About the Episode
Autumn seems to be the season of hustle culture messaging – we’re coming up on the end of the year and are often told that we need to make a final push whilst also planning for success in the new year. This mindset is a huge catalyst for entrepreneurial burnout. For me personally, this led to me not trusting myself as a business owner or creative. I remember asking for opinions from everyone around me instead of listening to my intuition. So today we are going to talk about self trust, learning to listen to your intuition, and how to protect your energy no matter the direction you choose to go in as the end of the year approaches us.
Topics discussed in SEASON 2, EPISODE 85
- When Melanie realized she didn’t trust herself and how this is a symptom of hustle culture messaging
- What to do when you’re feeling down on yourself if you’ve had a slow week or month and are feeling out of touch with your business
- The role that feminine energy can play in creating our businesses
- Learning to hear and listen to our intuition rather than our inner critic
- How to protect your energy, no matter the stage of business that you’re in
Connect with Melanie here:
Melanie Knights (00:02):
Hey Outlaws. Thank you so much for joining me this week. For another episode, I am really looking forward to digging a little deeper into entrepreneurial burnout with you. This is the season of hustle, culture messaging. I know it's there all the time, but I feel like as we head into Autum winter, it just gets a little bit worse. And the goal and mission for this season of the show is to really help you to protect your energy, to help you nurture your own needs, recognize what you really want from your business and outside of your business. And today we're gonna be talking about self trust and that's a big theme when it comes to entrepreneurial burnout. Before we get into today's episode, I wanted to let you know that I have just updated my shop and I am so excited for this shop update because it's my favorite time of year, as you all know, or I hope, you know, if you don't know, autumn is my favorite season and I have had some of these sketches in my sketchbook since the beginning of the year, like I was drawing pumpkins and pumpkin spice lattes back in the spring.
Melanie Knights (01:10):
And at that time I didn't even know I was gonna have a sticker shop. So in case you are new here, you do not know my name is Melanie and I own Melanie knight.com, which is a do fast, fat, positive, and inclusive sticker shop. So all of the bodies that I draw are fat bodies. They are bigger bodies and they are diverse and inclusive. And right now there are some sales stickers. There's a little bit of a sale going on on some of my summer stickers. And as I said, we updated with some autumn stickers as well. Some of my favorites are our autumn at the cottage. She is just be beautiful. And I also finally got to actually hold, create and hold my pumpkin spice latte stickers. There's two versions. There is one which I'm dubbing the kind of soul sticker. It's got a little, very subtle logo that says every year I make cue my and then the other one slightly different.
Melanie Knights (02:07):
It says pumpkin spice and reproductive rights. And that one has all profits going to planned parenthood. You'll find a couple of stickers where the profits go to planned parenthood up on the shop. So I encourage you to go over to the show notes and have a look after you've listened to today's episode, it's Melanie knights.com/shop. You'll be able to find all of my sticker designs up there, and if we're not connected elsewhere you'll be able to find content from me over on TikTok and a Pinterest over there. I share behind the scenes of what I'm working on and lots of, kind of fun content as well. So hopefully we can hang out online elsewhere. But as I said today, we are gonna be talking about some self trust because when I tell you that this is probably one of the hardest things that I have worked on and still continue to work on at times in my business, I'm not exaggerating.
Melanie Knights (03:03):
I didn't think I even really knew that I didn't trust myself for such a long time. I thought it was entirely normal for me to be constantly bouncing around these bounce of self doubt. These feelings of, I don't know what I'm doing and questioning myself and always looking outside of myself for an answer. That was really my go to when I started my business, I would ask everyone else what they thought I should be doing. Every blog, email launch. I would always look for somebody else to validate my opinion, but I never trusted myself, which meant it really didn't matter what they said because I didn't believe in myself and I didn't trust myself and dialing outlaw. If there is one thing I want you to take away from today is that it is safe to trust yourself. Again. The last couple of years have been really tough for small business owners.
