[00:00:07] BS: Hello. You’re listening to Love Your Enthusiasm, a podcast that helps motivate you to follow your greatest passion. I’m your host, Britt Skrabanek. Jennifer Trask is our guest today on the show. Jennifer is a business and mindset coach for coaches. She is an award-winning coach herself.
In this episode, Jennifer talks about her enthusiasm for helping entrepreneurs live joyous lives or any of us who run businesses, it can become a bit of a grind, even if it is something we are totally passionate about. Jennifer delivers many tips and techniques to help you maintain joy day-to-day, along with some great recommendations to help you find clarity and confidence when you feel stuck.
After you’re done listening to this awesome episode with Jennifer, remember to subscribe wherever you love to listen to podcasts.
Thank you for loving your enthusiasm with me through the show. Have a fantastic time with Jennifer.
[00:01:25] BS: Hi, Jennifer. Welcome to the show.
[00:01:27] JT: Hi, Britt. Thanks for having me.
[00:01:29] BS: You bet. I have to start off this conversation with how I was introduced to you, which was through our mutual friend, Kate Johnson, who was on the show back in episode 22. What I loved about meeting you via email is the presence that I recognized immediately, about you being a kick-ass woman. That when I asked you about being on the show and we were introduced, you sent me an audio clip.
I did not know what to expect, so I’m not used to people sending me an audio clip. Which is great, by the way, because it’s great to hear someone’s voice before having them on the show and just see what they can do. You recorded me a message. I thought that was so unique. I also love what the message was about, which was about a solo show that I had released back in October of 2020, episode 24, about lowering your cost of living.
For the listeners who missed that episode, that was a solo show where I talked about my transition, where I moved back to Milwaukee, Wisconsin after living in Portland, Oregon for six years. I’ve moved around quite a bit, as a listener is now just all over the country. As an adult, I lived in Wisconsin for five years, moved to Oregon for six years, and came back to Wisconsin. I was talking about the advantages of that move and that I was able to lower my cost of living and all the different benefits that can come with that.
Jennifer here and her message to me had the opposing viewpoint to that conversation, which I love Jennifer. Do you want to talk a little bit about what you said and about what your perspective was?
[00:03:27] JT: Yeah. Okay, so it was just really interesting because it wasn’t that I disagreed with what you said because obviously, lowering costs of living can make your life much easier. I gave the opposite viewpoint because I am an entrepreneur. For me, I actually did the opposite, where I moved from somewhere where the cost of living is very low and I moved to the most expensive city in the country.
[00:04:00] BS: Which is essentially what Portland, Oregon is. It’s on the west coast for those and other parts of the world that aren’t quite familiar with where that is in the United States. While Portland used to be one of the lesser expensive West Coast cities. By about the time that I moved there, everybody was moving there and that was just the hot place to be, so that meant a much higher cost of living. Okay, please continue.
[00:04:24] JT: Yeah. Okay, yeah. I was from an island called Newfoundland, which is in the east coast of Canada to Toronto, which most people know as the main city in Canada; Toronto, Vancouver, the big cities here. I moved here specifically because it was time from a growth perspective. I wanted to grow as an entrepreneur. I went from a city of 250,000 people in the greater St. John’s area to the GTA, which is 6 million people in the greater Toronto area. Then, not to mention the rest of the province. From a networking, speaking standpoint, all that which is important in the business that I’m in. That’s why I moved and it was just – I just feel a ton.
Also, this was the thing I talked about in the audio, was for me moving being presented a challenge I had to rise to because I’m not a detailed numbers person. I’m more of like, “Oh, I feel this is the best thing for me, so that’s what I’m going to do. I didn’t sit down and let’s draw out the numbers. What’s the average cost of living? How much is it going to cost me to get an apartment? Do this and do that.” Meanwhile, I also chose my neighborhood based on feeling and I do live in one of the more expensive neighborhoods.
[00:05:46] BS: I went down the exact same path, Jennifer.
[00:05:51] JT: I was like, “This is the place for me because the beach is here and there’s coffee shops and it’s pretty and I feel happy.” Of course, as a woman, I also do feel safe in my neighborhood. That is very important also. What I realized was, it didn’t actually come into my peripheral, until you had mentioned that on your podcast. I was like, “Actually, I had to raise my game. Because if my expenses went up, everything went up.” I was like, “All right, well I’m just going to make more money, which is what I want to do anyway, so let’s get to it.”
