Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I'm sharing one of the most critical things I did in the early stages of starting grace + hudson. There were many critical things of course, but this one thing was critical for remaining focused and positive even when things got tough. When you first speak about starting a business, people will tell you you're crazy. Maybe you've experienced this yourself. They'll tell you all the reasons why it's a waste of time and money and too risky, even though they've never done it themselves. And they don't stop - you'll hear comments from this negative crowd throughout the first few years of your business. People are so quick to point out the reasons a dream can fail. The other day I was speaking with a friend who's starting her own business and we talked about this. In speaking with her, I realized there was one critical thing I did almost every day during the early stages of grace + hudson, when the negative crowd felt the loudest. It's simple, accessible to everyone, and can even be done for free. It's working out. I know, not very glamorous or magical, right?
I am not someone who's always been athletic or always worked out. I dabbled in basketball in high school, running in college, and yoga when I first began working as a lawyer. Months might go by before my next run or yoga class, depending on how busy I was. I didn't really discover the power of working out until I was about 35, dealing with the grief of my father's death. He had a short 10-month battle with cancer before passing at the young age of 65. As anyone who's experienced the loss of a loved one can tell you, grief is a complex thing. It comes in layers and requires much time to process. To help process my grief, I started seeing a therapist. She suggested I pick up a regular exercise routine to help my mental state. Exercise endorphins are a real thing, she said, and as someone who has mental illness in my family, I really couldn't afford not to do it. I thought that was an interesting statement. She viewed exercise as a sort of medication or preventative measure. Think of it this way - when there is mental illness in your family, therefore putting you at higher risk for developing mental illness, the release of endorphins is a non-negotiable. Done on a daily basis, it can actually act as a sort of "insurance" against developing mental illness (or lessening its impact). I felt so bad at the time, I decided to give it a whirl. Why not? I felt pretty horrible, processing all of this grief, that I was willing to try anything. Right around the same time, a cool app for your phone called Classpass rolled out in my city. Classpass is a very affordable way to attend fitness classes in your area at a discounted rate. You can go to any fitness studio on the app without a membership or pricey "per class" fee. I thought it was a good way to really give this exercise routine thing a try. And as you might guess, I never looked back. From that point on exercise has been, and always will be, first and foremost about my mental health. The physical benefits are just an added bonus for me. Moving my body clears out the junk running through my mind. I'm not sure how that works, but it's true. Endorphins I guess!
About 2 years after this new "health kick" of mine, I quit my lawyer job to start grace + hudson. Due to my schedule, I found it best to workout in the morning. I was never big on morning workouts but, oh my goodness, I found magic! An early morning workout never failed to get me into the proper mindset to battle all the demons that come out when you start a business.... doubt, worry, lack of self-confidence, etc...they fight you hard! Add to those demons the negative comments from family and friends and, whew, you have a battle to dodge each day. As if starting a business isn't hard enough, right? But when I got those endorphins running early in the day, those demons slid right off my back. They had no power. Those workouts gave me a "can do anything" attitude and even though I didn't realize it at the time, that "can do anything" attitude transferred over into my business. Looking back, 5 years later, I can honestly say my morning workouts were one of the critical things I did in those early stages.
Listen, starting a business from scratch is HARD. I don't have to tell you that, I'm sure. It plays mind games with you because it demands every last ounce of you and it digs up old negative stories and thought patterns that need to be overhauled. Namely, your stories and practices around money, your stories and views about career, your views about "success" and what that means to you, and your beliefs around self-confidence, just to name a few. Focus and a positive mindset are crucial to getting through the tough initial period. But oh how you grow! Oh my goodness, I've evolved and grown so much as a person since I started my business. It's been truly amazing. I cannot say that about my legal career. Sure, I learned how to be a better lawyer during those 11 years, but a better person? No. Actually, I think I became a worse person during that time, sadly.
If you are starting a new business or thinking about it, I highly encourage adopting a workout routine especially in the morning. Experience those endorphins and what they can do for you. I've written many times that mindset is key to succeeding as a small business owner, and endorphins really do naturally help you get into that empowered state of mind. When you intentionally choose a "can do" attitude each morning, you will be able to endure the trials and tribulations of small business start-ups.
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P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I'm in the process of creating a Weekly Journal board on Pinterest so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. I have a few weekly journal entries on the board right now, and I'm adding more on a weekly basis. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h over the past couple years and I want to make it easier for you to read the entries that resonate most!