I’m writing this on my laptop in a Cosi café in Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. The reason I am here has nothing to do with me or my business, but the reason I can continue to be successful in my work is because I have set myself up to do so. How? By creating supportive environments. In this case, the laptop, the appropriate software, and the ability to connect to the Internet, as well as the support of my husband, all contribute positively to my accomplishment of the task: writing and submitting this piece on deadline and without stress.

Creating supportive environments is imperative to your success as an entrepreneur. It goes without saying that if you have environments that will support you and your passion, it’s going to be much easier and more enjoyable for you to do your work. I’m going to touch upon the environments that I believe are most essential to your success and well being.

There are many environments in your life, and most of them intertwine. Being aware of these environments will ensure that you have a hand in creating them, and not allow them to be created for you by tolerating those people, situations and things that you shouldn’t.

Important areas of your overall environment include your home, office/work space, body, energy, and nature, which all impact your mental, spiritual, and emotional environments.

In your outer environment, your home is one of the most important. Your home should be a sacred place for you, a place where you feel safe, taken care of, and content. Clutter and chaos in the home should be kept at a minimum, but your bedroom and your work space in particular should reflect calm. I know sometimes it just isn’t possible to stay on top of it all, but if you make a consistent effort to divide and conquer – and ask for help! – over time you can make a huge difference in the quality of your home environment. As bonus, you’ll create space for other more appropriate and wonderful things to enter as well!

Exercise 1:

If you have a list of things that are broken, need replacing, or just need to be tossed, then start doing this today. Pick three things that are in your home right at this moment that you can either toss or give away. Then do so, and feel the space clear.

Nothing blocks creativity more than clutter in your office or work space. To be honest, I write that sheepishly thinking of the paper piles on the floor surrounding my desk at home. What I need are several filing cabinets so I’ve ordered the ones I want and just that simple decision is freeing a lot of mental stores.

Exercise 2:

If you have clutter in your work space, you are not allowing yourself to be more productive and creative. Give yourself the gift of a clutter-free space in which to bring your gifts into the world. Take ten minutes at the end of each day and tidy your space. File what needs to be filed, throw away anything that you no longer need and can honestly assess that you really won’t ever need, and make a plan for tomorrow.

Don’t ask yourself to be perfect in this; sometimes you are going to need to fly away from your work space and simply don’t have the time to do so. When that’s the case, then take the ten minutes in the morning to clear your space so you can clear your mind for the work of the day.

Having the right tools to work with will also make your work more enjoyable and much less stressful. My desktop died a slow tortuous death one summer and you can’t imagine my stress level at the time. It got so bad that I literally shut down and spent a week in a cabin in the woods, just working from my laptop, just to get away from it. And I also can’t tell you how happy I was when it finally bit the dust and I bought my new one. The lesson for me, though, was that I should have simply bought the new desktop when I knew that there was no saving my old one, instead of going through the stress of not being able to do my work, and not being as productive as I like and need to be to continue to be successful in my work. It certainly wasn’t worth it – on any level – to suffer through those last weeks.

Exercise 3:

As in your home, are there things in your office or work space that need to be tossed, replaced or upgraded? Are you tolerating things for financial or other reasons that are really counter-productive, like I did with my ailing desktop? Choose one thing that would make your work easier and more enjoyable if you replaced, upgraded or tossed it, and make the decision to do whatever it takes to make that happen as soon as reasonably possible. Stop tolerating what you shouldn’t and get on with bringing your work into the world.

Your body is an environment that you need to take care of as well. Are you getting regular exercise? Are you participating in something physical that you really enjoy, not something that you dread making yourself do simply because you know it’s good for you? Are you eating as nutritiously as possible, without feeling deprived of the foods you love? Do you get haircuts as often as you should and would like? Do you treat yourself to a manicure, pedicure, or some other spa treatment once in awhile? Do you get enough sleep? Do you rest when you need to? Do you run on adrenaline or do you use food and exercise as your means for energy? Our body is one of the environments that can be easy to ignore (until something is wrong), yet when we take good care of ourselves in this way, it is amazing how much more energy, patience, creativity and satisfaction we have.

Exercise 4:

Choose one area of your body environment that you know you can improve right away and make the commitment right now to do it. That could mean you will go to bed a half hour earlier each night, or that you will take a 30-minute walk outside today. You could not have a sugar-laden dessert tonight and instead opt for a lighter version of frozen yogurt with fresh fruit. What action could you take today that you know will make you feel proud of yourself for doing so?

I’d love to know your thoughts on hiring help in your business – please leave your comments below.

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