93: Taylor Swift and the Stress Cycle

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93: Taylor Swift and the Stress Cycle 3

Does your business make you feel stressed-out or even depressed like Taylor Swift in a breakup song? In today’s episode, I’m sharing a gentle reminder that your business should NOT feel this way. If you are addicted to the stress cycle and burning yourself out, I’m hoping that this episode will help you break out of the cycle for good. 

The Shoot It Straight Podcast is brought to you by Sabrina Gebhardt, photographer and educator. Join us each week as we discuss what it’s like to be a female creative entrepreneur while balancing entrepreneurship and motherhood. If you’re trying to find balance in this exciting place you’re in, yet willing to talk about the hard stuff too, Shoot It Straight Podcast is here to share practical and tangible takeaways to help you shoot it straight

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This episode is brought to you by The Aligned Photographer, my online course that will help you shape and expand your photography business to feel uniquely yours. Course modules include information all about pricing for profit, marketing, setting goals, creating a sustainable schedule, email, boundaries, and more. The course also includes monthly live Q&A calls, where you can get all of your business questions answered by me, Sabrina Gebhardt.

Review the Show Notes:

Which new Taylor Swift song are we talking about? (1:59)

You should not feel this way about your business (6:10)

We are addicted to stress (9:04)

Three common signs of stress addiction (15:46)

You don’t have to do it with a stressed-out heart (18:15)

Breaking out of the stress cycle (19:28)

It is uncomfortable to break the addiction (25:15)

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Review the Transcript:

Welcome to the shoot it straight podcast. I’m your host, Sabrina Gebhardt. Here, I will share an honest take on what it’s like to be a female creative entrepreneur while balancing business, motherhood, and life. Myself, along with my guests will get vulnerable through honest conversations and relatable stories because we’re willing to go there.

If you’re trying to find balance in this exciting place you’re in, yet willing to talk about the hard stuff too, The shoot it straight podcast is here to share practical and tangible takeaways to help you shoot it straight.

Welcome back to the shoot it straight podcast, my friends today, we’re going to talk about a couple of things I love and I’m going to put them together in kind of a weird way, but I hope you will hang around and hear me out. So I want to talk about Taylor Swift. And also the stress cycle, which may seem like two things completely out of left field.

And just, just roll with me here. So very recently we got a new album from Ms. Taylor Swift and it’s called the torture poets department. I am sure unless you are under a rock, you have heard this news. Maybe you have listened to the album because you like me love Taylor Swift, or maybe you are not a fan, but you’ve heard about it in the news.

It is already broken. Basically every album record ever. Um, it’s a pretty fantastic album, but there’s a song on here that when the album dropped, which was one week before I was set to speak at the reset conference. I immediately heard the song and knew that I needed to like throw in a couple of slides about it because it applied to what I was speaking about at the conference.

And I knew that that wasn’t enough that I wanted to take it a little bit further. So here I am bringing the same conversation to the podcast. The song that I am referring to is called, I can do it with a broken heart. If you have not listened to the song yet, maybe after this podcast episode, go check it out on Spotify or Apple music or wherever you listen to music, just so you can hear the words and hear what I’m talking about.

But I’m going to give you a couple of lines from the song, and then we’re going to go into how this relates to your business and the stress cycle. Here we go. But let me give you a little bit of premise. First, the song that she is writing the song, I can do it with a broken heart is about the end of a love affair.

and how she is absolutely miserable. She’s so depressed. She is dying inside, but life has to go on. She wrote this song while she was on tour for the heiress tour, which again, unless you are under a rock, you know, that this tour has broken every tour record out there. Uh, it is just astronomical, the things that she’s done on this tour, but she wrote this song while on tour.

And if you have seen any even clips of the tour, On news or on social media, you’ll see that it’s absolutely incredible. She’s an incredible performer. She is giving every single audience the same level of experience over and over and over again. Okay. Her performance during this, you know, three plus hour experience, um, multiple times a week for over a year now is just unbelievable.

