EP 102 - January CEO Debrief

January CEO Debrief

We have something new for you today and that is that we have a new series on the podcast where monthly I will be debriefing my month. And the reason why I’ve decided to do this monthly debrief for you is a few reasons and I want to share them here with you today, since this is our first debrief episode. 

One, we’re doing these debrief episodes for your accountability. When I did my end of year review last year, I was able to identify times throughout the year where I drifted and lost sight of my priorities. And that’s strange because I’m an incredibly organized, and focused, and structured human being. So, I know that if I’m losing sight and I’m drifting, then there’s a really good chance that you are too. So, when you see my monthly debrief come up on this podcast, I’m hoping that triggers you to do your own debrief and throughout the year we’re going to be giving you some tools and resources to help you do your own debrief.

When you see my monthly debrief come up on this podcast, I’m hoping that triggers you to do your own debrief and throughout the year we’re going to be giving you some tools and resources to help you do your own debrief.

The second reason why we’re doing this is because it leverages my strengths. As I mentioned, some of my gifts are the ability to stay focused, organized and put structures in place for consistent action. This is one of the best ways I can share those gifts with the most amount of people and potentially have the greatest impact.

Three, transparency. Transparency is a core value of our business and I want to continue to take you behind the strategy and share more of myself with you. I’m here for creating more intimate spaces in the vastness that is the internet, places where small business owners can land during challenging moments as well as those times of joyful celebration. 


My first question that I am asking myself this month and that you can ask yourself, this is how it works. I go, you go: What was your area of focus for this month? So when you started this month, did you say, “Here is the thing I’m focusing on, here is the theme, here is the goal.” What were you getting present to in the month of January?

And the thing that I was really getting present to this year in January were two things. One, starting the year slow. I always, always, always roll out slow for the year because I’m pacing myself. 365 days is a really long period of time, even though we feel it goes by in the blip of an eye. So I really slow down in January and really plant those seeds. We also have a method here at The Bold Leadership Revolution called SLOW. So this is my word for the year because if I’m going to be teaching a framework or a method called SLOW, I damn well better be embodying it. So you’re going to hear me talk a lot about slowing down, the importance of slowing down, the results that we get when we slow down, the importance of it. Why you should do it. I’d be giving you a framework for how you can slow down and contextualize something that is so foreign to high achievers everywhere is this concept of slowing down. So my focus this month was slow. And then my second focus this month, which was intertwined, was around habits and boundaries. Exploring what next level boundaries look like for me and holding firm when required. 

So, how am I doing slowing down? I’m actually quite happy with how I’ve been doing slowing down. Now, we’re only a handful of weeks into the new year, so it’s really hard to test this right now, but I’m off to a good start and that’s really what matters and that’s what I’m going to be celebrating and really proud of myself for. And really what I’m doing is slow, our method, the SLOW method, I’m going to give you what it stands for so you have our frame of reference for what I’m talking about here.

The SLOW method, I’m going to give you what it stands for so you have our frame of reference for what I’m talking about here.

S stands for step back and reflect, create the space to step back and reflect. 

L stands for lower pressure and expectations, and I believe that many of you need to focus on that L right now. Lowering those pressure and expectations that you have of yourself. 

O stands for owning the now. 

And W stands for what’s next? 

This helps people who are used to going at the speed beyond reality. Take a step back, lower those pressure and expectations, own what’s happening right now in front of them so they can clearly see and move on to what’s next.

So how am I slowing down? How? Right now I’m focusing on the O, owning the now. And there’s two ways that I’m doing this. And actually there’s more than two ways that I’m doing this. I’m going to talk about it throughout this episode, because I really want you to have a visual of what it looks like to own the now. So one, I’m slowing my work down so I can focus on each and every woman in my mastermind. That is what is happening right now. Our mastermind has started, we are onboarding these women with integrity and love and to fulfill our value around each woman feeling like joining this mastermind was their greatest act of self-love, to be supported in this way. And in order for me to do this I cannot be focused on what’s happening next. I have to be present in this moment and owning the now is about presence. I’m also slowing down my work with my one-on-one clients to make sure we are fully present with each other and what we want to co-create together this year. I’m slowing down our personal spending, and we are having a no spend month so we can get clear right now on what our current habits are around money. So if we need to make changes and we want to make changes, if we want to be identifying what’s next, we need to know what is happening right now. We need to own and take responsibility for what our spending looks like right now and what our habits are right now.

