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How staying organized helps you take on the world with confidence
Guest Post Written by Julia de’Caneva- Life Coach
You’re not alone if you feel intimidated about putting your brand, and by association yourself, out in the world. Keeping yourself emotionally safe (read: not putting yourself out there) also means sacrificing the chance to work with and sell to amazing clients and customers.
Whether you’re naturally super organized or you tend to operate in more of a whirlwind, taking time to get organized sets a solid foundation for your business and your confidence. When you’re flying by the seat of your pants and “too busy to slow down,” it also means you’re too busy to be intentional, which is when consistency suffers. There’s nothing more detrimental to your brand than inconsistency, because it takes away your credibility and recognizability.
Building systems to keep you on track will boost your confidence, because you understand why your marketing and visibility worked, or maybe didn’t. You’re not playing guess-and-check and you’re constantly learning from the times your efforts didn’t match your intended goal.
Building confidence through self-awareness
One of my favorite ways to build self-awareness is by taking personality assessments. Each assessment gives a new perspective on your motivations and thought-processes. Once you have these new insights about how and why you do what you do, you are able to adjust your actions to align with the person and brand you most want to project.
Some of my favorite assessments are:
- The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin. This assessment gives you insight about your best motivation style: external, internal, or a combination. This shines a light on what kind of accountability you need in your business and dispel any “shoulds” like “I should be able to get this done if I made the goal myself.”
- VIA Strengths Survey or the Gallup CliftonStrengths Assessment. Both assessments focus on strengths, highlighting your natural talent and what you should lean into in order to manage your weaknesses. Not to mention, leaning into your strengths helps things come with ease, and who doesn’t want more ease?
Full disclosure, I am a Gallup-Certified CliftonStrengths coach. I became certified because I deeply believe in the powerful insights it provides.
- 16Personalities. A free Myers-Briggs-based assessment that will give you insight into whether you’re introverted or extroverted, along with a myriad other categories highlighting your relationships with family, friends, and coworkers. Their descriptions go beyond the typical Myers-Briggs insights allowing for more nuance and self-reflection, with cute illustrations to boot. Knowing others’ type can help you deeply understand them, and make you more effective at managing people.
Hot tip: Once you’ve taken the assessments, write out your results and insights in a journal, a note on your phone, or even a Google Doc called “I am a badass” to celebrate what makes you so awesome. If you’re ever feeling overwhelmed, come back to these entries and remember why you are such a badass. Confidence ebbs and flows, so you’re basically becoming your own hype-person.
Deeply understanding your own motivations in business and in life gives you clarity on how to best move forward and highlight when to hire people to support you, whether coaches, financial help, or team members. The more you learn about yourself, the better you will be at noticing where you need to make shifts to propel your business forward.
Take time to plan
It can feel counterintuitive to spend an hour simply planning, but in the long run it will save you hours of duplicated efforts. When you sit down to plan your upcoming marketing calendar, social posts, business development, etc., you’re ensuring that the time you spend executing the plans will be intentional and purposeful.
It’s a great idea to have a planning day once a month or 1-2 hour blocks weekly or biweekly to get all of your ducks in a row. Consider it a pulse check meeting with yourself, and even better if you actually have people to check in with. Weekly team meetings are important to be sure everyone’s efforts are aligned with the present goal(s) and to identify which projects need more attention.
Even if you’re a solopreneur, it’s critical you keep visibility on the big picture, especially because it is so easy to get lost in the weeds of executing and doing. Planning days give you the chance to zoom out and check in to make sure that precious energy you are spending is contributing to your business goals. Deeply understanding the WHY behind your business strategy gives you confidence.
Write it down
Similar to taking time to plan, it’s critical you get in the habit of writing your plans down on paper, even using task management software as tedious as that may sound. Whether you’re a solopreneur or you’re coordinating team members/contractors, writing down your plans means being intentional with your time and energy. It ensures things don’t fall through the cracks and also gives tangible feedback when things start to feel too busy.
It can be helpful to have a combination of digital and pen-and-paper. For instance, I have a master-list of to-do’s for each project in OneNote (yes, on a Mac!), but each week I write out my to-do’s in an unlined notebook. Every morning I pull together the to-do’s I need to complete that day and write out the day’s to-do’s in its own spot. This makes it easy to share tasks digitally with collaborators, but also honors my need to write things by hand to remember them best.
Clear the clutter
It’s hard to feel confident when your space and brain feel jumbled. When your space feels crowded, your brain often follows suit.
Take even 5 minutes a day to put things in your physical space away. You’ll soon notice if you need to spend longer, intentional time making homes for everything. The easiest way to stay organized is to have less stuff and make sure that everything has a proper home. When you don’t know where to put something, it often ends up on whatever surface is closest to you at the time.
As for mental clutter, create a system for storing one-off notes. I use the “Reminders” list in my phone to house a list called “Coaching Ideas.” I can put random (sometimes good!) ideas there to come back to later so I’m not interrupting my task at hand. You might start journaling in the morning as a way to clear out any top-of-mind things that would normally compete for your attention during the day.
Let go of the outcome
When you set goals and make a plan to reach the goal, you often end up somewhere completely different than you originally planned. Often that new place is even better than you imagined, but sometimes it feels like a complete flop. Both are OK. Let me repeat, both are OK. Neither has to do with your worthiness as a human being or business owner. Whether you reach your target or not, you have valuable information to work with next time. Entrepreneurship is about iterations; no failure is ever a failure when you’re learning and trying.
When you trust that your best efforts will bring either success or valuable information, it shifts the iterations of your business strategy to reflect the systems and processes rather than being a reflection of your own worthiness. Too often “failures” feel like a personal flaw, when in reality it’s often a combination of timing, systems, and planning.
When you’re not gripping too tightly to an outcome, you allow space for something even better to come along. Of course, it’s great to have goals and a plan to achieve those goals, but once the plan has been set, trust the process. That’s where you let go of the outcome and see where it takes you.
Go forth and be awesome!
Confidence grows when you feel purposeful and intentional, which is best cultivated through planning and being organized. This becomes the perfect antidote to anxiety, perfectionism, and procrastination, which are all rooted in self-doubt and future “what-if’s”. When your brain starts to set off alarm bells with some “what-if” you can politely thank it for trying to keep you safe (read: comfort zone) and then move boldly forward with your plan.
Whether you’re looking to dive deeper into what makes you so awesome, unlearn burnout or perfectionism, or simply live with more intention, schedule a 20-minute consultation with Julia to discuss how coaching can help you be the person you most want to be.
To learn more about Julia de’ Caneva click here.
About the author: Julia de’Caneva is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Life Coach for Cancer Survivors & Burned Out Women, and Mindfulness & Meditation Facilitator. After her own cancer diagnosis at age 29 sparked a complete overhaul of her life and priorities, she now guides clients to live authentic, rich lives full of ease and balance.