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3 Checkpoints for Reflection and Planning for Growth

As we embark on a new year, many of us are in a state of reflection and examining our growth over the past year, as well as looking ahead to analyze how we can make our coming year more joyful/successful/flowing and less stressful/conflicted/constricted. 

Regardless of how your past year went, we’re confident in claiming that the foundation for anyone looking to achieve their definition of success and maintain it in the future is to do the consistent inner self work. 

For example, we have seen many of the estheticians we work with gain major traction through their order volumes for their businesses after success in retailing Herbal Skin Solutions products and training with us on CIT/microneedling and dermaplaning. 

Many of them are starting the New Year, our team included, at a crossroads of being so busy that they are either forced to say “no” to some things [ which we discussed in depth and with tips in The Way-Too-Nice Esthetician’s Guide on Boundaries (From One Who Learned the Hard Way) ], or to expand their team.

If you’re finding yourself at that crossroads of scaling your esthetic practice in the coming year, here are three checkpoints for reflection to help you navigate your decision and help you expand should you choose to:

1 ) Go Back to Your “Why” and Your Goal 

How will achieving your goal make you feel?

Sometimes we set goals because they seem like goals we “should” be setting (by society’s standards or our inner critic’s standards), but if we actually achieved them, they wouldn’t produce feelings of accomplishment and fulfillment, but rather greater burden or even emptiness. 

Preemptively asking yourself how you would feel upon achieving your goal is a reflection point that allows you to get crystal clear on the true “WHY” behind what you are doing to achieve “success.”

(Side note: getting clear on your definition of success and how success feels is also critical and goes hand-in-hand with this reflection point.)

For example, I always knew I wanted to help people form intimate connections to their own body, mind, and soul through skin and internal care. 

And the more education, projects, and people I connected with working toward that goal, the more obvious my job here on Earth became, which is to spread love, joy, truth, purity, any knowledge gained, and repeat.

For me, and I suspect for you as well, there is an incredible feeling of fulfillment that comes from serving others and knowing that we are making a positive impact in their lives. 

The feeling of helping someone improve their business, or the inner landscape of their minds (in our industry, we often help by boosting confidence through what they see in the mirror), or their outlook on life…whatever the positive impact may be, it’s a high that I can’t and won’t ever stop chasing. 

This non-negotiable part of creation is the truth of my identity, and I’ve realized that it isn’t the goal that I am chasing, it’s the feeling that I hope achieving that goal will bring back to me like a boomerang.  

All this to say, we can't just blindly go after the stuff we want to have, get, or accomplish, and hope that we'll be fulfilled when we get there. 

It’s a backwards mentality, and one that will quickly burn us out. 

So, what if we first got clear on how we actually wanted to feel in our lives, and then created some goals with soul around those feelings? 

That’s what brings us into alignment, and when we are in alignment with our soul’s purpose, we are in flow state which makes us magnetic to infinite possibilities

With clear desire of how we want to feel when we reach or achieve our goal(s), we can say YES to the right opportunities!

2 ) Sense the Shift in Your Goals 

After going through the previous step, you might have a revelation that triggers feelings ranging from mild discomfort to downright terror, and that revelation is that what you actually want isn’t what you’ve been growing toward. 

Before this finding sends you into a spiral, first, let’s acknowledge that this discovery is enlightening and be grateful for it. 

If you had neglected to do this first piece of inner work, who knows how much more time would have passed before you realized you created a result and feeling for yourself that you actually didn’t desire. 

Of course, if you have gone that far, it’s okay, the primary point here is that the path to achieving our goals is rarely if ever linear. Rather, it’s a winding curving road that reflects the shift in heart and the re-alignment of our soul with what we truly want out of our work and businesses. 

When I first started my skin care line, it was with the mission to bring effective green beauty in the form of cosmeceuticals to give my clients in the spa. However, shortly after its creation, it grew legs of its own and I was presented with the opportunity to spread that love on even further by helping estheticians and their clients through education and mindfully made products.

While the initial vision and mission I had for starting my skincare line was pure, I was open to receiving the shift in how it was evolving and realized that as our company grows, so does our passion for helping people look and feel their best, and through constant education, our vision naturally expands. 

Thus, if I hadn’t been open to sensing the shift in our goals, The Esthetics Academy may have never been born, and Herbal Skin Solutions may have never grown to where it is today. 

If you suspect or sense a shift in your goals, now’s the time to zoom out and take notice so that you can get clear on the actions you’re currently taking and or that you need to take to better align you with moving forward in that vision.