And the fourth way that I’m slowing down, and owning the now, is I want to be a faithful documentarian of my life and my business as this helps me keep my priorities front and center. Sort of along the lines of what we’re talking about with these monthly debriefs.

What am I the most proud of this month? What are you the most proud of in January of 2020? I’ve got four things: I’m most proud of finishing our web copy after putting it off for two weeks while on vacation. And let me tell you something, that was a real beast to dig back into after taking two weeks off completely from business. Having to put my brain back to work in that way was really challenging. I may or may not have had a few temper tantrums about it, but I got it done and it is back to the copywriters and I am super excited and proud of myself for doing the thing that I was quite unwilling to do. I didn’t want to do that when we returned to work. The other thing I’m most proud of is getting clarity on the overall business model and how all the pieces fit together. Identifying a way to add multiple six figures of profit next year. 

Now, you might say, “Well, Tara, you’re already in business. You just were sharing with us that you’ve had, like hello, the most success you’ve ever experienced and what do you need to gain clarity on?” We always need to be gaining clarity on where we are so we can see what’s next. And when you stop and own the now, what’s next becomes obvious. And that has been what was happening for me this month is that as I was owning now, what was in front of us right now, I started to gain clarity on how we’re going to be evolving our business model and how all the pieces fit together and identifying ways that we could be adding multiple six figures in profit, not revenue, in profit next year. It is so clear in my mind right now and that is what I’m most proud of is that when you slow down, you really are able to speed up.

It is so clear in my mind right now and that is what I’m most proud of is that when you slow down, you really are able to speed up.

The other thing I’m proud of is I said “no” a lot. I turned down opportunities that would have taxed my time and my attention. I turned down revenue opportunities, big revenue opportunities that were going to tax my time and attention for what I have planned in the next 30 to 90 days. Now, I’m hearing a lot from my clients that they’re doing this, that they have turned down revenue that didn’t feel aligned, that was a mismatch for their energy and amazing things are happening for them and for me as well. Other opportunities, the ones that are more aligned, the ones that are more focused on our zones of genius are showing up for us. So while I turned down these opportunities, I’ve also had multiple new opportunities this month show up that I am overjoyed to be participating in.

Next question, how have you embodied your word of the year? So many times we set the word that we have for the year and pretty much by the middle of February we’ve forgotten about it. Well, here’s the thing, I am not going to let you forget about the word that you chose for this year. That is a very important word. That is your intention. You chose that from a place of deep introspection, and focused clarity, and worthy intention. And I’m not going to let you forget what your word was for the year. So, how have you embodied your word for the year? Have you embodied your word for the year? Now this is a wholehearted yes for me. I’m laser focused on SLOW, making sure I have plenty of time to step back and reflect, that I’m lowering my pressure and expectations mainly by keeping my calendar light. So we all put pressure on ourselves and have expectations of ourselves in various different ways in our business, in our life and with ourselves. And it shows up. When you start to really tune into and ask yourself these questions around pressure and expectations, you start to find clues and data around how you operate in this world. And some of my clues come from my calendar. I have a tendency to overfill my calendar, so I really need to look at lowering pressure and expectations specifically around keeping my calendar light, not feeling like I have to chase, or strive, or that I’m gunning for goals. And usually when I’m in a chasing, striving, gunning for goals pattern, we’re going to start to see my calendar filling up very quickly. And it is a huge warning sign for us that I’m not in the right mindset, that I need to step back, that I need to be slowing down, that we need to be having conversations behind the scenes with the team.

It is a huge warning sign for us that I’m not in the right mindset, that I need to step back, that I need to be slowing down, that we need to be having conversations behind the scenes with the team.

