First Things Don't Always Come First {an entrepreneurial lesson}

Hi! In case we haven't met: I'm Kerstin, the coach and writer in this place. I'm glad you stopped by. Get comfortable and grab something to stay hydrated - it's going to take a while. 


tools for better have been around since the summer of 2015, and have gone through several revisions. They have been built up, torn down, rebuilt, torn down again, kicked to the curb, resurrected, and more. Creating online coaching tools for business-care through better self-care is what I'm passionate about {and I don't use that word lightly}, but there were times when I was ready to give it all up. tools for better kept creeping back into my mind and my draft folder again and again, like something from a bad horror movie. {Very confidence-invoking, I know. Just keeping it real.} 


It took me almost two years to figure out why I kept wavering, and why I kept coming back anyway. Why I felt like it was a solid concept, yet I could not connect with it myself {yeah, apparently that's possible}. And that's what I mean by "first things don't always come first". I teach my clients to figure out their baseline and values first, and then go from there. Me? Well, I don't like to take my own advice. I like to make it extra hard for myself. Maybe that's my way of feeling accomplished. 


Is it a bad move on my part to tell you all this behind-the-scenes and in-my-head stuff? I'll let you be the judge of that, and I'm ok with whatever you decide. I've decided that sharing this part of my business journey with you is my way of telling you that you'll be ok with your business, because I've got your back. I've been there, and I'm still here. 


This is a look behind the scenes of tools for better, what I've learned along the way, and what happens next.


lesson #1 - start with the best

Whether it's business or personal {which is often the same, for us entrepreneurs, amiright?} - it's common among business owners to hold back. Hold ourselves and our businesses back. Me? Guilty in the first degree.


I have pristine, never-worn clothes from 1993 in my closet. {By now, they are totally back in style. Ahem.} And while I still fit into the earrings I got around that time, I definitely don't fit into those outfits anymore. They are never worn, because I used to have a tendency to save the good stuff for the right time, for a special occasion. And apparently the right time was never and the occasions were not special enough.


The clothes are just one pathetic example of holding back, and it didn't stop at that. I always suggest the best possible solution to my clients, but with tools for better, I settled for the side dish, when I really needed to start with dessert {we all know that's the best part}. I don't like mediocre things, but that's exactly what I served my audience. 


Now? I'm starting with the best. The best possible resource I can create for business owners to crisis-proof their business, without wasting anyone's time. I don't need a huge lineup of workbooks and other fluff to show you that I know many things and have created a ton of resources. I want to create what matters, a clear path to take. Because in the end it's all about one thing... {and that brings me to the next thing I've learned}


lesson #2 - it's all about crisis-proofing

Why do we take care of ourselves? To feel good, to look better, to live longer? Those are the added benefits. What lies beneath is much bigger. Self-care is all about learning how to handle whatever life throws your way. To handle crisis and come out fine on the other side. To know what to do when sh*t hits the fan, and not crumble under the pressure. That's what it's all about.


That's what it's about for you, and for your business. Your business starts with you, and the better you take care of yourself, the better you will be at crisis-proofing your business. And I'm not talking about having business insurance, or a line of credit, or a retirement fund. I'm talking about how you handle the gut punch of betrayal when you have a deadline to meet. I'm talking about how you handle the panic of a devastating diagnosis on the same day you open a break-up email from a long-term client. I'm talking about how you handle a client meeting you can't cancel after receiving a phone call you've been dreading.


You heard the old proverb "this too shall pass", right? It's true that everything passes eventually and you move on - but it matters where you go and how you get there. If you're solid in your self-care and have a set of tools you can rely on, there's nothing you can't handle. Brienne of Tarth will have nothing on you. 


When {once again} re-imagining tools for better, I asked myself "what's the point of all this" - and crisis-proofing was the answer. For every piece of content I create, for the business self-care audit I'm working on, for the upcoming tools for better course Sense of Self - Crisis-Proof your Business - the question is always: "will this enable and support crisis-proofing?". The answer has to be yes, and that's non-negotiable. 


lesson #3 - recognize your themes and patterns

"You're so good at everything you do!" That's pretty much the worst thing you can say to me. I resent that sentence. Because nobody is so good at everything. It's a lazy way to get someone to do stuff {and set them up for failure}, because "you're just so good at it". 


How do you respond to that as a business owner? Do you take on a job, because it's flattering if your client thinks you can do it, and it's a quick buck? Or do you take the time to dig down deep and recognize your own patterns, how you can make them work for you, and how they support your strengths - rather than bending to every whim? 


