How 10 Minutes of “Me” Time Can Change Your Life

How 10 Minutes of “Me” Time Can Change Your Life
I checked all of the boxes…

Go to college, get good grades while learning to live on coffee and Ramen, fielding late night calls from professors asking where I was because my project was not complete and on my desk at 11 pm almost a full day before it was due and reminding me that sleep was a luxury. Graduate with honors. 

Check. 

Get married to the true love of my life, my college sweetheart who I met by the grace of God 6 years before I finally felt I had accomplished enough to say I do. Thank you Jesus that you gave him patience. Lol…but seriously! 

Check. 

Get a good job that would require me to prove my worth in a field dominated by very conservative men. 

Check. 

Buy a house in a nice neighborhood and a car that didn’t require weekly repairs and “fit in” to said neighborhood. 

Check. 

Have babies and decide that it was best for our family that I leave my job to stay at home with them because my heart broke when I toured each and every childcare option and the cost was not justifiable when compared to my salary and expenses. 

Check. 

I thought at this point that I would slow down and truly treasure this time with the tiny person we had made, and I did, until my first baby started walking and we learned we were pregnant with our second and I was already starting my third business from home. Mom boss culture was my MO and I was officially addicted to “busy”. 

Seemingly in the blink of an eye my kiddos were 6 and 4 and as much as I loved the life we had built, I was constantly overstimulated, overstressed and I would seethe with jealousy any time I saw another mom post about a girl’s weekend somewhere. 

Then, I saw THE post. I’m not even sure who posted it, or exactly what it was about but I do remember that it was about the importance of “me” time which seemed to be a hot topic lately. I normally flippantly laughed these off and kept scrolling, but this time one of the comments caught my eye. A fellow mama said “My “me” time is on the toilet with the door open in the 30 seconds it takes my toddler to realize that I’ve “left her forever”. 

My first thought, oh my goodness! This girl gets it and I’m not alone!! My second, is this what motherhood is meant to be? What are we teaching our children if we are constantly modeling stress, overwhelm and unhealthy sacrifice showing up as skeleton versions of ourselves in order to meet their needs? If we are constantly telling them that Mama needs a break from them, what does that do to their self-worth? 

That’s when I knew that something needed to change and it had to be in a way that was realistic and sustainable for me, so I made a commitment to myself that I would find 10 minutes every day for “me” time. What would I do with that 10 minutes? At first, I just sat quietly, took a walk, journaled, read, or prayed. Whatever my heart told me that I wanted….not need….to do just for me at that time. The to-do list could wait.

I also told myself I was also not going to allow any negative thoughts to stick around in that 10 minutes so if any came in, I would picture a warm blanket being wrapped around it and gently push it away in favor of something positive. I allowed myself to dream, picture the ideal version of myself doing exactly what she was put here to do. 

Was it hard at first? Absolutely! After about a week or two, I learned to look forward to that 10 minutes and started looking for ways to extend my time to allow me to actually step into the much better, healthier, and healed version of me that I had pictured. I started setting goals and identifying habits that I needed to change or implement in order to get me there. I felt less guilty about asking for help and the best part, I started enjoying my time with my family SO much more! I started to actually like me again!! 

If you resonate with any of this please know I see you and also know that all of these things are possible for you as well. I’ve created a group over on Facebook of women just like you that are committing to 10 minutes of “me” and seeing where it takes them. If you would like to join us and take the challenge here’s your link! (Click Here) I can’t wait to see what it does for you! 


How to Avoid Toxic Relationships That Go Nowhere

How to Avoid Toxic Relationships That Go Nowhere
We have all been there, you meet someone, you share a common interest, you exchange contact info and you make plans for more meet-ups and conversations and your imagination runs wild with possibilities of what could be. 

If you're anything like me, this is the point where you start to over-analyze EV-ARY-THING and you might even find yourself putting up walls and even eventually sabotaging things even if things are going well and there are no red flags because deep down you "know" that....warning this next part may hit between the eyes...healthy relationships just don't exist for you.

Sting a little? Is that your 'truth"? 

Ohhh my dear friend, let me pause and offer you the BIGGEST virtual hug and tell you that that does NOT have to be your truth anymore. 

How do I know? I was you.

For most of my life, I allowed almost anyone I shared a common interest with into what I considered to be my inner circle almost immediately. I prided myself on authenticity, openness, and the fact that I would bend over backward to help anyone I could. (To coin a current buzzword, I had no boundaries) 

This resulted in an extremely burned-out, resentful, bitter, and skeptical version of myself with a plastered-on smile and a broken heart. I hit rock bottom and I had no idea how I got there when all I had ever wanted was to love and be loved.