I am owning the now by asking myself questions that focus my attention here now and I want to share some of them with you today, since we are really talking about that O in “owning the now”. And that is what’s possible for me today? What opportunities are here now? I’m not chasing opportunities, I want to dig into and explore the opportunities that are already here. How can I reduce stress and pressure right now? Right now, in this moment. This has given me the time and space to embody my two other words: Heal and teach. I’ve been able to slow myself down and in doing so, slow down my eating, slow down how I’m putting food in my body, which has allowed me to eliminate the foods that I’m intolerant to. And this has been a huge struggle for me. Full disclosure, my entire life, but primarily over the last six months, because I did have some testing done and I found out that I have about two and a half pages of food intolerances. 

And people, this takes a lot of time and attention. There is no gluten, no dairy, no olive oil. I’m allergic to olives and olive oil. No eggs. Okay, so write that in there. You hear like, what am I even going to, I start freaking out around what am I even going to eat for breakfast? No eggs, no gluten, no dairy, no olive oil, right? And those are just the biggies. There’s other ones on there as well that give me two and a half pages. Cilantro is on there. Bay leaves are on there. Wine, yes, I’m intolerant and allergic to wine, that’s on there. There is a whole bunch of things that I cannot be putting in my body. And that takes some time to figure out. It takes some time to prepare foods that I can eat, look at my mindset around how I’m eating. So instead of telling myself, because I’m intolerant to all those things, I don’t know what to eat for breakfast. I’m just not going to eat breakfast. I have to reframe my mindset around breakfast, lunch, and dinner and not associate specific foods with one meal of the day or another. And really, this has allowed me to tune into what my body is telling me, because even yesterday I ate something that I should’ve been able to eat and I didn’t feel great after I ate it. Right? 

So I need to slow down and get present to listening to my body and what is happening there so I can heal. My word of the year, heal. Now, slowing down has also helped me in terms of teaching. I’ve been getting to bed earlier each night. The ideal time for me to wake up is around 5:00 AM, so getting to bed at a decent time that allows me to wake up around 5:00 AM, because this provides me with the space, the silence, the solitude to do my deepest work. And when I do that work, I have pages worth of business development, including the new ways that I want to be working with people and frameworks to help me teach the information most needed by business owners. So slowing down has also helped me find the resources and the vehicles and the tools that I want to be bringing forth to provide a better educational experience for business owners. 

Now, I want to check in on money, because money is definitely an important part of running a business. It is an important thing for me, who has a value around abundance, and I will be the first to tell you that you don’t need money to feel abundant. There’s other places in life that you can feel wealthy and abundant and rich. One of my favorite stories is that John and I were going to a party. It was a Halloween party, and my mom was watching the kids that night. They were sleeping in her house. So, on the way to the party we stopped off in this local village and we went to a pub for dinner, grabbed like a burger or whatever it was that we had. It was a really easy meal. I think maybe dinner cost $50 and that was with tip. And then we had some time before the party and we were walking around town holding hands. And I looked at John and I said, “This is really rich. I feel like the wealthiest woman right now walking around town and holding your hand.”

And it had nothing to do with money or any of those things. It was just the opportunity for us to be present with each other, have a conversation that wasn’t interrupted a bunch of times. So, while money is important, and I am checking in on that because I don’t want to lose sight of the financial goals that I have and the wealth that I’m looking to build for myself. And really the fact that I’m here to help more people set and hit their financial goals. So this is an important topic to me and I think it’s an important topic for each of us. Because what I find most often happens, especially around money, especially around business owners and revenue, is they feel like they should be further along. They feel like they’re not making enough money. They feel a certain way about their money.

Your feelings are only a small part of the equation. I want to honor your feelings and the facts are important. We need to have the data. 

But the reality is that’s only part of the equation. Your feelings are only a small part of the equation. I want to honor your feelings and the facts are important. We need to have the data. So, I need everyone checking in on their money, their revenue, their profit, the sales they’re making, right? So how do you feel about money, revenue, profit, sales? This doesn’t have to be a dissertation. And then I want you to go find the facts to back up or disprove what you are feeling.

So, personally, I’ve never felt better when it’s come to my money, my revenue, my profit, my sales. I have clear financial goals each month that are separate from my revenue goals. Taking what I’ve learned over the last five years, building on it and applying it feels quite badass, to be honest. I’m ready to really own my financial prowess proudly. I feel like I have more than enough to make strategic decisions over the next 90 to 180 days. And our cash flow report indicates that that is true. So, while I feel this way, it is also true.