Melanie Knights (04:05):
And you know, right now it's just as tough. We are seeing really the outcome or the aftermath. Let's say of the last two years of COVID and lockdowns. And obviously so many factors that we don't have control over as both individuals and collectively, we don't have control over these increases in price. We don't have control over you know wages and things like that. And that obviously has a direct impact on people's spending and people's investments. And whether we feel like we are able to grow our businesses, and this is not designed to be a scary episode, I don't want to dwell on those things. They are very much a real part of our life right now, but what I wanna talk about is making those decisions. I wanna kind of call it the practical magic of it all because I saw somebody recently on TikTok, a small business owner.
Melanie Knights (05:04):
She started her business during COVID during lockdown and by the looks of things, as far as I'm aware, she primarily creates content for TikTok. That's kind of where she started and she has a screen printing business. And the reason I follow her is because she does plus size clothing, real plus size clothing, all up to a size six XL, which is amazing. And also should be the standard. But she posted just recently to say how she just has lost her excitement for her business. Things have got harder and harder. And she's no longer feeling the excitement she wants was in her business. And she feels like, you know, orders are slowing down. People aren't as excited to buy from her. And I was really curious to see what people were saying in the comments. Everyone was very supportive of her, but what was really interesting is a lot of people telling her to branch out into all these different things and do all these other things.
Melanie Knights (06:05):
And I was overwhelmed just reading these comments. And I just thought, I don't know her very well, but I feel like I would be overwhelmed reading all of these comments and feeling like the only answer is to hustle more and to add more bells and whistles to my business. And so I sent her a message and just said, look, you know, I would really just decide what's right for you. I know that's really scary, but you know, maybe you have to take a break or maybe you have to actually slow down. Like I know the instinct is to push harder and I'm not saying don't, but you need to just decide what's right for you. And we got talking about this because so often in online business, we impose more structure on ourselves, right? I'm so curious to know if you feel the same. I feel like when we have a, a down moment or we have a slow week or a slow month, or we feel just kind of low energy, we can be really hard on ourselves.
Melanie Knights (07:12):
And we are always our worst critics. And oftentimes when we feel like we've kind of lost that mojo, we feel like we've lost our motivation. We try to impose more structure on ourselves, more structure into our business. Our default is often I need a strategy. I need a clear plan. I dunno about you. But the last thing I need when I'm feeling low is more structure or more of a plan because I get very, very overwhelmed with planning to the point that I can plan every detail of a project or a workflow. And at the end of it, I don't wanna do it. It's the same as what I clean my office, which I did just recently. And I know what I'm like, I'm not a, I'm gonna clean this area and then it'll be done. Oh no, no, I will get everything out and then put everything back.
Melanie Knights (08:09):
And so what could have been an hour's job ends up being like two days. And I know that about myself and in some ways is a control mechanism. It's something that I do to help me feel more in control. I'm aware of it. So I feel like that's okay, but <laugh> nonetheless, when we are in our businesses, sometimes imposing more structure on ourselves is the, actually the last thing we need, we often look at us our businesses and say like, if I could just perfect all of the moving parts, then I'll be successful. But often the harder we try, the more distance grows between ourselves and our vision. And this is what I mean about adding more bells and whistles and more structure into our business. Sometimes it has the opposite effects and it pushes us further away from the vision that we originally had.
Melanie Knights (09:00):
Because I know when I started my business, I didn't have bells and whistles. I didn't really know what I was doing to start with. I didn't have a ton of structure. I knew I wanted to run my own business and I knew what I was good at. And I knew what I wanted to try and do. And that was my vision. And oftentimes we hear this described this kind of feeling into our business. We hear it described as feminine energy. Now I use that term very loosely because I don't, I don't yet know how I feel about that relationship. I used to have coaches and experts talk about feminine energy and there were parts of it that I could kind of get on board with. And there were some parts of it that I really don't love. And it always felt very fluffy. Like I wanted something more practical <laugh> because that's how business feels.
