Once, maybe twice a year, I get in a funk. I feel uneven. I’m in my head.
It’s like my spirit is stuck. Trying to find it’s way back to the surface.
For as many years as this has been going on, I’m caught off guard every time it happens.
I wonder how I went from being on top of the world – to feeling worried about everything. And I mean everything! Even if there’s nothing to worry about.
Clearly, hanging out in this place isn’t fun. And it can impact my livelihood. So I’ve come up with a few things over the years that ease me out of my funk faster.
Whenever you find yourself in a similar situation, freely take what works for you and leave the rest!
“Oh yeah, this happens sometimes.”
When I remember that it’s part of my rhythm of expansion and contraction, it’s easier to accept — as opposed to feeling defeated. I’ve learned, through experience over many years, that my funks fuel the next big burst of energy — which will usually last for months and months and months!
Knowing this, I try to stay conscious that any fears that pop up during the funk are noted (Hello, Fear. What are you here to teach me?)
And then I remember that this too, shall pass. And that beauty and fabulousness are on the flip side — just giving me time to process the funk.
On a personal level, I look at my relationships (anyone toxic?), surroundings (uncluttered and comfortable?), style (do I have killer outfits?), overall health (feeling fit, active and strong?) to see if there’s any wonkiness going on there.
Recently, I was sidelined from kickboxing for several months due to intense shoulder pain that wouldn’t go away. Between travel and ineffective physical therapy, it persisted. I finally found dry needling to be a quick, painless and totally effective solution. I’m back at kickboxing – pain free! Well, except for the muscle aches, which are welcome. 😉
I also scan my thoughts and beliefs (do I have some wonky limiting belief that I’m able to spot that might be contributing to my funk?) — as well as what’s going on in the world around me (am I taking on extra stress around the economy or politics — or absorbing the stress my clients may feel about what’s happening around us?)
Business wise, I scan my pillars to assess where I’m off kilter. In my case, it usually falls under Marketing Strategy (#3) or Time, Mindset & Priority Optimization (#5.)
It’s been a long while (don’t want to jinx this!) since I’ve been in The Dip, but knowing that 78.2% of entrepreneurs find themselves there at any given time, it’s possible that might be the reason for your funk. You can find out here: http://thebiztruth.com/ee
Draw. Read. Dance. Listen. Write.
(Not necessarily in that order.)
I put on a lot of miles walking in NYC so I love to listen to audio books. My recent favorites are Big Magic by Liz Gilbert and Infinite Possibilities by Mike Dooley. I’ll listen over and over and over again until I feel like I’ve “got it” — or am ready for a new voice or message.
Movement grounds me. And my all time favorite dance song is Happy by Pharrell. Leave it to Pharrell to have a website that plays his song around the clock with different people dancing through the sidewalks of LA. Super fun to have virtual dance partners! Or maybe it’s Pandora or Spotify. My friends made some great playlists for my 50th birthday party which hold extra special meaning – and great beats!
I draw hearts. I love hearts. They’re inspiring and calming. And love-y. ❤️
Plus I love to keep magazines in the rotation, especially if it’s visually appealing. I tear page and pages out the really, really good ones. It might inspire an idea, an activity or go into a pile of images for my vision board. I love Oprah for this.
In addition to writing about what I’m thankful for, my friend Patty Lennon suggests journaling a few pages that answer, “I need. I want.” Fill it in for a couple of pages. Give it a voice. And I do notice that I journal and write more articles than usual so my Evernote app sees a lot more activity during these periods because the process of creation fuels a lot of thoughts and ideas!
And because I love how learning fuels my creativity, I’ll sometimes study a new topic. Most recently I’ve been studying to become a certified trainer in Infinite Possibilities which is right up my alley of believing that our thoughts become things. Stay tuned!
I practice gratitude. Yes, you knew that was coming. I do it because there’s so much to be thankful for! And how can you possibly get more if you’re not even thankful for what you’ve got? We live in an abundant world. I try my best not to take it for granted.
