5 Reasons To Celebrate Your Success

Celebration is an essential element of creating success. However, from what I’ve experienced it’s often forgotten and left on the shelf in pursuit of ticking off the next to-do item or moving straight onto the next project. Some view celebration as soft or slacking off – like we aren’t really doing anything. Nothing could be further from the truth. Celebration is a pivotal stage in the productivity process because it allows us to commemorate all the good that we do.

As kids we often get certifications that say 'congratulations' or 'well done'. But when was the last time you received a certificate that said ‘great job’. Has anyone even said those words to you recently? Sometimes, it’s easy to feel that our work goes unnoticed. We’re working alone or we’re the CEO of our company and there’s no one to give us feedback to praise our achievements.

What happens when we don’t celebrate our achievements? There is no reward. There is no recognition. The even bigger trap here though is not that others don’t recognise our achievements, but that we ourselves don’t. We expect ourselves to just keep going, slogging away at it as we strive for success. There is no warm, fuzzy feeling that inspires us to do more of the things we love. This lack or total absence of celebration translates in the impression or belief that we’re not yet worthy of acknowledging our own success or how far we’ve come.

Allowing ourselves to celebrate our achievements gives us the opportunity to be grateful for what we’ve been able to accomplish and recognize every small step. I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal for the past few years, a simple Evernote note and every time someone writes me an email or tells me what I’m doing is making a difference to them I put it in there. It’s made a huge difference to me in pausing, even for just a few seconds to reflect on what’s working and how far I’ve come.

Have I convinced you yet? If not, here are 5 good reasons to celebrate more often:

  1. Celebration recognizes that you’re good enough and you’ve done enough – as an entrepreneur there is always more things to do. It’s important to pause often to recognize how far you’ve come even if you haven’t completed your biggest goal just yet.
  2. Celebration helps you stay motivated and moving forward – if you never celebrate success life ends up feeling like an endless to-do list. While it seems counter intuitive to pause when you have so much to do, this time for reflection will keep you motivated and allow you to create sustainable success.
  3. Celebration builds self-respect – we can show ourselves that we’ve done enough and are worthy of celebrating. Others treat us according to how we treat ourselves so it’s critical we are good to ourselves and treat ourselves with respect.
  4. Celebration feeds our basic human need for self-acceptance and love – celebration is emotional nourishment, a reprieve from the harsh environment where we don’t often acknowledge and praise ourselves for all we do.
  5. Celebration shifts our focus to the positive – rather than focusing on what we haven’t done, shifting our focus to what we have done magnifies our self-belief. As Oprah says – “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”

What do you think? Are you celebrating enough? What have you accomplished recently that is reason to celebrate? How could you celebrate that would feel really good to you?


5 Ways To Switch Off Work Mode

Do you ever really switch off from work? 

I realized a few months ago that I was so focused my business that I was seemingly unable to get my mind off work. Then a client of mine asked me the same question - “how can I switch off from business mode?” So I started to dig a little deeper. I noticed that we had both fallen into the ‘always on’ trap and the fear cycle that comes with it.

So why do we feel compelled to stay in work mode? The answer is simple: fear. We’re scared that if we let go and ‘turn off’, something terrible will happen. Well, at least that’s been my experience. I like to compare this feeling to a rat on a wheel that keeps on running, stuck in a cycle. That’s what can happen when we are always thinking about work and don’t switch off. We just keep running. But just like that rat, we will eventually get tired and sick from all the spinning. In the same way that if we never take a break, work becomes more and more of a burden. We will start to resent it and lose the passion we once had for it. There is a perceived level of safety and security in staying on the wheel and for us, it means working long hours and staying in work mode. It makes us feel like we’re always doing something, we’re ‘busy’ but that doesn't always mean productive and effective. If we keep pushing ourselves, fatigue and burnout will take the best of us and we may be unable to keep going. The crazy part if you are an entrepreneur is that you probably chose to do the work you’re doing because you like it. If you’re a leader in a company, you probably got into your role because you desired the success from pursuing your career that industry. 

It can be counter-intuitive to turn off from work when you have so much to do. However, I’ve found that the times I have managed to do so have always turned into the most creative, innovative opportunities and have pushed my business forward in incredible ways. 