Melanie Knights (09:52):
But nonetheless, this quote, feminine energy is very much intuitive. It's about knowing what we need as individuals. And we all have feminine energy. This is not something that only, you know people who are born with, with female genitalia or born as a female, that is not what feminine energy is. Feminine energy is. As like I said, it's an energy. It's very intuitive. It is something that the patriarchy and hustle culture have kind of be out of us. And it's one of the reasons why we don't trust ourselves. But what I wanna say today is that it is safe to land somewhere between the practicality of it all and the fluffiness it's okay. It's okay to land somewhere in the middle or anywhere in between. It's okay to still want the practical energy. It's still okay to want that. It's okay to want more of the feminine energy. I think it's okay because whatever we need in that moment is absolutely right. For us. It is safe to ebb and flow with your own energy. It is safe to plan and run your business in a way that matches your energy, your vibe, your needs, your intentions, and it is safe to trust yourself. It is safe to trust yourself again.
Melanie Knights (11:29):
And I really, really want to encourage you to really help build on your intuitive strength. You can do this through practice, through journaling, through meditation, through creativity. You can do this in whichever way feels right for you. Intuition is often in that voice that we don't listen to, right? We actually typically will listen to our inner critic. We hear her or them very, very loudly. And we know often know what they sound like, but when it comes to our intuition, we either don't hear it. We don't know what it sounds like. We don't trust it. It can feel sometimes like it's very impractical. But what I encourage you to do is take some time to build that intuitive strength helps you to identify when your intuition is speaking, what it sounds like and how it feels. Sometimes we are so disconnected from ourselves and our intuition.
Melanie Knights (12:30):
The intuition feels really uncomfortable. Feels scary. It feels almost dangerous because we are used to things feeling hard and then looking outside of ourselves, right? We're used to things feeling hard. Oftentimes when things feel good, easy, effortless, flowing, whatever word you want to use to describe that, that aligned feeling, especially in our business, we are not used to that feeling. And so we then look at what's wrong. So we actually, when things are aligned and when things are flowing, we actually think that that's wrong. We think that that's the problem because we are so used to things not being okay.
Melanie Knights (13:20):
So as I said today, if there is one thing that you take away from today's episode, I want it to be that it is safe, safe to trust yourself again, that you can measure success. However you choose. You can rest. You can nurture your own needs, that you can slow down. You can take your time and take what you need. Because often again, at this time of year, we see so much, so much marketing geared at having us plan and indulge into different sales and promotions and do all these things. And as I've said before here on the show, like you do whatever is right for you, right? And that might mean doing a holiday seasonal promotion, or it might not. It might mean launching. It might not. It's it's going to be up to you.
Melanie Knights (14:28):
What I want to ensure is that you are able to protect your energy no matter what you choose, because whether you choose to whether you choose to promote launch or not, there can still be this, this misalignment. There can still be this feeling that you are doing the wrong thing, or that you are, you are not, you're not successful. Or you feel as though you are missing out. And this unfortunately is a lot of what happens at this time of year, both in our businesses and outside of our businesses, FOMO is a massive marketing tool. We know this, we know that urgency is a massive marketing tool. And so it makes sense that it comes and seeps into our business. It seeps into the marketing that we see online. And the thing is we see these conversations about detaching ourselves and our self worth from productivity.
Melanie Knights (15:28):
We give them double taps on Instagram, but it's still really hard to detach our self worth from the hustle. It's hard to reframe the way we feel at the end of a Workday. If things didn't go to plan, and this is where we can start tapping into that intuitive voice, starting to create awareness and curiosity around your own experiences. Your own experiences with hustle and productivity will allow you to identify and reframe your own journey. Because often that really lackluster, like warm <laugh> feeling is a bigger emotion. It's a bigger feeling. It's not as simple as I didn't tick everything off of my to-do list. For example blocking creativity. You know, you didn't know what to say on your podcast. For example, you didn't know what to put in your email newsletter, or you just didn't know what to write for your social media content, whatever it is, those creative blocks can be a result of a vulnerability hangover.
