Episode 10: Create an Encouragement Bank to Get Out of The Mental Rut

podcast Aug 06, 2019

Today I'm going to share an idea that will help keep you motivated and your spirits up when you have those icky moments of self-doubt or simply when this whole business journey just feels hard as hell.

I want you to keep all of the encouraging words people share with you. These come in the form of handwritten notes, direct messages, emails, reviews, and conversations. When the tough gets even tougher. Save them all. 

Put them into an encouragement bank where you can pull them out when you need those reminders of how awesome you are. These words will help you get motivated, inspired, and ready to take action again. Here's how to handle the three types of the message we receive. 

When you receive hand-written notes or cards, keep them. Either post them on a corkboard or create a keepsake box for them. BUT, keep the box visible. You'll need the visual prompt to open it up and read those notes of gratitude. 

For the electronic messages, online reviews, and texts you're going to save them in an electronic note like Google Docs or Evernote. Take a screenshot of the message or copy and paste the message. If you do this, make sure you capture the person's name, date, and time you received the message. 

You'll also run into people who will encourage you or you'll have very memorable conversations. Someone will share with you how you're changing their life or how much they appreciate bringing their kids to come and shop in your store. These need to also be captured and saved. Here I encourage you to journal about the conversation. Save in in the same place you save the other virtual notes, OR if pen and paper is your thing, get a journal specifically for these moments. Put it with your cards. 

This collection of words and messages is your encouragement bank. We all need to be encouraged every once in a while, and this bucket of goodness will be one of your best tools to get your out of the rut and back to taking action. 

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Read the Full Transcript:

Hey there, this is the DIY marketing school podcast. I'm your host and marketing coach, Melanie Dyann Howe. Today, I'm actually going to talk about how to create an encouragement bank, so you can get out of the rut and start taking action.

Okay, so today's episode is going to be a little different. And what I mean by that is, you know, normally I'm gonna, on this podcast, I talk about marketing and tips and tactics about marketing your business or yourself. Today, I'm going to get a little bit more into, you know, some tips that help with the mindset. Because, you know, when you're running a business, or doing marketing for a business, or just even thinking about building a business or starting a business, there's a lot of mindset things that happen. I mean, I remember when I first started my business and I announced that I was starting my marketing agency. I remember there were two camps of people... there were the people who were super excited, very, very positive, very much like, “Hey, this is going to be awesome, so proud of you, I think it's so so great like that, what an inspiration, you know, you're going to do great, it's going to be amazing.” Some of these people, you know, were also fellow business owners, others were not. And then there was the other camp of people who would say, you know, kind of like, “Oh, so cool. Congratulations, you're, about to work harder than you've ever worked in your entire life.” Or they would have this like, I don't know, this little caveat. It was like, “Hey, congrats, but…” you know, or “I owned a business... hardest thing I ever did. I, you know, I did it. And I came back, and I'll never, never looked back since I hated it.” You know, and I remember when I was in this very beginning phase, and I was just like, “Man, what is up with these people?” And, you know, here's the thing, though, I have thought back to some of those people and when you own a business, or you're self-employed, you go through some things that are pretty tough. I mean, you just,

