Are you feeling burned out of your business? Need a process to help you re-ignite the passion, excitement, and purpose it once had?
In this episode I’m covering a mind-mapping exercise that I use whenever I’m feeling disconnected from my calling or burned out in general.
It takes a bit of time, but is always worthwhile to re-visit especially during self-reflective times of year like this.
Welcome to a compassionate side hustle strategy hosted by me, Rochelle Sanchez. I'm a business designer and mindset coach and I help side hustling, solopreneurs like you quiet your inner drama and build compassionate systems that allow you to show up consistently and authentically in your business.
No matter what culture you were raised in, your current setbacks, economic status, or internal struggles, you deserve to do what you love for a living.
So let's go together! and find that next best step for you on your business journey.
Context for The Mind Mapping Process
I’m recording this in advance, but I know it’s going to go public on December 26th, and that means I’m catching you the day after Christmas, at least for me, here in the United States.
And I know this is a touchy subject at this time of year because typically during the holidays we see family. We’re forced to give verbal updates to people we don’t even know or feel close to. And I know that something I had struggled with in the past was how to tell my extended family about my business while also towing that weird line between boasting or oversharing because they probably don’t care that much and are just being polite bay asking about it.
Or I’ll totally downplaying my work and acting like my business is unimportant, or I’ll make a joke, or say an embarrassing thing I wish they wouldn’t ask me about in public.
Those are the extremes for me and being someone with anxiety. I sometimes have no idea what words will come out of my mouth when someone asks that question, “How’s Your Business Going, Rochelle?”
And the truth is that it can get even harder if you’re literally not even feeling your business AT ALL at the end of this year.
How do you then transition to the new year when the world puts on its “New Year New Me” face?
So let’s talk about that, since I know you might be feeling this way. In this episode I’m covering a process that takes a bit of time, but is always worthwhile when my clients or I make it a priority as small business owners, especially during self-reflective times of year like this.
Sound good? Okay.
Are you burned out of your business?
We’ll start with the basic, first question: Are you feeling burned out of your business?
Are you sick of the algorithms and investing in tools and not seeing a return? Maybe you just never feel like working on it anymore.
Maybe you’ve been letting your business sit off to the sidelines of your main priorities in life, and you’re not even sure you want to get back into it?
Let’s assume you do care about your business. You don’t want to give it up. You might have messed up or let it fizzle out, but you’re looking for a way to reignite that fire again, that you had when you first got it all set up.
I believe we all have plenty of opportunity, at any moment, to course correct and start over.
And it’s important to remember that if we want to create momentum with any project in our lives, we have invest our time, energy, and money into it.
We all have plenty of opportunity, at any moment, to course correct and start over.
Taking Stock of Your Available Resources
I have three different kinds of resources for you to consider:
Let’s start with TIME.
Time, as you know, is non-renewable (we don’t get it back, no matter how we spend it). We’re just spending it.
As far as FINANCIAL resources,
In your business, the financial gains don’t usually come until the end of the project when the sales pages and payment buttons are set up, things have been outsourced, and all that.
And finally, you have ENERGY as a resource.
By this I mean the emotions and feelings and thought processes and joy in the creative ideas that you come up with, related to your business idea.
Personally, I think energetic resources are what we should be focusing on more, nowadays.
Energetic resources can pay off immediately. There’s no website or shopping cart setup needed. When you do good work for your business that you love and that makes a difference in the communities you care about, that’s rewarding.
And depending on who you connect with (who you’re working with), that can lead to a return of that energy almost immediately.
If you’re talking to or sharing with someone who’s just as passionate as you are about your mission. immediately.
Your Visioning Process
It is, of course, important to take the time to envision our long term goals and use all of our senses to capture the imagery and emotions of what we’re building.
We can talk about sales funnels, analytics, workflows, and apps. And I will, in future episodes coming up after the new year.
But we have to be grounded in our mission, first. The more devoted you are to what your business is all about, the better.
And this is applicable even if you’re not 100% sure where you want to go with it. It’s more of an energy thing.