Melanie Knights (16:29):
They can be a feeling of imposter syndrome, or it could be a deep need to rest. And the issue lies within society's desire to shame, rest, to shame that trust that we know what's right for ourselves, resting napping, sleeping in slow living. All of these things are shamed. And the reason this is the reason this happens, it's a direct response from the patriarchal conditioning that we have happening in society. And it had happening for many years. We see in, for example, diet culture, right? One of the biggest messages as a fat person we get is that we don't know what is right for us, that we don't know what to eat, or how to exist. And it's the same in online business. It's the same in hustle culture. We are constantly told that we don't know what's right for us, that feeds into marketing, right?
Melanie Knights (17:38):
Marketing other people. They know what's right for us. They can promote something to us and tell us what is right. But I urge you to encourage you to listen to your intuition and practice, listening to your intuition because you know, what's right for you. Society shames us for needing to rest, to slow down, to take it easy. The patriarchy has conditioned us to say yes to everyone first to undervalue our time, our energy and our needs. And we've been taught to measure our own and other people's success by how much is achieved, just like a machine, right? We're supposed to close down our laptop feeling proud of how much we've achieved that day. It doesn't matter if we didn't take a break, eat a meal, or get any fresh air that's that's. That's great. Right? We should totally wear that. As a badge of honor, we wouldn't treat our house plants like this. We wouldn't treat friends. Family loved ones like this.
Melanie Knights (18:37):
We're not robots. We're human beings. We're real people with needs, emotions and lives to live. And I want to, I personally wanna make sure that I experience everything my life has to offer. I wanna experience my life. I want to have those experiences. I want to have memories. I don't want to be a robot or just here to be productive or how much I can create or how much I can put out into the world. And this is still something I struggle with. I still struggle with the fact that rest can be productive just today. It got to about 1:00 PM and I felt suddenly like I hit a wall and my instinct was to keep going. My instinct was like, no, you have so much to do. And I was like, nothing's gonna get done. I'm gonna get more and more frustrated. So I took a bath. I rested, I did a little DIY because I had to put up a calm pole <laugh> and I came back and now I'm here recording this episode. It was so much easier. And I feel so much better for being able to step away.
Melanie Knights (19:59):
I feel so much more rested and ready to sit down and chat with you because I know that I was able to take an hour to myself and everything is still gonna be okay, everything will still get done if it needs to be done. And so I don't wanna wax lyrical about the fact that rest is productive. We see this online. I think that no matter how much we see it, how much we double tap, we can put it on a sticker or on a poster. It's, it's more than just seeing it. I think it's about really as individuals practicing and then believing and seeing the results. I think this is one of those kind of seeing as believing moments and seeing it in our own lives and our own experiences, not just seeing it on social media.
Melanie Knights (21:03):
So, as I said, I hope that today's episode encourages you to take what you need this season. We know that we are going to see lots of messages about how we can market our businesses. And as we go through the next few weeks and months and gear towards a busy holiday season, we'll then start to see messages of planning for the following year. And I feel like that's where we kind of hit that peak hustle, hustle, energy hustle, culture, high that's, where it gets worse. And I want you to just know that whenever you see that or feel that, just come back to yourself, come back to yourself, take a breath, close that app. Don't read that email, whatever it is that's making you feel that way, put it down, leave it alone because wherever you are right now is the right place for you wherever you need right now, that is valid because they aren't your needs validate your own needs and spend the next few weeks and months really nurturing those, nurturing, those intentions, whatever you wanna create the rest of this year, so that you can head into the following year, protecting your energy and hearing your intuition.
Melanie Knights (23:52):
Thank you so much for joining me again for this week's episode of entrepreneurial Outlaws. Next week, I am gonna be sitting down with Bree bird. Bree is a cellular release therapy facilitator and a space holder for women and Q I a plus folks Bree's mission is to help women and folks heal from trauma, not only on an individual level, but on a community level, educating families and allies along the way. So that future generations can thrive. Brie. And I sat down to talk about cellular release therapy and we had an incredible conversation and I'm so excited to welcome Brie to the show next week for you to tune in and hear all about Brie's work, what she's doing with her clients and connect you with each other. So that is next week. Next Thursday, Oprah new episode. I can't wait to see you then until next time Outlaws.