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I get it. You are serious about the whole business thing. You’ve committed to it, and it’s hard to accept that sometimes things are not working how you want them to. But is it possible that you are actually the only person standing in the way of your success? Because of your own perfectionism or high expectations?

In this episode, I wanted you to pause and reflect on this and if you’re not sabotaging yourself by putting too much pressure on yourself. Listen to it to find out if it might be true and how to be a bit more compassionate to yourself.

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Now, it’s time to go get richer, teacher!

Podcast transcription

Hello, hello, and welcome to another episode of Get Richer Teacher. I’m so happy you’re here because I’m gonna talk about a really important topic today. I’m gonna talk about putting pressure on yourself. I’m gonna talk about why we feel so shit sometimes and how to change it, and how to even diagnose if we are the ones to blame. Hint: yeah, we are, basically. What I wanted to say at the beginning – which might be a bit controversial – is I wanted to apologize to you. I wanted to apologize because my attitude has been for a long while now to always motivate people to take action, to always motivate people not to stop, to just be consistent, to just plough on – I think I mentioned that in one of the previous episodes – and I think I’ve been doing that to myself as well: I’ve been ploughing on, no matter what. I’ve been doing things sometimes against myself just to prove that I can, and just because I thought people were expecting it. Then I realized, it’s only me who is putting that pressure onto myself. It’s only me who is actually imagining that something bad will happen if I don’t. And then I dunno what happened: maybe it was my holiday in Poland that was a bit bittersweet, maybe it was just the experiences of the last year and a bit in this business, and I came to a conclusion that it’s totally fine for people to make progress at their own pace, to be at their own timeline when it comes to achieving certain goals, and that it’ll always look different for everybody. So, I know it as a fact, because I’ve heard it so many times, that sometimes some of my clients compare themselves to me and I wanna say that, while I find it extremely flattering, and it’s actually a fantastic thing because I’m not gonna lie: I think I’ve become successful and I am happy with what I’ve achieved, but I don’t want anybody to ever feel like me at times: which is under a lot of pressure, which is thinking that they have to do things the way I do them and also the way theythink I would expect them to do. So, if any of my clients, especially one-to-ones and Masterminders, are listening to this, I just wanted to say that I accept you – and all of you actually – I accept you and I appreciate you, and I give you permission to do things the way you want to do them. You never have to please me. The only person that you are actually probably kind of trying to please is yourself. I know that I’m the mirror there. I’m the mirror of your own expectations because I hear it: this whole way of thinking shows up in our one-to-one sessions when people come to me and they say: “Oh, I haven’t done much. I think I haven’t got much to share with you”. And they feel guilty; they feel bad about themselves. And then I don’t know if I’ve ever added to that bad feeling, that negative perception of them – quote unquote – not making enough progress. I hope not but I know that it’s a thing. 

So, I just wanted to say it out loud: it’s absolutely okay and it’s not about doing things week by week. It’s about understanding that consistency is important and that you will find your motivation when you feel fully aligned with your business, but sometimes we kind of fall into that trap of trying to please everybody because we think that they expect it from us. Don’t do it to yourself because it’s not worth it. That’s what I wanted to say. 

And also what I wanted to mention is that if you sometimes feel a bit bad about your progress – no matter whether we work together or not – or if you have been thinking that everybody is so much further ahead, or everybody can do this and that, or maybe you’ve even said to yourself: “I don’t think I’m cut out to do this”, then also, please, know that I hear you – I totally have been there – and also I bet that everybody else who is listening to this – or not even listening, not even being aware – has felt like this at least once. Isn’t it reassuring that we all put that pressure on ourselves, that we all expect ourselves to always know what to do and to always be productive, to always be making progress? But then we think we’re the only ones. Isn’t that funny? Isn’t that just a bit of a contradiction? So, if you’ve been feeling like that then maybe it’s time to watch your thoughts, maybe it’s time to actually pause and see what those thoughts are trying to tell you, what those feelings are trying to tell you.

Maybe you’ve been using so much negative self-talk, such as: “Oh, I will never be as good at Instagram as somebody else” or “I am not making as much progress as everybody else and I feel like I’m behind”. This is kind of significant because I hear it a lot – if you feel that you’re behind, then ask yourself: behind what? behind whom? Because the only way of measuring it is comparing your own progress to yourself from the past. You cannot compare it to somebody else because we are not at school anymore. We’re not. We’re not there to build our business based on a curriculum that somebody said – a teacher said, or somebody else said – that we have to follow and kind of realise at the end of the school year. Could this be a light bulb moment for you? There is no curriculum, there is no one way of doing things. We are all adults and we are all so different because of the stories, because of the experiences that we’ve been through, because of our own filters and the way we process things. And that’s actually beautiful. 

I personally think, and I think I’ve mentioned it before, that I am a massive, massive kind of advocate of freedom. And I think building a teaching business and the biggest value for me in building a business is that freedom and a freedom understood at so many different levels. So, yes: obviously freedom to work with everybody, with anyone you want, to work from where you want and freedom to travel and whatever else – that kind of literal meaning of freedom. But it’s also freedom to choose how fast or how slowly you do things. It’s also freedom to choose if you show up on a bloody Monday or not, it’s also freedom to choose when you have a bad day and you feel like just wrapping yourself in a blanket, drinking hot chocolate and watching Netflix. Or is it a day when you’re doing lots of work because you’re feeling like your energy levels are allowing you to do that? Remember, that the fact that even once, twice, or three times a month or a week when you have the moments that you don’t feel like doing things, nothing is gonna happen. The world is not gonna end. Obviously, there has to be balance between you allowing yourself to rest – and not confusing rest with procrastination because that’s a trap – but remember that we are human and humans are very complex creatures. We cannot just train ourselves to be productive or train ourselves to be something or skilled at something, and then always be good at this.

