We hear a lot about self-care methods. It’s an interesting topic of discussion and means something different for everyone. For me, there was a big part of self-care which was holding me back from being successful in my business. Surprisingly enough…it was the process of not making peace with my past. I could take a day to try to “decompress”, do things that filled me up, and think that I would come back to the drawing board feeling refreshed and energized, ready to tackle the newest challenges for my business. However, I was not actually caring for the aspect which needed the most work. To be honest, I almost put off any opportunity where I was alone with my thoughts, because I really didn't want to address them.
It is important to call out that voice of self-doubt, honor the experiences which hold you back, and release them. If you don’t take the time to acknowledge these thoughts and experiences, they will continue to linger. As business owners, there are many things which we think about in a day. Our brains are never truly at peace. I find that there are true, foundational thoughts which are at the core of each decision we make. We might not consciously recognize them in each choice, but they are there, driving our thought process. If those foundational thoughts are not addressed, you could be building your business on shaky ground.
I encourage you to go through an exercise which was life-changing for my business and for me as a leader. Take time this week to be present, only with your thoughts. Take out a journal, or a piece of paper and write what is holding you back. It might be one word, it might be a story, or a few bullet points. Now, write a “letter in the raw”, to the people involved in your story, telling them how you feel, how this is holding you back and has shaped who you are. Be honest. Don't hold back. Write exactly what comes to mind.
Maybe the letter is to yourself, granting permission to let go of past mistakes. Perhaps it’s to a friend or family member, a colleague, employee or business partner. Here is the great part of this exercise, look at that letter, read it, give yourself time to fully honor what it has taught you, and then tear it up and throw it away.
As simple as this may sound, there is psychology behind getting those emotions out, physically letting them go, and then destroying them. While this exercise will certainly not erase the past, it does go a long way in training your brain to let go and honor the aspects of your story which have made you the incredible leader that you are.