[00:06:25] BS: Yeah. I totally get it, Jennifer. What I had mentioned in my email to you was that I was actually planning on doing the other side of that conversation, exactly all the things that you’re talking about. Let’s back up to when I was living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and I was in – oh, I guess, I was in my early 30s during that time, trying to figure out my life and what I wanted to do. The opportunities were just very limited here.
With my husband, Hugh, and I, we both decided that we needed to push ourselves. It’s all the things that you’re talking about. What better place to do that, than somewhere like the West Coast, the United States, especially Portland was becoming this tech hub, and just starting to boom. A lot of people, especially when we lived in Milwaukee, and this was circa 2009 to 12, 13, 14, somewhere in there. A lot of people were leaving Milwaukee to go find opportunities, and a lot of people end up in Chicago, of course. I’m sure you experienced that as well with where you’re from.
There’s almost lower energy, lower – just a different vibe, because there’s almost a lot of people leaving constantly for opportunities. That’s exactly what we did. Although we didn’t know that we were going to be entrepreneurs, eventually, we found that path by being in Portland and being surrounded by all of that energy, and all of that economic boom that was going on, and the tech hub that it was becoming and all the networking that we did. I’m totally with you. That is the other perspective is that if you need to push yourself and you need to be surrounded by some of that energy in order to find your way, then it’s a great decision.
Anyways, after starting my business and working remotely for so long, then after getting that experience, making those connections, which mind you for my other business, Super Neat Marketing, most of our clients are still on the West Coast. The realization that we could work remotely also meant, we didn’t need to live in that hub anymore. We got what we came for. Even though the West Coast is such a beautiful place to be, we realized that one, we wanted to be closer to family again. Two, why not lower that cost of living, which means that we don’t have to push the pedal quite as hard with our business overall, which that’s a great place for us to be now at this stage.
[00:09:10] JT: I think it does really depend on where you’re at in your life and what matters to you and what your focus is. There’s a lot of factors that go into choosing whether you should be increasing your cost of living or not.
[00:09:25] BS: Yeah. As an entrepreneur and starting a business, that can make it all the more stressful and a lot of ways as well, because you need to be able to make ends meet without a salary. That was the entire path that we went down for years. Then eventually, got to a place where our business was in a place where it didn’t matter where we were located because we were working remotely anyways. It all worked out.
Thank you. I loved hearing your perspective. I do owe the listeners a follow-up podcast, I think, on that, because there is something to be said about making a change, whether geographically, or in some other way. Whenever you need that challenge, you need to push yourself.
[00:10:06] JT: Absolutely.
[00:10:07] BS: Jennifer, let’s talk about your enthusiasm.
[00:10:12] JT: Woohoo.
[00:10:13] BS: Which I think is becoming clear already. Your enthusiasm is about helping entrepreneurs live joyous lives. I have to ask you the why behind that. Why are you so enthusiastic about that?
[00:10:26] JT: I guess, it started back when I had gotten on – you can’t see me but air quotes, “my first real job.” After my first degree and I had traveled and done a few different things and then I went and worked in corporate. At first, I was really excited about it. About six months in, I had the job down to a path. I was ready for more. Of course, there was nowhere for me to go, because in the company, I was still too new and this and that. I remember asking my boss at the time like, “Hey, I want to work in the marketing department for one of the brands.” You know what needs to happen for me and how do I do that basically?
He said, “Well first, you have to move to Montreal because that’s where the head office was.” He’s like, “You’re going to spend a year working in this department, then a year in that department, then a year at this department.” It was like five years doing five jobs that I didn’t want to do to get to a job I may or may not like. I was like, “That does not sound like a good deal to me.”
[00:11:24] BS: Sounds like a dream.
[00:11:27] JT: Yeah. I’m like, “No.” Also, Montreal I’m sure is a great city, but I had no desire to live there. I knew no one. I don’t speak French.
[00:11:37] BS: Oh, man. I’ve been to Montreal, Jennifer. It totally blew my mind, because I didn’t realize how French it was. I only had a couple of years of high school French under my belt. It really just was jarring. I get it. Having only been there once, I can’t imagine trying to work there.
[00:11:58] JT: Yeah. Anyways, basically, I ended up going to MBA school instead. It was there that I discovered self-help and coaching and that started on my entrepreneurial path. Then something interesting happened. Being on the entrepreneurial path made me happier. I was doing what I wanted to be doing. I was challenged. I could grow as fast as I wanted to grow and I was the one in charge of my moving myself up, shall we say?
