AMY PORTERFIELD: “When I think back on my mental health over the years, it's very apparent the most—I think the most apparent—of how I was feeling emotionally: I was tied to the success or struggles of my business.
“Last year, in 2021, I missed a lot of goals. I still had a very successful year, by all accounts, but I had set some really big goals for myself. And the first time, in a long time, I didn't hit them. And if you’re an O.G. of this podcast, you’ve probably heard me say twenty times in my podcast episodes in 2021, ‘Ugh, this is a rough year for me. I’m really struggling this year.’
“I did a podcast where I talked about how my depression came back. And looking back, I'm thinking, ‘Holy cow, there is such a correlation between how I feel in my business—no matter how much money it's making or anything like that, how I feel in terms of success—and what my mental health looks like.’ And that is alarming to me, or at least it was alarming to me, and it's something that I've really been paying attention to.
“Now, I truly wish this was something I realized earlier, but I probably didn't have the capacity to realize it in the past. But now that I am realizing it, I'm deeply committed to creating value and purpose and attaching my identity to the things outside of my work that bring me joy and meaning.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started.
AMY: The Duct Tape Marketing podcast, hosted by John Jantsch, shares marketing tips, tactics, and resources for small- to midsize-business owners and marketers. John recently did an episode where he talked about the topic of analytics, specifically tracking results either for your own business or your clients who you work with. The episode’s called “What You Should Be Tracking in Your Marketing Efforts and Why.” And I know my audience. I know you love to know benchmarks and numbers and analytics and what you should be tracking. So you are going to love this episode. He also talks about the other marketing aspects, like how to support your customers and build an online community.
So, you can listen to the Duct Tape Marketing podcast wherever you get your podcasts. Enjoy.
Hey, there. Welcome back to Online Marketing Made Easy.
I wanted to check in. How are you feeling today? If there was one word that best described how you're feeling, what would it be? I think for me it would be relaxed. We just celebrated Hobie’s birthday and had a great weekend doing that, so I feel refreshed and ready to dive back in. But listen, the word is not always relaxed. Sometimes it's stressed or confused or worried. I mean, right? We all feel those things. So no matter what you're feeling today, just know that you're not alone, I'm glad you're here with me today, and hopefully, you'll walk away from this episode feeling inspired and ready to jump back in. So let’s do this.
If you listened to episode 478—it was called “_____(04:02—I show that it’s called “30 Days Unplugged: Lessons from My Sabbatical) Five Weeks Unplugged: Lessons from My Sabbatical”—you heard me talk about how I realized that the core of my being, my purpose in life, and my identity felt almost solely tied to the success of my business. I don't say that lightly. I'm not necessarily proud of it, but it is my truth. And during my sabbatical, without being in the daily dealings of my business, I started to feel a bit lost. I started to lose a sense of purpose.
Now, let me just say that this isn't something, again, that I'm excited about, I’m not proud about, but it did get brought to the surface. And to be honest, it's been something that's made me kind of embarrassed in the past because when people say, like, “Tell me about yourself. What do you do for fun?” I'm like, “Uhh, listen to business and true-crime podcasts,” and it makes me sound so boring, and I'm embarrassed. But it's true. I mean, don't get me wrong. I love to spend time with Hobie. We go to the lake. I love going on the boat. I learned how to wake surf this summer. So it's not like I don't do anything. But when you ask me, like, what I love to do and where I spend most of my time and what's fun to me, it really is my business.
So this whole experience of taking five weeks off gave me a bit of a reality check. And I had to stop myself and say, like, hold on a minute. My purpose, my identity, and quite frankly, my sense of well-being, it's more than just my work, more than my bank account, more than my social-media following, more than my podcast downloads, or dare I say it, the size of my email list, because when I let my identity rest on the success of my business, when I'm not hitting goals, can you imagine what that does to my mental health? And to be honest, when I think back on my mental health over the years, it's very apparent the most—I think the most apparent—of how I was feeling emotionally: I was tied to the success or struggles of my business.
Last year, in 2021, I missed a lot of goals. I still had a very successful year, by all accounts, but I had set some really big goals for myself. And the first time, in a long time, I didn't hit them. And if you’re an O.G. of this podcast, you’ve probably heard me say twenty times in my podcast episodes in 2021, “Ugh, this is a rough year for me. I’m really struggling this year.”
I did a podcast where I talked about how my depression came back. And looking back, I'm thinking, “Holy cow, there is such a correlation between how I feel in my business—no matter how much money it's making or anything like that, how I feel in terms of success—and what my mental health looks like.” And that is alarming to me, or at least it was alarming to me, and it's something that I've really been paying attention to.
