I drew this drawing shortly after my financial advisor had told me that she was proud of me. After all of the time, energy and effort invested, I thought this day would never come. I used to think that having a zero balance on my company's bank account was a failure. Running Small english for the past 2,5 years has taught me the opposite. I am dedicating this release to every start-up owner out there who has felt the same feeling - the feeling that reaching a point of zero balance on the company's bank account is a victory over doubt, fear and anxiety within you.
I could go on of how having Small english has been the most beautiful journey. BUT. Not that it has not been beautiful. It has been beautiful. It has also been messy, sad, stressful, joyful and rewarding. It has felt like the weight of daily tasks would drag me down. It has felt that the promise of it all launching into something great could be a lie. Above all, it has felt lonely and revealing. The investment it takes, the patience one needs to grow and nurture, the daily grind and the celebrations of micro progresses... Hitting zero balance feels like a true accomplishment, at least to me. And I wanted to honour this milestone.
To celebrate my zero balance, I would like to share a few tips which have been helpful to me over the past few years.
Having tried various ways of planning out daily tasks, I have come to a conclusion that my to-do-list is merely a list of things which my mind thinks I have to accomplish. I have tried the way of not letting myself rest until all of the tasks have been ticked off the list. I have tried the way of not having any lists at all and just dealing with tasks as they come. Since neither of these ways worked for me, I started observing of when I tend to make these lists and why I felt the need to make them.
The strong feeling of needing a to-do-list accompanied me mainly when I was feeling overwhelmed. Especially before releasing new work. I would write down everything what would need to be done, in order to release new work the way I wanted and also not fall behind with client work. However, the game changed when I stopped approaching them as to-do-list. I have started to use the list making as a tool to stop the endless chatter of my monkey mind. I make these lists to to clear my mind, to write down everything I think I need to accomplish. And it often turns out that what I think and what I actually need can be quite different things.
I don't stress out over unfinished to-do-lists, I pick one thing which seems the most important for the day. Once the most important task of the day has been ticked off the list, I see of how much time I can make for other tasks.
Assigning a specific task to a specific day. I started assigning Mondays to finance back in 2017 and have tried to strictly stick to this rule. It has mainly been helpful as a tool to see, if I am on the right course. Finance used to be one of the most dreadful tasks in my work life. Ever since, I have made dealing with it a weekly routine, it has helped me to navigate other tasks as well. If I do not get to get my finances in order on Mondays, I know I am off the course. Maybe I have spent too much time researching, sketching etc.
Giving myself the permission to quit.
This might be a strange one since most of the start-ups talk about commitment and the ability to get over the initial 3 year curve. However, once I gave myself the permission to quit, once I gave myself the option of choosing other paths, opening up to other possibilities, maybe even doing a completely different type of work, if I felt that I might not be working out... I became more relaxed about the daily / weekly / yearly ups&downs. And one's mind is only as creative as it is relaxed. If my company fails, it does not mean that I am a failure.
And with this thought under my wing, I sail into sunset being curious about what the next day has to offer.
All my love,