The big thing that happened was as I was working with entrepreneurs, I started out as a consultant in social media. Over time, it grew into advisory and coaching and doing a lot of the inner work over time. What I realized was, first of all, I think that entrepreneurs are game-changers of the planet. They are the people who are out there, bringing ideas to life, starting movements, creating new technologies and innovations and ideas. They’re the people who are moving us forward.
I noticed that a lot of them were always stressed, or exhausted, or overwhelmed, or just not generally enjoying the process, or they’d be happy one day and then not so much the next. Especially, earlier entrepreneurs in their early earlier days of being an entrepreneur, they’d be filled with self-doubt and fear. Obviously, there was something that beyond the fear that would keep them in the game. One of the things that I’ve learned in life is that you can’t have a happy ending to an unhappy journey. You’ve got to figure out how to enjoy the process to get to the end result.
It’s like, I think business is just like dating. In dating, if it’s not going well, getting married isn’t going to make it better. It needs to be going well from the get-go. It’s not about okay, yes, every couple has their ups and downs. It’s not negating that sometimes there’s a little mountain to climb. Generally speaking, it should be going well most of the time. Otherwise, you’re probably not in the right relationship.
I view business the same way. I view it for two reasons. One is for the human experience reason. One is, you know what? We spent most of our waking hours working. If you’re not enjoying that working process, you might want to rethink what you’re doing, because at the end of the day, what is the purpose of life? Why are we even here? I believe it’s to experience the best of what life has to offer. I believe it is to be the best version of ourselves. Being joyous is I mean, joyous and happy and inspired and fulfilled. Our emotional state is how we experience the world. For most people, they don’t have the knowledge on how to master their emotional state, because it is a skill.
What I noticed with entrepreneurs is they’re not really having fun. What’s the point? It’s not fun. You shouldn’t probably be doing it. I wanted them to one, have more fun so that they could actually enjoy their life more.
The other piece of it was if you’re having fun and enjoying yourself, even enjoying the challenges, so this is not saying, I’m not saying that you’re not going to have challenges. Of course, you will. Challenges can also lead to breakthroughs and the next level, and in fact, that’s what they usually tend to lead to.
If you can learn how to enjoy even the difficult moments, or at least move through them with grace, so that you can get back to enjoying the regular stuff, then you’re also going to have more success in what you’re doing. It’s really twofold. One is, you have a joyful life, you actually have a better experience as a human being on the planet, which I think thus, enables you to be of service to the people and the planet, at your highest capacity, when you are joy and you are loving your life.
Then the other half of it is if you’re actually enjoying what you’re doing, you’ll have more success. If your business has more success, that means you’re serving more people, you’re solving problems, you’re helping people, you’re creating that new technology, or whatever you’re doing. That means that your business is thriving, and doing well, and serving people solving problems, which helps other people. To me, the whole reason I’m so passionate about helping people, entrepreneurs, specifically, live joyfully and learn how to build joyful business is because that’s where it’s at. It impacts them as a human and then the rest of us humans.
[00:17:17] BS: Jennifer, just so many wonderful things that you mentioned all ring true for me. I’m thankful that you’ve mentioned, we spend most of our waking hours working. It’s really something that we have to think about. It’s strange because I feel like growing up and then becoming an adult, that the end game was retirement. It seemed like our society – I don’t know if it’s still happening. As a young adult, and my, family and then the other adults were like, “Get a good job, when you graduate. Get your student loan. Get a good job, so you may or may not pay off student loan.”
Then, with that steady job, you’re just going to hunker down, and save and pay your debts. Then, maybe one day, you’ll have retirement. Retirement, where you don’t have to work anymore. You can just sit around and do whatever you want. I was like, “What the fuck is wrong with this?”
[00:18:27] JT: So much is wrong with that.
[00:18:28] BS: I ain’t buying it. I tried. I tried to have some regular jobs and eventually, got some salary jobs. I’m thinking, “Seriously, this is it?” Not to say, I had some great jobs and I learned a lot and worked with some great people. I wasn’t willing to do that. It’s unfortunate that that has really been – so much of us have felt that pressure to follow that path because it’s the more safe and secure way to live your life. If you don’t love what you’re doing, you are literally wasting your life.
[00:19:09] JT: You’re wasting your life. Absolutely.
