This year has been a challenging time for small business owners across the nation. Female broker-business owners in particular have found themselves involved in a juggling act – trying to future-proof their businesses in a time of change while looking after the needs of their family. MPA spoke with high performance coach Kate McKenna for her top tips on maintaining energy, building resilience and achieving goals off the back of Mortgage Choice’s Aspire Masterclass series.
The challenge of time
Having recently hosted the first two webinars in Mortgage Choice’s three-part series aimed at supporting more women to become franchise owners, McKenna says female brokers are currently facing a challenge that is common amongst women from a variety of backgrounds – they feel they don’t have enough time.
“That’s something I hear every single day from all of my clients and from a number of different people.”
She says she challenges this notion by asking: “Is there never enough time, or is it just not a priority?”
“That can sound really harsh, but the majority of the challenges that we come across are basically because we are not focusing our energy in the right areas or we’re focusing on things that aren’t necessarily going to drive the outcomes that we’re looking to achieve.”
While female brokers may feel the need to prove themselves in a traditionally male-dominated industry, it is important to remember that while you can do anything you want, you can’t do everything all at once, she adds.
The first step towards overcoming the challenge of time, is to ask yourself what you are trying to achieve. Then it is a matter of working backwards from there and identifying what you should and shouldn’t focus on each day.
She offers the following tips for maintaining energy, building resilience and achieving goals.
Identify energy drains
When it comes to planning out a schedule, it is important to look at the way each task makes you feel, says McKenna.
“How do you feel when you do it and how much energy does it take for you to do that.”
It could be that a 15-minute task leaves you feeling exhausted whereas a three hour one feels less demanding.
“Know your energy and know what drains it. Then plan accordingly.”
If you are a morning person, it may be best to structure your day around the premise that you have more energy first thing to deal with the most demanding tasks. If, however, you aren’t a morning person, then getting up early to tackle these tasks could leave you without enough juice to survive the rest of the day.
While there are always tasks that need to be done at certain times that are outside of your control, structuring those that can be controlled can go a long way in increasing productivity.
“It’s all about increasing the performance and the output and decreasing the amount of effort that you have to put into doing that.”
By planning out your calendar in this way for the next four to six weeks, you will have a better idea of how to juggle unexpected events when they come your way, she says.
Adopt a mindset of personal accountability
Accountability is one of the key elements of building resilience, says McKenna, yet this is something we aren’t often taught.
Instead, we get educated around the concept of working harder and saying yes to everything. Then, if we don’t complete tasks on time, there is more of a focus on why we didn’t get them done, rather than looking at ways we could do better next time.
She says, in contrast, personal accountability is about engaging in above the line, solution-based thinking while maintaining an optimistic mindset.
“Once you have this mindset it becomes your value set and how you approach life.”
While so many women beat themselves up over the smallest of so-called failures, accountability is not about placing blame or taking on all of the work. Instead, it is simply about looking for things to be better.
For those who succumb to “imposter syndrome,” it is possible to rewire the brain to create new beliefs, she says.
“Challenge those thoughts and beliefs and build your bank of evidence on the side that supports the mindset and the lifestyle that you want to have and come back to that every time.”
“While we never get rid of the wiring that we have, we can actually rewire and start a new habit, a new thought, and a new belief – and the more that you practice that, the stronger it becomes.”
“That’s how you build your resilience.”
Create new habits
When it comes to setting and achieving goals, McKenna says focusing on habits is key.
“You never actually break a habit. Habits are there and they’re wired into you, so what you want to do is create a new one.”
Just like physical fitness, habits need to be built up over time using small and simple tweaks.
“Make it really simple and easy for you to succeed at this new habit, but also, make it really, really hard to succeed at the old habit that you’re trying to get rid of.”
Once you have mastered a new, positive habit, you can stack another one on top to build more change into your lifestyle, she says.
Aspire to take charge
While this year has been especially challenging for everyone, we are all capable of doing a good job, says McKenna.
“Be really kind to yourself.”
“Challenge the limiting beliefs that you have around what you can and can’t do and really look for new opportunities in all different areas of your life on how you can do things better to reduce your energy spend, increase your productivity and, overall, increase your wellbeing and lifestyle.”
“The better we can all be, the better off everyone else is.”
For more insights into setting and achieving goals check out Mortgage Choice’s final masterclass on 28 October.