This is our first podcast episode back from the New Year. It is 2022. I’m incredibly excited to be here with you in this New Year’s fresh start. I’m a big lover of the New Year. I’m a big lover of January 1, and I’m also going to remind everybody that it is just a date. It is just a mark on the calendar. Your date might be different from mine but I am celebrating that the new year always feels like a really amazing fresh start for me. Today, we are talking about creating a business that prioritizes your mental health.
It feels very significant that we’re starting the year with this particular conversation. Running a business comes with a fair amount of responsibility, decision-making, and effort. I don’t think that’s really how business ownership has been portrayed. As a matter of fact, I know that that’s not been portrayed that way because 91% of my Instagram community feels that we’re not really talking about the real honest portrayal of owning a small business.
As a small business owner, you are often balancing competing priorities, like focusing on sales activity and making sure that you can deliver what you have just sold. Navigating capacity as a service provider is a big issue. Worry and stress about money have been at an all-time high, especially in women small business owners. People who tend to be here listening are just genuinely kind and caring people. When we bring that kindness and caring into our business with full force, maybe not always from the best intentions, maybe we’re doing it from people pleasing or wanting to not make waves or just go along to get along, we can start to create behaviors in our businesses that are found in abusive relationships or maybe create a hostile work environment. It’s unfortunate because sometimes, we’re the ones that are responsible for creating this hostile work environment.
The Current State of Mental Health for Many Small Business Owners
Many women have come to me this year, expressing anxiety, financial struggle, and even signs of apathy, more so this year than probably any other year. Women have reported feeling frustrated with finding a groove in their business, feeling drained of cash, confidence, and compassion. The compassion fatigue these past two years has been real. Feeling like a failure that they haven’t been able to implement on the myriad and plethora of courses that they’ve maybe taken or programs that they’ve been in. But many women report feeling out of control in their businesses. They’re making statements like, “I want to run my business intentionally rather than having my business run me.” There is a lot of optimism out there as well. There’s a lot of opportunity for us to control some of these seemingly uncontrollable factors that are having a tremendous impact on our mental health.
I’ve been doing some polls over on Instagram. It’s funny, people say to me like, “Oh, I know you don’t believe in using social media for your business.” I do. I just don’t teach it or use it the way other people might think. I am over on Instagram because I want to have meaningful and purposeful conversation with the community of people that follow me over there. If you’re not following me on Instagram, please head over, I’m @thetaranewman. We do a lot of polls, a lot of questions. I polled my Instagram community and 100% of the respondents said that putting their mental health as a priority was mission critical.
The majority of them felt that the events of the last two years have brought this issue to the forefront. 86% actually said that the last two years have made them think more about what’s sustainable for them in their business. While these statistics certainly show the level of concerns women small business owners have for their mental well-being, there is a lot of optimism. I really, really appreciate that in a time where sometimes, the news is a bit of a drain and it’s a bit of a drag, but overall, we’re feeling optimistic.
78% of my Instagram community actually reported feeling optimistic about 2022. This is great because we should all be entering 2022 with a high degree of optimism. There are a lot of opportunities for us. Things are shifting. Things are changing in the world around us. That’s a good thing. That creates opportunity. Chaos always creates opportunity. It’s my favorite time to really thrive and see how I can set myself apart during these times where the conversations are shifting; what people’s needs are changing.
As a behaviorist, as someone who takes a human-centered approach to business, this is why I really actually enjoy social media as long as we’re going to be making it social. I’ve been feeling the same way as many of you, this strong, strong desire to put my mental health, as well as my physical health and my emotional health at the forefront of my business. I want to share with you today 10 things—I’m literally reading this out of my journal to you—that I’m committing to as ways to prioritize my mental health. I’m going to also share with you some of the things that we’re doing in the business that might be helpful.
What Creating a Business that Prioritizes Your Mental Health Looks Like
My first commitment to prioritizing my mental health is ensuring that I have a restful afternoon and evening routine.
I already end my day pretty much at 3:00 PM. Sometimes, I can let my boundaries slip on that but what I’m saying here is that this is a non-negotiable for me now because I know that the way I approach my afternoon is the way I approach my evening. The way I approach my evening impacts my sleep and my sleep quality, and will then impact my energy for the next day. Really being mindful around that.
The second thing, so simple but not easy. Hydration.
