and grow along the way.Running for the Win

Today, was tough. I felt anxious and upset when I was walking through my front door.  My first instinct was to curl up in a ball and cry. My second was to run. So, I ran.  I employed a couple of my favorite self-care strategies and went for it. I listened to a podcast that I knew would be motivating and a pushed myself to run faster!   When I got home, I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and like I could move forward with what I needed to get done.

Getting to the point: There will be hard days, tough situations, and challenging moments. I handle them with lots of support from my friends and family, engaging in serious self-care strategies that work for me, taking time for reflection and rest, and acknowledging that all of the hard work I have put in has helped build something incredible that will simply keep growing every day because I love what I do.

We Wrote A Book! “Counting Through the Seasons”

For the past few years, I’ve been writing educational songs to help my clients meet their goals in our individual and group sessions.  This includes writing TONS of new material for our Listen & Learn for Little Ones Groups.

Pumpkins 2

Last fall, Rachel wrote our first counting down from 5 style song (Little Red Apples) that used visual aids to help children work on counting in every group.  It was a major hit!  So as our classes continued and the seasons changed, we went from Apples to Pumpkins to Leave to Trees and so on.  We developed 2 new songs for each season until we had a full set of seasonal counting songs.

We know how much our families have loved this music.  SOOOO…. to make it the best resource for YOU, we took all of those song and turned them into a book! Counting Through the Seasons is a digital download that includes:

  • 8 Original Songs with Lead Sheets & Full Lyrics
  • Song recordings
  • Printable Templates for Visual Aids
  • Helpful Videos with Tips and Tricks on Using the Materials
  • and Photos and Examples throughout the book

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Grab your copy today at lead.listenlearnmusic.com

Using Music for Personal Healing

Yesterday afternoon, my mom called to tell me my great aunt had passed away.  She was in her late 80s and not in great health.  She had been in and out of the hospital a lot recently.  So it wasn’t entirely unexpected,  but that’s not to say that it didn’t break my heart a little.

We weren’t terribly close, but my Aunt Lorraine is one of the sweetest people I know and has always treated me splendidly.  She and my uncle Jack have always supported me in everything I have done (including generously helping me buy attire for pageant I didn’t place in) , sent cards for every holiday and major event, and spent time talking with me fairly regularly.552334_3548775843945_584792454_n

I was distracted by the news and was having trouble focusing on things. My stress level was already high and the loss I felt wasn’t helping. Certain songs kept playing in my head distracting me even more from what I was trying to accomplish. So, I put everything down and listened to what the music was trying to tell me.

I pulled out my favorite songs or ones that spoke to me in the moment (mostly mellow, minor tunes) and sat at the piano.  I played, I sang, and I played some more. I teared up with some of the lyrics and didn’t play all the right notes, but it was sooo incredibly helpful.e4a17e1f968485c41647ac83ecb6ab64

Using music is a coping mechanism and tool that I teach others to use daily, but I forget how powerful it can be for me..  I forget that it helps to soothe my soul, work through tough emotions and situations, and recenter my mind.  Taking time for me to deal with things in a way that I know works is so incredibly important.

I’m not going to feel 100% ok right now, but at least I have a way to help me cope.

How do you cope with difficult situations or loss? Do you have go to music that helps you?

It’s Tuesday… and I’m Exhausted

Actually, to be honest, I was exhausted yesterday when it was only Monday (and even the day before when it was Sunday) and that feels like that was forever ago.  Really, truly,  Monday feels like it was at least three days ago.

But why am I sharing this?  Why do I sound whiny instead of sharing something useful?

I need to be honest and vulnerable with you.

I can preach things like self-care, simplifying, and work flow until the cows come home, but you have to know that I still struggle with these things.  I struggle to take time for myself when I need it, say no when people ask for things, or simplify when life gets too busy for me to actually accomplish everything I want to.

I still struggle and I know I’m not alone.

So, by telling you the truth that I’m exhausted and having a hard time accomplishing what I want to right now, I hope it gives you the room to be honest with yourself and do what you need to in order to better take care of yourself.

What am I doing to help myself?

For starters, I went back to bed this morning and I slept in a few extra hours because my body really needed it. I have celiac disease and was “glutened” the other day so my body is on the mend so I need more sleep than normal and every task is more taxing than it usually it is.

What else? I’m relying more on my amazing business partner, intern, and team to help get things accomplished. We share the load and try to cover more when the other person is feeling down.  I’m trying to be honest about what I can and cannot reasonably accomplish in one day and shortening my to do list to just a couple actionable items.  I’m taking time to just sit and talk to my husband because we haven’t had more than a solid 30 minute block together on any day in over two weeks. I’m trying to be present in whatever task I’m doing.  I’m following my personal work flow and what I’m inspired to do in the moment so it doesn’t seem as draining. And I’m having faith that my energy will rebound soon, especially as my body continues to heal and I take care of myself.

So, how are you helping yourself??

Test of Trust

This year has been almost like one giant trust exercise. Like the trust fall you see in Mean Girls… but only an entire year of being vulnerable, putting my truths out there, and hoping people will catch me.  (So not truly like the scene in Mean Girls, but you get the point.)

trust fall

Trepidatious. is a word I commonly use to describe myself.  In other words, I am often apprehensive and have trouble accepting help or jumping in to new things because I get anxious and feel as though something bad or unpleasant is going to happen. The unfamiliar and new can be really REALLY scary. So, I sit and think of every possible question or problem that could arise before moving forward or handing over the reigns. I organize and try to solve problems before they even seem to be there… But what else does this make me sound like? A control freak, maybe? Definitely. Probably. But as long as I’m in control and asking the questions and handling things then less can go wrong, right? WRONG. Trying to do it all is not healthy… In case you were wondering.

As I said, this year has been one giant trust exercise and man has it been good for me. As our team and business have rapidly grown, I have had to (or I have chosen to take the scary step to) hand over some things to other people and fret less over the things that COULD go wrong. Instead, I have been choosing to handle more things in the moment and trust the team I have surrounded myself with. I chose those people for a reason. I let them in for a reason. So, if I just trust them to do what they do best, then I feel SO much better and everything runs way more smoothly.

And what has happened as I’ve put my trust in my team? They’ve come through. Pretty much 100% of the time. And I’ve been able to breathe. Even though our business is over twice the size it was last year, I feel 10x more relaxed and at ease. I’ve put faith in the people around me and trusted that the business will continue to head in the right direction. And it has been awesome!!

Hand over the reigns… it’s not so bad!