There have been professional athletes that have gone to see her in concert that are then on the record for saying, I’m blown away. I cannot believe that she doesn’t take any breaks. I cannot believe that she performs at that level for that long over and over and over again. I mean, football players are saying this about her.

Okay. It’s crazy. Anyways, she writes this song while she’s on tour and the world is watching her on tour and we see from the outside looking in, she’s having the time of her life. She is living. A dream. She’s literally living her best life. She is performing to sold out crowds over and over and over again.

The media cannot get enough of her. She is happy. She is thriving all of these things. It seems like she’s literally on top of the world, but on the inside she’s dying on the inside. She is broken and miserable and so sad because of how she feels in this, at the loss of this relationship. And so there’s a couple of lines in the song.

Again, I would love for you to listen to the entire song, uh, because it goes farther than this, but just for time’s sake, there’s a couple of lines. One is I’m so depressed. I act like it’s my birthday every day. She is so miserable on the inside, but on the outside, she is acting like it is a party every single day.

Okay. Another, another line is I cry a lot, but I’m so productive. It’s an art. Again, she is dying inside. When she is alone, she is crying tears a lot, but on the outside, she’s getting it done. She is so productive. She’s releasing new albums. She’s releasing album re releases. She’s doing all of this press and media.

She’s on tour. But she’s miserable. Okay. So this song, and I said this to my class at reset conference, I think this song really is an anthem for women everywhere. Sorry guys, if you’re listening, but women get it done. We get it done. No matter what we are dealing with. Okay. We power through, we do what needs to get done.

And women are incredible, right? This is one of the things that makes us so magical. So I really do think it’s an anthem to women, but here’s what I want you to hear. There are definitely times in life where we have to power through, right? Taylor Swift is in the middle of an absolutely massive tour. She can’t just cancel her shows and stay home and cry for a month.

Right. Life goes on and we have those experiences to as mothers, as business owners, as spouses and partners, as community members. We have stuff that has to go on. The show must go on and we can get it done even when we’re sad, even when we’re hurting, even when we’re grieving, even when we don’t feel good.

But as a business owner, when we’re talking about business, what I want you to hear is that you should not feel this way about your business. I mentioned this in my talk that I had gotten to a point early on in my business where I felt like I had created a monster. I was doing so well on paper. I had a booked out calendar.

I had a really high Google ranking. I was making a really substantial income for my family. I was considered quote unquote, the popular photographer in town. And so on paper, it looked like I was winning. It looked like I was living my best life, but on the inside, I was absolutely miserable. And I felt like I had created this monster and I felt a lot of guilt and shame about the fact that I had created this monster.

I worked real hard to create this monster. And anyways, I got to a point where I was like, you know what? This can’t go on anymore. Uh, I don’t want to continue to run a business this way. I’m either going to shut it down or I’m going to undo the mess and build it the right way, fix it basically. And that’s what I did.

Okay. This was 10 years ago that I was feeling this way. And so, and that’s what I did in my business. And so I want you to hear the same thing. If you are miserable with the business that you have created, You are stressed to the max. You have no time in your schedule. You feel like your business is dragging you along like a big dog that’s running away and you’re just trying to hold onto the leash, right?

If that’s how you feel, you’re not creatively inspired anymore. You don’t love the things you’re saying yes to. You don’t enjoy the clients you’re working with. You don’t feel like you’re making enough money for how much you’re working. You don’t feel like you have a support system. You feel like you’re doing it all alone.

If. That is how you feel in your business. If you are miserable on the inside, but smiling on the outside because, well, things look good, so I guess I should be happy. Right. I want to tell you that you can change. Okay. You should not be running a business that way. Okay. And I’m not going to get into that in this episode.

That’s not where we’re going today. But if you feel that way about your business, You need to make some changes because that’s not sustainable. Okay. Running a business is hard and it is not going to be glitters and rainbow every single day. There are definitely highs and lows. There are ups and downs.

