The Art of Showing Up Without Burning Out

 
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It’s Monday morning, and you wake up feeling a little hopeless. Monday is an indication of a brand new week—yes—but it’s also an indication of another five days of you running a business—or rather, it running you—feeling frazzled, inadequate, and just plain BEHIND the curve.

Sound familiar?

Running a business is not for the weak of heart, but it’s also not for the weak in boundaries and values.

It’s absolutely essential that you understand what you want, what you need, and who you want to be on the way there in order to be successful.

With that said, there are SO many blog posts, courses, YouTube videos out there that promise a THRIVING business if you can just…

  • Build a killer website

  • Have pretty pictures

  • Develop the perfect client experience

  • Be on social media all day

… all the while sacrificing your time with your husband, your babies, but of course not your puppy because shop pets are totes Instagrammable, right?

Friend, let me tell you this:

Those are nice, but without the backing them up with the right intention and reasonable strategy, they will be the death of your business--because they will be the death of YOU.

The key to a killer business that supports your dream of a life is to CONNECT. Plain and simple.

CONNECT (v.): establish a rapport or relationship;

be or become joined or united or linked

In order to truly connect in business, you need to be willing to do two things:

SHOW UP + RISK IMPERFECT

Show up

Some of the people I look up to most in the world of creative entrepreneurship, like Jasmine Star and Graham Cochrane, have been talking about showing up, lately.

(Go watch Graham’s video! He’s so inspiring and intentional.)

You know to run a business well you need to learn, try things, put yourself out there, create content, listen to your people.

But NONE of that can happen if you’re not showing up consistently.

Now, showing up can be taken to the other extreme. I need to show up three times a day, everyday! I’ll never take weekends off and I’ll write three blog posts a week and I’ll have clients coming out of my coffee machine in the mornings!

There’s a fine line between showing up and burning out, and that’s not a line I can draw for you. You have to figure it out for yourself by testing your limits and resting well while working well. Here are three tips for showing up.

Show up when YOU DECIDE. This one is really important in terms of setting boundaries. Do you want to show up three days a week on social media? Once a week for blog posts? Once a month for your newsletter? Do you want to sign off on weekends, or only respond to emails on certain days?

MY ADVICE: Decide this ahead of time, or it will be decided for you. You either have to train your people what to expect from you, or they will train you to meet their demands. Which one sounds more sustainable for long-term growth? Decide boundaries BEFORE you need them, and you will be MUCH happier and stress-free when the time comes to draw those hard lines.

(Who am I, a therapist?)

Show up SMALL.  When you’re deciding how you’re going to show up, start small. Agree to LESS than you think you can manage. You can always add more, throw in an extra post here and there or send a spur-of-the-moment pep talk to your email list. BUT, make sure the promise you’re making to yourself and your audience is DOABLE.  And, remember, that means DOABLE ALL THE TIME, not just doable in the imaginary perfect-week when we have no extra activities and have been home all weekend. Come up with a plan you can stick to, and it will start to develop a routine of keeping your promises to your audience.

Show up and BE REAL.  One of the hardest parts of showing up consistently is when something happens that has you feeling particularly down, like a total mess, or like it’s totally impossible to show up as the best version of yourself.

I’m going to go against the grain and tell you: Lean into that, friend. It’s important.  

I’m not advocating a day-after-day complain-fest on social media, blog, whatever, but I am reminding you that people want to connect with YOU, not only the perfect slice of you that you show to the public.

Find small ways to share about what you’re going through and use it to encourage other people and build them up. Ask them if they’ve ever felt that way. Why? It may lead to some interesting research into what your audience is going through on their worst days and how you can speak into that, relate to it, or lift them up through it.

Feeling too imperfect to show up at all? Say, get behind me, Satan, and find a friend to hold you accountable in consistency!

Risk imperfect

You have to be willing to step out when you’re not ready. You will NEVER truly be ready.

This is the primary difference between wanting to run a business and actually doing it.
At least it was for me.

I had the idea for this business about 4 years ago, but I was too afraid to show up and start trying because I thought:

  • I don’t know enough.

  • I’m too young, people won’t take me seriously.

  • Well, she’s doing that, too, and she has real, concrete experience.

I didn’t want to show up because I didn’t think I could do it right. And, GUESS WHAT. I was right. I needed to jump into the water to figure out how to swim, and you do, too.

The business world is on an INTENTIONALITY + STRATEGY soap box right now.

INTENTIONAL (adj.): done by design; done or made or performed with purpose and intent

STRATEGY (n.): a plan or method for achieving something, especially over a long period of time

OR, my favorite: the skill of planning how to achieve something, especially in war or business

(Because war and business are DEFINITELY neighbors?)

Notice words like done, made, performed, achieved.

These definitions don’t include waiting until you’re ready, and they most certainly don’t include hiding because you’re afraid you’re not enough and your Oprah-genes haven’t kicked in yet.


Though intentionality and strategy may look and feel more sustainable than the ever-present mindset of HUSTLE, and fake it till you make it, they still mean you have to actually do something.

Jump in.

Imperfect feels risky, but ask yourself, what am I risking?

My pride?

My mask of perfection?

My view of professionalism?

Then, challenge yourself to go deeper into each those things.

What are you hiding with that mask?

Does being “imperfect” really make you “unprofessional” or will it ultimately help you connect more deeply with your real audience?

Be willing to risk imperfect in order to discover the “immeasurably more” that may be around the corner. I’ve seen it. It’s worth every risk.

Action Step:

Decide how you will show up. Write it down. Practice following through on that decision, even if it feels small.

I would love to hear how you’re deciding to show up in the comments or tag me over on Instagram (@jessjordana) so I can cheer you on!

Jess, XO

P.S. I am BY-NO-MEANS an expert on how not to burn out. I’m smack in the middle of a season where I’ve said “yes” to far too many things. But, I do know that this level of work is not sustainable and it’s not what I want to build my business toward in the future. I am REALLY GOOD at showing up, but I want to start doing it on my terms, not as a reaction to what everyone else demands from me or for fear of losing something. I hope this will inspire you to start making those decisions, too!


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I'm Jess,

iced-coffee-obsessed, saved-by-grace, allergic-to-small talk, and one of the biggest dreamers you’ll ever meet.