I actually feel a bit shit today recording those podcasts because my voice is still not great. I’m stumbling upon my words, I’m a bit distracted but it’s okay. It’s still okay because it’s still me. It doesn’t mean that I’m lesser than, or it doesn’t mean that people won’t find it valuable. I think you might actually find it valuable, more valuable if I show up the way I am. And you can totally share it with your community as well, because on days that you are human, this is the time to make connections with other humans. I bet that if you’re feeling bad, there is at least one other person that is feeling bad as well.

I found it so many times I’ve kind of figured it out and it’s shown up in my business so many times that the more authentic I am with the whole kind of a pallet of my emotions, of my experiences, the more it resonates with people. So, try that as well. Try and not hide. Try and show people who you really are and show them: “I’ve been a bit down or I’ve been a bit under the weather and I didn’t feel like doing anything”. Because if try and motivate your learners to do stuff, to work on their language goals, and you tell them: “You need to just teach yourself better habits” or “You need to be consistent, no matter what”, and then you hide when you actually don’t feel like doing something, then it’s a bit of a hypocritical message because you are not following your own advice. Why would you follow your own advice, by the way? Again: we are human, so we’re allowed to have bad days and to feel down. So, just be more of that. That would feel so much more natural. So, that’s one thing.

Another thing I wanted to mention is that maybe it’s all about realising that most of the negativity, most of the things that we think could go wrong in our business, is just a product of our imagination. I’ve recently noticed that the bad scenarios, the negative thoughts around things never – or in 99% of cases – come true. They actually are literally just in my head and my brain preparing in case something bad happens, which is a very, very natural mechanism: our brains are there to keep us safe. So, if it’s telling you that: “Oh, no, you can’t show your face like this on a reel on Instagram, because people will think that you’re silly, that you’re stupid, that you’re ugly”, your brain is trying to prepare you for that worst case scenario.

Again: it’s a coping mechanism. But then you have to always challenge whether it’s actually a fact or if it’s just that kind of coping mechanism, an imaginary situation that your brain is creating. In a very, very interesting book that I’ve been reading recently, called “The Mountain is You” (I’m gonna put it in the description, obviously) the author claims that we are the biggest obstacles to our own success. We self-sabotage – and that’s a concept that I’ve been familiar with because of the book I mentioned here many times: “The Big Leap” by Gay Hendricks – because all of us have something that is called an upper limit. It’s an upper limit of our capacity for happiness, for success, and for all the good and positive things that we can have in our lives. And it’s scientifically proven that literally our brains are not prepared to recognise what’s good or what’s bad for us. Our brains can only recognize things that are comfortable and known or uncomfortable and unknown. So, the things that are unknown will always feel bad because they feel uncomfortable for our brains. If you are reaching the limit, your capacity of happiness or positivity, then your brain will naturally stop you. It will naturally do something that will tell you: “No, this is bullshit. I can’t do it” or “I’m not cut out to do this”, or “I’m not that kind of person who can have it”, or as my grandma always said: “You can either be lucky in cards or in games or in love”. So, that is that metaphor of: you cannot have everything, you can choose only one or the other. You may be thinking: “I’m very lucky because I have a home, because I have a family, but this business thing, it’s not for me”. I actually sometimes think: “Oh, maybe it’s the business thing that is my thing that I can be successful in and the other things will have to suffer”. We have to train ourselves to accept that we can have it all – maybe not all at the same time, because balance is also another bullshit that we’re fed via social media. There is always some imbalance – and we have to train ourselves to accept the goodness. We have to train ourselves to see that very often the negative thoughts or the pressure that we put on ourselves come from a very, very natural and healthy mechanism that is literally the biology of our brain helping us to stay safe. And that’s it. But is safety good for us? Not necessarily. That’s the discernment we have to practice. While it’s okay to have bad days, while it’s okay to embrace everything that shows up in you in terms of emotions and thoughts and things that you don’t think you are capable of or you don’t think you could succeed at, you also have to remind yourself that maybe, just maybe, this negativity that comes with it is just a sign that something good is actually happening. Think about it. That’s it. 

I hope this made some sense to you because if not, let me know. I just felt like sharing it and I thought that you might find it useful and you might resonate with it. I’m gonna give you the two titles of the books that literally changed my life in the last few months: “The Big Leap” and “The Mountain is You”. They’re really, really insightful because they really, really show you how all of that negative shit that happens is very often just us sabotaging our own positive experiences in life. 

Thank you so much for listening to this. I hope you’ve learned at least one lesson. Let me know what has been your biggest “aha” if there was any. I love hearing from you so, always, always, always message me on Instagram. I would love to hear from you. And that’s it for today. I’ll see you in another episode next week. Bye.

It’s not your fault that you don’t know how to make good money as a teacher or how to market your teaching – nobody’s ever taught you but I’m on a mission to change that. Teachers make the world a better place and they can be excellent at business – they just need direction. That’s what I’m giving you here and on my YouTube channel under the same name. Make sure that you also follow me on Instagram @ ola_coaches_teachers, and check out my website: www.olakowalska.com to see if any of my paid offers, including my one-to-one coaching, my business foundation course, The Rocket, or my membership for teachers in business could be the right fit for you. 

I’ll see you soon in the next episode.