Personally, we are on a no-spend month and this has been phenomenal, bringing with it a tremendous amount of clarity around even eliminating things that I didn’t expect. Having a no spend month has really eliminated a lot of decision fatigue. It’s created more ease in my life and has me focusing on what really matters to us. We’re actually committing to another month of no spending with maybe a tweak or two. And I plan on debriefing our no spend month quite deliberately, and diligently, over the next few months. And I do want to start talking about this more, because I think it brought forth a lot of important lessons for both my husband and I, and my kids, but really it has gone a long way for me to lower pressure and expectations around revenue and revenue growth in the business when I can see that on our personal side, we are being more discerning with how we spend money.

Now, if you have answered this question and maybe you don’t feel great about money right now, maybe you’re feeling fear and you’re feeling scarcity, but then you went and actually looked up your numbers and saw that you’re in a much better position than you were. Yay! This is frequently what happens with my clients. However, if you don’t feel great about money and you went and you looked at your reports and you’re like, “Wow, I think there’s room for improvement here,” which listen, we all have room for financial improvement. What do you want to improve financially for next month? For us, for me, I’m going to continue with my current set of financial goals. There are a lot of goals there that are around saving for the long term around retirement planning. Really, really creating and building wealth. And we are also going to carry the no spend month through February.

I’m a very habitual person. I love taking time out of my life and my business to really focus on those habits. Like the 20% of what I do that yields me my 80% of results.

What habits helped you perform your best? I’m big on habits. I’m a very habitual person. I love taking time out of my life and my business to really focus on those habits. Like the 20% of what I do that yields me my 80% of results. So, in bed by 9:15 right now is helping me perform my best. My skincare routine, y’all, I am obsessed with skincare. It is my jam! And the reason why I have become obsessed with skincare, very vulnerable share here. I don’t do well in the winters. I live in the Northeast, in New York, it gets very gray, it’s cold, it’s dark, and it’s very brown out. And I get a bit of seasonal affective disorder and I can get really, really blue.

And working from home doesn’t always help, because I can … as an introvert, I can hermit with the best of them. I can hermit really hard and I could not leave my house, right. So, what I found last year were there are a few things that were absolutely essential to me feeling not depressed and feeling really good about myself and improving my mood and somehow skincare came out as a main habit. There’s something about cleaning my skin, about moisturizing and taking the time to really care for myself in that way. I don’t know, maybe there’s actually some science here because your skin is like your largest organ on your body. I don’t really know. But the point is, is that my skincare routine needs to be spot on, especially during the winter. And this is a habit that helps me perform my best. I don’t need all the makeup in the world, but I invest heavily in good quality skincare. And listen, if you ever want to jam on skincare, just go on over to Instagram and let’s start a conversation about skincare, because it’s my favorite.

Now, the other habits that are really working for me right now are taking out the foods that I’m intolerant to. No gluten or dairy or eggs or any of those things. It has changed my mood tremendously and maybe this also has something to do with my seasonal affective disorder is what I’m eating. So, really, being very diligent in discerning around the food that I’m consuming right now is helping me perform my best. And the last two habits that I’ve created were evening walks, where I’m getting my dogs out, I’m going out in the evening. It is making it feel like the days are a little longer. It gives me something to look forward to. It’s helping me move my body and get my steps in. So these evening walks have been really important for me to keep on my calendar most days of the week. The other habit that I’m really keeping on my radar right now is an hour of reading and journaling, and that’s a minimum. I spent time over the Christmas break writing on some days for hours, for hours! That is how I process my thoughts. That is how I process my emotions. That is how I stay on track with my goals. Writing, writing, writing, writing, writing.

Now, what was time well spent this month? Ask yourself that question. What was time well spent?

Now, what was time well spent this month? Ask yourself that question. What was time well spent? So, time well spent for me looked like time in conversation with other human beings. And I’m an introvert. So, this might shock people, but I really like listening to others talk. I really love to be in conversation with people, the right people. [laughs] I’m selective in the humans I choose to conversate with. Other time well spent has been resting and doing less, reading more, writing more.