[00:19:11] BS: You’re wasting it. All just to hopefully, one day retire, which we know is just a ridiculous concept in so many ways, due to inflation and just the realities of most middle-class people. Not to mention that when you retired, you’re fucking old. I mean, how much travel are you really going to want to do? How much travel are you going to be able to do when you’re older? Because of funds. Yeah, there’s just a lot to think about. I’m glad that you mentioned that, because that is something that really changed my path, because I just always felt like this outsider with my beliefs, in that retirement was not the light at the end of the tunnel.
[00:19:55] JT: No. I’m like, “Why would I even retire? I love what I do.”
[00:20:00] BS: Yeah, that too.
[00:20:01] JT: I need to help people be happy. I can’t even imagine retiring. What? No.
[00:20:05] BS: I’d go crazy. I’d go crazy if I was just sitting around.
[00:20:09] JT: Yeah. What else am I going to do with myself? I think joy in your whole life is what matters because, at the end of the day, this is your life. You get one shot at, well, this version of it anyways. Who knows if we get other shots?
[00:20:26] BS: We’ll find out, maybe.
[00:20:27] JT: We’ll find out. At this one, this is your one and only at who you are today. To spend it doing stuff you don’t want to do just to make some money, so you can do some stuff you want to do, that doesn’t make any sense to me.
[00:20:45] BS: What also really helped me was I got laid off when I was at one of those salary–safe and secure salary jobs. It was actually a job that I loved. I was working at a marketing agency, and really finding my way as a content marketer and worked really hard there. Loved my team. Loved my boss and everything. Then, company just went downhill. That was my first time getting laid off. I will never forget, I know I’ve mentioned this on the podcast before, but at my next job, I let my future boss know that I have been laid off. I’m like, “Hey, you know that I was laid off, right, when you hired me?” He said, “Yeah, I know.” I’m like, “Is that a problem?” He’s like, “No, it’s not a problem for us.”
Also, know that getting laid off is one of the best things that will probably ever happen to you. I was like, “What?” Because I mean, I was destroyed after I got laid off from my job. That whole idea of the safety and security completely crumbled. I was totally blindsided. That made me become a marketing consultant because as soon as I lost my job, I started consulting on the side. That eventually became Super Neat Marketing, which I do full-time now and have been running my business for four years. I don’t know if that would have happened, Jennifer, if I hadn’t been laid off.
I know a lot of people have lost their jobs, and/or been asked to take a pay cut and are reevaluating their situations over the last year. There’s so much that’s been going on. It’s an interesting mindset to look at those “negative situations” as maybe a turning point in your life, where you can do something more enjoyable.
[00:22:26] JT: I’ve always felt the illusion of security of having a job, even a government job is just that it is an illusion because people do get fired, companies do go under, governments do cuts. If someone doesn’t like you and they decide to fire you, well, then that’s that. To me, I always thought, if there’s anything I’m sure about, it’s me. My ability to work, to be creative, to do things. I always felt my best bet from a security standpoint was betting on myself.
[00:23:05] BS: Yeah. Because I mean, my story is a perfect example of being blindsided, because like, I worked my ass off in that job. I don’t want to say I was one of the star employees, but I was. That really came out of nowhere. I was so upset. I mean, it worked out for the best. If you think that you are a sure thing, then being an entrepreneur can be a really great path for people like us, because our fate is in our own hands.
[00:23:36] JT: Yeah. Now mind you, I will say, there are people who have jobs. They are not the boss. They are at their job and they love it and that’s awesome.
[00:23:43] BS: Yeah. Awesome.
[00:23:45] JT: For me, I just think, literally do what makes you happy. For a lot of people, I think they’re not and that’s a problem.
[00:23:54] BS: Right. Then running a business is not for everyone. It is very, very difficult. I’m always careful about flying that flag too enthusiastically, because after running a business for four years, and I know you’ve been running a business even longer than I have, that it’s not all rainbows and puppies and unicorns. I have to ask you, Jennifer, how do you maintain joy while running your business day-to-day?
[00:24:21] JT: Well, I’ll tell you the answer, but I’ll first tell you that I agree with you and that entrepreneurship is often glorified to be this fun, easy joyful, woohoo. Let’s work on the beach ride. It is really not that.
[00:24:41] BS: I know. It became this exotic lifestyle type of career. I started thinking a little bit to myself after I was in it. I’m like, “Oh, my God. Is this another version, another illusion like retirement?” When retirement was being pushed as the American dream or whatever. Then the entrepreneurship and the do what you love and all of that. I mean, that was getting pushed really hard and working on the beach and all that shit. I’m like, “That’s not reality.”
