Building a business, a brand, or your own personal empire takes time—and it’s tough. Take it from a girl who’s spent many nights sitting on the floor, in tears from yet another failure or missed opportunity. But even through those tears, there’s the chance to learn and grow. But as Jen Sincero wrote in You are a Badass, “If you’re serious about changing your life, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.”
But here’s the thing: growth doesn’t happen overnight, and it normally doesn’t happen when we want it to. Whether it’s in business, in your personal life, or anywhere, growth happens through one little change after another. We didn’t learn to walk without first being able to crawl, and we didn’t learn to crawl until we learned to move our legs. It is through many, many tiny little steps that so much can happen without us even realizing it. So I encourage you to always look back at how much you’ve accomplished and grown as an entrepreneur.
Here are a few tricks that I use:
Write down where you were this time last year.
And not just the sales numbers, either—revisit your goals from last year and think about what was going on in your life. Personally, last year was the first time that I had ever made goals for myself. (Literally, ever.) Looking back, I didn’t accomplish all of those goals, but I am a lot closer now than I was. I was also in a completely different frame of mind and am now a lot more open to new things. Plus, I’ve had things happen that I could never even have dreamed of one year ago—some things came into my life that I didn’t even know existed! Just one year later, I’m on my way to a better future in both my business and my personal life. So take the time to look back one year, and you might be impressed by the difference.
When you see what’s changed, try focusing on the good.
Try looking at any negative changes and seeing what you learned, instead of viewing it simply as a negative. It can be so easy to go down that mental spiral of yet another bad year, yet another disappointment, yet another time I didn’t do what I wanted to do. When you’re focused on these things, you can look back at an entire year and think you were a complete failure, instead of noticing all that you achieved (even if those achievements are smaller than your big dream.)
Make looking back a habit.
Make it a regular part of your conversations with your significant other or friends to look back and to see what’s happened. When my best friend points something out to me that’s different, I get to have the joy of realizing that something good has happened right under my nose—and I almost missed it.
From the big to the small, don’t miss out on celebrating. Not everything is a full-on party, of course, but you also shouldn’t be shrugging accomplishments off like it’s no big deal. It IS a big deal! It’s a big deal that your bride messaged you saying she’s excited for her engagement session. It’s a big deal when you finally find a few key mentors in the industry that you feel like you can relate to. And it’s a huge deal when someone loves working with you! Even if you can only take a few minutes to do your own little happy dance, do it! (And if you do, let me know and I’ll join in—we could all use more happy dances in our lives.)