The one nice thing about rock bottom? There is nowhere to go but up. (I know, queue the ding for cheesy cliches, but you get my point.)

I had always been an optimistic, fairly social, outgoing person who had a huge heart for others and seemingly overnight I lost every single one of those qualities. I couldn't find the positive in anything, "I didn't want to people", I just wanted to lay in bed or on my couch and do the bare minimum to function in my life. Whenever someone called, I would hit ignore or answer with an unspoken goal to get off the phone as soon as possible. 

I knew I had to do something and it seemed my best option was to admit that I needed therapy. That was not an easy pill to swallow, not only from an ego perspective, but also it meant that I had to share my feelings with another human being and be honest. That scared the crap out of the people pleaser in me. I did it anyway because the fear was less painful than staying in my own mind at that point.

In my first session, I remember feeling scared to death, but I jumped in with both feet and poured out my story and my heart. I was totally honest maybe for the first time in my life. She listened and asked a question I will never forget: 

Have you ever considered setting clear boundaries as to what is and isn't acceptable in a relationship so that you have a gauge to ensure that your core relationships (the ones that affect your daily life and headspace) are positive and healthy with a good balance of give and take? 

Well....um...no. No I'm pretty sure I have not thought about what I actually want out of relationships well, ever. I've only considered what I could give and my feelings on how their actions make me feel in the moment. I've never considered defining what my needs actually are from the get-go. 

She then proceeded to encourage me to clearly define what I needed from each relationship in my life and what I was willing and actually able to give in return. If there was a sustained uneven balance, that was not fair to either party. Mind blown. 

After much reflection and prayer, I made the harsh realization that I had been searching for validation, love, and affection from anyone and everyone I met. So much so that I had been willing to give all of myself, my energy, and resources in order to gain their approval, and in the process, I was tearing myself apart in order to put them back together when they hadn't even asked me to. 

This realization lead me to several long sleepless nights of prayer, reflection, and brutal honesty with myself. I came to realize that at the root of it, I had a vertical relationship problem (between me on earth and God in heaven), not a horizontal one (between me and others down here on earth.) I was searching for my self-worth in human approval instead of standing in my god-given full value. 

I continued therapy for about 3 months learning about the signs and cycles surrounding toxic relationships and then I met with the lead minister of my church and he encouraged me to simply spend more time in prayer and form a true relationship with the Lord so that he could fill me rather than the world and to start serving in the church. 

I started implementing a morning routine that allowed me to focus my eyes first on the Lord and form an actual relationship with him. I took a good hard look at the core group of people I spent the most time with and made some changes there and slowly, slowly I started standing taller, accepting less from new relationships and more standards (boundaries) from ones that were tried and true.

As of today I can say I've never felt more secure in who I am and what I bring to the world. These few simple changes have made all the difference.

Are you like me? A recovering people pleaser?  Are you burned out and plastering on a smile? My friend, it doesn't have to be this way! I've created a group for us to heal, grow and learn to thrive again or for the first time. There's no catch just community. If that's something you need check it out here. 

How to avoid toxic relationships that go nowhere

Is your brain secretly addicted to unhappiness? How to retrain your brain to be happy today!

Is your brain secretly addicted to unhappiness? How to retrain your brain to be happy today!
Learn how to trigger your brain to create long term happiness and deeper relationships starting today!
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Three Google My Business SEO Hacks for Small Business Owners

Three Google My Business SEO Hacks for Small Business Owners
Increase your bottom line by ranking higher in Google My Business local searches with these three simple tips to help small business owners increase SEO. 
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Why Google My Business Is Important for Most Small Businesses - Your Questions Answered

Why Google My Business Is Important for Most Small Businesses - Your Questions Answered
For some industries, the need for websites is a thing of the past.

Why do I say this? Well, let me ask you, when is the last time you googled a service based company (ie a dry cleaner, restaurant, optometrist, hair salon, nail salon etc.) and actually visited their website? 

Unless you were looking for something very specific, my guess is you didn't. 

If you're anything like me and 90% of the general population, you search something like "Dry cleaning service near me" or "Best burger near me" or "Dentist near me", some listings popped up, you checked out their location, viewed the photos that popped up with that listing (if any) and read the reviews. You either decided to try it out, or went back to your search results to find a place that better suited your needs and started the process over. Am I right? 