[00:25:12] JT: That’s really, really not. It’s really funny because it really started to hit when Tim Ferriss’s book, The 4-Hour Workweek, came out. You know what’s really funny about that, Britt, so I remember watching him in an interview. Just for everyone to know, the work he had to put in to be able to work four hours a week was not four hours a week. That was way more.
[00:25:37] BS: He was a beast. I mean, he was sacrificing his entire life, his relationships, his health, and everything for the work that he was doing leading up to that point.
[00:25:46] JT: Right. We finally got to it. Ironically, then he wrote the book, which started his consulting speaking business and he no longer was working four hours a week, because he was in so high demand. The book took off and of course, he has his blog and a podcast and all this stuff. He doesn’t even work four hours a week. He works way more.
[00:26:11] BS: No. No. I actually really liked Tim Ferriss. I remember reading that book in the bathtub when I was trying to make the decision whether or not to leave my salary job at the time. It did help me in a lot of ways, just see a different way to work and live. He talks about this book all the time, because in a lot of ways, I mean, he wrote that when he was younger, less mature, less wise. It started this whole movement. More than anything, it’s about doing something that interests you, doing the type of work you want to do, but also being smart about it.
Because as you know and as I know, as an entrepreneur, your business can absolutely take over your life. This is where delegating and outsourcing and all of those things come into play eventually, so you’re not doing everything DIY. The 4-Hour Workweek, he says this a lot now. I’s more related to that and being smart about your business, rather than actually working four hours a week, which nobody does.
[00:27:11] JT: Nobody does. Nobody does. What? Who? No. Yeah. To answer the actual question that you asked me, the answer is, so I actually have trained myself to focus on joy, to focus on what makes me happy, to focus on what’s working. I say, I trained myself, because most of us are trained the opposite way. We are trained to worry. We are trained to look at what’s wrong. We are trained to look at how far we are not yet. I deliberately went about training my brain through habits, so that I would focus on being happy and enjoying the process. Doing that has made all the difference.
I believe that living a joyful life is a choice. Some people, yes. Like science will tell you, some people are more predisposed to it. A lot of it is your habits and your choice. You have to decide that you want to be happy. I’ve heard relationship experts talk about this. They’ll talk about, you got to decide you want to be in a relationship with your partner every day. That every day, you got to choose that you want to be a great partner to them and they to you. That’s what makes great partnerships, by almost recommitting every day.
I do the same thing, but in my life, as a human, I commit to living a joyful life. I commit to focusing on what’s working. It’s not a I live up in the clouds and I’m not aware that at the time that we’re recording this, corona – Here in Toronto, we just went on another major lockdown. There’s stuff happening in the United States that is, oh, it’s not good. There’s things going on in the world. Yes.
What I’ve learned from life experience thus far is that we live in a world of contrast, and there will always be things you can focus on that can make you happy and there will always be things you can focus on that can make you sad, or any other of the myriad of emotions that we as humans have during our life experience. Ultimately, the quality of your life is going to be determined by what you choose to focus on. I deliberately, I have a joyous business, because I choose it every day. Not because it’s always easy. Because quite frankly, it’s not that easy.
[00:29:58] BS: I love your laugh. It’s amazing.
[00:30:01] JT: Let’s just call it stay to stay, people. It’s being an entrepreneur is not that easy.
[00:30:06] BS: It’s not. Ha, ha, ha. Evil laugh.
[00:30:13] JT: Evil laugh. Ha, ha, ha. It is extraordinary. I use relationships and dating as a great analogy to business because I feel you’re always dating your business. Well really, in the beginning, I guess you’re dating it. When you’re knee-deep in it, you’re married. You got to choose what kind of partner do I want to be? The same thing, like people can get lost in whatever is happening in the business is, therefore, how they feel. If you, at any point in your life, allow things that are external to you, including how people are treating you, or what results you’re getting in any area that you’re trying to get results in, then you’re going down a very slippery slope, because you don’t have ultimate control over outcomes, or definitely over other people.
That’s how I do it. That is what I teach people, my clients. It can take a bit of practice, because there are so many sneaky ways our brains try to keep us in our patterns. If you’ve been patterned for worry, or for putting yourself down, or whatever, it does take time, and it takes patience, it takes practice and it takes commitment in order to move yourself into someone who is more joyful and happy all the time. However, it is 100% doable, because you worked yourself into being the opposite way. You can work yourself into be the other way too, right? It’s just a conscious choice every day.