There are stressful seasons and more calm seasons, but there should be more joy than pain. There should be more happiness than sadness. Okay. At the end, when you look at all year in a whole, you should be able to feel really good about your business. It should light you up. It should excite you. It should make you feel happy and it should make you money.

And if it’s not doing those things, something needs to change. Okay. You don’t have to continue to, you know, fake it till you make it. You don’t have to continue to put on a fake happy face. Let’s do the work and fix it. Now I’m going to, I’m going to take a little bit of a turn here and I want to talk about stress.

I want to talk about stress because a lot of times when I am coaching women, what I hear is that they are overwhelmed and unhappy because of stress. Their business has piled on so much stress. that they are overwhelmed. They have anxiety. They are feeling burnt out and they’re struggling. And I want to talk about how oftentimes as women, especially I feel like the entrepreneur, the solopreneur crowd, we are actually addicted to stress.

Okay, we are addicted to this constant feeling of having to keep going, having to keep doing, having to keep adding more to our plate. And it’s actually really, really harming us. First of all, stress is good for us in certain, you know, doses. Okay, stress keeps us moving forward. It keeps things exciting. It makes us adapt to change.

It’s when we are addicted to this stress that it’s when we’re like choosing to stay in stress on purpose. That’s where something’s wrong. Even though stress brings a myriad of negative things along with it. Again, it can be addicting and here’s why this is wild. Okay. Stress. like it plays a trick on our brains.

I’m sure you’ve heard, and I don’t want to go into a whole science lesson here, but I’m sure you’ve heard that when we are stressed, our body releases cortisol. Cortisol is not good. Okay. But here’s the thing that maybe you didn’t know when we are stressed, not only does our body release cortisol, it also releases dopamine.

Dopamine is that chemical that makes us feel happy. It’s that chemical that makes us feel good. It’s that chemical that encouraged us to repeat behaviors because we want to feel more dopamine. It activates that reward center in our brain. Dopamine is what causes addictions. It’s not all bad, but when you look at people with very serious addictions, dopamine is why.

And I read something in an article about this that stood out to me, so I’m going to put it here. This quote, it says, the more stress we’re used to growing up, the harder it is to have less stress as adults. It becomes this high that we crave. And when we’re not stressed, we might even be stressed about being not stressed.

It’s this weird cycle. But what I have seen in my own experience is, is with these women that I’m coaching. Okay. That we’re balancing multiple stressful things at one time. We’re balancing motherhood, which is stressful in and of itself. We’re balancing marriage or long, long term partnerships, which again is stressful in and of itself.

We’re balancing these businesses that we’ve created again, very stressful. And so we’re balancing all of these plates, so to speak, that you know, heaping. with stress and stress potential. And we’re addicted to that feeling. But every once in a while, there’s this perfect storm where extra stuff is getting piled on.

And that’s when we feel like we need to drop the plates. And we are completely burnt out and potentially stepping over the threshold into depression. That’s when stuff gets scary. All of a sudden, this addiction to stress is too much because you know, one, too many things happened. Maybe it was the death of a family member made.

Maybe it was a kid’s illness. Maybe it was an injury, a surgery, uh, uh, an unexpected move, whatever it was, something else got piled into our already stressful lives. And all of a sudden, everything falls. And we are just, we can’t function. We’re depressed. We’re burned out. We’re overwhelmed. And it’s too much.

And I tell the story of It, it being like a bucket of water probably heard me tell the story before, but we’re all carrying a bucket of water and the amount of water in the bucket is going to resemble the stress, the things that we’re carrying in our lives. And just if you envision you being someone who’s addicted to stress, where your bucket is always full of water, water is always to the brim and you’re trying to go about your day and there’s water spilling out and you’re making a mess.

It’s sloshing everywhere. Water is also very heavy. If one extra thing happens, if one extra thing goes wrong and you try and put more water in the bucket, what happens? It doesn’t fit. There’s no room for more water in the bucket. And that’s when we immediately are like, it’s too much. And we dropped the bucket and we are overwhelmed, burned out, depressed, right?