Now, I truly wish this was something I realized earlier, but I probably didn't have the capacity to realize it in the past. But now that I am realizing it, I'm deeply committed to creating value and purpose and attaching my identity to the things outside of my work that bring me joy and meaning.
That being said, I'm also committed to achieving that while still loving the work that I'm doing and while still being very inspired and connected and intentional with the work in front of me and with all of you, those I get to serve.
I want the best of both worlds. I want a thriving business that I love to work in and I love to create. And I also want interest and passions and connections outside of the work. And I believe we can have them both.
So one example of how I’m working to create this balance in my life is that Hobie and I are going to go fly fishing. Now, I don't know if I'm going to like it, but I have this idea in my head that it looks so beautifully quiet and kind of meditative, and I love to be out in nature. And now that I've moved to Tennessee, there's so many beautiful places to go fishing. And listen, I'm not a super-outdoorsy girl. In fact, when I told Hobie that I wanted to go fly fishing, he looked at me, kind of like he cocked his head, and he’s like, “Really, babe?” But then I said, “Okay, well, we need to go fly fishing on my terms.”
So my mentor, Michael Hyatt, told me about this concierge fly-fishing trip, where in Tennessee, in Knoxville, near Knoxville, there's this place called Blackberry Farm, and it's in the Smoky Mountains, and it's this very, very five-star hotel that Hobie and I, when we celebrate different things, we love to go there. And they have this guide, concierge fly-fishing experience, and I thought, “Let's just start out there.”
Now, some of you are rolling your eyes at me right now, like, “Amy, really. Get it together.” Listen, this is my purpose, my excitement, my joy, not yours. So you do your thing, and I'll do mine.
But have you ever seen that movie A River Runs Through It? It's with young Brad Pitt. I’m dating myself here. It’s a very old movie. But they fly fish in this movie. And if you watch this movie—it's a very good movie, for the record. Totally recommend it—but if you watch it, you're going to want to learn how to fly fish as well. I'm just saying. So being outdoors, near the water, I'm excited about this.
So I'm starting to ask myself, what are some things that I could try beyond this idea of fly fishing, which I may love, I may hate; I will absolutely be reporting back. Like, what are some things that might be out of my comfort zone that I'm willing to put my time and energy into outside of work?
Another thing I'm doing is trying to say yes to more things. If you've been with me for a while, you've probably heard me talk about how I said yes to everything when I was first starting out. Then I gained some success, and I flipped the script, which I think is necessary, and I started saying no to a lot of things just so I could simplify my business, take care of my bandwidth, and focus on what really matters.
Marie Forleo, years and years ago, taught me to get on the no train, where if something didn't light me up or wasn't an absolute hell, yes, then it was a no. And so I got really good at passing on some things that I just did not want to do. But as I'm looking for more purpose outside of work, I'm challenging myself to say yes when fun things come up.
Shonda Rhimes, who wrote one of my favorite books, The Year of Yes, she really embraces this, where she was in the kitchen one Thanksgiving with her sister, and she was talking about this opportunity that came up, and her sister said, “Well, you're going to say no. You say no to everything.” And in that moment, she realized, “Oh, my gosh. I really do,” and so she went on this journey of, “Well, if it excites me, even if it makes me very nervous, if there's something about it that draws me to it, I'm going to say yes.” And for things outside of work, I really do think that I need to start doing that.
You know, moving cross country from Carlsbad, near San Diego, all the way to Nashville, and now being in a new place for almost two years now, which is wild—again, you O.G.s would remember when I moved here. It feels like yesterday—but I have found that this move has kind of sparked me into saying yes more because I don't have as many friends here. I have more opportunities here because I haven't really explored. So I think that has helped a lot.
And also, speaking of saying yes, in the past I'd say no to things that would get in the way of work. “No, I can't do that. I have a work event,” or “No, I can't do that. I have a big project right now. I'm going to have to pass.” Now I find ways to move the work around so that I can say yes to things. And that was a little bit difficult. Especially with a team of twenty people full time that are supporting the business, when I say no to something, that might affect their job. They have to wait for me, or they have to change something around, and I feel really guilty about that.
And then I realized, wait a second. I am the owner of this business, and I do call the shots, and I wanted to build a business around my lifestyle. That was ultimately the goal even though I got off track a few times over the last many, many years. But if I do it in a way that's respectful and mindful of their time as well, then I could absolutely change things around to make sure it meets my needs. And that was just a mental shift I needed to work on.
So me saying yes to the fun so far has looked like taking the five-week sabbatical. Way out of character for me. I recently went to Alys Beach in Florida with some friends right before my DCA launch. I would have never done that in the past. It was probably exactly what I needed to jump into that launch with a clear head. So those are two things.
