Hi and welcome to The Business Of Being A Virtual Assistant. I’m your host, Tiffany Parson and you’re watching and listening to Episode #201. I’m so glad to be back behind the camera and talking to you guys and I’m making sure I got my mic on and it did not come off, I’ve got water nearby, I’ve got notepads in case I forget and need to write a mental note as we talk.
So it’s been a few episodes since I saw you last and a lot has been going on behind the scenes. We had a loss in our family, which was a tragic, tragic situation and that was something heavy to deal with. My husband and I also experienced a loss on the friend side. A couple that we’re friends with, the wife passed away and this couple is in their 40’s. And I haven’t even processed, you know, you don’t think about people in your age passing away. And so it just, still in this moment, is unbelievable. We were not close friends with them, but we had dinners together. They would do cookouts, you know, with all of their friends, and we met them at church and we were in premarital for like two years together. Started out as about 10 couples and ended up being two: just us and them. And so we were just–couldn’t believe that this happened. So we’ve just truly, truly been praying for their family, her husband, son, daughter– my cousin, brother, sisters, his kids. And then on top of that, my husband’s uncle passed away. So in one week, three people that we knew passed away–in one week. And for a moment we thought all three funerals were going to meet on the same day. It’s a lot y’all; so it didn’t end up being all three on the same day, but two are on the same day.
So I don’t know, we got to figure stuff out. But anyway, in the midst of all of that, I had a birthday. I am one year older now and feeling good. But I was feeling good and sad all at the same time on my birthday because I could only think about our loved ones that we lost, that are no longer with us. But then the Holy Spirit reminded me that we have to praise The Lord in and out of season, good times and bad, highs and lows, it doesn’t matter. And to still be alive means that there’s still something that I am to do and so I have to be grateful in that and celebrate life.
But having said that, I just couldn’t get it together for the podcast. To think about what to say without taping a long 15 minute monologue of sadness and I know you guys would totally turn that off and wouldn’t want to hear all that. Uh so anyway, so I’m back. I’m back. I’m back. I’m glad to be back.
So this is Episode #201. And I want to talk about plateaus and how we get our creativity back. Plateaus and how we get our creativity back. So everybody knows a plateau is where there is no high, no low. You just know you’re not seeing any results. Let’s say it like that. The best analogy is with exercise. Those of you that have been listening to the podcast for a while, you know, I used to teach a group fitness class at the Y and at the women’s gym a few years back before the Y.M.C.A. And so every quarter our routine would change because your body gets used to doing the same thing over and over again. And when it gets used to doing the same thing over again, you need to change it up, give it a little shock treatment to see some results.
So we’re gonna talk about that because that can happen in our virtual assistant business as well. We’re kind of coasting along, things are smooth, there’s no significant high, no significant low. We’re just coasting. This is our plateau. And you’re not feeling creative. That may be causing a stumbling block in your creativity. This is what is happening to me. I’m speaking from first-hand experience, not anybody else’s experience but my own. And what can we do to like, switch things up, change it up, so we get some creativity back, right? And with all this stuff going on, imagine you’re in a plateau and you experience all this stuff and it’s like, “I–can I just sit in a corner or lay on the couch and just stare at the TV and watch my new favorite show, 9-1-1?” That is my new favorite show. I’ve been binging it on Hulu in my moments where I can’t get it together. Uh, can I just do that? No, you can’t. You gotta get up, gotta get moving. So what do you do?
Gotta tap into what’s fun?! What’s something fun? What gets you excited? And not something big: something at home, something that doesn’t require a lot of planning, right? So what’s your fun thing? I am in this coupon group on Facebook and they post different deals and stuff and–all online deals. And one of the deals I saw this morning was on some roller skates. And I haven’t had a pair of roller skates since I was in maybe elementary, maybe middle school. And these skates look so nice. And I read the reviews, I won’t be ordering these skates, BUT it made me start thinking about what’s some other fun things that I like to do that’s not work related?
So I have been making holiday earrings, not work related, they’re just for me. Holiday earrings, you’ll see them as I am recording a podcast. I wear some of my holiday earrings because this year, talking about celebrations, getting some creativity going and stuff–I’m going to get into the holiday spirit and, whatever that looks like–I’m gonna let it flow, whatever it looks like. Okay, so tap into something creative. So those roller skates made me think about, what are some fun things? Sometimes we have to dial it way back to when we were having fun and didn’t have responsibility and were not paying bills and all this stuff. Sometimes you have to dial it way back. And maybe you don’t have to go that far, but what are your fun things that don’t require a lot of planning, that you could do right at home, right in a moment’s time–to get you out of that funk? To get that creativity going? To recharge your mojo, to help you get out of the plateau? That’s what it takes. A little bit of fun and it’s not a lot. Right?! That’s not a lot.