[00:31:53] BS: Absolutely. I think, the word focus sometimes is just overused. Maybe, people, they know that they need to do it, but they don’t know-how. Because focusing, it’s easier said than done. I think, all of the current events that are continuing and that have happened really have shown us how our attention truly is a commodity and how difficult it’s been for everybody to focus on their work, whether you have a job, or you’re running a business. I’d love to know, Jennifer, how have you been hanging in there with this focus and maintaining your joy over the past year? Are there any techniques that have worked for you that you might be able to share with the listeners that might help them?
[00:32:40] JT: Yeah. One of them is, and it’s actually been – I’m single. I live alone. For people who live alone, I think it’s been a little bit extra difficult, particularly if they’re extroverts as I am. I had to become more deliberate with two things. The first thing and I will caveat this by saying, I’m very lucky in that, because of what I do, I am highly aware of what’s happening. Do you know what I mean? I was on the lookout for and could navigate that, I think. I have the tools to deal with it.
The first thing was so many people who were not directly impacted, say, by COVID-19, or by what’s happening in the states, or what’s happening in any of the other countries that are experiencing civil unrest or what have you. Let’s say that throughout the year, you’re going about your life. This happened to me. I did not get sick from COVID-19. No one in my sphere has died from it or anything. My income has not been negatively affected by it. I’m Canadian, so I’m not in the US with things that are going on there. I am very aware of what’s going on. I do like to keep up to a certain degree, only I can only take so much at a time. I am aware of what’s happening.
I remember I was talking to – I can’t remember if this was a client or just a friend. Basically, what they said was they’ve lost their luster. They’re not as excited. They just feel really down, but nothing has really impacted them in terms of they’ve had no direct impact from COVID, or anything else. I said to them, “While you have not had direct impact, it is impacting you, because of two reasons. One, is we are being more isolated. As humans, we are not meant to be isolated. We are pack animals.” When you take that away from people, it does cause an emotional reaction and a sadness.
Also, especially if you are a human with empathy, then when you’re watching what’s going around, you can’t help but be impacted by that. What I realized for me was that had actually happened to me. Basically, the year ended up – for the most part, I was fine, but it did take a toll. Particularly, the isolation from others.
This year I usually go home twice a year to see my family. I have not seen them in over a year now. My other sister and her family, they had actually moved to the States, so I haven’t seen them in a year and a half, which if it wasn’t for COVID, I would have already seen them. There is a separation and that has stopped, quite frankly. I mean, I thank God for things like FaceTime and Zoom. It doesn’t replace the nurturing of being with people and even hugging people and playing and being together and laughing together. That I have found difficult.
However, I’ve given myself grace to be okay with the fact that it does suck and that even though I haven’t again, been directly impacted as others have, so in a worse way, allowing myself to still be human and be like, “You know what? This does suck though. It does suck not seeing friends. It does suck not seeing your family. It does suck seeing people suffer and it’s okay that I can feel sad about that.”
As I’ve had those moments where it is sad, and I think that’s an important part of living a joyful life is to not pretend you don’t feel something that you do, or to suppress emotions. I think, in order to really experience joyful life, you have to experience all emotions that come to you. That has particularly been difficult. How I manage it is one, feeling the feels, so I don’t ignore them. I am comfortable with my emotions. It’s cool. I love journaling. I’m a big journaler. I’m a big talk writer and I’ve got friends that I can call.
A lot of my friends are coaches as well, so it was like, you can get – we usually don’t coach each other, but sometimes it’s helpful. Sometimes it’s helpful, because you can’t always see your own stuff and sometimes you just need those reminders. That has been a tool that I’ve used as well. Yeah. I think, really not being quiet about it and having conversations about it, journaling. Also, going outdoors has been very good for me and exercising regularly and also really focusing on eating well and keeping my mental health practices, my physical health practices have been very important and then deliberately, creating connection.
I did notice that anytime I’ve gotten more sad, or lonely, or whatever, it’s because I have not really had any connection with people, so that I’m like, “Okay, I’ve got to reach out. I got to get on some Zoom calls. I got to Facetime the kids.” I do these things to keep that connection because it’s particularly when you’re an entrepreneur who works from home, it’s very easy to just work all the time, but that also is dangerous. Deliberately taking breaks, deliberately connecting with people, talking things out with some of my coach friends and feeling the feelings and not being afraid of them and not making myself feel guilty for having them, just because I haven’t been say, more directly impacted by this than some have who lost loved ones, or have gotten really, really ill, or have lost their income, or their business, or what have you. Those are some of the things that I’ve used, because for the most part, I’ve been fine, but I’ve had my moments and those are the tools that I use to deal with them.