Putting my mental health first by making sure that I’m hydrating but the thing I need to do in order to hydrate is to slow down. The reason why I don’t hydrate as much is because maybe I’m moving too fast and I’m not making sure that I’m handling the basics right out of the gates. We have a model called SLOW. SLOW stands for Step back and reflect, Lower pressure and expectations, Own the now, What’s next. That really helps me slow down. To step back and reflect, just ask myself, “What would lessen expectations take the pressure off? What needs to happen right now? Own the now, I need to drink a glass of water right now. Then What’s next is I can do the next and get into my day but prioritizing those basics.
The third thing I’m doing is engaging my brain in creative pursuits and learning.
This was a big, big thing for me in the fall when I took a six-week improv class. I did it as a way to get uncomfortable because I believe strongly in practicing getting uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable allows me to really lean into taking greater risks in my business and regulating my nervous system, and allows me to do it in a way where I have some control. Taking that improv class was a way for me to get uncomfortable. But it also really activated my creativity in my brain and helped me start to make different connections, and to think in more colorful language, more descriptive imagery. I really enjoyed that. Finding ways to engage my brain in creative pursuits. I really like to have something that allows me to learn. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before but in 2022, I will be getting my brain based coaching certification. I’m really excited to be learning about the brain, to be digging deeper into neuroscience, and how that impacts all the things that I talk about here on the podcast.
The fourth thing that I’m doing is being mindful of my capacity for holding space and being really boundaried around the people in my life who show up to complain, to gas up, emotionally dump.
I tend to be a good listener, so in my desire to listen, to hear people, and to see people, I also realize that I make myself very available to hold space and capacity for things that maybe I don’t need to be holding space for. I’m not the person that needs to do that. It’s very draining to my energy. I need a break. I’m really being mindful around my friendships, my colleagues, my peer relationships as well. No more free or undervaluing my services. We can chat more about that but I am not a resource for people to siphon information from. I’m a human being with a badass skill set who makes a huge impact in the world. When I’m paid for my talent, my years of experience and mastery, everyone benefits. Everyone benefits. Really watching what I’m putting out for free in all the various different places in my life.
I’m going to spend another year prioritizing EMS.
That’s my high performance strategy. I have talked about it a little bit on the podcast. We go into detail on it in various ways in The Bold Profit Academy but EMS stands for Energy, Mindset, and Strategy. I first developed this framework during COVID when I was feeling really shut down. I was in freeze mode, fight-flight-freeze. I was frozen. I had to find a way to unfreeze myself. I did that by creating this framework called EMS, Energy, Mindset, Strategy where we prioritize what we need for our energy, then we look at our mindset before we even take strategic action because when we can focus on our energy and focus on our mindset, our strategic action that we take is so much more productive. It’s so much more potent and powerful when we have taken care of our energy, our emotional health, our mindset, and our mental health before we actually sit down at our desks and start cranking away on our keyboards. Prioritizing EMS as a way to take care of my mental health, especially as a business owner where there is a lot of strategic thinking work that needs to happen in the business.
The other thing that I’m doing is sitting in the discomfort of the space I’ve created until I can relish it.
This is one of the biggest reasons why women and men overwork. They say they want to create space but then what slows them down is creating that space because we have been conditioned to fill our time with work, to work harder, to be “productive.” It’s not the right word but it’s the way people tend to take productivity in today’s day and age. We fill our work because we don’t want to address the things that are going on for us emotionally and mentally, maybe even physically. We fill our time with work because we don’t want to deal with what’s happening in our lives relationally. We’re avoiding ourselves. We’re avoiding people. We’re just making things worse. We’re creating a lot of overwork and overwhelm that doesn’t need to be there.
The amount of time you’re spending working in your business can probably be reduced by, at least, 30% by really taking more focused action and understanding what tasks need to happen in order to generate revenue. I’ve been able to create a lot of space in my life. I’ve been, over the last few years, identifying who Tara is when she’s not working, who Tara is when she’s not recording this podcast, who Tara is when she is not being sought after for mentorship and advice by her clients. It is still uncomfortable at times. I’m committed to sitting in that discomfort of the space that I’ve created until I can relish it.
The other thing, the eighth thing that I’m doing to prioritize my mental health is I’m savoring my moments of motherhood.
