03
Mar 2016

What’s your sweet spot?

After I had Marshall, I thought I could do it all: give 100% to my business, 100% to Marshall and 100% to me.  I couldn’t.  I thought making it all work was just a matter of hiring the right people and getting support.

At one point I had 10 people working on my business, 3 babysitters to help me with Marshall and 6 self care professionals to keep my body and soul afloat.  Not to mention a therapist to keep my marriage healthy and a revolving door of grandparents to help out.

I know it takes a village, but come on, this was a little intense.

The reality was that I was feeling guilty from not spending enough time with Marshall, exhausted by being pregnant without time for my body to recover, and really stressed out by making enough money to pay for NINETEEN people to keep my life turning.  I was caught in a cycle of exhaustion and throwing money at the problem which then just created a bigger problem.  I was nowhere near my sweet spot.

The way I define a sweet spot is the combination of:

Support
Time
Money
Happiness

I thought about cutting out everyone who worked on my business to reduce costs, but if I worked completely alone I would have to work all the time to make enough money to pay for my life and my nanny which I would need because I was working all the time.  And there would be no time for me.

I thought about reducing my nannies hours but that also left me with no time for myself.  

I thought about moving into a cheaper home but the thought of leaving my beloved home left me VERY unhappy.

I belly ached over my sweet spot for months.  I really wanted to find a way to make everything work, to grow my business aggressively, take impeccable care of myself and be a present mother.  

I asked all my friends for their opinion, cried to Jonathan for months, opened up to my parents and in laws, and (of course) worked with two different psychics.  

Through all of the conversations and soul searching it became clear, it is not time to build an empire, and letting that go was really hard.  Someday I will give Weight Watchers a run for their money, but today is not that day.  Today is about being a great coach, writing to you every week and channeling my creativity into personal play and adventure.  Could I build an empire now? Sure I could, but it would kill me in the process.

Making this shift allowed me to reduce my SarahJenks.com team to three people, which took a ton of financial pressure off of me.  Without the pressure to grow this huge company, my whole system relaxed.  I had more energy for my kids and could actually enjoy my time with them (so I didn’t need as much child care), I didn’t need acupuncture, a massage and a chiropractic adjustment every week just to keep me alive, and I started to find way more time for me to play and move my body.   

I don’t feel like I’ve completely landed on my sweet spot, I still have this underlying sense of carrying a lot, but I feel closer. I know that the more I am committed to shifting the different elements of my life, being conscious of how one area can effect the whole system and knowing that I am in the drivers seat of my life, the closer I will feel to my sweet spot. 

My invitation for you this week is to think about your sweet spot.  Maybe you have too much on your plate and you need to simplify?  Maybe you are trying to do too much yourself, like running a business with no child care or holding down a full-time job, taking care of your aging mother and being your own housekeeper.  Maybe you are in a holding pattern and aren’t doing enough, and it could be great medicine to spend less time watching TV and more time working on a project.  

It’s a complicated algorithm, this sweet spot.  It takes a calculator to explore your budget, a calendar to be real about your time and a fierce dedication to your happiness.  

In the comments, I would love to hear where you’re at right now and some ideas you have on what you can adjust to find your unique sweet spot.  And make sure to help a sister out!  Take a look at what other’s are struggling with and lend a suggestion.  Sometimes we need someone else to show us a simple solution that we are blind to.

I can’t wait to hear from you,

Sarah

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  • Jeanette

    I do not usually leave responses, but this posting struck a cord for me. In the past 2 years, my father has passed, I was in a car accident totaling my car, my significant other lost his job, I lost a dear friend and psydo in law to cancer, and another friend lost her mom to Alzheimer’s.
    While my friend was battling cancer, I took over cooking all holiday family meals in her home, fund raised and set up a website to coordinate meals for the family.
    I still work full time, support my college age daughter emotionally and financially. I have recovered from my car accident, and am still grieving over personal losses. I promised my friend that I would take care of her family, and I am still cooking holiday meals for them, even if it means doing so back to back with my own family’s holiday meals.
    So how have I survived? Meh, not always well. But I have learned a few things. My best friend is going thru the worlds longest divorce. I have listened to her complain for 5 years about her marriage. Now I change the subject. I can’t expend energy saying the same thing and listening to the same complaints, she needs to move on and I can’t help her do that. My own mother, a major drama queen, becomes hysterical about her computer issues, or small chores that my dad used to do, I don’t rush to help. My boyfriend has offered to take that off my plate, he says I do so much for his family he owes me, whether he does or not. I let him. I say thank you but remember that I do a lot for him, and letting him do something for me is paramount.
    I read more trashy novels in the bathtub, that being my only source of relaxation and solitude.
    I haven’t found my sweet spot yet. I am still the nice Jewish Girl, cooking Easter dinner in one home and Passover in another. I make Christmas in one house happen, and Hanukah in my own. Two Thanksgivings this year. But I am letting people help more than I used to. And cutting off complaints about 1st world problems like living in a beautiful home and complaining that the blinds broke.