The more devoted you are to what your business is all about, the better!
You have to have your idea, you have to still be committed to that idea.
You have to like it enough to tell lots of people about it, because business can’t grow (well, mission-centered businesses, that is) without communities backing them up and sharing them out.
Hitting the RESET Button
The process I’m walking you through today is a bit of a RESET. I like to call it “Hitting the reset button.” The amount of time this process takes will vary for each person, but I’d slate about an hour for the first part, just to get started. And you’re not going to finish it all in one sitting because you’ll need to leave it alone for a couple days and then come back to it.
Just to let you know, this process can get deep. It’s the foundational piece of any plans you might make or adjust for your business after the new year. So, your business plan, your marketing plan, your operations plan.
So if you’re up for that, and you’re ready to make sure that your future plans match the vibe you’re really going for in your business and your mission, I’m glad you’re willing to give it a try.
So here we go.
How to Reset
Here are some suggestions for your RESET:
Spend 30 minutes quietly writing a list of reasons why your business is important to you. I suggest writing these by hand, in bubbles, like a mind map. And I recommend using a big piece of paper for this so you don’t run out of room. The middle of the paper says the words “My Business” or “Self-Employed” or “Working for myself,” whatever is most applicable to your desires and motivations for being a small business owner. And I’d like you to see if you can write at least 7-8 bubbles/reasons why this entrepreneurial lifestyle means so much to you.
Set a timer for 30 minutes. Don’t let anyone bother you.
You can start with the personal stuff (e.g. to provide for my family, to create a life of freedom while being my own boss. Those are pretty common.). And then keep adding the emotional stuff in, too. For me it’s usually to prove so-and-so wrong about what they said about m e. Or to set an example that it’s not only white people who can make it as entrepreneurs, and that people of color can and should make it too.
Allow yourself to get a bit philosophical by looking at each of your reasons that you wrote down and asking, “And why is that important?” For example, if you said “to provide for my family,” you’re going to write why that’s important in bubbles around that bubble. There are several reasons that that would be important to you.
For survival. You literally don’t want your family to die or be homeless or abandon you or each other.
Providing for your family is also important because it’s been your lifelong dream to be a parent and raise socially conscious, financially independent children. Things like that.
Answer this for every single one of the bubbles on your paper. Be honest with yourself, even if your answers feel a bit selfish. Like you can be superficial and just say, “Providing for my family is important because I had a crappy upbringing and I’m making up for it by doing a better job than my mom did with us.”
Also, another tip: See if you can write these steps in complete sentences.
Look at it from your own personal goals and from a values-based perspective.
Then you take it a step further. For each of those sentences explaining why that reason is important, ask again: And why is THAT important? Again, write in complete sentences. This is a little bit like a journaling process too, if you haven’t noticed.
This is where things start to get deep. Like that example about doing it better than your mom did with raising you? That might be important because you’re proving her wrong. Or you’re doing the parent thing better than she did. Or you might say it’s because you didn’t get the love and support needed, so you’re giving yourself what you need as an adult and taking responsibility for your own well-being. That can be pretty deep.
See how far you can take it with each of your explanations. By this step, your writing will probably look like a tree with lots of branches and bubbles and scribbles, and you probably ran out of space if you didn’t write super small or didn’t purposely use a big piece of paper.
Now you can take a look at your outermost explanations and sentences. Do you see some repetitive messaging? And based on what you’re seeing, are there indications of what your personal values are?
For example, maybe you have a lot of notes similar to “it’s the right thing to do,” or “I owe it to myself to pursue my passion.” I could see that indicating that honor might be a personal value of yours.
Leave the paper alone for at least 24 hours. Ideally more! Okay? Take a break, put it down, leave it alone.
Then come back to it and see what you notice. For you extraverts, this is a good step to bring someone else in to look at it with you, if you find that helpful. If you have a supportive partner, you can bring them in at this point too, assuming you’re good about setting great boundaries and asking that they be positive and supportive with what you’re going to share with them. Here are some ideas for what to do next with what you notice:
Take a highlighter to call out recurring themes or phrases.