And I'm also making sure that I set and stick to my boundaries. This looks like being ferocious around my personal time, so my time with Hobie, my time with getting my walks in with Scout, with getting my workouts in, and also making time for friends. And I really have enjoyed that.
And then, also, just around putting my mental health first. So Jenna Kutcher and I talk a lot, like, personally, over text messages about our health and little biohacking things that we've been learning and doing. And I've seen a huge, huge shift in my mental health and my physical health and even my weight loss—you all know that that's something I've battled for many, many years—because I have boundaries around stuff like that now. Boundaries around every morning before I get started, I meditate, and I journal, and I go on a walk, and three days a week I do my weights. And those are little things.
But I'm sad to say that I wasn't prioritizing them. I go in seasons of totally on, totally off, where I don't want to be all in or all out. What I'm really looking for is imperfect consistency, making consistency a priority but not beating myself up when I'm not. And I think before, I'd get inconsistent, and then I just throw my hands up and say, “Screw it. Work’s more important. Let's just get the work done.” So anyway, those are just some things that come up for me.
But most importantly, getting back to the fly fishing or whatever it is, I want to find some hobbies. I'd be so curious—DM me. So I'm @amyporterfield on Instagram, and that's where I see—I can't see them all, all the time—but that's where I try to be really mindful of seeing all the comments and commenting back and all of that. DM me a hobby you have. I am so curious what hobbies look like for people that are growing their businesses and entrepreneurs. Please tell me. And I think if you kind of rush my DMs with your hobbies, maybe it will spark something for me. So this is a favor I'm asking, but it would be just so cool to hear, what are your hobbies? Like, what are some things that bring you joy, bring you purpose, give you peace? Like, what is it?
I haven't quite figured it out for me. And, you know, I don't think a hobby is, like, taking a sunset cruise on the lake with my husband. It's something I enjoy. But when I think about hobbies, it’s like, getting my hands in there, like, doing something.
And I have to warn you all, I'm not crafty. Like, sure, I could take up painting or knitting or quilting or something like that. It’s going to be horrendous, though. It's just, I've never been crafty, so I'm probably not going to choose a craft like that. But who knows? I might surprise you.
All right. So here’s why I think this is important for you. I've talked a lot about me in this episode, so I want to take it back to you. I have a feeling most of you are either in one or two categories, the first category being that you're just starting your business, so you're in it, you’re head down, and hobbies are the last thing on your mind. And I get this. I've been there. But if an experienced entrepreneur can give you a piece of advice, it's to take some time to pour into those experiences and moments that light you up outside of work, like, from the get-go. Make it part of the fabric of how you do business is that you actually also shine a light on things that are important to you outside of work.
So find moments, even just a few here and there, where you can make the time for those things. Don't lose them on your journey to building a successful business.
Now, the other category is that you're like me. You found your success in your business. You're thinking, “Amy, I could totally relate to this. My business is my everything. It’s my baby. And I can't think of the last time I found purpose elsewhere.” Well, don't you worry. We're in this together. So start making a list of the things you've wanted to explore, like fly fishing or anything else that you might want to do. Like, something that you just thought about a lot and you keep pushing back, and you're like, “That's silly. Like, I'm not outdoorsy. Why would I like fly fishing?” or just anything goes.
I really do think it'd be fun to start exploring that. And once you have a list, just a short list of things that you might want to explore, then you can start prioritizing. The work will always be there for us, my friend, and you can take the time to pour into other areas of your life. I actually think it will make the work even better.
When I look at other entrepreneurs who have done a wonderful job of finding that balance between finding purpose in their work and creating an identity for themselves outside of work, I see a very well rounded, happy, and grounded entrepreneur. And I pay attention to these things. And that's something I want for you, I want it for me, and it's something I want to see become the norm for successful entrepreneurs.
So that's why I thought I'd make this Shorty episode. So I hope you found it valuable. And thanks for hanging out with me here.
Listen, before I wrap up, if you would be so kind, would you invite an entrepreneurial friend to come hang out with us as well? You can just grab the link to this podcast and put it in a text message, send it to a friend, and say, “Hey, I thought that you might like this as well.” I would really appreciate it.
And if you love what you're hearing, make sure to follow Online Marketing Made Easy on any of your favorite listening platforms. And don't forget on Spotify, I have playlists of different major topics that you might be interested in, like content creation and launching and list building and other topics like that.
Thank you so very much. I'll see you on Thursday for more entrepreneurial goodness, same time, same place. Can’t wait.
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