    • Zuzana

      Wow it sounds like you’ve been such an angel to your friend and her family. It’s so beautiful that she has a friend like you.
      This past Thanksgiving I was so tired and sick and I was planning to cook a huge dinner, and my husband suggested that we just outsource it. And we did, we ordered from Whole Foods, and it was soooo delicious (um, actually best turkey we ever had), and the day was super laid back. All we had to do was pick up and put in the oven. 🙂

    • Hi Jeanette. I’m so sorry to hear about all that you’ve been going through over the past 2 years, but I’m so proud of you for establishing these boundaries for yourself. I hope things continue to get a little easier a day at a time and I hope you’ll continue to set those boundaries and reach out for support when you need it.

  • I needed to read this today! This is exactly where I am, struggling to decide how to not lose my mind (again) while growing a business to contribute financially to my family, while being present for said family, while doing rewarding work and not overextending, and around and around it goes. It is so nice to know that someone whom I consider to be successful struggles with this same conundrum. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Hi Shannon. I’m so glad this post resonated with you and I hope you’ve found some inspiration to help you in finding your sweet spot too.

  • Ahh, this is such a tricky balance to achieve and I love what you shared here. I’m literally days away from giving birth to my baby, so this is really a topic that’s on my mind a lot. I don’t know what it’ll be like to adjust to being a mom and a business owner, but I do know that there will be a need for more support (and I’ve been hiring in accordance)… AND that I’ll need to adjust my expectations, too.

    I’ve loved watching you navigate this like such a star Sarah, and I consider you to be a great mama + CEO role model. Miss you!!

    • This means so much to me Nathalie. I’m so excited for you and Robin and please email me anytime with questions. I may not have all of the answers, but sometimes we just need a fellow mama friend who gets it. xo

  • I am 2 years into building a direct sales/network marketing business in the health and wellness industry. I work 4 days a week as a reading tutor because we needed more income and I am having a hard time giving up what I now I am good at…..I have 3 kids and house that is rarely clean and a husband I love and want to keep happy! To say the least I have not found my sweet spot. Glad to hear I am not alone but still not sure how to sort it all out.

    • Hi Katie! It takes time, but for starters, make a list of all of the responsibilities you have and see where you can bring in some extra support. If your budget allows, maybe you can hire a housekeeper once every 2 weeks or once a month to come in and do the deeper cleaning and divide up some of the smaller chores for the kids. Big hugs!

  • Hmm.. I seem to be on the other side of tons of loss this last few yeas. I got divorced from a man I truly thought I would spend the rest of my life with, my father suddenly passed away, my mom got cancer, lost my sweet dog of 14 yrs ( I only have 4 legged children), and my mom lost her struggle with cancer. Along the way I moved, bought a house, remodeled the house and still managed to keep teaching and keeping my Pilates studio running.
    I now find myself a little lost with no more grief and traveling to visit my mom and care giving. I am ready to dive into something. I am in my late 50’s and am trying to explore other avenues of passion to breath life back into my spirit and sole.
    So I guess I am too still looking for that sweet spot. What gives my life purpose and excitement

    • Hi Virginia. I’m so sorry for your losses, but it sounds like you’re ready to start digging in and discovering what lights you up. Check out Danielle LaPorte’s Fire Starter Sessions and The Desire Map.

  • Angelique

    Hi Sarah,
    This post hit very close to home. From 2010-2014 I was the sole owner/operator of a small batch bakery (with part-time help). It was my baby, Treats by Angelique (in Detroit, MI). In addition to this new start-up I was a full time child psychologist in community mental health and a part-time therapist in a diversion program for adolescents. It all happened so quickly! My treats were in demand both wholesale and retail. I had catering gigs and entering local entrepreneur contests (and winning money and “fame”). I maxed out vacation and sick time (and credit cards), relocated my prime baking location from my home to a commercial kitchen near my 9-5 (with plans for a brink/mortar). I worked the 9-5 M-F, part-time job one day a week and was baking during EVERY OTHER FREE HOUR. I was having a good time in my profession and following my passion…. BUT I wasn’t sleeping, my diet was poor, forget about exercising and most importantly, my relationships were on the back burner. In October 2014 I hit a wall. As we were heading into the busiest season for a bakery, Thanksgiving and Christmas, I was faced with a decision to quit my job or close the bakery because I COULD NOT DO BOTH another year. I didn’t have enough business experience to understand how to do both. I was learning how to run my business as I was running it. I started baking just to make extra money as my son was entering college and never expected it to turn into a business. So I made one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make and decided to close my business. I avoided it until the very last minute because I was afraid of disappointing customers, the people who have supported and backed me and most importantly myself. I was afraid that I was giving up. But underneath it all, I felt a sense of happiness and relief at the thought of closing the bakery. I feel like I took the cowards way out sometimes by not announcing the closing. I just stopped posting on social media and ignored the phone. Once I made the decision, I walked away very easily (it was almost too easy). I spent 2015 taking care of myself for the first time since my son was born 23 years ago. I had my time to myself. I dived in deeper at work (happily), kept dates with friends and family and basically breathed deeply for the first time in years. People now constantly ask when I’ll bake again, but honestly, other than the occasional banana bread or chocolate chip cookie I don’t bake. I still troll Pinterest, tear out ideas and inspirations from magazines but for now, I am happily taking care of myself.