But when we can get out of this stress addiction, this addictive stress cycle, what happens? We have less water in the bucket. When we have less water in the bucket, it’s not spilling out everywhere going about our day. It’s lighter weight. It’s not as heavy to carry around and we’ve done something beautiful.

We have created space to absorb more water, more stress. When something does happen, that’s unexpected. Do you see where I’m going with this visual friend? If you have a brand new photography business or maybe you have been in business for a few years but you aren’t thriving, I think I can help. Let me introduce you to my course.

The aligned photographer in this self study course, you will learn practical and tangible ways to run a sustainable and profitable business so that you can focus on capturing magic. In these nine modules, you’ll learn things like pricing for profit, marketing, sales, Setting goals, creating a sustainable schedule, email marketing, building boundaries, client workflow, and more.

Plus there are three incredible bonuses built in to really take things to the next level. Lessons are a mixture of video, audio trainings, and printable worksheets. Plus every module has a resources page full of free things to help go even deeper into the topic. The best part, in my opinion, are the live monthly Q and a calls where you show up and get all of your business questions answered by me.

So if you find yourself in a business that is burning you out, that isn’t making you a paycheck that is uninspiring and just not everything you had hoped for, then definitely check out the course. And as a special bonus, just for my podcast listeners, use code podcast at checkout to save 10 percent now back to the show.

So I did look up, there’s three common signs of stress addiction that we can look out, look out for that. I think really apply to my listening audience. Okay. Number one, we avoid rest and relaxation. Now on the surface, you might hear that and think, Avoid rest and relaxation. Are you kidding me? I love a good vacation.

I love to read a book on the beach. I love to take a nap on a Sunday afternoon. I’m talking about those of you who, when it’s time to sit still, when it comes to be Sunday afternoon and you have nothing that needs to get done and you’re like thinking yourself, I want to take a nap and you go to sit down on the couch to take a nap.

And your mind won’t stop. You can’t sit still. And then after five minutes, you’re like, nevermind, I’m going to go clean out a closet. I’m going to go start working on this project. I’m going to go pull out my laptop and do some work. That’s who I’m talking to. The inability to quiet the inability to sit still.

Okay. That’s one sign. Um, another sign is the constantly checking your phone. Ooh, did you hear that? And immediately go, Oh man, because when I read that I did too, right? Like when’s the last time you looked on your phone under the statistics of how many pickups you had that day? It’s probably an embarrassing number.

Like mine, when we are constantly picking up our phone and looking for notifications, we’re constantly looking for that hit of someone needs me. There’s something I need to do. There’s a reminder going off or a new opportunity has come along, right? That’s why we check our phones. We want to see if somebody sent us a text that we have to respond to.

If somebody invited us to something that we can put on the calendar, if a new email inquiry has come in, if a DM has come in, we’re checking for that way to fill up our time, constantly checking your phone. The third most common sign of stress addiction is saying yes to everything. Again, that’s the, I don’t want any downtime or any white space on my calendar.

So I’m going to fill it with every, I’m going to fill every possible pocket with something. I’m going to get an invitation. I’m going to have the opportunity to do something. And as long as there’s not something in that exact same time slot, I’m doing it. So not being able to say no, right. Just saying yes to everything.

Here’s the thing. I hope you’re hearing this and maybe, maybe you feel like I’m speaking to you. Maybe you’re like, Oh my goodness. I think I’m addicted to stress. Okay. We can change this. Addictions are breakable. Okay. These are things that we can take control of. It’s not something that we have to live with forever, but it’s something that we have to work on.

And I’m, I’m tying this to the Taylor Swift song that I started about at the beginning, because again, if you are feeling like the business that you have created is a constant stress cycle that you are partly in love with, but you partly hate, you feel like it’s a monster that you’ve created. We can change this.