At some point you will have to take a break. By proactively switching off from business and making it a part of your life, your work will be sustainable, you will stay motivated and creative and most likely happier because you won’t be so exhausted all the time. 

I’d like to share a few secrets I use to switch off from business, even if you feel like you don’t have time and have a thousand responsibilities. 


1. Block out time before or after work in your calendar for non-work related activities.

Make time for your morning routine, to write, perhaps go to a yoga class or go for a run. I’ve found that it’s even more effective if you can book into something like a class so there’s an extra level of commitment.

Use this time to connect with yourself and think of the bigger picture. The current work you’re doing is a part of your journey but doesn’t define you so make sure it’s not the only thing that you do.


2. Turn off notifications on your devices

A pretty obvious one but very effective. Turn off all the notifications on your phone from Facebook, email, Instagram, WhatsApp or whichever ones are going to stress you out and make you think about work. 

One of my clients now turns her phone off at 2pm when she leaves to pick up her children from school. Her business is flourishing and she’s completely booked for the rest of the year. She’s now 100% present for her kids of 100% present for her work time. Amazing! Perhaps you could try something similar?

For me, I turn off all notifications on my phone that stress me out so I can be present and in the moment, whether at work or at home. It’s made a big difference.


3. Tech free weekend day

If you’re someone that finds it hard to take a break from technology you might like to try a tech free day once a week. Many religions make a ‘day of rest’ as an integral part of their week. I believe that even if you’re not religious, you can make your own day of rest and take a real break during that time to re-charge. 

There is a whole world out there to explore - use your weekends to take trips, go hiking, read a book (a real one made of paper!), see friends and family or do something creative. I’ve found that the weekends that I really do switch off from work, make the following week much more creative, focused and enjoyable. 

4. Mindset shift

A mindset shift is required here to believe that taking a break will be beneficial rather than unnecessarily distracting. This is a HUGE one for most people, myself and many of my clients included. I am a more effective leader if I make time to rest and recharge. For me, I know this is true but it can still be challenging to remember it all the time. If I’m struggling to believe that switching off will actually help, I make a quick mental list of the all the times I have done it that led to amazing results. In fact, I had the idea for my previous tech company while in the middle of the desert!

A good question to ask yourself is "What do I need to believe to allow me to switch off from work?"

5. Book a vacation

Changing your environment helps you switch off from business extremely fast. I’ve found it to be the most effective method for switching off from business and taking a real break. A three day weekend is still effective even if you can’t take a long vacation right now. 

When you take time to switch off you give others permission to do the same. 

Next time you're feeling overwhelmed, try one of these ideas and see if it helps you switch off from work mode.


How to conquer the fear of failure – 3 simple strategies

Whether it’s the constant pressure to succeed professionally, keep a balanced life, or seek perfection, the fear of failure is something we all experience. We live in a culture that is heavily driven by the over-achievement mindset, which makes us doubt our dreams and aspirations. Fear of failure prevents many of us from even giving our dream a chance. When we do trust ourselves enough to go for it, we tend to overachieve and end up burning our wings. It is critical to unlearn our old ways and implement new routines to work smarter and not harder.

Here are 3 proven strategies to overcome your fear of failure:

1. Reframe your fear of failure

Every time you fail you are learning new information that propels you forward. Reframing your goals to include your learning as well as success is critical to having the courage to take your dreams seriously. Remember that any great success comes with its fair share of failures. Every time you fail, recognize that you’ve learned something important and you’re on the path to success. 

Action step – Redefine what success means to you. You might reframe your success like Maya Angelou did as ‘Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.’ Redefining your goal by how much you'll learn instead of the achievement only takes the stress out of the task and reduces the fear of failure.

2. Tame your inner woolly mammoth

Fearing failure is often worse than actually failing. The failure we worry about is not life threatening, but our body responds with stress, anxiety and overreacts. 

Action step - When you feel stressed and afraid to fail, one way to confront your failure head-on is to ask ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’ See what arises. You might find that the worst is not all that bad after all.

Don’t forget to also wonder “How incredible could it be?” You’ll find your mind and heart expanding to fill the space that is created with this simple question. 

3. Trust yourself

We often second guess ourselves when we fear failure, thinking that someone will know better than we do. This is not necessarily true, so practice trusting your intuition and listening to your gut. 