And now, what were my best lessons? What have been your best lessons this month? What are the things that you want to take forward with you into next month and do them again and again and again? So, my best lessons where the value is in slowing down. Saying no to good things makes room for the very best things. All right. I don’t know if anybody can relate to me on this one, but the tree came down a week later than usual and I didn’t die. That was a big lesson, right? Lower that pressure and those expectations. The tree came down a week later than usual and I didn’t die.

Training puppies is hard. Training puppies is hard, guys. And I can do hard things. So, I am really putting some time and attention into training my pups. I am showing that on Instagram. So, if you are a dog person, come on over and give me a high five. 

Also, one of my best lessons is narrowing my energetic focus was a really good use of my time. Really being mindful of where I was putting and placing my energy. Now, I always have, for my monthly debriefs, an additional note section. And the reason why I have this is everything that you write here is data. This is data. This helps you year after year plan for what your year looks like. 

So, you’ll frequently see things in my additional notes section that looked like no winter snow storms. We’re having a mild winter in New York right now. We haven’t had any snowstorms. There have been other years where I’ve noted in April that we had snow. And that’s important for me to be keeping on top of as somebody who works from home, as somebody who has kids that these things could be unexpected and that we need to really plan ahead to make sure that if we get hit with a few days, where the kids are home from school, that I can step back from work and really allow myself to be present with them and not have to be doing too much juggling of all the things.

Now, another note that I have here is that my daughter got the flu. This is another thing, having a sick kid, no matter what age, is emotionally and physically exhausting and wreaks havoc on work from home parents. So, I know that every year, somewhere between January and March, my kids get sick. They don’t get sick often, but it’s usually once each and I know that at those times I need to be more present for them than I am for my work. It’s just super frustrating to be trying to work while she’s calling for me that she’s not feeling well. You may even be able to hear her coughing and hacking in the background of this podcast right now. 

So there’s always this additional notes section. Because when we capture what we’re doing in real time, on a month by month basis, it helps us create a process and procedure for both our life and our work that we can follow month to month. So, I capture what’s happening each month on my calendar and then I know, when we go into plan, or when I have to be doing tasks, when I need to be delegating, or when we’re looking to have a launch. I know what typically goes on in my life each month. I know what typically goes on in my business each month, because I’ve been recording it and documenting it for years. It’s without fail. There are themes that you can see happen like sick kids, January through March.

I know what typically goes on in my business each month, because I’ve been recording it and documenting it for years. It’s without fail. There are themes that you can see

Now, I hope that you found this debrief episode useful. I certainly enjoyed sharing this stuff with you. I want to know how your debrief for January is going. So please, please, please, come share your thoughts with us over on Instagram. You can do your own debrief post and tag me. I’m @TheTaraNewman

I often share lessons learned on this podcast. It’s one of my favorite things to be able to do. And I’m able to do this because of a strong commitment I have to radical self-reflection. This commitment means that every week I’m looking at what’s happening in my business and in my life. The good, the bad and, yes, occasionally the ugly. Doing this work allows me to look at my months and even my years with real data, even for the less tangible parts of my business and life.

I call these weekly meetings, CEO Debriefs and I do them twice per month inside The Brave Society. We do them together. I have pulled together some of the highlights from CEO Debriefs that I’ve done inside of Brave and I’m sharing the best of the best with you. You might’ve heard a couple of these on the podcast, but I want you to take it a step further and feel what it’s like to do these with us inside of The Brave Society. So, head on over to my show notes and sign up now to receive 10 CEO Debrief questions you will want to ask yourself. Plus, listen in on some of the most popular shares that I’ve made.

Listening to someone else’s debrief is a great way to find the language for what you’re experiencing, get a concrete example of radical self-reflection and learn how to grow your business because it’s oftentimes not what we think.

If you found this podcast valuable, help us develop more bold leaders in the world by sharing this episode with your friends, colleagues, and other bold leaders. Also, if you haven’t done so already, please leave a review. I consider reviews like podcasts currency, and it’s the one thing you can do to help us out here at The Bold Leadership Revolution HQ. We would be so grateful for it. Special thanks goes to Stacey Harris from Uncommonly More, who is the Producer and Editor of this podcast. Go check them out for all your digital marketing and content creation needs. Be sure to tune into the next episode to help you embrace your ambition and leave the grind behind.

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