This has not been something that has come easy to me over the years. I don’t find myself to be particularly like a natural born mom. The younger years were definitely more challenging for me but I am really, really loving the teen years. I have a 13 year old and a 16 year old. The last few years have really made me present to the fact that they’re going to be grown and flown soon. I want to enjoy and savor these moments with them. In the past, when they were younger, I had more support in terms of sitters or people to help me, driving them back and forth to places, but now that they’re older, and don’t want to spend as much time with me—I made a joke the other day that I’ve somehow gone from being mama to mommy to mom to ma to bruh. I got bruh the other day. If you’ve got teens, you know what I’m talking about or like a girl, the other day, girl. I was like, “What is going on here?” It’s really important to me right now to be savoring these moments. There’s plenty of years to come where I’m going to be able to do other things that maybe take me further away from the home or put my focus more on other pursuits, but right now, my afternoons are my mom time. I’m really, really enjoying that. I want to savor that. That’s good for my mental health.
I’m also asking the question, “What does it look like to do my most meaningful work in the world?”
This is really around what my legacy contribution is, what is the impact. When I talk about impact, I don’t talk about how many people. That’s not how I define impact. I don’t need to impact millions. I want to impact a few people but more deeply. I want to cast that net deep, not wide. “What does this legacy contribution look like in the world? What is my most meaningful work? How has it evolved since I started this business in 2014 and since I started my career in the late 90s? What does that look like for me?” That feels really good as well to help me prioritize my mental health.
The last thing, the 10th thing—we’re going to talk about this more—I’m dreaming big but taking tiny actions.
Dreaming too big or dreaming big but not breaking it down into tiny actions is crushing people right now. All these big, audacious, hairy goals that never come to fruition because we don’t know what the next best step is because we’re too distracted with the big shiny potential of the thing to actually do the really boring, simple, tiny actions that get you that really big dream. I’m watching people struggle with this over and over, and over again. It’s something that I happen to be really good at. It’s something that I’m looking for when I add these things to my list. When you create your own list of the 10 ways that you’re going to prioritize your mental health, don’t forget to double down on the things that you are really good at. A lot of this list for me is things that I’m already good at but that I want to do even more intentionally with more discernment and do even a better job at these things. Reminding myself and others to dream big but take tiny actions.
Those are the 10 ways that I’m going to be prioritizing my mental health this year. There are some other things that I want you to consider that we have been considering as we step into the next phase and the next evolution of growing The Bold Leadership Revolution. This is about being even more discerning about our profitability, so I can be investing more heavily in other cash generating assets. I see my business as the primary cash generating asset. This is my earned income. This is how I earn money. Then what am I doing with this money? How am I using the profit in this business? This is another topic we are going to talk more about this year. “How am I using the profit in my business to create other cash generating assets?”
More discernment around profitability. I’ve probably spent every day for the last 90 days, journaling on our boundaries and increasing our internal communication around boundaries, and increasing our external communication around boundaries. Really being explicit and clear with our clients and our students around what we’re here to do, who we will work with, who we won’t work with, not because they’re bad people but because we’re not the best person to serve them because maybe we don’t have the expertise that they need. Really fine-tuning and honing in on the specific ways that we can be of service, and that we can help and how we are wanting and willing to work with our clients.
This has really led me to make decisions like we’re not taking any more one-on-one clients right now. As a matter of fact, I just had a team call where we were doing our 2022 planning. Somebody on my team said, “I have a feeling that you’re going to take one-on-one clients. I know you like working in that capacity with people.” I said, “I’m really not sure about that. I don’t know if I’m going to be taking on, certainly not clients under the million dollar in revenue mark, one on one.” Anybody else can come into The Bold Profit Academy and The Bold Profit Academy Plus. Those are excellent ways to get my mentorship, my advisory, our tools, our resources, our support in helping you run and grow your business, especially when it comes to your money and your profitability, but I’m not really looking to work with folks one-on-one right now. I’m enjoying group work so much more. It’s so much more effective and impactful for me to be doing work in that way.
We’ve also been spending more time reviewing our contracts and the boundaries that are outlined in our contracts, both contracts that we have out with our students and our clients, and the contracts that we are signing as a business and as a company. Really allowing those details in the contracts to help provide a frame for these relationships and a starting point to have conversation, and communication. That’s another thing that we have been looking at and really being intentional about holding people accountable to the contracts that they sign.