We can change this and the things I’m going to tell you apply to your life too. So maybe your business has you feeling great. Maybe it’s your life that’s stressing you out. Maybe you have no problem taking time off from work and have out like work hour boundaries. Maybe you have no problem putting your phone away when you’re not working.

Maybe you have no problem saying no to things in your business, but you struggle with those things with your personal life. Okay. That’s possible too. So this stuff’s going to apply to you as well. So when we think about how we can break out of the stress cycle in our business, it’s how can we create space for ease?

How can we let off the gas a little bit? Right? How can we be happy with where things are and how things are going without feeling like we have to be full throttle all the time? So a couple of things that I talk about all the time that fit here that I want to just throw in as reminders. Number one, we have to take time off.

I know that it sounds obvious, but I also know that I personally struggle with this. I take my laptop on vacation. I work on a plane. Okay. I have a hard time fully unplugging from my business the same way that I bet you do, but it is absolutely necessary. It is absolutely necessary to take time off and to allow ourselves to just be humans and not be entrepreneurs all the time, to not be thinking about what the next big thing is, to not be thinking about how we can market this thing better, how we can make more money, how we can hit our goals.

Allow yourself to take a vacation, to take a sabbatical, to actually not work for a few days. It’s going to feel really hard if you, especially if you’re addicted to work and you love your business, it’s going to feel really hard. But it’s so necessary. Another thing is implementing white space. Again, I’ve talked about this many times on the podcast.

If you are, uh, if you’ve done any of my coaching programs or heard me speak at a conference, I almost always mention white space because I’m passionate about it. This whole subject of white space for me came from therapy, came out of working with a therapist. Okay. And now I shout about it from the rooftops and share about it with everybody.

What is white space. It is intentional white space on our calendar that we plan for on a regular basis. Okay. White space is not randomly finding yourself with a free Friday afternoon and going to get a pedicure. That’s not white space. White space is intentionally blocking off several hours, multiple times a month for you to do nothing.

You don’t put Uh, pedicure appointments in there. You don’t make hair appointments. You don’t schedule lunch with a friend. Nothing goes there. And on the day you wake up that you have white space, then you get to decide if and when you want to do anything. Maybe you want to take a nap. Maybe you want to go on a walk by yourself.

Maybe you do want to meet up with and have lunch with a friend, but you didn’t plan it. It’s spontaneous. It is to fill your body and your mind with what it needs that day. It is the gift of time and space in your calendar, but the keys that you have to intentionally plan for it, it’s not on a whim because Hey, if this is not news to you yet, those blocks of time that we just randomly find on our calendar, they don’t actually happen.

Okay. We have to plan for this time regularly. I am always planning a semester of white space at a time because I still have kids on a school calendar. Right? So I’m planning around when they’re at school and when they’re not, I will say side note, planning white space in the summer is hard, but I still do it.

I will get a sitter. I will make sure that my kids are in camps or whatever. I still do it. It’s not as easy as when they’re in school, it’s not as consistent, but it’s still just as important. Yeah. Another way to have a business with more ease is to create margin in our day. I talked about this on a recent podcast episode, but when we are trying to plan our day and we have things like blocked off by the hour or by the 30 minutes or by the 15 minute increment, right?

Like at this time, I have a zoom call. And then right after that, for 30 minutes, I’m going to do social media. And then I’m going to write a blog post for an hour. And then I have another zoom call. And then I leave for a session and then, and then, and then, and then. When we pack our agenda so tight on a day to day basis, we are literally living in high stress constantly, constantly.

It’s will I get this done in time? Will I finish this meeting on time? Will I get to this appointment appointment on time? It is so stressful and I don’t know about you, but when I have days that look like that on my calendar, I feel like I am radiating all day long. That like my heart rate is just racing all day long, and some days it’s not avoidable, but most days it is most days.

If we can take our, our agenda, our schedule, and just create some buffer in there, it feels so much better. We are not rushed and racing. We can breathe. We have margin to stop and go to the bathroom or stop and fill up our cup of coffee. What does that look like? It looks like not scheduling meetings back to back, but instead giving you a buffer in between.