[00:38:49] BS: Thank you for sharing your perspective. I’m in a similar situation as you, and I’m sure many of the listeners are as well, where maybe they haven’t been directly impacted like some other people, but we’ve all been impacted. It’s really important to have that awareness and have feelings, take a day off in the middle of the week if you have to. I’ve actually had to take off a couple of days last week and this week as we’re recording this. This is January. We’ve had a lot going on here in the states. It’s been very distracting and very emotional and scary and of course, my logical brain is trying to figure this out.
I was single-handedly going to figure something out and fix, but that’s not going to happen. That’s all really important. Then like you said, for entrepreneurs who work remotely, I mean, I’ve been doing this for years and it is isolating already, by being this person who works from home and especially as a person, we’re a two-person business, but there’s a lot of solopreneurs as well and it’s just a one-person business. This podcast is a one-person business. I’ve been feeling a lot of the challenges that come with that.
It’s hard to have fun, let loose, relax. I mean, those are all of the things that I think the good things that we are struggling to figure out. I know I have and travel, for example, always used to be my escape and haven’t been able to do that. Haven’t been able to see my family, all of that. I’m glad that you mentioned, don’t just work all the time. Don’t become a workaholic and it gets very easy to do and it’s something that I’ve gone down that path even more in the last year, just to try to keep myself busy, so I don’t think about things. Yeah, there’s a lot to deal with. I appreciate you sharing your perspective because I think that will resonate with me. I’m sure it does with a lot of the listeners as well.
[00:40:50] JT: Yeah. That happened to me recently. I was saying to my friend. I’m like, “I just don’t feel so happy. Like, what’s going on?” Then I realized, “Oh, because I have not been keeping up with those habits of taking breaks.” I was working too much and I was like, “Okay. Got to stop it.”
[00:41:11] BS: Step away from the computer.
[00:41:14] JT: Step away from the computer. Yes. Oh, my gosh. It happens to all of us. I’m not perfect. Even though I practice this stuff, it’s easy to fall into. Because I do like what I do and god knows, I could be working 24/7. Like every entrepreneur, there’s always stuff to do. Yeah, it is consciously making those boundaries for yourself and sticking to them.
[00:41:38] BS: Boundaries are very important. It is very easy for us to work 24/7 and also feel we’re not getting anything done. I know that you find that a lack of clarity and confidence keeps most entrepreneurs stuck. Jennifer, what are your recommendations for getting unstuck?
[00:42:00] JT: I think, one of the easiest ways to get unstuck, instead of getting mad at yourself that you’re stuck, just get curious. I’m a big fan of journaling. What I would suggest to someone is okay, take out your journal, or your workbook, whatever, on a piece of paper, doesn’t matter. Ask yourself, “Okay, what am I stuck with?” Just start writing. “Why is this keeping me stuck?” You just keep asking yourself, “Okay, but why? Do I know this and doing that?”
What happens is, because usually, people are stuck for one of two reasons. Either they just don’t know the next step, or they don’t know how to do the thing that they’re doing. What’s great is if you can acknowledge that. If you were like, “Well, I guess the real reason I’m stuck is because I really don’t know what I’m supposed to do next. That’s what’s holding me back. It’s a lack of knowledge.” Well, that’s wonderful, because guess what? You can go find the answer to that. You can either read a book, listen to podcasts, you can hire someone, you can ask a question, if you’re in a group, you can ask the group. You can go seek the answer to that and that gets you unstuck.
I mean, but if you don’t dig deep and just get very clear on why am I stuck, oh, because I actually don’t know how to do this thing. Now, what I’ve also noticed is a lot of people are stuck for the other reason. They know what to do, they’re just not doing it. That’s usually stuck, because you’ve got a story. You’ve got a story you’re telling yourself about why you’re not good enough, or why will people listen to you, or what if it doesn’t work, or what if I fail, or what if I actually – now, we’re getting into limiting beliefs, fears and that conversation.
To get unstuck, you got to first ask yourself, are you stuck because it’s a little lack of knowledge of something that will just take you to the next step? For example, if you had a podcast, are you stuck because you don’t know what are the things, steps you need to do to start your podcast? Well, you can start with a good Google and you’re going to find some answers or reach out to someone who has a podcast and ask them. That’s simple enough.