Not spending as much time on social media. That’s another way that we are prioritizing our mental health is not spending as much time on social media, but also spending time on social media the way I want to spend time on social media so that when I show up there, I’m showing up with how I want to show up and what works for me in that space as long as it creates—for me, this is really important—the engagement. I’m there to engage, have meaningful dialogue and discussion, and be social. Social media where people are just consuming and not engaging crushes me. It absolutely crushes me. It is such a drain on energy, time, and resources. We are reevaluating that and really bringing how we use social media into alignment with what works, what’s of service to you, and what is of service to us. This also goes into account with giving less and less of my energy away for free.
We’re also looking at extending our response times and communicating that clearly. I see a lot of businesses who have a 24-hour response time. We have had that in the past. You know what, I don’t think it’s necessary. I think you can have a 48-hour, 36-hour, and 72-hour response time as long as you communicate it. In case you haven’t realized, the world is not moving as fast as it used to be, in a lot of respects, people aren’t moving as fast. I think that’s a good thing. I want to encourage people to slow down. I want to encourage people to think through things, to have patience. Listen, I would love to be curing cancer here but that’s not what we’re doing. We are doing really important things, helping business owners pay themselves more profit wisely, generate wealth for themselves, deliver services to get exceptional results for their clients but we can respond in a longer time frame. I think when we communicate that, it’s in service to everyone as well.
The other thing that we’re doing is we’re closing the business two days a month to prioritize mental health. A lot of my people who work for me are contractors. They work for other people as well. They’re absolutely free to go and do what they want to do but I hope that everybody does consider taking time off for their mental health. We are not going to be communicating in our virtual workspace. I hope that this has a ripple effect. I hope that some of you really consider carving out that time for you that’s not on a weekend. My husband who runs a manufacturing business with 20 employees, he is testing one mental health day a month. I’m so proud of them. That’s not easy to do in the capacity that he needs to work in a physical location like that. I’m really proud of him for making this a priority as well.
Then I think the last thing is that when I’m considering prioritizing my mental health, that doesn’t happen in a vacuum, like I’m saying here, I’m hoping this has a ripple effect but we’re intentionally creating programs that consider how to reduce anxiety. This last year, we have gotten so many women into our program that have experienced anxiety and other programs that are just experiencing anxiety, worry, and stress in general in their business and how can we create a program, a learning environment that reduces that, that helps people feel like they’re continually making progress, that they’re succeeding, that they’re experiencing wins, and that they don’t feel like a failure because that’s also coming up is that they’ve taken programs and they have felt like a failure in the past. I can’t do a ton about that, whether or not you feel like a failure is ultimately up to you but I can be intentional in how we create this program to reduce those feelings and to address them.
Journal Prompts for Creating a Business that Prioritizes Your Mental Health
As we wrap up this episode, I want to leave you with some questions for you that you can journal about yourself to help you identify what you might want to do to prioritize your mental health.
- What purpose does your business serve?
- What purpose in your life does your business serve?
- How can you make your mental health a priority each day?
- What would your business look like if it didn’t heavily rely on the shoulds, on the fad marketing tactics, on maybe social media?
I’ve been asking myself this question probably since 2016. Actually, as a matter of fact, we created this podcast in 2017 as a way of removing our presence from social media and giving us another way to reach out, and engage. It didn’t take us off social media completely but it did reduce our reliance on it.
- What would make you feel excited and enthusiastic about getting up, and running your business every day?
- What would feel fun and exciting?
- How do you implement more profitable strategies, so you can keep more of your money?
Because money is self-care. When we have more money, that allows us to create different priorities. It allows us to prioritize our mental health. It allows us to buy ourselves back more time.
There’s this axiom around money doesn’t buy happiness and on a surface level, money for money’s sake wouldn’t do that, but why do you want these more profitable strategies? What is possible for you when you keep more of your money?
If you want to be exploring these topics in more detail, if you want more profitable strategies to help you grow your business, so you can pay yourself six figures, so you can prioritize your mental health, so you can funnel some of your profit into other cash-generating assets that allow you to build wealth, so you can make an impact that is deep and allows you to do your most meaningful work, then I want you to join us in The Bold Profit Academy. You can do that by going to and you can also do that by using our Revenue Goal Calculator to help you give your money a purpose and help you give yourself a really clear revenue goal. Really help to find that purpose that your business serves in your life.