Add more! Write down anything that came to mind in the last 24 hours that you forgot to write down.
Share your discoveries with someone else, as long as they’re someone who loves and supports you and will hold a safe space for you both to focus on YOUR findings. (If they’re the type of person who will make the whole thing about themselves, then don’t bother)
Draw doodles and sketches, or color in certain bubbles that feel especially meaningful to you but may be getting lost in the ocean of notes on your paper. For example, maybe you wrote down something that only appears once on the paper, but you feel is equally as important as the things that show up multiple times all over the page. That doesn’t mean it’s less important. If it means a lot to you, circle it, put it it in bold, draw lots of arrows pointing to it, or anything else that will help it stand out.
Take another 24-48 hour break from working on it, and then continue to the next step.
When you come back to your mind map, you’re going to do some reflecting on it. Consider the following questions as you look at your paper. I recommend journaling on a separate sheet of paper or taking notes in a separate document you can reference later.
Question 1: Do you actually like what you see? Take a moment to think about that. And when you have your answer, answer why or why not.
This is important because this is YOUR business. You may have plans to create something much bigger than yourself and you weren’t aware of it until now.
If you don’t like what you see, maybe that means you’re chasing the wrong business idea or model. Or you may even learn that you don’t want to run your own business after all! I mean, if you’re going to do something you don’t enjoy then you may as well stick to desk work, which pays more and requires a lot less of you than running a business by yourself (at least at the beginning).
Question 2: If your business has core values (meaning you’ve worked on them before trying this exercise, or you already have a written mission and vision statement), are they showing up obviously in your mind map?
If you have a mission statement, do your business core values show up in that?
Or, and this is entirely possible: does the mind map feel more personal to you as a person rather than a business entity? No matter what you observe, decide what it means to you.
Question 3: Are you doing good, meaningful work with this business? Why or why not? You can choose your own definition of what’s considered “good, meaningful work.” It’s vague on purpose because it’s different for everyone.
Question 4: Is there any part of your business that you honestly just don’t like? If so, would you like to get rid of it, or is the dislike more of a personal thing? If you weren’t so attached to what you’ve already built, what would it look like instead? What would you do differently if you had the chance?
Pay Attention to How You're Feeling
And I know that if you went through each step, it probably brought up lots of thoughts, emotions, and ideas in you.
At this point it’s important to hold space for yourself and not judge yourself or make a joke out of what you came up with.
Building a business is so hard, and it’s harder when you don’t have moral support and someone cheering you on. So make sure that you’re surrounding yourself with the kind of support that you need.
This whole process can be heavy and may take you a while to complete, but you know what? It’s free, in terms of money. And it will make running your business with compassion a lot easier if you have clarity around what it is you’re really trying to build.
Again, we all have plenty of opportunity, at any moment, to course correct. Hitting the reset button by truthfully answering questions like these can help you refocus on the meaningful work you feel called to do.
Your turn: Have you ever done a deep dive exercise like the one described here? What was that experience like, for you?
Let me know! I’ll see you on all the socials if you’d like to reach out and let me know what came up for you. My username is @rochellesanch in most places.
Enjoy yourself. Enjoy the process. Make sure you practice good self care and allow yourself extra reflection time for this process, okay?
Take care, and I’ll see you next time!
Compassionate Side Hustle Strategy is sponsored by Gentle Momentum.
What if you had someone to help you navigate both the inner drama AND the back end operational stuff that comes with running your business?
What if you never felt overextended, rushed, bullied, or pressured into doing things for your business that just aren't your thing?
Gentle Momentum is a hybrid coach-in-your-pocket mentorship and accountability system designed to help ambitious, mission-driven solopreneurs just like you, stay on track and focused.
It's exactly what it sounds like: a program designed to help you generate momentum in your business!
To learn more, visit Rochelle Sanchez dot com and click on the "Work with me" button.