If it’s the other route which is your doubt, you doubt yourself, you are questioning, you’re scared, well then, you can start to ask yourself, “Well, what is the story I’m telling myself? Why am I scared? What am I scared about? What’s the worst-case scenario? What’s going to happen?” Then, oftentimes when we do that enough, we will realize, “Oh, okay. Well, really I’m just scared, but I can do it anyways.”
Sometimes some people are going to need help and that’s where depending on what the situation is, a coach can help, maybe a counselor, or a therapist. It might be you just need an accountability partner to follow you through on something. Or if you’re in a group, you need to get the group to give you some gusto and some inspiration and we believe in you. It’s really, I think, if you just get curious about why you’re stuck, you’re going to find the answer and it will find into one of those two categories.
[00:45:05] BS: Speaking of stucks, let’s talk about challenging external negative experiences. I mean, those were a lot of those internal negative experiences. We also are dealing with external negative experiences. I mean, gosh. Current events is one of them that I think we can’t stop thinking about now. Maybe this brings up another one. Jennifer, how did you turn your most challenging external negative experience into a growth opportunity?
[00:45:36] JT: Well, let me tell you.
[00:45:39] BS: Tell me everything.
[00:45:44] JT: Okay. There is what my most challenging external experience, absolutely, I can immediately go back. It wasn’t a day. It was a period of time. It was in my earlier years of entrepreneurship. I started my entrepreneurship journey in debt. I got out of MBA School, which I had to get a loan for. I had to move into my parent’s basement. Classic.
[00:46:11] BS: Classic.
[00:46:14] JT: Totally. I had negative money. I had no car. I had no boyfriend. I had no money. I had nothing. I was 27, I think. 26, 27. The first two years, and then I started a business that I had to invest in, and I lost money. For the first two years, I basically lost more money. That was great.
[00:46:38] BS: That was a highlight.
[00:46:40] JT: It was a total highlight. Meanwhile, now I’m getting closer to 30 and my friends are getting engaged, buying houses because they all have jobs. I’m like, “Oh, my God. I have less money.”
[00:46:54] BS: You’re still [inaudible 00:46:54] in the basement.
[00:46:57] JT: Yeah. Fun times. I remember, my biggest challenge was money mindset. Like, how am I going to get myself out of this? Because particularly with the first business, because it wasn’t working and then doubt, and then oh, my God. I’m already in all this debt. What are people going to think? I didn’t want to leave, because what would that think of me? When I look back, I’m like, “Oh, the insecurities are just oozing out of me.”
[00:47:35] BS: That’s going to be the title of this podcast. Losing insecurities. I’m totally kidding.
[00:47:42] JT: Listen, whatever gets people’s attention. It’s fine. Anyway, here’s what I did. This is how I got out of it. Now, you have to remember too, and then I started social media consulting, and so I was helping, teaching people stuff to grow their businesses. Meanwhile, I have this debt and all this stuff. Part of me felt like a fraud because I’m in this situation. The way that I got through it was this. I remember, I distinctly remember saying to myself over and over and over again, “Jennifer, one day, you’re going to get out of this and you’re going to be helping people who are in a very similar situation, and you’re going to be able to say to them, if I can do it, you can do it.” That’s how I got myself out of it.
[00:48:30] BS: Perfect. I think it’s so good. We’re going to end this conversation now.
[00:48:38] JT: Okay.
[00:48:39] BS: So good. Jennifer, can you let the listeners know how they can stay in touch and find more info?
[00:48:47] JT: Yeah. I am on Facebook and Instagram. My website is jennifer-trask.com. Feel free to reach out and there’s always lots of good stuff happening and videos and free coaching and lots of good stuff. Come join the fun.
[00:49:05] BS: Come join the fun. Jennifer, I don’t know how we managed to have such deep conversations with so many laughs.
[00:49:14] JT: It’s true.
[00:49:15] BS: It was great. I really enjoyed our conversation today. Thank you so much for being on the show.
[00:49:20] JT: Thank you. I enjoyed it as well. Thanks for having me.
[00:49:25] BS: I hope you got tons and tons of inspiration and good vibes from Jennifer today. To receive a monthly roundup of the latest episodes, please subscribe to the Love Your Enthusiasm newsletter on the website, which I think most of you know by now is loveyourenthusiasm.com, to get that monthly email.
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