As Sara and I were creating a 5-day mini-course based on the content in the Solopreneur Sanity Handbook, we kept (only half) jokingly saying “Man, this stuff is so good!” and “We are geniuses!” (Maybe we shouldn’t admit these things…?)
We got to talking about how we use the concepts in the Handbook in our own lives — both personal and professional — on a daily basis. So, when we say we’re living the Handbook, we’re not blowing smoke.
Does it mean that we live it perfectly? Hell no. It means that we deal with all of the same stressors as you, but that we stop as often as possible in the midst of chaos to remind ourselves that we literally wrote the (Hand)book on this stuff. And that, if we want to live lives of integrity, we have to work our hardest to practice what we preach.
Enough speaking theoretically. Here are three ways that I’ve lived the Handbook recently, as I moved from Guatemala to Europe — while working (mostly) my normal hours:
Getting comfortable with the chaos
In the beginning of the Handbook, we lay out 10 principles; we think of them as “general truths or ideas key to progress and success in achieving solopreneur sanity.” One of my favorites is “Get comfortable with the chaos.” (I love it so much that the wallpaper is plastered all over my desktop and computer background.) This is our phrase for acknowledging that life and business ownership are chaotic and basically, there’s nothing you can do about it except accept it.
As I dealt with the chaos of leaving my home in Guatemala, taking international flights, moving with almost all of my worldly possessions, being on a new continent with an unfamiliar language, and keeping up with work, I asked the One Woman Shop accountability group to hold me accountable for using “Get comfortable with the chaos” as my mantra. (Though these are all exciting, wonderful things, they are indeed chaotic.)
Remembering that chaos is par for the course gave me the perspective to stay just a bit calmer as I navigated the public transportation system, ordered my first latte, got yelled at in the grocery store, and accidentally cried in a coffee shop on my first day.
Non-negotiables — the building blocks of solopreneur sanity
As we say in the Handbook, “Our personal and recommended non-negotiables are working out, eating healthy, sleeping enough, and disconnecting — we’re not saying you must do them, but we will challenge you to find us someone who works out regularly or eats healthy or takes time to disconnect and doesn’t credit those things at least a teeny tiny bit with an increased sense of well-being. (If you find one, send them our way and we’ll interrogate them until they admit that they’re wrong.)” ← Still laugh every time I read this.
I know that working out, eating home-cooked food for most of my meals, taking time away from technology, and having a productive workspace are essential for my well-being and productivity. Instead of letting these things slide when I arrived in Hungary, I made them top priority, even though it meant taking time away from work to find a gym, grocery shop, and find a coworking space. The result? I was able to regain that lost work time five-fold* (*I don’t actually know what-fold) by not going out for every meal and increasing my energy through exercise.
Breaking it down and choosing the next best step
The Handbook is broken into scenarios and corresponding solutions. “Breaking it down and choosing the next best step” is the solution to “For when you…are stalling because you’re overwhelmed and aren’t sure where to start.” Um, couldn’t have said it better myself. (Get it? Though I can only take half credit for all phrasing.)
I’ve been looking into obtaining a long-stay visa in Europe and it’s not easy. I completely stalled out on the process because I had no idea what to do next. I channeled the Handbook and told myself, “forget about the end result (that big, looming outcome that you’re not exactly sure how to get to), and choose the next best step that will get you closer — no matter how little that step might be.”
I thought the next best step was speaking to an immigration lawyer but I quickly realized there was a step in between: Finding a reliable immigration lawyer. I found an in-depth post from a blogger who ended up with a visa after working with a lawyer and emailed him asking for a recommendation. Bam — things were suddenly in motion and the next steps suddenly felt significantly less overwhelming.
The point of all of this? The Handbook is 94 pages of our best practices for solopreneur sanity — ones that we both use every day in our lives. It’s easy to stand by its value when we experience it day in and day out.
So, speaking of next best steps when it comes to increasing your sanity, here’s our recommendation: Drop your email below to sign up for our free, 5-day course on reclaiming your time. It’ll give you an awesome, albeit small, preview of the solutions we walk you through in the Solopreneur Sanity Handbook. Easy as that.
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