I recently had the pleasure to sit down with Jolene Forrester, owner of JoRetro to talk about the changes in her business. The transcript is below:
Jolene: I'm Jolene Forrester; I'm the owner of JoRetro. It's a vintage shop in Havre De Grace, Maryland. And we specialize in items from the 50s through the 70s, useable things like housewares and clothing.
Nettie: Really fantastic stuff! You were a member of the Sappari Momentum Program. Tell us a little bit about what things were like when you signed up to participate?
Jolene: Well, I was in a much smaller shop at the time, and I had spent the last year working there full-time after being laid off from a full-time corporate job. And I felt like I was just not being productive, things were just sort of going along week after week and the same things were happening. But I felt like I wasn't growing the business, and I felt overwhelmed with some things and just I guess I was procrastinating on taking care of things.
So when I saw that you had put the video on about the group that you were starting, that just seemed interesting to me. And I thought that I could benefit from that. From years of having to write goals in the corporate world, then all of a sudden you're responsible and there's no one to be accountable for what you're doing.
Nettie: Absolutely. When you're the boss, right?
Nettie: There's no one above you that's saying, "Are you getting that done today?"
Nettie: Right now we're sitting in Jolene's new store. We're going to take a tour around in just a bit. But this wasn't really part of what you were imagining. What were you thinking you were working towards in the beginning?
Jolene: Well, it's kind of funny. I mean, ultimately my first item that I wanted to take care of was to renovate my home. And so I think if you start with what's the biggest issue in your life and then everything kind of goes from that point backwards to get to that goal. So my goal was I want to renovate my home but I have so much inventory, and why do I have so much inventory? And I'm just tired of lugging it back and forth to my small store.
My goal was to minimize the amount of storage that I had in my home, and to figure out a way to do that. Working with you I thought I should look for a new space. And at first started out with just a space for storage possibly near my existing shop, which solved part of my problem but not really all of it.
Nettie: Right, exactly. When you were really moving forward on that and you had a place picked out, you had measurements, we talked renegotiations.
Nettie: That was really going forward. And then things shifted, how did this happen? How did THIS become an option?
Jolene: Well, being in the program and everyday having you reach out in text message - what are you going to accomplish today, what are your goals today? It kept me focused on that goal. And as I investigated, "Okay, so this is an option, the space is available, it's reasonable rent, it's right near my space." And talking to you about how does that achieve the goal, the ultimate goal, and how does that benefit the business, I started to feel like it really was not ... It was a band-aid, it wasn't a real fix.
Nettie: Right, exactly.
Jolene: And I think a lot of times when you do something and it's not scary, it's probably not enough. You know what I mean?
Jolene: It was very comfortable, would've been easy, I had a floor plan, I knew what I needed to do to move in there. But it's still was going to take some work and some money. In the meantime the same property manager said, "I have another property I want you look at." And at first I kind of dismissed it, but I hadn't really investigated it. So you encouraged me to take a look and and just see.
Jolene: I mean, it does no harm to go look. And then that became more of a reality at that point.
Nettie: Nice, so something that wasn't even on the plate.
Nettie: And suddenly right here. You mentioned the daily check-ins, what did you find helpful about being in the Momentum Program?
Jolene: Well, we did do the goal setting, and bringing that back into a short-term goal instead of a year out, and focusing on small steps that makes it so it's not so scary. I think that that was really important.
Nettie: Good. I'm glad that was helpful to you. If there was something, if somebody's thinking about doing this, and maybe they're standing in front of that webpage that says, "Here's everything that might be possible for you." And they're just teetering on whether or not they should sign up, what would you say to them?
Jolene: I would say if you're afraid to make a drastic change in your life, and you think that nobody around you is really going to support you, this is the program for you. I mean, you know my husband was not supportive.
Jolene: And I even initially didn’t tell him I was moving. But ultimately I did and I might do get a buy in there. But I think sometimes your friends they're not maybe the best business associates. And actually whether you want to change something personal in your life or business-related I think having an outside person that can kind of guide you without that emotional feeling that a relative or a friend might have, who thinks, "I'm not sure if that's a safe thing to do."
Being part of the program you just refocus every day, and make a person accountable. Because you know you're going to get that text or you're going to get a phone call, and you're going to ask - what are you doing today to meet that goal? You're the one that sets the goal. You don't set the goal.