even when things are like going great, it's hard… it's hard work! The stuff that those people, you know, said… the things that they said to me, it's not that they, I don't think that they always had, like, an ill intention there about, like, trying to be, you know, put me down in the dumps or make me, you know, like, regret my decision to start a business. I just think that they had been through this journey, and they were sharing that piece of it. And I will be honest with you, I do think that this is one of those things that unless you are an entrepreneur, or an aspiring entrepreneur, you know, and, and I'm putting anybody running a business or even an intrepreneur — a person trying to be innovative and be an entrepreneur inside of an organization — there is just something, that just is very difficult to put your hands on it and put your fingers on and, like, to be tangible about it. Like, it is just there... is a mental, there's a massive challenge. And when you put a bunch of entrepreneurs in a room together, they all know what this is. They all know it, they feel it, they all they've been there, they have felt it. And there are entrepreneurs that can work through those feelings. And then there are entrepreneurs that they can’t, and then there's everybody in between. And so, you know, the reason I wanted to talk about this topic on the podcast is because I do think that it is a reality of being in business for yourself, being self-employed. You, I mean, you have to show up for your business, regardless of how you feel, how much energy you have, or you know, the mood you're in. I mean, literally, like, physically, if you physically are ill, you have to, somehow, you have to show up, you still have to show up. And when you do this over and over and over again, and you don't get these, kind of, breaks, if you will… even if it's just like mental breaks, you don't really get to, like, leave your business. Mentally... you're always thinking about your business. It can be exhausting, it can be very, very tiring — it can also be very exciting. And that excitement and the passion that we put into our businesses can also wear us out. So I mean, I'm not saying that, like, you know, if you run a business, or you own a business, that it's like, awful and hard, and it's just terrible. I'm not saying that I'm just saying you go through these phases, or you go through these emotions, and there are times when you're really strong and you can work through those emotions. And then there are times when it's harder, it's a lot harder. And those emotions I'm talking about are sometimes self-doubt, sometimes just doubt in general, like, “Am I even doing the right things,” you know, “I'm putting all this effort in and this isn’t even working?” And it can be very difficult. And then it can get to a point where it's very hard to even make the next move. The other thing that can happen for entrepreneurs, especially as you're starting out, because a lot of the times, you know, entrepreneurs are starting out, they're basically working by themselves a lot, they're kind of a, you know, they're a soloprenuer, or they're, maybe they have one or two people on their team, but they may not even work with them, like, in-person. And that can also be, you know, challenging. Because you get into these moments where you're, like, you need that encouragement. You need that person to kind of… you need to bounce something off to somebody and you need them to be like, “Yeah, that's a great idea, go for it!” That can create energy for you. But when you're having to kind of give yourself that pep talk, it can be hard sometimes. And there can be these little voices that get in your head, that just make it almost impossible to take action. And any successful entrepreneur will tell you that to be successful in business and to be successful in your own business, you have to be the kind of person who can take action. You can't sit on things, you can't wait for the perfect, you know, scenario, you cannot plan, plan, plan... you will never execute, you've got to take action. Even if it's sloppy action, you know, they all say that. So the reason I'm sharing this is because I think that this can be difficult, it can be difficult to get yourself out of those mental ruts and to, you know, give yourself that pep talk, or give yourself that encouragement, or remind yourself why you're doing this. And speaking of, you know, why you're doing this, I hope that you are, you know, a passionate person about what you're doing. Because, as I mentioned, this is a hard journey, you know, this whole entrepreneurship journey... it is a journey, it's not an overnight successful thing. You've got to be able to stick with it, you've got to be able to stick with it for the long haul to truly see results. And to, you know, get to your dreams. And so you've got to go to work through these phases or these seasons of... “mental challenge” is what we'll call them, right? So what I want to encourage you to do, and it's an idea that I want you to explore and think about, and you may be doing this already, or you may be doing kind of a little miniature version of it...

But I want you to create an encouragement bank. 

And what an encouragement bank is, is it's essentially, like, literally a savings account of all of the positive things that people have said to you, whether it be, you know, a card or a note or even a conversation. And so, you know, you've got to keep this encouragement bank, because I want you to be able to go back to it and look at this stuff, and read these comments, and read these remarks, and these moments of encouragement in gratitude that these people have shared with you. Because there's going to be times when that's what you need to get yourself out... you need to remind yourself, “Hey, I am a difference-maker. I am helping people, I can do this! I can reach even more people, I can change even more lives just like this person's life I've changed, or I do have this special talent, I am really good at this. And I know it because this person said it, and this person said it, and that person said it.” And you can read these things to yourself, and you're going to need to do it. And so I actually have this and I have done this. And it is, I will say, I really do not even know why I started doing it. I just started doing it. And I'm so glad I have so many of these comments of encouragement and these remarks that do help me get out of that funk sometimes that we all can get into. So, basically, I'll share three ways that you can kind of, well, really, I want you to do all three of these, that you can create this encouragement bank. 

And so the first one is, anytime somebody shares with you, or gives you a card, like a thank-you card, or even just a card that's just like, “Hey, you know, congratulations,” you know... as you announce your business or as you, you know, hit these milestones and you start to do things, you will get notes from people. People will write you handwritten notes, handwritten cards — even if somebody writes you a Post-It note and sticks it to your door, your office door — these are notes and cards, and I want you to get a box, a keepsake box of some sort. And I want you to put these into this box. I want you to save every single one of them. And my hope is that you'll need to get a bigger box one day or multiple boxes. 