So, I love stationery and colored pens. And the problem is when I would get stationary and colored pens, I would save it. In fact, let me show y’al: Behind me, is this whole little basket of cute stationery. And then, I have another drawer on the other side of the room with colored pens. But I’ve been saving them, like you would have a stamp collection or a sticker collection, and not using them. So I decided I’m going to start using my fun stationery. So that’s what I use and write my little notes on my pads. It says Be Kind To Yourself and It’s got cute little ladies at the bottom. And start using some colorful pens. Although the pen I grabbed real quick is just a blue pen. But grabbing colorful pens, being surrounded by bright colors help stir up some of that creativity, right? So this is how I knew it worked. And that’s how you’ll know it works too; Is the next time you go to, maybe, you have to write a blog for yourself or a client/maybe have to do a social media post whether it’s for yourself or a client, and you can feel yourself getting really excited about it or when you see the paper, words just flow. And that’s how, you know, it might also be ideas start coming to you.
I was in the Dollar Tree the other day and I was actively trying to get out of this mood of melancholy and I just wanted to kinda lift myself up: I’m here, I’m alive, let’s move! And the way I knew it was working, went into the Dollar Tree and you know—they have all kinds of neat little trinkets and this and that—And for me, before I buy something, I have to be able to look at it and know how I’m going to use it. What am I going to do with it? And that’s what I did. And so I was getting all kinds of little creative ideas and some stuff I didn’t have any idea for and that was fine. But this is how I knew I was out of my little funk and lack of creativity. What I wanted; more creativity.
Let me show you this sign I got from Dollar Tree. I’m so excited! I’m going to hang this up on the wall and I might add some other stuff for the holiday. I probably shouldn’t be showing you so soon but I’m so excited! I don’t do good with saving things for later, except for my stationery, which I’m working on that. But this is my sign I got at the Dollar Tree, and watch this—Can you see? It lights up, Joy. Joy! Joy! Joy! Joy! It lights up! Joy comes from within you guys. No matter what highs or lows, it does not matter. Joy comes from the inside-out. Whereas happiness comes from the outside -in. It’s something on the outside that makes us happy. But joy is like deep down in the belly that comes right on out. So anyway, that’s my joy sign and I’m gonna put that up behind me. Just to change up a little bit and any other ideas that I get I’m just gonna have fun! Go with it, right?
We work really hard, you guys. Really hard for our clients and for ourselves and it’s easy to get in that mode where you’re cruising along—you’ve reached that plateau and you’re like, okay, “I really want to shake things up. I really want to be more creative. I want to do more posts and videos and this and that. I want to write and all this stuff; but I can’t get out of cruise control. What to do?” So that’s the first thing: FUN. Dialing back to where you need to go/how far back you need to go, whatever it is, to draw out what’s fun/what gets you excited: if it’s an activity, a thing, colors–whatever.
The second thing is journaling. It doesn’t matter what kind of little book you get. Like I said, I was at the Dollar Store, they’ve got all kinds of different supplies and stuff for you to write. It doesn’t matter what, but journaling. And journaling is for you. You might not ever go back to read it, but it’s for you. So you can do a little release and get some of that gunk out of the way. To free up your mind and your brain space. So those creative ideas can start clicking again. So words can start flowing smoother without force. So you can get back into the swing of things of you, what it’s like for you and not someone else; not where you’re a copycat of someone else, but where you’re you. So journaling is the second thing. And before I hit record on this—I wish I had brought that basket over—y’all, I love baskets. Okay! Wicker baskets. I’m gonna grab it, hold on a second. Can I do this? I’m gonna grab it. If this is your first time listening, I love it when you, the listener or the watcher, feels like we’re in this room together. We’re in my office together and I’m just talking to you, we’re talking back and forth and this is our flow.
Okay. So this is what I love. All right, so you guys, I love wicker baskets. You can get some really good ones at Goodwill because they can get expensive, right! And good baskets—I love a good wicker basket! Okay, let me show you this one. All right, this is actually one; I did good at Goodwill. It was—let me hold it up so you see it. Had to tell y’all about this basket! It was actually a Christmas basket and had some kind of velvet in it. And I took that off of it because I just want the basket. I don’t need the Santa and the velvet—I don’t need that. Okay, so inside this basket is a bunch of journal books. Some have been written in. I think most of them have been written in. Yeah, they’ve all been written in. Over the years from different things where I was taking—and maybe I was taking notes at church or work or just ideas, wherever. But this is the basket. Now I’m gonna tell you something—something else funny about me is that I may not use all the pages and go in order but it bothers me when I come back later and I flipped through my journal and I skipped pages and then I feel like I’m wasting the whole thing. And then I don’t want to tear out the pages because then I feel like, when you tear out the pages that are not supposed to be torn out, it’s like you’re messing up the journal! So anyway, then I go back to the journal and I will flip through, find the blank pages and use it for scrap paper because, I don’t know, I don’t like wasting paper. Some people don’t like to waste food. I don’t like to waste paper. There you have it! So the second thing is journaling to spark some of that creativity back.
