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Acknowledging your successes

Photo credit: Stock Monkeys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last week, I was given the challenge of keeping an acknowledgement diary (similar to a ‘gratitude’ diary) with the aim of making me pause and recognise successes as well as challenges. As someone who is highly self-critical, I can’t tell you how far outside of my comfort zone this falls!

However, over the last few days I’ve been thinking a lot about how, when you run your own business – especially if you work alone – little things can knock your confidence and throw you off kilter. I find you can be moving forwards swimmingly for weeks at a time, if not months, and then, completely out of the blue, you lose your mojo.

Lost: Mojo (Last seen two weeks ago. If found, please return)

Sometimes, this loss of mojo can come from external sources (a new competitor arrives on the scene, a blog post doesn’t get the traction you expected, your newsletter open rate or click through rate drops unexpectedly, a customer complains, your personal circumstances chance) or it can come from within (you’re not sure of your goals, you’ve lost your sense of direction, you feel overwhelmed or disconnected).

Whatever the cause, I think it’s important to pay attention to how you’re feeling and take the opportunity to regroup. If you feel like you’ve lost your way, you probably have – albeit temporarily – but don’t see that as a bad thing. Instead, take a moment to revisit the map of where you’re going.

  • Does your destination still feel right?
  • Should you be heading somewhere else?
  • Have you let yourself be distracted by bright shiny objects that have taken you in the wrong direction?
  • Perhaps you’re exactly where you wanted to be but you’re looking at it from a different perspective?

I think it’s fine to want a change in direction – businesses change, people change, lives change. Sometimes it takes a serious loss of mojo to make us acknowledge these things.

Understanding this, I can see why I was challenged with keeping an acknowledgement diary.

Acknowledging your successes – reframing things in a positive light

Acknowledging your successes and what you’re doing right is essential to balance out the negatives that can quickly zap your confidence. It’s also important in terms of reframing things and setting your own agenda, rather than reacting to agendas set by other people, even if they are your clients. When we’re in business for ourselves, the buck stops with us. Often, we find it easy to focus on what we could have done better but forget to take a pause for a job well done just to mentally say, “I did a good job there”. I’m not talking about a huge fanfare, bells and whistles, champagne toasts – just a quiet moment of acknowledging the good as well as the areas for improvement.

I notice that when my mojo is about to take an unauthorised leave of absence, I’m much more prone to procrastination. In a blog I wrote about procrastination last spring, I talked about my realisation that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In my experience, procrastination usually comes right before a renewed period of productivity and focus. I think I subconsciously use procrastination as a sort of unofficial time out, an opportunity to reassess my goals and pinpoint where my focus needs to be.

And what does this have to do with copywriting, which is where the focus of this blog usually lies? Well, more than you might think.

Creating copy that connects

In my experience, when you’re feeling lost or unmotivated, it can be especially hard to write copy that connects. You might find yourself struggling to understand your customers because you’re not attracting people who fit with your intentions for your business. You may think a competitor’s copy is so fresh and packed with personality that there’s no point trying to find your own voice. You may struggle to get a handle on what would make a good blog post or how to write a compelling advert.

Of course, this can create a vicious cycle. You struggle to think of a blog topic, so you write something that doesn’t resonate with you or your customers. Your blog then underperforms, which makes you question why you bothered writing it in the first place. The following week/fortnight/month* (*delete as appropriate), you approach your blog with even less enthusiasm – after all, isn’t it doomed to failure? – and so the cycle continues.

Acknowledging the positives in your business can help you to turn your copy around. I always find it helps to go back to basics (and stats) to understand how you can make things better and what you’re already doing well. I look at things like Google Analytics, Mailchimp reports and Facebook insights to gather facts that support or refute my assumptions about what’s happening in my business.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is my business?
  • Why do I sell what I sell? This why often provides an emotional reason for customers to connect with your story
  • How will my products or services improve my customers’ lives?
  • What do my customers tell me they like?
  • What do they talk about if they email or message me?
  • What topics attract high numbers of visitors to my website or plenty of social shares?
  • Which newsletters have had the highest open rates or click throughs to my websites?
  • How do I add value to my customers’ lives?
  • What examples can I give of times when I’ve gone the extra mile for someone?
  • What sources generate the most traffic to my website? What do these relationships say about my business?
  • Which clients will give or have given me glowing testimonials that illustrate the things I’m doing right in my business?

Acknowledging what you do well won’t always come easy but give it a try. By thinking about the questions above, you can begin to reframe your copy so that it concentrates on meeting your customers’ pain points, adds value and shows some very clear benefits.

By focusing on the positives, your copy will gain a new confidence, renewed passion and a deeper integrity – all of which is good for business, good for your customers and good for you.

Do you keep an acknowledgement or gratitude diary? Do you think reframing things in a positive light changes your perspective? Do you ever have times when you lose your mojo? Does it damage your confidence? Does this loss of confidence show in your copy? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the Comments section below or over on my Facebook page.

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Emma Heasman

Emma Heasman has been an in-house and freelance copywriter for the past 13 years and launched The Freelance Copywriter in 2003. Ever passionate about copywriting, she now works with small businesses to help them write copy that speaks to their ideal customers. Connect with Emma on Google+

2 Responses so far.

  1. Lis McGuire says:

    Great post Emma! Can totally relate to ‘I subconsciously use procrastination as a sort of unofficial time out, an opportunity to reassess my goals and pinpoint where my focus needs to be.’ Yes, that’s me too!

    • Emma Heasman says:

      Thanks, Lis. I’m pleased to hear I’m not the only one! I now firmly subscribe to the belief that procrastination can be a good thing 🙂

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