Another idea that you can do, that I know I've seen many people do, is you can get a corkboard. And you can put these cards up on the corkboard. And they're out and they're literally, physically out and you can see them. You can see them up and you can kind of flip them open. And you can read these little cards. And by doing it on a corkboard, it's a visual that you'll see almost every day, especially if you put it in your office. And it's just kind of, like, one of those things. It's kind of like the kids who get the A-pluses on their math quiz or their spelling quiz, you put it on the refrigerator. You want to celebrate that and you want to see it. It's very similar, very similar style. Now, if you're kind of a neat freak, like me, you may not love that cluttery look of the cards on a corkboard. And so again, the box… I have a keepsake box that I put all these notes in. But I will say that I keep it out, it sits out in my office. It's not in a drawer, it's not hidden in a cabinet... this box is out and I see it and I know what's in that box. So just like the corkboard of cards, that box, I know what that box represents. And what I love is that I can grab that box and I can open it up and I can kind of flip through a couple and grab a couple and just read some of these notes. Many of them are thank-you notes from people who I've met with or I've had coffee with or, you know, interns or people that I've mentored or things like that, they just send me a note. Some of them are from clients. Some of them are from partners I've worked with. Sometimes they're just from other people who just said, “Hey, you know, I read your article, and I did this and I just really appreciate your content.” These notes are gold to me, I love them. They really, really fuel me when I go through them and read them. And they're just really, really great to have. And I literally have all of them from the first card I got when I started my business. So I definitely want you to do that. Because we all get handwritten notes, we get cards. And if you haven't been keeping them, then I want you to start keeping them. And if you already have them and they're just kind of like randomly in random places, then I want you to think about this keepsake box or corkboard. And I want you to kind of get them organized. 

And now with that, another thing is that obviously it's, you know, 2019 right now, not everybody wants to write a handwritten note. You're going to get messages through email, you're going to get messages through direct message on social media, and you may even get reviews posted to your social media accounts. So these are kind of like the same thing that I was describing, but they're the electronic version of it. And so I want you to save these as well. And I think these are the ones that people tend to not save. I do think that it's not super uncommon for people to save thank-you notes, especially notes that they get for their business. But I do believe that a lot of people skip the step of saving the electronic versions of that very same thing. And so what I'm going to say is that anytime somebody sends you a message, an electronic message of encouragement or just that makes you feel good, then I want you to copy and paste it into a Google doc or open up Evernote and put a note together and just call it, you know, “Encouragement Notes.” And just make sure you copy and paste this information. And you could also do a screenshot of it as well and just paste the screenshot into either of these. That way, you can save all of these electronic encouragement notes. But I will say that if you copy and paste the message, I want to make sure that you also, you know, write down, type in here, the person's name, the date you got it and the time you received it. So the name or the time that they sent it, all that stuff, just capture all that detail. Because I just think that that goes back and just, you can look at something like “Oh, it was in 2014”, or “Oh, that was 2018... I remember what I was doing that year.” Just make sure you do capture that timestamp, if you don't do the screenshot, and if you copy and paste it. So I just think that, you know, that's one of the things that we skip — those electronic messages. 

But even furthermore, I think this third one is the one that we almost always skip, I don't think hardly anybody does this. And so this is basically when someone talks to you face to face, or even on the phone, they call you and it's not written down, and it's not in an electronic message… it is an actual conversation, where maybe you run into somebody or like I said, they reached out to you, they call you and you have a conversation with them and they share with you how, you know, you're changing their life for how much they appreciate your business, because they can bring their family in there, you know, and how much you just bring joy to them. And this may be, again, very specific to your actual business. Or it could be specific to you, as a professional or a person who is of influence. And I want you to capture these moments in a journal. You know, I think that we have these conversations and, yes, we can remember the conversation and they mean so much to us and of course, we don't forget them. But when we're in those ruts, it's really hard to, you know, be like, “Oh, let me think about a time I had a conversation with somebody who... let's see, when did somebody tell me how great I was…” It's just not going to come that simple. And it's not going to feel the same. But I want you to actually journal these, these conversations. And so you can do it either in the exact same Google Doc or Evernote where you're saving the electronic notes that you're getting, and just save it right in there. Or, if you're kind of a pen and paper kind of person, then get yourself a journal, you know, an actual physical journal or a notebook and make sure that this is the only thing it's used for. And I want you to journal those conversations. So again, whether you're typing this journal entry, if you will, or writing it into a journal, I want you to write down the person's name, you know, where did you run into them, why did you run into them, and I want you to share what they told you and I want you to try to use as many of their own words as you can, that you can recall, even if it makes you feel weird, like you're writing down these great things that this person said about you… I want you to do it. And then I want you to also write down how it made you feel. I want you to write down like why that warmed you up, and did it fuel you? Did it motivate you? Did it give you encouragement? Did it inspire you? Were you like, “Man, I wish I could go to the office right now and go do more of that stuff!” I want you to write that down and capture that as well. Because just like grabbing the thank-you cards out of the box and reading them, or opening up a Google Doc and reading these messages you receive from people, being able to read these journal entries about these experiences that you had when somebody shared this feedback with you is huge. I will tell you, because sometimes the thank-you cards are great, but other times you need to remember those conversations. Those are meaningful conversations. And what all of these things are... these remarks that people give you — whether it's an a card, or a message, a text, a phone call, or an in-person conversation — these are your reminders, this is your fuel. So when we have those moments where we're questioning what we're doing, or are we making a difference, or is this working… these are the moments when you dig yourself out of that rut, and you get going again, and you take action. And you can use this as fuel. So whether these remarks are from people that… they’re clients of yours that maybe you've made a difference for... that is fuel for you! Go find more clients, go change more lives! Or maybe they’re community peers, or peers in your industry, or just friends who are just really proud of you for what you're doing, and they believe in you and they're excited to see where you take it next. That needs to be fuel as well. It needs to up lift your spirits, and it needs to be your motivation. 