Nettie: No, I don't set the goal.
Nettie: I don't even have to know what you do.
Jolene: Right. But the encouragement on a daily basis is not something most people even get from a boss at a job.
Nettie: Right, that's true.
Jolene: Because you have some ultimate schedule of things that you take care of during week's time frame, and you may have this long-term goal for a quarter or the year. And I know I wanted to look long-term, but you have to step back and make those small steps or you never get to the long-term because it feels it's too overwhelming.
Nettie: It is. It's a big thing too. Even if you're setting out 90-day goals, 6-month goals you get in front of what you're specifically doing right now to achieve that and it can still be overwhelming.
Jolene: And I think some people might say, "Well, I can't afford to do it." But I honestly think that you probably can't afford not to.
Nettie: Yeah, be responsible.
Jolene: If you're stuck, if you really feel like - I'm not accomplishing things. Because all the little things that you're not doing are costing you money, I mean, in a lot of ways I wish I had moved sooner but I probably was ready, so the timing was right. And even when I did move I debated it - should I take both spaces or just one? And I mean, honestly it was like, "Well, I've already come this far. Let's just go outside my comfort zone a little bit more and just take both." And it made all the difference.
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You don’t want to admit it. To your clients and your boss and the stakeholders you report to, you are ALWAYS on your game. You are ALWAYS in the flow. But if we were honest with ourselves and others, we’re not.
In trying to be always on, always available, always producing, we have created an unsustainable stress state in our minds and bodies. Midlife crisis? Bankruptcy? Heart attack?
There is a fear underlying all of your activities that keep you pushing all day long:
Fear of failure
Fear of being ‘found out’
Fear of losing it all
Fear of never being able to recreate what you built
Fear of losing the ‘big’ client
Fear of dropping the ball
Fear of (fill in your truth)
Let’s Go to the Beach
Nature gives us many good examples to base our own behaviour. The ocean waves ebb and flow on a daily basis (multiple times per day) and there are seasons of higher tides and even unique events when the water rises or lowers substantially.
Can you imagine if the waves were only ever ‘coming in’? There would be no ebb, no rest for the wave to gather strength and move forward.
The weather across the globe is expressed in seasons. In some places four distinct seasons of dormancy, rebirth, growth and clearing/decay, while in others there are two a rainy (flow) and a dry (ebb).
Can you imagine if the dry season did not follow the wet? There would be no sunshine. If winter did not preceed spring? There would be no rest to prepare for the explosion of growth.
So, what, I have a report due.
You are probably thinking I have gone a little hippie chick on you, I’ll take it :-) But truthfully, you have bills to pay, budgets to meet, reports to produce, widgets to create and distribute and right now, how do you get it done?
Stop pushing and take a break. When we are in a stress state having over-extended our flow state and moved into overwhelmed, then we no longer think clearly and creatively. We no longer have space for new ideas, we no longer see all sides of the problem being solved.
I recently read that people who have fewer than six hours of sleep in a night, are three times more likely to get into a car accident. With less than six hours of sleep our bodies and minds do not fully reset and clear the ‘gunk’ from the previous day.
Acknowledge the ebb and flow. Not only do you experience this daily but weekly, monthly, seasonally and even across years. Instead of fighting against it, allow yourself to see the ebb as a time to reset, gain resources, learn, rest, step outside of the box and gain strength to flow again. Plan for and accept time in your day, week, etc to pause.
One Momentum Program member, an accountant, recently said this, “My revenue is in target to match or be slightly better than last year, but I'm working less and less stressed!! I'm maintaining the same game plan today. Keep producing, take lots of breaks and something fun at the end of the day.” You can hear that he is working hard and ‘pushing’ and then also taking breaks to reset and work with his natural rhythm.
Clear the clutter. The physical act of removing the stuff from your space that is old, outdated, broken has a cleansing effect on your spirit and your brain. The results are similar to clearing a clogged pipe. You will find as you complete the clearing process, ideas begin to flow, you mood will lift and your energy level will increase. What can you let go of today to make space (mental and physical) for where you are going?
If you are stuck in the process, let me know. I would love to have a conversation with you about how to move forward.
