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Keeping It All Together

I see it happening more and more. Some unexpected life event from the unexpected passing of a beloved furry friend, to the extended illness of a kiddo, a health scare with a partner to the death of a wonderful parent. I guess it makes sense as time marches on and all we love, along with us get older.

I haven’t worked for anyone but myself since 1996, and as a dear colleague says that makes me pretty much unemployable. I wonder sometimes what it would be like to have a benefits package with paid time off, or the ability to know that I could take a mental health day and get paid for it, or have access to FMLA when life kicked me in the pants.

Yes, I wonder about it. But I know without a doubt nothing compares to the flexibility of making my own schedule to be where I need to be when I need to be there for the people I love, when they need extra love and care. To be able to literally work from anywhere, even if it’s a cubby in a small community hospital, the basement of my childhood home, or the cozy couch at a quaint beach cottage on the Oregon Coast, and my favorite home office I call WWHQ.

My dad died a few months ago. In the midst of my grief and my mom’s grief, my mom’s health has required much more attention than ever before, this has meant being with her for doctor appointments (she lives two and a half hours away), advocating for her with her health care team when she doesn’t have words for them, but can communicate her needs to me, and learning more about aging in your 70s than I ever imagined.

My future looks a bit different over the next few years than I had anticipated. Through all of this, including the health challenge of my very beloved Fido of FInance, my business has continued to grow. And I am grateful for all of it. Grateful for the grace and support of colleagues and friends. Grateful for having amazing clients who offer flexibility if needed, who know I am 100% in and present for them during our work together.

When life seems to be falling apart, it is possible to keep it all together.

I’ve been asked many times these past months, “how are you?” Followed by a slight hesitation, “....and what about your business's that?” There is an underlying tone nearly each time that has an expectation that with all that has happened my business must be declining, struggling or some other combination - many have even commented how hard it must be financially, decreased cash flow and all. It’s not, and I am grateful.

In reality, my business has grown this year, inquiries about private coaching are consistent and are as projected from my goal setting last year. I haven’t introduced new offerings as I had planned, and that’s ok. They’ll be there in 2020.

This isn’t a post where as your business coach I have have 6 proven tips for you to grow your business when life becomes a mess. But after many months of reflection, I can attribute the steadiness and stability to my business and brand to the following factors:

Clarity - knowing who I serve and what the benefits are to those who say yes to our work together. This has ensured I have the best clients always.

Communication - I don’t have to share the entire mess, but by letting clients know what’s happening I managed their expectations about response times for emails and deliverables. Their needs and expectations have been met.

Systems - there will always be pieces of business that are active in relation to marketing, and there are many components that can be automated and many ways to maintain visibility. By considering what I was truly capable of in times of crisis, ensured the automation and remote marketing components of my company have remained consistent.

Support - have a team in place to handle details you don’t need to do, get them now before you need them.

Grace - Give yourself a lot of it. The original plans you had will look different once you are in crisis. Be clear on what is absolutely necessary, and set everything else off to the side. It will all be there as you come out of survival mode.

My greatest hope is that you never live in crisis and survival mode. In reality, you and I both know that’s unlikely. So in moments of calm, clarity and peace be reflective of what supports you can create now so that when life is falling apart, you can keep it all together.

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