And the third thing is reading. Read something enjoyable, whether that is non-fiction, fiction, newspaper, a magazine, read something that’s enjoyable. Not any sad news, not any news. Read something that’s enjoyable. And it just came to my mind for those of you that enjoy cooking, that could be on your fun list. I am not a cook y’all but I can see how diving into cooking can help as well. So when I thought of reading, all of a sudden in my mind, I had thought about naming different books, even a recipe book just to get things going. Or watch a video, watch someone else cook. I love to watch other people cook! And in my mind it gets me, okay, maybe I might cook that one day, maybe. Maybe. Nothing in the cooking mood these days.
Anyway, so those are some things—hopefully you’ve gotten some ideas on how to be creative. It’s important, right? You may be thinking “Well Tiffany, you know, does it really matter—My client has me answering emails/I do community support in Facebook groups. So do I really need to be so creative because I have a script that I have to say” YES-YOU-DO! Creativity is important for you as well! Maybe you’re thinking, “I’m a bookkeeper. I put numbers in a spreadsheet. Do I need to be creative with that?” Yes! I’m gonna tell you why. Sticking with just do, do, do, do doing the work gets boring really fast and that gets you on the train—the fast train to a plateau. But, when your mind is clear, you’re able to be creative in doing those things that you have to do/that you’re following a script—it’s about the attitude behind it. The mindset behind it. The Joy behind it. Because now you’re in a better space mentally. Because your creative juices are flowing. And who knows, while you’re doing that task for your client, you might get an idea that you need to do to take care of your number one client who is: You! Remember, you’re your #1 client. So you might be doing a thing for your client. You can’t see me, I’m—I am tapping my fingers as though I’m typing on the keyboard, those of you that are listening. And then an idea sparks! You’ve been trying to figure out what to write on your blog for a while and you hadn’t gotten anything, and then *bing* when it comes to you as you’re doing something for your client—because your mind is free, you got the creative juices flowing and you got a colorful notepad close by and you jot that idea right on down. And you get your client work done and then you’re ready to go off and write or do whatever thing you need to do for your #1 client.
This is how it is with me for the podcast because sometimes I don’t even know what I want to talk about. Sometimes I’ll get one bullet in mind, one thought in mind, one idea or I’ll start out one way and it ends up being another way. But when the ideas are not flowing like the past couple of weeks/when I’m just preoccupied with all this other stuff, I had nothing but—I had nothing to offer but sadness. It would have been 20 minutes of sadness and then somewhere I would have figured out a way to weave in a value for you to take away, but it would have been a long time. Right?
So anyway, being creative is so important for us. We’re at our computers a lot, we’re sitting down a lot…It matters and get moving! I’ve probably given you five things by now to get this thing moving. Have a little dance party in between if you need to! I love to dance y’all! I will make up a dance and I would do it, and my husband would be like, “what are you doing?—I’m just dancing!” The other day, the heel on my foot was itching and I’m scratching it with my other heel. So I was like, oh, this could be a little dance move, wait a minute! And he always catches me when I’m doing something silly and he was like, “what are you doing?” It’s like, “I was scratching my foot, but I got a little dance going on.”
So anyway, have some more fun you guys. It matters in your virtual assistant business! Thank you guys so much for watching and listening to this week’s episode. I will definitely be back next week. I can’t wait! We need to talk about some other things. I’m going to get back to what I told you I was going to talk about a couple of weeks ago. We’re going to do that thing. Okay! Alright you guys, I would love to hear from you. This is not just a one way conversation. Talk back to me in the comments below if you’re watching on YouTube or Facebook, if you’re watching on the actual—let’s see where are we?—iTunes, Stitch or Listen NoteS, Goggle Play, wherever the podcast is and you’re listening to it. Find us over on Facebook. The Facebook is TBBVA: that stands for The Business Of Being A Virtual Assistant. That’s where you’ll find us and if you didn’t get all of that, you can go to tiffanyparson.com and you’ll see the podcast link there. And while you’re there, be sure to sign up for free training. You’re going to get the 15 Known Secrets Of Being A Virtual Assistant if you click on training there. You can also text—I’m trying to think of all the spots—You can also text me if you’d rather do that. If you text 33777 the phrase VA Start–I’m laughing because I always get stuck as to whether it’s three 7s or four 7s—the phrase VA Start. I love you guys so much for listening. I thank you for taking the time out of your day to be a part of mine. You have a wonderful and fabulous rest of your week.