Entrepreneurship

A Founder’s Journey Should Include Timeboxing With Jennifer Ibbotson Rodriguez

A Founder’s Journey Should Include Timeboxing With Jennifer Ibbotson Rodriguez

VENTEUR spoke with Jennifer Ibbotson Rodriguez, CH, a virtual hypnotic coach, about her entrepreneurial journey. Ibbotson Rodriguez connects her clients with their future selves so they can make a habit of living the lives they want to live right now. She is working on a book while focusing on her daily goal to improve the world, one smile at a time.

The Journey

The entrepreneurial journey is one of self-discovery. What have you learned about yourself while building your business?

Some days, I feel like I’m standing alone, just putting on a brave face. 

My entrepreneurial journey has made the value of teamwork and collaboration much more apparent to me. Being responsible for all aspects of success and failure is simultaneously humbling and overwhelming. Having the faith to jump when it’s time to jump and wait when it’s time to wait is more enlightening and authentic when confronted without the impact of others’ influencing the decisions. This reality can be freeing and paralyzing.

I have learned there are very few absolutes. I am constantly reminded that perspective is the most influential determinant of success or failure. I have learned that patient perseverance matters most concerning my outcomes.

The entrepreneurial journey is often lonely. Have you experienced loneliness as an entrepreneur? 

This can be a real challenge. 

I have dedicated myself to maintaining a supportive community of like-minded travelers who I could not do this without. The friendships I have made with other hypnotists, authors, and coaches are the backbone of maintaining the mindset of possibility I need to keep going. 

Embracing an abundant mentality that allows us all to celebrate the viability of each of us in an already saturated market keeps us at the forefront of our professional niches. We are constantly striving to become better than we were, individually, the day before. 

As a group, this keeps us motivating ourselves forward into ever greater capacities of service. The more ‘of service’ we are, the more we can enjoy the resulting benefits generated for all. 

The Psychological Warfare 

Entrepreneurs generally sleep less, work more, and let their health slip. This combination, combined with loneliness, often results in insecurity, self-esteem issues, and low self-worth. Have you experienced any of these issues as an entrepreneur?

As a hypnotic coach, thank goodness, my bread and butter is overcoming insecurities, self-esteem issues, and feelings of diminished self-worth. So, rest assured, this question should ask me, “how do you deal with imposter syndrome?”

Recognizing my humanity and addressing it daily is the only suggestion I can make concerning this question. When I can’t sleep, when I’m working too much, when I ignore my own needs, I remember the best advice I ever received: In case of an emergency, put on your oxygen mask before attempting to assist those around you.

An empty vessel cannot pour; a dead battery cannot offer to charge. Therefore, as a service provider, I must keep myself at my best to be my best for those I serve.

Newer entrepreneurs often equate their success with the success and value of their business. If their business fails, they are a failure. If their business succeeds, they are a success. Have you experienced this warped perception of reality? 

The perception of how we see ourselves is often determined by the definitions of success we set for ourselves or by those to whom we judge ourselves. At six, I was introduced to the Émile Coué quote, “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.” 

I am only competing with myself. Incremental success is the only viable formula for sustainable success.  

Fortunately, my hypnotic coaching style was designed to rectify this challenge directly. Having a solid connection with the wisest and most knowing version of myself, the future self I am working so hard to become, I can relax much more in the present moment. I can accept the current state of what is much more quickly, even face it with calm, clear confidence.

What are your some of your biggest fears as an entrepreneur, and how do you manage those fears?

I consider fearing a needless choice in the guise of preparation for imagined danger. Ironically, there is rarely time to choose fear in the chaos of actual threat. Practicing fear may make us better at fear, but it won’t assist any outcome, no matter how dangerous it is.

Perhaps it is that I am a multiple trauma survivor myself or that the government made me responsible for the calm and clarity of my husband, but I do not like to focus on fear. It is an unhelpful waste of the limited resources (my valuable energy and cherished joy) required to be successful.

My clients deserve my peace of mind as much as my husband does, as much as I do. Thankfully, my daily practice of self-hypnosis maintains it for me.

Jennifer Ibbotson Rodriguez, CH, Virtual Hypnotic Coach

The Mistakes

What are some mistakes you made early on as an entrepreneur, what did you learn from them, and how can others avoid them?

First, I both jumped in quickly while simultaneously taking too much time to make decisions. I wish I had understood the profession better from a more macro level. I wish I had researched what challenges the profession faces rather than what I would personally face when starting my company. 

Every startup is challenging. Only some professions have additional hurdles built in! Know what you are getting yourself into.

Second, I wish I had taken more time to build the infrastructure of success from the beginning. There can be value in just starting. However, just starting and failing fast can also be much more expensive than following a well-designed, laid-out plan that others have proven. Be careful of the roadmaps offered along your journey. Some just like selling glossy maps to the stars without having current, relevant data to support their claims. 