You can fill in all the worksheets you want, and take one quiz after another to find out whether you're an introvert or extrovert, or what type of goal-setter you are. If you don't apply those answers to what that {exactly} means for your business,  you're wasting your time. It's easy to generate answers, but they don't mean anything unless you connect them to strategies for your business. 


Remember, the ultimate goal is to crisis-proof your business, and here's what that means in relation to the themes and patterns in your life: You pay attention to what fuels you, and what you're really good at. You check in with yourself regularly {and over a long period of time} to recognize your patterns. You apply the results to your business and have a firm grasp on what it means for your daily business operations. 


Want an example? Hello, lesson #4.


lesson #4 - details, details, details

What fuels me: the desire to be completely independent of any one location or client

What I'm really good at/what my overall theme is: to keep going

One of my patterns: I stay calm and handle any issues like a boss, but once everything is taken care of, sh*t tends to catch up to me and I crumble


What this means in relation to my business {and for crisis-proofing my business}:


The desire to be completely independent of any one location or client means that I work from home {where ever that ends up being} and don't rent an office, even though I could afford to. Having an office might make it easier to separate work and play, but it would not enable me to continue my work of crisis-proofing my business, because the added expense every month would cause stress if my financial situation changes. It also means that I don't take on any single client that would make up the majority of my monthly income, because it would also add stress, if that client were to move on. 


I'm really good at keeping things going. I keep going. That's the story of my life. From being kicked out by my father when I was pregnant with my daughter, to questioning my entire business model last fall {I don't know which of the two was worse for me} - I kept going. Knowing that about myself makes a huge difference for my business, for crisis-proofing my business. Because I know that I have the drive to make it through to the other side, it's my default setting. 


Knowing that I can handle any acute crisis like a boss puts me at ease in daily business operations, and knowing that sh*t tends to catch up with me and leave me reeling for a bit, gives me the ability to plan for that. I know to either take the rest of the day off after dealing with issues, or I plan for something that will diffuse the situation for me, like only scheduling creative work, or adding something that brings me joy, to my existing schedule. {Like meeting a client outside instead of in an office, for a change of scenery. Often that's all I need.}


The lesson here? Don't leave it at abstract concepts. Break it down into detail, and figure out what exactly it means for your business, and for crisis-proofing your business. The better you know your patterns and reactions, and how they apply to your business, the more crisis-proof your business will become. 


lesson #5 - no woo-woo required

woo-woo: dubiously or outlandishly mystical, supernatural, or unscientific ~ Merriam Webster


Coaching, self-care, patterns, purpose. Some people hear that and automatically think you have to embrace the woo-woo to be able to participate. Like you can't have a solid self-care practise without dancing naked around the fire during the full moon. I don't agree. At all. You can have all of the wisdom, without any of the woo-woo. It's entirely up to you, how you want to embrace self-care and crisis-proofing your business. 


People who know me in real life, know that I'm tolerant and non-judgemental, straight-forward, and comfortable with tangible over mystical. So much, that I often hear "that's probably too woo-woo for you". Their assessment of my woo-woo reluctance probably has to do with the fact that my background is in psychotherapy and business {more about that in my bio}, two things that are mostly woo-woo free. The truth is, absolutely nothing is too woo-woo for me, as long as I don't have to participate. I am curious and intrigued, but don't want to be a part of it. I don't manifest my deepest desires in front of an altar or circle of trust. It's not how I approach coaching and self-care.


Apart from the fact that I personally don't feel drawn to the woo-woo, I also think it's not a good business decision {for me}. Personal development is personal, and the way each of us handles self-care and crisis-management is unique. There may be a common path to get there, but connecting your personal results to your business will be completely different for you than it is for anyone else. And because it is so personal and unique, you will be the only one who can truly understand your approach, and relate to it. 

I recently read about a full moon circle at a local yoga studio, and while I found it intriguing, I did not attend. Apart from the fact that I am not prone to manifest anything, I also felt that I have to manage my business reputation. Who can I trust with deeply private thoughts? With business strategies? With personal goals? Myself, that's who.


to summarize...

Start with the best and don't hold back, dig deep to recognize your patterns and apply them to your business. Go into detail, and crisis-proof, crisis-proof, crisis-proof. If you're going on this journey with tools for better, it's up to you to shape your own self-care and business-care practise, no woo-woo required. 


Where will you start with crisis-proofing your business?

P.S. I've decided not to use comments on my blog. It's not you, it's me. I'd much rather connect on Instagram. Or you can use the contact form, if you prefer. Mwah!