I leave love notes for my clients, family, friends, strangers, waiters — and even myself. It might be a message or poem that I write myself. Or sometimes I like to give these little cards that pop open with inspirational messages inside. ❤️
I 10x my love for all my city has to offer. I might spend an afternoon at a museum (Francis Picabia: Our Heads Are Round So Our Thoughts Can Change Direction at MoMa is fabulous!), art gallery or among flowers. Or maybe I’ll venture into parts of Central Park that I don’t ordinarily visit. See a show. Or visit a neighborhood I don’t often get to. All for fresh perspective — and to appreciate how rich life truly is.
Particularly if I’m feeling money stress, I tithe. It might sound counterintuitive, but it’s an act of faith to remind myself that we live in an abundant world and that there’s plenty to go around. The longer I hang onto my money, the less that comes in.
This was a reaaaallllllly difficult and scary practice to start. A great book on this topic is The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity by Edwine Gaines.
Or maybe I’ll go all out on a special gift for a friend. With so many of my friends turning 50, there are no shortage of opportunities to choose someone to surprise.
I also give to myself and my business. Although I no longer irresponsibly and blindly spend like I used to. Instead, after I’ve scanned my pillars, it’s easier to make decisions about what I need to invest in to improve my position and optimize my growth opportunities.
And I give my time to people who are in a funk of their own. This is usually a current or former client, friend — or someone I’ve never even met! That includes you — especially if you have big dreams and goals but aren’t sure how to bounce out of The Dip to make it a reality. I’m a big believer in looking for solutions to getting out of the funk — not dwelling in it.
Funks don’t last forever.
It’s up to me to find the source within me — and tap into the resources around me — to ease myself out of the funk and back into the fun.
It’s important to be gentle with myself. Stay away from harsh judgement or negative self-talk.
Because, yes indeed, thoughts do become things.
You inspire me every single day. You are the reason I love what I do. It’s a beautiful cycle of life – and love!
Do you ever catch yourself in your same old self-defeating patterns?
I know I sure don’t!!
Not because I don’t have them. It’s because I walk around with a blind eye to my self-sabotaging behaviors — until I get in a room with friends and colleagues who are able to see my bulls*t.
And that’s why I always love when I’m in a room with smart business owners.
As I was preparing for my upcoming Business Design Retreat, I found a note I had written after the very first BDR I hosted almost a year ago. It was a list of 3 (plus) things that were the biggest mindset lessons that popped up during that powerful day together.
It was a good reminder that building a business isn’t just about your business model and marketing and sales. So much is about mindset. And I’d like to share my takeaways with you from that particular day…
#1 You choose.
I was at TED headquarters in NYC last week and met a late 20-ish guy who told me he sold drugs for 4 years “because he had no choice.” When I was curious why he didn’t have any other options, he said he “wasn’t going to take a job at Target for $20,000 per year.”
Let’s be clear, I don’t care if he sells drugs or dish detergent.
But I DO strongly care that he didn’t think he had a choice. Because he did. It’s not that he couldn’t get a job. He CHOSE to sell drugs instead.
And you get to make your choices too. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.
DON’T tell yourself, “I can’t.”
DO tell yourself, “I choose to” or “choose not to.”
#2 You decide.
Kerry knew she wanted to grow her business and found my mentoring program which she knew was right for her. She considered asking her husband and mom (yes, her mom!) for their permission to make the investment.
After tangling internally with the decision for awhile, she said, “F*ck it. I’m a grown woman” and went ahead and enrolled without asking them.
Within 30 days, she had increased her sales by 2.65 times – which more than paid back her investment. And ultimately doubled her revenues for the year.
DON’T ask for permission from others.
DO make your own decisions.
DO the work.
DO celebrate your results!
#3 You rule.
Meet the 2012 poster child for succumbing to Fear. >>>>>>>>>>>
After a severely disappointing and financially devastating period in my business, I froze.
I became so afraid of making another mistake. Afraid of making the wrong financial decision. Afraid of rejection. I was so afraid that I quit trying new things. Stopped taking risks. And was a living, breathing contradiction machine.
Until one day my coach asked me, “how long are you going to continue to let fear drive your decisions?”
It had become such a part of my fabric that I didn’t even realize the Real Carolyn Herfurth had shrunk into a tiny little shell of her former, ballsy self. All because I let Fear take the reins after making a few mistakes.
That was enough to wake me up — and I made fear my bitch.
(This is the part where I’m supposed tell you about how I’ve made millions and brag up my fancy Maserati convertible and second home in Hawaii. That’s not my jam.)
