Pioneering as an entrepreneur has been the most exciting, torturous, confusing, certain, and fulfilling time of my life. Often, I am completely exhausted by day’s end, in a good way. It reminds me of the same exhilarating exhaustion I experience the first six months of living in a new city. That time when you have no idea where you are going or where anything is and something as simple as navigating home becomes a complexity. Nevertheless, in most instances, the magic, the spark, that drives entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs comes from the pursuit of their diverse passions.
The aforementioned sentence is something I remind myself of daily, it is what keeps me inspired to create time and space to pursue what I love. I understand entrepreneurialism is hard-work and being from the Midwest, hard-work is something I love. I’m sure I could “hustle harder” and “be further” than I am right now. Yet, as I venture down the road of pursuing new projects, I am committed to staying true to my heart and I have found it’s the following 7 things that most keep my entrepreneurial spirit sparked:
1. Acceptance of a Non-Normative Schedule
I weigh all seven days equally. For me, I have learned running errands is more efficient midday on a Tuesday and fortunately, I am in control of my schedule, so that’s when I go. Furthermore, I do a lot of my most creative work early in the morning and late in the evenings. And, I often connect with friends midday during the week because that is when it is convenient for me. For awhile, I mentally struggled when I rested on a weekday or worked on a weekend. And now, I am learning to do what supports my schedule best regardless of day or time.
2. Putting on My Oxygen Mask First
As I write this post, I have other deadlines for The Julia Sparkman Agency and other clients I need to address. I am confident I will complete my tasks; however, I am committed to writing a post weekly for myself and it is Saturday and not finished, so I made this my first priority.
The Julia Sparkman Agency is not Julia Sparkman. Any entrepreneur or any worker, for that matter, can take the underlined words from the previous sentence and first exchange their place of work/business/startup and then their name.
To keep my spirit sparked, I must spend time working on my projects.
3. My People
My closest circle, the people I spend a majority of my time with, is relatively divergent. I teach private yoga to business executives, a logician, and an artist. My closets friends are wildly successful, pursuing their own things: one runs a nonprofit, another is the Founder/CEO of a yoga subscription box, there is a financial maverick, one dear friend owns a Pilates studio, the list goes on….. Also, teaching at a variety of yoga studios exposes me to a plethora of amazing people.
Level water seeks level water.
4. Repeating the Mantra: Discipline Creates Freedom
I am an avid listener of The Tim Ferriss Show. I strive for a utopian of efficiency and optimality, yet I am a free spirit and I love spontaneity. The foundation of all of my pursuits rests upon my disciplined practice of morning meditation, followed by hot water with lemon and eating breakfast. Keep in mind, I have to be at a yoga studio to teach two days a week at 5:30AM. So, to accomplish my routine, I must wake up no later than 4:40AM.
At first, it was painful (and it still can be depending on what time I go to sleep). However, this simple act of discipline enables me to live the rest of my day more freely (every time). When I first started, I would skip my routine on the days I had early mornings. I did not notice a real shift in my life until I started meditating everyday. I’ve learned, I must start with something I can commitment to, then add on. What began as a five minute meditation is now the best twenty minutes of my being.
At first, I took a myopic approach presenting my services and identifying my market. As a consultant and creative partner, it is essential I stay open to the needs’ of my clients. Initially, I tried to tightly package my offering and approach and that stifled my creativity. Now, I am finding greater success and personal enjoyment through simply listing my offerings and allowing conversations to natural evolve into a project. I look forward to rolling out TheJSAgency.com 2.0 soon!
6. Historical Reading
It’s easy for me to get caught up on screens, communicating strictly with emojis and bitmojis, living my life from apps. So, for me, it’s healthy to remain grounded in history and continuously expose myself to literature with the proper English and grammar we lost to the twentieth century. Biographies are my favorite, I am currently reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley — I am finding many parallels and lessons relevant to my daily life. As I build for the future, I find it most helpful to understand and reflect upon history, from diverse contexts and perspectives.
7. Making Health a Balanced Priority
In some way, shape, or form, I move everyday. My diet is a balance of raw fruits and vegetables, burritos, and pizza. I’ve learned, all it takes is fifteen minutes of movement to make me feel good. An hour class is obviously preferred, but if fifteen minutes at home is all I have, it is better than no minutes and keeps me accountable and on track. For nutrition, I literally eat raw carrots and spinach everyday — I crave it. I do my best to eat seasonally, too. I also eat dessert everyday. And, there is not a week that goes by without a burrito and pizza.
I schedule meditation/yoga/Pilates/running/hiking/time outdoors into my day. If I am not taking time to enjoy life, eat good foods, and move, my work does not manifest the same. Healthy balance is essential to my best performance.
I say I am going to do seven things, then I do eight. Entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs because they want to go above and beyond. I keep my entrepreneurial spirit sparked by continually surpassing my own personal expectations with a full heart.