Acts of Restorative Kindness
If you’ve been in the online business space for a hot minute, I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of lip service about showing up “authentically” in your marketing.
Be vulnerable. Let them see the “real” you.
Based on the curated IG and TikTok videos I’ve watched—to quote the inestimable Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” From what I can see, they seem to believe authentic means putting lipstick on a pig.
People long for deeper unfiltered connections. However, the truth is it’s scary to be vulnerable online, so most people opt for silence or to only share the highlight reels.
It is time we change the narrative and model what it looks like if we show up and share life's not-so-perfect moments. So here it goes.
Frankly, it’s gotten a wee bit messy around here, and it’s tempting to gloss over everything that’s gone wrong and say there’s nothing to see here. Keep moving.
You see, I had a plan—it looked absolutely GORGEOUS, color-coded, beautifully mapped out, what could go wrong?!—social media posts 3 to 4 times a week, a bi-weekly newsletter, a bi-weekly podcast, and the admin to run all of it. I would find the time for everything, about 10-15 hours a week, in the margins of my days. Doable and sustainable, or so it seemed.
Then reality struck.
Client projects went from 28 hours a week to more than I currently care to tally up. In addition, several household projects needed immediate attention—think furnace repairs and replacing totaled cars.
The extra time and energy I was planning to allocate to my projects had evaporated in the blink of an eye, or a crumpled fender, as the case may be!
Now what? Should I just quit? Should I hustle harder?
I’m not proud of it, but either of those would have been real options in the past. I won’t lie; I’ve sacrificed my well-being to work longer and push harder to meet deadlines or manage events. I’ve also abandoned personal work projects to make time for other people's priorities.
I almost made the mistake of falling into those old patterns and sacrificing my dreams and desires again, even though I knew better.
I regularly work with clients to create holistic business models that include planning for emotional well-being and financial success. But it can be challenging to remember self-care in the middle of a crisis.
This time, I’m choosing a new way forward—one rooted in acts of restorative kindness to myself, my family, and those in my ecosystem.
I’m choosing to be my own compassionate ally, to treat myself, my priorities, and my dreams with kindness.
What does rooting into acts of restorative kindness look like—when shizzle happens?
Everyones acts of restorative kindness will be unique, but the basic steps are the same.
First, lament the fact that you’re not Wonder Woman or Superman. Then, you might want to sit down and have a bit of a cry. (It continues to shock me regularly that I’m not Wonder Woman. I loved her magic wristbands as a child.)
Second, gently grant yourself the same grace you would extend to any of your beloveds. It may look like reminding yourself of the one million things you did manage to accomplish.
Then, pause to examine what is essential in this season where you find yourself.
The list of questions that you use for inquiry should be grounded in your values, priorities, and goals.
Your reflection questions may include the following:
What do you need and want for your best life?
What will serve you and your goals—both short and long-term dreams?
What feels sustainable?
What is filling you with wonder?
What are you most curious about?
As I went through these steps this weekend, I realized that what I need now looks very different than it did four months ago when I made my beautiful color-coded plan.
Right now, the things that are important to me are:
Committing to sharing my lived experience of running a thriving freelance business as a single woman with adult-ish children.
Sharing how to run your business using techniques that don’t follow the “norm” for online business but are rooted in compassion, service, and sustainability.
Spending a little extra time with my adult kids as one of them gets ready to set off on a 6-month adventure to Maine! I want to squeeze in a few hikes, market days, and time laughing together before she sets off.
Exploring wonder in ordinary moments—spending time in nature, traveling, reading, and listening to diverse voices via podcasts
Gardening. It’s almost time to clear the gardens and plant a wide array of veggies for the upcoming year. I love growing herbs and vegetables in my garden. Nothing tastes better than a spring onion from your back garden.
The above list is very different than the beautiful marketing plan I laid out at the beginning of the email. And yet, this one makes my heart sing.
Because it isn’t quitting on my dreams, it isn’t pushing too hard, and it honors continuing to work toward my goals. It is the plan that is just right for me right now.
My challenge to you is can you take 5 minutes to create a plan that will allow you to treat yourself with acts of restorative kindness when shizzle goes sideways?
Because it will, that’s the beauty of this glorious messy life, things will become wild, and we get to choose how to respond.
If you have questions or are stuck knowing where to begin, leave a comment or email me. I would love to hear from you.
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