According to UC Berkeley professor Martin Covington, the fear of failure is linked to your self-worth which is why it’s so critical to address. He found that people put themselves through a lot of heartache to avoid failure and maintain the sense that they are worthwhile. I’ve found it’s important to remember that I’m already worthy just as I am. It saves a lot of time wasted on procrastination and not feeling good enough. Instead of putting yourself immense amounts of pain, try trusting yourself instead. 

Action step - Next time the fear creeps in and you find yourself doubting your abilities, tell yourself “I allow myself to know best”. 

At the same time as trusting yourself, remember that you don’t have to go it alone. Reach out when you need it. By asking for help you are giving others the permission and courage to do the same.  

Fear of failure teaches us about ourselves, moves us to understand what drives us and ultimately allows us to realize we are ok just as we are. Confronting our fears gives us the courage to keep reaching for even greater heights. What’s something that you’ve been putting of because of fear? What do you need to believe to make it happen? Write your answers in the comments below.


5 Strategies to Beat Burnout

Are you mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted? Are you stressed by your responsibilities at work or at home to the point that you can’t seem to move forward? It’s time to act before burnout gets the best of you.

Although it can affect anyone in the workplace, I’ve found that leaders and entrepreneurs like you and me have distinct personality traits that can contribute to burnout. Such traits include perfectionism, the urge to control everything, reluctance to delegate to others, and a high-achieving, Type A personality.

As a result, many of us, including myself, have been burnt out in the past or are constantly on the verge of that dangerous state. Many of the strategies I now personally use and provide to clients are based on my experience:

  1. Redefine what “Success” means to you. The first thing you can do to avoid burnout is to stop being obsessed with perfection and ask yourself: 

    • What do I really care about?

    • How can I live my life with minimal regrets?

    • What makes my life and my work meaningful? 

    • Is my work currently in line with my values?

  2. Learn How To Say “No”. Define what are the most important tasks to your success. We know that 20% of our work creates 80% of the results. So focus on the top 20% of activities that are critical to your success. Cut out anything unimportant or unnecessary. Every ‘yes’ adds more to your plate and takes energy from you.

  3. Embrace a morning ritual. Start your day in a positive, grounded way. Strategies I use for myself and my clients. I always feel better when I start the day this way:

    • Set your intention for the day using the 5-minute journal

    • Clear your mind by journaling – try Julia Cameron’s “The Artists Way” to get started

    • Make exercise apart of your morning routine. Even 15 minutes can put you in a good headspace for the day. 

  4. Make downtime a daily ritual. Take time out everyday to reconnect with yourself and the world.

    • If you have time, get out into nature or the local park. Even a 5-minute walk around the block can help you get out of your own head and reconnect with yourself and the world.

    • Practice self-compassion – be understanding of others and find something to learn from individuals who are in your life, from coworkers to family members.

    • Get creative – allow yourself the time to Paint, draw, photograph and create. Creativity inspires, invigorates and helps you remember what matters most.

    • Make time with friends and family – allow yourself the time to connect with the people you love everyday.

    • Meditate – there are so many meditation resources available now. Try them and see which one you like – a favorite of mine is Breathe.

  5. Build your support team and ask for help. Having people that can support you on your journey is essential to your success. Start building your support team so that you have trusted people to talk to when you feel close to burnout. Reach out and tell those around that you are looking to be proactive and not allow yourself to be defeated by stress. Share these strategies with them and support each other, especially if they have similar high pressure roles or ambitions. I’ve found this is one of the best strategies for beating burnout and it’s an area we place a lot of attention on at The Inside Academy. 

What do you think of these strategies? What have you found helped you prevent burnout?

If you are already experiencing burnout, recognize it and allow yourself to experience those feelings. Know that you will have to change something and start limiting the activities that led you to burn out in the first place. Make space for yourself. Step 1 – take a vacation!

Ultimately, burnout teaches us about ourselves. It allows us to understand our own needs as leaders and entrepreneurs and give us the skills to succeed in a sustainable way.

About the Author: Alexandra Kinloch is a serial award-winning entrepreneur and business coach. She is the Director of The Inside Academy, has worked with large Silicon Valley firms as an innovation consultant and run a successful tech startup. She was named in the ‘Top Australian Female Entrepreneurs Under 40’ in both 2014 and 2015 and now uses her experience to help aspiring and early stage entrepreneurs create businesses they love.