It looks like doubling the amount of time that you are expecting something to take instead of 30 minutes for social media, give yourself an hour instead of an hour to write a blog post, give yourself two, right? And it’s giving yourself wiggle room in between these things so that you have time to go sit on your front porch, to go walk a couple, a couple laps around the block to call your friend back, whatever.

It helps us not be in that constant state of urgency all day long. That leads to one stressful day after another, after another, after another, just put margin in your schedule. The last thing I want to touch on here is if you’re hearing this and you are super motivated and you realize, yes, this is me. I need to work on this.

I’m going to do these things. I’m going to start intentionally taking time off, implementing white space and filling my days with more margin. Awesome. Thanks Bravo. I hope that that’s what you’re hearing, but I do want to warn you when you are addicted to stress and you are committed to undoing this addiction, working through this, building in these times of ease, it is going to be extremely uncomfortable at first, like physically Uncomfortable.

Okay. Remember earlier when I said, maybe you’re one of those people that says you’re going to take a nap, but then you sit down on the couch and five minutes in, and you’re like, nevermind, I’m going to get up and do a project because your brain and your body won’t shut off. That’s the feeling. Okay. And it’s going to feel that way for a hot minute.

It really is. This is not a couple of days of ease and margin and you’re going to be feeling good. The addiction is broken. This is going to be, it’s going to be a month, maybe a couple months. You’re going to need to know that it’s going to be uncomfortable and I want it to be surprising to you and I want you to have a plan.

How are you going to power through the discomfort and force yourself to have this margin to have time off to have this white space? You have to force it or this addiction will not break. Okay. For me, it was telling my best friend when I was going to have white space and then having her text me to make sure and hold me accountable that I wasn’t doing something truly because I struggled so much with, I can’t possibly sit on the couch and read a book for fun during work hours.

When my kids are at school, how unproductive of me, how frivolous of me. Okay. So I had to have her check on me to make sure that I wasn’t actually like running errands or doing laundry or doing a project or, or editing images. Right. And it took a while, but slowly that stress addiction started to unwind and unravel a little bit.

And it started to feel good. I started to look forward to that time. Okay. And then the cycle breaks. And that’s when you realize, okay, I don’t want to live like this anymore. I want to balance my stressful life and my stressful moments with ease and margin and white space. I want to allow myself to carry stress when it needs to be carried, but then also build in time to recover.

Okay. So that I’m not constantly. Stressing in that cycle every single day over and over 365 days, year after year, right? So I hope that listening to this episode, something resonated with you, right? Whether you are, as Taylor Swift is singing, you are unhappy with the monster of a business you’ve created, or you find yourself addicted to stress or both.

And really, that’s why I tied these two things together because I do think they’re so intertwined as entrepreneurs. Okay. I think they really do go hand in hand. The reason that we are unhappy is because it is a stress cycle and we can’t get out of it. Right. We can’t get out of it. And so I’m hoping you hear me say this and you are inspired to slow down.

You are inspired to lean into ease. You are inspired to find more balance and to break this stress cycle for ourselves. right? I don’t want this for you. I want you to have a sustainable business for the long run. I don’t want you to burn out and drop the buckets and give up. Okay. I don’t want you to go from stress to more stress, to more stress until it’s too much.

So that’s it for today, my friend. I would love to hear from you. If this episode resonated with you in any way, shape, or form, would you come find me on Instagram and send me a DM at Sabrina Gebhardt photography? I would love to chat. That’s it for today. We’ll see you next week. Thanks so much for listening to the shoot it straight podcast.

You can find all the full show notes And details from today’s episode@sabrinagehart.com slash podcast. Come find me and connect over on the gram at Sabrina Gehart Photography. If you’re loving the podcast, I’d be honored if you hit that subscribe button and leave me a review. Until next time, my friends shoot it straight.

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