I became verrrrrry good at distinguishing between my fear (#false) and my instincts (#truth.) I found my groove and love that I now get to help others find theirs too.
I’ll admit Fear creeps in from time to time. But for the most part, I rule my decisions now. 🙂
DON’T let fear rule your potential for a rich and happy life.
DO make fear your bitch.
Oh, and there was a fourth scribble on my note that says, “Don’t wait to be great.”
Yeaaaahhhh… DO great now.
You walk into a room that inspires you to want to move in.
The room is spacious. High ceilings. Big windows. Cool art everywhere. Guitars hanging on the walls. Beat up leather chairs. A big, well-worn dining table. Persian rugs. Cool lamps. Yummy candles.
Old albums play on the turntable: Lionel Richie, David Bowie, Van Morrison, Fleetwood Mac… and hundreds more albums at your fingertips. DJC (yes, that’s me!) is spinning for your listening pleasure.
You there yet?
You slouch into one of the leather chairs. Or curl up on the oversized sofa and throw a big ass fuzzy blanket over yourself.
You feel calm. Safe. Yet filled with anticipation and unspoken expectations.
You’re handed a colorful journal with Arthur O’Shaughnessy’s quote, “We are the music makers. We are the dreamers of dreams.”
And given a hardcover book — “Ever Wonder”— filled with thought provoking questions you typically read, yet never take the time to answer.
And of course, you’re excited to get one of those clicky 4-color pens you loved in 5th grade. Because, why not?
You have one hour to write about ANY question you want from the book.
OMG! WTF do you do? So many choices!
You choose. And you write. Of course.
This is the scenario a handful of my clients walked into last Friday at the retreat I hosted for them in NYC.
After their hour of writing, each woman took time to share the question she chose and how she answered it. The question she selected was as revealing as what she wrote about it.
And as if that wasn’t enough, we layered on the twist of what WE saw in each of her chosen questions and revelations.
I noticed 3 main behaviors that were interfering with their full potential to grow…
We have expectations of ourselves and those around us. Our families. Our friends. Our prospects. Our clients.
Our expectations are a story we put on ourselves and others. Especially unfair since they so often go unspoken.
We try to live up to them. And want those around us to do the same. Even though they don’t even know our rules.
Then our disappointments pop up when expectations aren’t met. And we wonder, “WTF?! How could he/she do that to me?” We feel completely blindsided.
So we either lash out — or limp along like wounded puppies. Instead of changing our communication. Or better yet — our stories.
I want this. Am I sure I want this? Wait, I want that more. I’ve got to be crazy to think I’ll EVER get any of this!
Let’s say you really want to take Fridays off to go to the beach. But you think it’s OUTLANDISH to do that because you should be working.
The belief that it’s outlandish creates the contradiction — and will override your ability to take off Fridays to hit the beach until you change your belief.
Because if you have contradicting thoughts, how does the Universe know what to deliver?
HINT: You’ll get whatever is backed up by your strongest belief.
I want to play big and be crazy successful. But OMG – other people are so much bigger than me. I can’t measure up to them. I’m nuts to consider that I’m even close to their level. They make so much more money than me. I don’t belong here. When will everyone realize I’m a fraud?
It drives me a little batty when I find myself and other women minimizing their power, strength and brilliance. Men don’t do it! Why do we?!?!
We must STOP with that nonsense — and START making declarations.
Yes, that’s right.
Declare what success looks like to you.
Declare what you want.
Declare what “big” and “successful” look like to you.
Declare what you want that lies beyond where you think you are.
Declare and communicate your expectations.
And do it.
YOU get to make up the rules.
Declaring these things in advance will minimize disappointment and exponentially increase your happiness.
To build a sustainable business, you must eliminate your mindset minefields.
I highly encourage you to brush up on other common blocks so you can be on the lookout. Don’t let ’em sneak up on you! Click to access the “5 Mindset Mistakes Women Entrepreneurs Make and How To Avoid Them.”
Because the filters you use to view, translate, assume, perceive, expect, presuppose, imagine, presume… (shall I go on?) are ALL within your control.
As we head into a new year, I want to share this message that has gotten me through exciting new starts – and down-on-my-knees rough patches.