Remember this: nothing changes if nothing changes. 

If you’ve sensed and identified a shift, you have to realign your action to match that destination you’re moving closer toward. 

Another way to identify a shift is to examine your curiosities. 

What are the things you’ve become more interested in that have impacted the way you work?

For example, my big picture vision for Herbal Skin Solutions’ became clearer starting in June of 2018 when I became enamored with nutrient comparison between biodynamic, lovingly-grown food vs. mass-produced food.  

While exploring these comparisons out of sheer interest, it became quite evident that there was much more work for us to do as I became increasingly aware of the direct link between ingredients and the energetic vibration of how they are cared for from seed to harvest, all the way from vacuum distillation and CO2 extraction (processes we commonly use to extract nutrients from botanicals, plants, fruits or vegetables) to blending in the lab and final packaging. 

Following the divine breadcrumbs of what sparks your interest and gets you excited is another tell-tale sign that your goals may have shifted and give you direction on how you can realign your action. 

3 ) Re-enforce Your Non-Negotiables 

What special things do you do in your business that set you apart?

What are the things (or feelings that things bring) that you will never give up on offering to your clients?

Maybe it is something as simple as thank you notes. 

For us, it is taking time to acknowledge the people that have been loyal supporters to thank them and send a love note and reminder of our gratitude. 

But here’s the thing about expansion and growth: the more customers you have, the greater your vision expands, and the more your time and capacity dwindles, and so does the ability to do these special little things that set you apart, that is, unless you’ve deemed them as a non-negotiable. 

This year, I felt a growing pain in getting out our business’ holiday cards. 

A seemingly simple weekend task for myself turned into a week-long project that I ended up compensating four women on our team to help me with.  I had underestimated our growth in customers that we wanted to acknowledge, but it’s a non-negotiable, so it got done and it got done with the help of our team. 

So, you see, some tasks will become more challenging as you grow, and if you are reluctant to change, they may be impossible to accomplish on your own. 

(If you’re at that point of needing more hands on deck, I highly encourage you to read, “How to Harness Your Superpowers and Save Yourself With Outsourcing.”)

When listing out your non-negotiables in your practice, plan for the future by also listing some other equally as wonderful ways to offer the feelings you are looking to attain. 

By listing the feelings that your non-negotiables bring (whether it be client appreciation, boundaries, sales goals, etc.), it enables us to think outside of the box and see other steps we can take that can yield similar feelings, but in other (possibly new and improved) approaches.

This way of assessing the feelings associated with achieving your goals and your non-negotiables is the key for keeping you on track for building a continually soul-filled business in every aspect from the most simple daily tasks in running your operation to the grand, big-picture vision. 

For example, my path in product development has been rooted in auditing and personally vetting the labs we work with to make sure the source is pure, small-batch, and of outstanding quality. 

That non-negotiable aspect of my work, making sure everything is as it says it is helps to protect my clients and their clients. It ensures safety, potency, quality and results. This part of my job is something I approach as a karmic duty. 

My goal (and one of the ways my vision for this business has shifted)  is to take it a step further and grow what we can out of the ingredients that make up our products (so they can be loved even harder, and sang to, yes, literally sang to) and yes, this could be called a lofty goal or a dream by some. 

But I assure you, no dream is too big or too small, and with the right planning, reflection, forecasting and sheer will-power, every goal set can be attainable.

As we close out this season of celebration, busyness, and rejuvenation, we are also invited to pause for soulful reflection, and become acquainted with transition in its purest form and acknowledge that change is our only constant and guarantee in life. 

The pursuit of happiness and the path of growth, requires consistent re-evaluation and re-assessment of how we are showing up in this world and how we are responding to life's inevitable challenges. 

When we become frustrated about not being exactly where we want to be in the ultimate big-picture vision of our businesses and personal lives, reflecting back on our accomplishments can help to assure our path because it has started and we are walking it whether it changes, or not. 

This time for reflection also allows us to choose which reality we want to live in, the optimist or pessimist, glass half full or empty, short of the goal or on the way to it. 

Remember, what we speak about, we bring about. 

I invite you to invoke presence during change. 

Observe the fluctuations, the cycles of birth and death, and newness and oldness of it all. Allow things to fall apart and come back together. Allow yourself room to grow and recalibrate. 

Please trust, you are never alone through any of it. 

We all face challenges and triumphs as it is part of the human experience. 

A new year brings renewed hope, new opportunities, chances to give love, and receive love. 

Wishing you a very Happy New Year full of blessings. 

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