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You will never get it all done
Was that a bit harsh? I am sorry. But the truth is that you will never get it all done. Your current list is too long. And even if it wasn’t too long, you still wouldn’t get it all done. And that is ok.
Throughout the day, every day, your brain is working and making connections. You are constantly thinking of ideas and great next steps to act on to move your business and your life forward. I bet, in any given day you probably think of at least ten more items to add to your to do list. Some things are small: pick up stamps, put my winter coat away, reschedule the dentist. Other items are bigger: redesign the website, begin researching vacation rentals, launch new product. Aside from those items, other peoples’ items start popping onto the list, fires erupt and need to be handled, occasionally a deadline appears that you had forgotten about and is suddenly a top priority.
It is ok that you will never get it all done. Because it was never about getting it all done. Ever.
I used to be a goal setter. Until a few months ago, I still taught often on setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. I taught about making to-do lists and master to-do lists and using the methodology outlined in David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done. The problem was that when you focus so fiercely on the goal and the to-do list you lose track of the progress you made in trying. You think you are successful when you check something off. (This is coming from a lover of lists and checking things off).
But there will always be at least ONE MORE THING you can add to the list! It may feel like you will never succeed because you never get it ALL done. Is this you?
I’d like to offer an alternative. In this method you create a vision for where you are going and then you notice all the ways that what you want already exists for you in your life. (It’s a cool experiment, try it!). Next, you look at one way you can bring your vision into your life and you take one step to make it happen.
VIola! You get to celebrate! When you do, you tell yourself and your Creator, you are successful! Being successful causes happy, excited feelings to flow through your body. You think, “Wow! That was awesome! I am amazing! Look at me creating what I envision for my life!” Then, you do it again and you are actually making meaningful progress on creating the life you always wanted.
You didn’t get it all done but you you were a complete success anyway. How awesome is that?
Feel free to share with me, your vision and how you are creating that for yourself right now. And, if you would like to learn how to transition from your to-do list, schedule a time to chat. I’d love to walk you through it.
Dear Visionary Entrepreneur,
Congratulations! You passed the first test. You may or may not actually believe yourself to be a “Visionary” but just by reading this blog you are subconsciously say, “I am a Visionary Entrepreneur!” It is so exciting!!!
But what is a Visionary Entrepreneur?
In my book, it is a person who sees the future, better than her current experience (or that of others) and desires to do something to create this future for the world. You are willing to invest your self, your time and your money to make this future a reality. How cool! The world needs more people just like you who are willing to take a risk to serve others.
But, the reality is that even though you have this desire to serve and this vision of the greatness that lies ahead, you are currently stuck in the ‘how to make it happen’ stage. It’s even possible that you have started your business and had some successes but that you have hit a wall. Maybe you are even considering getting a ‘real job’ because being a Visionary Entrepreneur is hard on the best of days. Just the emotional highs and lows can leave you wondering why you ever embarked on this path at all.
Don’t throw in the towel! Every business needs a regroup every once in a while. Actually, I highly recommend that you PLAN to regroup every week, every month, every quarter and every year. You need this time to think, re-energize and make sure you are continuing to steer your ship to the correct destination. It is just so easy to get off track.
Every moment, of every day leaves an opportunity to select the task that will move you forward towards your vision and the one that will derail you. How can you know that you are continuing to strive for forward motion in the right direction?
VISION. It is part of your name, your make-up. Just doing this ONE THING can make an enormous difference. Continue to envision your destination every day. See yourself and feel yourself being successful. You could see yourself swimming in pools of money but my guess that is not what makes you the Visionary Entrepreneur that you are. See yourself serving others and them happily receiving what you provide. See the results of the work or product that you provide. See that “world peace”, “clean water”, “spiritually fullfillment”, “happy family”, “financial security” that you are creating for yourself and others.
ENTREPRENEUR. Decide what you are going to risk, put into the pot, to make this Vision a reality. What steps will you take TODAY to bring your vision into the now?
Now, share your vision and your step with me! I would love to hear AND you will be solidifying what you are creating by writing it down.
Would you like to share your vision with me in person? Let’s talk! I would love to hear about all that you are doing. Click here to schedule a time to talk.
Hi! I'm Nettie Owens, Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization and Productivity Consultant.