If so, you can now clearly see the massive importance of a Google My Business Listing when it comes to finding and securing new leads and customers for a service based business.

What type of business can benefit most from an optimized Google My Business Listing?

First, what do I mean by "optimized?" 

Optimized, in this case, means that you have verified your listing (claimed ownership and verified that you own the business with Google and ability to edit the listing) and have provided as much information about your business listing to Google as possible and are actively updating offers, events and photos and other relevant aspects of your listing on a regular basis to ensure that your listing comes up when people search for your business type in your area.  

What are the benefits of having an optimized listing? 

If your business is a local (not strictly online) service or product based business that relies on a steady stream of new or return business, an optimized google my business listing has the potential to serve as an explosive growth opportunity bringing in a steady stream of leads and qualified customers. 

If you do not have a Google My Business listing or if it is not optimized, you are missing out on a golden opportunity for growth. As I have illustrated, websites are great but in most cases customer attention spans are extremely short and the convenience of a Google My Business listing is highly likely to win out over someone taking the time to scroll through your website in order to find what they need.  

How do I know if my business is listed on Google My Business?

A simple search for your exact business name on the Google Search bar will tell you if you have a Google My Business listing or not. On a desktop or laptop if the business listing appears in it's own "frame" on the right hand side of the page and includes some form of detail about your business, then this means that either you or Google has created a Google My Business listing for your company. 

On a mobile phone, the same Google search would result in a listing at the top of the screen in a "frame" with the name of the company and further additional details such as directions, phone number and or reviews if they are available.

If only your website, facebook page or other links to your business come up in a  list in a line down the page just as any other search results would without the frame, your business is not recognized on Google My Business.

What am I missing out on if I do not have an optimized Google My Business Listing?  

Your business will not come up on local searches or be listed on google maps. 

(46% of Google searches are for local businesses. Think about that! Almost half of the 5.4 BILLION searches per day are for local businesses just like y0urs. Time to optimize your listing my friend!) 

You are not likely to rank on the top google listings for key word searches relevant to your business. Since 90% of people do not scroll past the first page of search results, optimization is key.

Bottom line...If you rely on a steady stream of new customers finding your business as well as repeat business and word of mouth, you're loosing money every single day that you do not take advantage of this free tool.

Pro Tip: 
A Google My Business review is much more effective than organic word of mouth because one person's review can reach any number of people that find your listing, not just their personal network. If you have a Google My Business profile be sure to send people your link and ask for reviews. Don't fret if your rating is not perfect, people don't expect perfection just honesty and integrity, so be sure to respond to all relevant reviews. (There is a strategy for getting Google to delete irrelevant reviews, e-mail me or join the facebook group to learn more about this.) 

How much time does it take to optimize a Google My Business Listing? 

There are several factors that will determine the amount of time it will take to claim and optimize your Google My Business listing. 

If Google has not yet identified your business and created a listing and you can create it from scratch. The process is pretty straight forward. You simply create your listing and request a confirmation code in the mail which typically takes 5 - 10 business days in my experience to reach you. Once you enter the confirmation code, you can start entering all kinds of details for your business and running ads, posts, offers and events! Depending on the amount of detail, this can take anywhere from 10 minutes to several hours if you create your own graphics, pictures and content. (I highly recommend creating your own graphics and content so that google will rank you higher in search results. )

It is recommended that you regularly update your information and refresh offers, posts, events and/or ads and respond to messages, questions and reviews as quickly as possible which can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours per week which is why some business owners choose to hire out online marketing and optimization specialists to handle their listings for them so that they reap the financial benefits of an optimized listing without sacrificing time. (If this is a service you may need, scroll to the bottom of the this blog to connect with me.) 

Keep in mind that Google does review all edits to listings and it can take a day or two for your edits to be approved. 

Pro Tip: 
Be sure that the information in your Google My Business listing matches that on your website, social media channels and other online listings as Google is smart and will flag, suspend or even delete your listing for inconsistency. 

I hope you have found this information helpful and that it helps you to grow and scale your small business. Keep coming back here for more Google My Business and marketing tips or find my free group on facebook for even more tips and tricks. 

If you found this information a bit overwhelming, but don't want to miss out on the growth opportunity that an optimized Google My Business listing and a solid marketing strategy offers post your questions in the comments or reach out to me via email me at Hello@withsarahjane.com with questions or to inquire about marketing and optimization services. 

 
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