Journaling * Burnout * Back to School and more

Are you a journaler? I recall having a “secret diary” with a lock that was more ornamental than functional. Do you remember those? I wonder what happened to the ones I had all those years ago.

I started journaling as an adult and have been pretty consistent for about two decades. I still have most of those old journals and occasionally go back and look over them; it is almost like I’m there in the moment when I captured whatever was written on the pages. Sometimes, I see something painful or challenging I was struggling with, and at others, it’s a memory of a happy event or a celebration I’ve jotted down. Other times it’s a rambling of thoughts, experiences, and dreams I’d like to accomplish.

Journaling is one of those things that I classify under self-care – it’s inexpensive and doesn’t require any special training, yet it can be so powerful and transformative. When I recommend this to clients who haven’t done much journaling, they often struggle with what to write or where to start. Hello inner perfectionist, I see you.  

To help spread my love of journaling, I have started a  12-week journaling prompt called Soulful Musings on Instagram. I’ll share a new prompt you can use each week to help get your journaling going. The idea is to help my fellow entrepreneurs reconnect with the success they desire in their business and live life to the fullest. 

Find all the details and the first few prompts here. 

Years ago, I took a call from a potential client inquiring about the services my company offered. My business at that time supported real estate agents administratively from contract to close. The caller started out telling me about her business, the total dollar amount of homes sold, the number of closings she’d had, and the awards she’d received within her office and the region, as well as national recognition. 

Many of my calls started by learning about the potential clients, so there was nothing unusual about this one until she said, “and I F’ing hate it,” and started crying. I held space for her, not really knowing what else to do as no sales call had ever taken this kind of turn. After a few minutes, she composed herself and apologized – which I promptly told her was unnecessary and asked if she’d like to talk about it. I also shared with her that I understood and had felt that way before too.

“I’ve done everything my coach told me to do – I’ve broken sales records, I’ve made more money than I ever have before in my life, and I’m miserable” – she went on to share that her family, now grown with their own kids, were living in another state. She flew them into town and put them up at a plush resort recently, only to have a few hours over a few days to visit with them as her business took up most of her time. 

Her call and the anguish in her voice have never left me. She was burned out and on the edge of quitting. I have been there, too, more than a few times. Unfortunately, she’s not the only person I’ve met who feels this way. 

A quick web search shows that this is an issue:

So what do we do? I wish I had an easy 5-step plan to share, but I don’t. However I do have a few things I’d like to share:

  1. Create realistic goals and expectations for yourself and your business.
  2. Be aware and listen to your body. Don’t ignore physical symptoms of stress.
  3. Make time to rest and recharge – remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
  4. Create and enforce boundaries. This includes saying “no” when something isn’t for you, without guilt or shame.
  5. Ask for help or support when you need it. This isn’t a sign of weakness – I believe it’s the opposite.
  6. Lean into how you wish to feel in your work and make that a priority. Growth for the sake of growth doesn’t equal success. Awards are nice, but how you feel is far more important.

If this topic resonates with you, then please check out the additional conversations I’ve been having about it over on my Instagram channel. My mission is to transform the business world and make burnout a thing of the past.

It’s back to school time, which means changing our routines for many of us. In my world, this has evolved over the years from adjusting my schedule to allow for chauffeuring the kids to and from school –  to now a quiet house after the last one returns to the University of Illinois at Chicago in a few days.

For some reason, this time of year always feels like a second New Year, and after a busy summer, it inspires me to get back into a groove of working on my business, not just IN my business.

It’s the perfect time to reconnect with your goals earlier this year, to evaluate them and see if they are still goals you are committed to or if they are no longer a priority and to table others for another time or be removed entirely.

It’s also an excellent time to evaluate systems, processes, and even clients to see where improvements could be made. To keep it simple, I like to start a fresh Google doc called “things I’d like to see different in my business,” – and I simply begin to dump all that pops into my head. Note – this is not where you criticize yourself or your business; it’s where you merely note things you wish to change.

Some things that come up are small and can be changed quickly, like my email signature or out-of-office reply on my phone, both of which I’ve put off or only think about when there’s no time to deal with them. Other things will require some time to map out the strategy or even the help of an advisor or expert. There is something almost magical about putting a list together and deciding what you wish to change; solutions, resources, and inspiration will begin to come to you from places you probably least expect it.

I wrote about this in my book, Glitter, Duct Tape and Magic, and have shared the story several times about how I needed to get out of a lease shortly after moving into a commercial space early in my business. I added that to the list of “things I’d like to see different in my business,” and BAM, a few weeks later, the solution came to me in a workbook I was studying to renew my broker’s license.

Now it’s your turn – what would you like to see different in your business? Start a document, begin the work, and let the magic unfold.

  • New to bookkeeping – or ready to upgrade from a spreadsheet to an online system? My brilliant friend Jen put together a budget-friendly course called How to Listen To Your Business to make this super simple. Use code BizMagic to receive a 25% discount.

Love to read? Me too! Please consider joining the Sparks of Wisdom book club – and gathering with other book lovers. Our next book and gathering will be announced soon.

Are you feeling stuck? Need some support in crafting your business to allow you to live your desired life? Let me help you get things on track and fall back in love with your business. Sign up here for a discovery call.

Thank you for spending another month with me digitally here – if we’re not connected on social media, then please, let’s do that – hanging out once a month just doesn’t seem like enough.

Here’s where to find me on Instagram and Facebook.


Michelle Spalding | Small Business Coach

Michelle Spalding
Business Alchemist | Mentor | Author

“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.” Brene Brown