And so I'm sharing this with you because this has helped me. I mean, this has really been a great thing for me where I can grab that box. And the thing that is interesting is, the more you do this, the more you actually don't necessarily need to open the cards or don't necessarily need to read the information that you've saved in this Google Doc... you actually remember it and you know it. And so when you have those ruts, you can actually kind of just start to flip the switch. And you're like, “Nah, I got this, I got to keep going because there’s these people in that box right there that are counting on me.” And you don't even have to open the box, you've done it enough that just looking at the box or looking at the corkboard, it's enough actually, it's a cue. It's a trigger of an emotion that is what you need to push the take action button. And so this has worked well for me, I know that I know a lot of entrepreneurs who have talked about similar things where they save cards from people and they kind of create a visual, you know, whether they put them in a box, or whether they put them in a frame, or they put them on a corkboard... That visual is like their stimulation of, “Okay, I'm making a difference, this is working. This IS working, this is going to work, I am going to make this change, I am going to make a difference in these people's lives.” And that's what I want you to do. Because if you're an entrepreneur, if you're self-employed, or you're an aspiring entrepreneur, or you're thinking about starting a business, or you're brand new in this journey — you will face mental challenges. And I want you to know that I'm saying that to you because it's real, it's a real thing. And it is the reality of this world that we're in. And there aren't a lot of people that really get it. And so there's not a lot of people that can really help you through these ruts, except for people who have either been there before or are here with you. And we don't always have the luxury of being in a room with other entrepreneurs. We don't always have the luxury of getting to pick up the phone and talk to another business person that we trust that's going through what we're going through. And so a lot of times we have to take care of ourselves. And this is just one of those tactics where you can work through that. And I'm not sharing this, because... I'm not trying to, you know, scare you or make you feel like “Oh, man, I'm running a business. And it's supposed to be fun, like what’s she talking about.” I'm just being real with you. And I think that's what a lot of those people, as I mentioned, the story I told when I started my business, there were the people who said, “Hey, this is great,” and they were very positive. And then there were the people that had stories and they were the ones that knew. And I think that's what they were trying to tell. They were just trying to prepare me for those moments, these challenging moments that we face. And this is hard. And there's going to be days when it's really hard. And you're going to need to be able to pull yourself out of that rut and get going. And so I want to encourage you to create an encouragement bank. How's that for a double whammy? And, you know, like I said, this has worked for me. So I hope that you take the idea, and I hope you apply it. And you know, just stay positive, keep working, and keep taking action. And this thing is going to work, it is going to work. If you've got these words of encouragement from people, there's a reason for it, it's not fluff, so hang on to it, and use them, and create them, and put them into a bucket where you can make them fuel to motivate you and inspire you to take action. 

So that's what I've got for you guys today. Like I said, a little bit different than the normal stuff that we're going to be talking about on this podcast, but this is part of it. So a little bit of a mindset podcast episode today. I hope it was helpful. Let me know if it was. And if you haven't already, do me a favor and subscribe to this podcast. I am so excited about the upcoming episodes that I have for you guys, and I don't want you to miss them. And then, you know, like I said, being an entrepreneur, an online business or a marketer, DIYing it — it can just be a little lonely sometimes. And I don't want you to be alone. So I've actually got a community, it's called DIY Marketing with Melanie, it's in Facebook. So just search for that: DIY marketing with Melanie, join us, you're not alone. We are there to encourage each other, we celebrate with each other, and we ask questions and we get answers. And if someone in the group can’t answer it, then I work hard to find a way to get you an answer. Because again, that's the whole point of what I'm doing here is I want to help you, the DIY marketers, not be alone, but also feel empowered and equipped so that you could actually go do great things. So join us, DIY Marketing with Melanie, it's over on Facebook, just answer the questions and I'll let you in. Alright guys, until next week, I will talk to you later. Meanwhile, go be awesome!


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