    • Hi Angelique. Thank you so much for sharing. I love that you were able to step back and make this decision in honor of what was best for you.

  • Lindsay

    Sarah,

    Thank you SO SO much for sending this today. I feel like I am a ticking time bomb who wants so badly to find that sweet spot, but is constantly guilty of self sabotage. I work full time as a marketing coordinator, while supporting four entrepreneurs for my side hustle. I feel like I have 2 full time jobs, am involved in a couple of external groups, and am exhausted. I feel like I don’t know what I am working toward sometimes…I’m so busy and have so much on my plate that I am constantly exhausted and genuinely not loving life. I feel I need to re examine my priorities and take some things off of my plate. This post was just what I needed, so thank you!

    • I’m so glad it was helpful Lindsay. Which of the 2 career paths most fuels you? If it’s quitting your day job, crunch the numbers and figure out what you would need to make your part-time job your full-time job and lay out a plan to make it happen so you can quit one of them on “x” day. If you’re most committed to your day job, figure out how you can earn more to quit the other. I hope that helps!

  • Debra

    Thank you for giving a name to something I am struggling with right now. How to balance my business, health and home life and be happy doing it! I am trying to find that sweet spot myself and I find it is something I deal with daily and figure out every morning when I start my day, and when I am deciding what I am going to do with the day. Haven’t figured it all out yet, but for now I’ve decided to ask myself, what is my sweet spot today?

  • Alissa Salt

    I am not in my sweet spot yet cause I am trying to get my business off the ground and really hone in on what I want to do with it. My divorce isn’t final and with the curve balls I keep getting thrown it doesn’t seem like it will ever end,
    Spot I have found is that I am a New England girl through and through. Boston is my home and no matter how long I lived in the South (South Fla for 8 yrs) I never was truly myself. I am comfortable and confident here (even though the weather is tough) this is my home and I will hopefully never leave again. Another sweet spot for me is that I have found a community/school that loves my children and I know they are fully taken cared of and loved even when I cannot be with them cause mommy has to work.
    Hopefully these other things will fall into place and I will find my true sweet spot!

    • I’m a New England girl too Alissa. I’m glad you’re stating to figure it out and hope that you’ll get more clear each day. What is one chane you can make today for yourself to help get you closer?

  • As everyone before me this couldn’t have come at a better time. I keep thinking I am not doing enough but in reality I am not doing enough of the things that matter right now. Taking on too many projects that don’t leave me time to enjoy my family and get my writing to the place I know it can be. I will definitely be making some changes in the months ahead! Great post.

  • Kyla

    I love your honest about motherhood and running a business, thank you so much for this post.

  • Carla Contreras

    Sarah, I loved this post, I actually love all of your posts, there are always great gems of wisdom sprinkled in there. It’s been amazing to watch your progression over that past four years. I also love how honest you are about motherhood on Instagram, its so refreshing! As a new Mom, with a baby that’s one and pregnant again with my second baby, I totally get it. I have been working slowly on my business for the last six months without really gaining traction due to my lack of sleep. I also changed focuses from food styling, teaching cooking classes and health coaching to helping mom’s with postpartum meal plans (I get asked a lot about this).

    My one year old just finally started sleeping through the night, so I am finally catching up on some much needed rest. I am really excited is to start B-School again, so that I can push myself further. I have, like you mentioned, given up watching tv in order to work on my business. I have yet to launch, I am hoping that everything gets done before the baby comes. Who knows how it will actually work post baby (I am sure I will have to adjust again). My husband wants me to “get a real job” and stop working on my business but I just can’t give up on it now. I feel like I am so close. Thank you so much for inspiring me to keep going!
    xo, Carla

    • Congratulations Carla!

      I’m so glad these posts are supporting you in moving further and I highly recommend that you commit to B-School this year so you can get your offerings out there and start making the money you deserve. It will definitely help with your relationship and take the pressure of getting a real job off of you and your husband. What you are doing is a real job and sometimes our partners don’t realize that until they start seeing some cash flow. I’m cheering you on and love what you’re up to so keep me posted 🙂

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