Lastly, and to sum up the first two into a third point, I would have built my company on the foundation of clarity rather than confusion. I would have supported it with structure rather than dreams. I would have funded it with reality rather than hope. Believing in yourself is essential, and so is your funding and the functionality of your dream.

What are three things you see that are often overlooked by entrepreneurs you encounter, and how can other entrepreneurs be aware of these things from the beginning?

1. Aiming for Perfectionism

Perfectionism is the biggest time-wasting, procrastination trap there is! Period, end of the story. Be okay with being okay. Then, commit to getting better and better, day by day.

2. Social Media

Social media is a close second. Unless you are a social media entrepreneur, stay in your lane of genius. Use it and lose it: post and ghost. Focus only on engaging with and speaking to your ideal clients. Chasing numbers is an ego-building time waster that rarely pays off and shouldn’t be relied on as a fundamental strategy until you can afford to pay others to strategize it for you. 

3. Airplane Mode 

Airplane Mode can be your best friend, even when not flying. Use it often! The distractions you may allow yourself to believe are productive should be time blocked into appropriate segments of your day. Are you distracted for rest, for social, or for entertainment? These are all valuable and valid unless they happen at the wrong times. You determine your day, not the notifications from your electronic devices.

The Successes

What are some seemingly insurmountable obstacles you’ve faced as an entrepreneur, and how have you overcome them?

The first would have to be how the perspectives of those who supposedly know and love me the most have clarified themselves in occasionally painful ways. Ironically, the opposite extremes of the differing views of those who care for me the most have damaged my mindset. 

The next would be my perspective shift from being an overachieving employee to a well-balanced entrepreneur. As an employee outperforming the expectations of my employers (typically by outperforming my coworkers) was always an easy formula to follow. Understanding how to create a brand new formula, follow it, then figure out how to outperform it has been a mental challenge for my self-competitive nature of always doing better than I did the day before.

The final example would be the perspective of prospective clients. I love being a hypnotist and believe it is one of the most valuable modalities of personal improvement available. There is so much I love about my profession, truly. I do not love the misperceptions and limiting beliefs that society still has about what I do. 

Ironically, the solution to all three is always the same. Self-hypnosis creates the calm, confident clarity I need to face any perspective with the grace and grit of a survivalist. I will survive to thrive happily!

What are three ways you have managed to boost your productivity without causing burnout?

1. Timeboxing 

I wish I had started this on day one! The habit of timeboxing quickly changed everything for me. Start slowly if you need to, but do it. Seriously, put it on your calendar. 

Remember to timebox recreation, entertainment, and spontaneity. You can have a successful work-life balance.

2. Airplane Mode

Notifications are the deal-breaker to maintaining the focus being established by timeboxing. Honoring my energy by determining when it is okay to be interrupted has been essential to accomplish my daily goals. I even timebox my interruptions.

3. Dance Break

The mind needs the body to move as much as the body needs to move. And the added value of timeboxing single-song dance breaks into my work day means I am timeboxing a vagal-breaking activity into my day. Meaning I decrease any symptoms of stress, which in turn reduces my experience of stress, thereby decreasing my stress hormones.

The Advice

How can newer entrepreneurs develop a healthy work-life balance even when it seems impossible?

Remember your why. A connection is at the heart of why you choose to be an entrepreneur. 

Next, you will need to maintain your balance. When I lose my balance, I remind myself to accept the coaching I provide, and everything improves.

Remember the family you want to provide for by enjoying the family you are providing for. 

If you want to change the world through your work, participate and enjoy the world you are changing. 

Your why is essential–stay closer to it by honoring why it is important.

What three key pieces of advice would have made your entrepreneurial journey more manageable, and why?

1. Practice Progress 

As a recovering perfectionist, I would have enjoyed the journey more efficiently and with more success if I had committed to practicing progress sooner in my start-up.

2. Enjoy the Journey

This is a result of the first, ironically. As soon as I began to practice progress, I could relax into enjoying the journey. But, as in all things, when we only focus on the ending, we miss all the joy available in getting where we are going.

3. You’re Right Where You Are Supposed to Be

I cannot tell you how many times I have told myself this. And it is always, always, always true. Even when I am not where I want to be, I am where I am supposed to be. 

What is the most significant difference between how an entrepreneur sees their career path versus how an employee at a company sees their career path, and why?

Entrepreneurship is a challenging and lonely road, as the questions in this article are articulate. It takes a particular person to believe in their why so much that they turn down the security and comfort of a more traditional career path to betting everything on themselves and what they see as ‘missing’ in the world. 

An entrepreneur is an innovator and a disruptor and must be willing to commit to the changes they are creating in their industry, profession, service sector, and niche–why else would anyone trade 40 hours a week to work 80? (to rephrase a quote attributed to Lori Greiner.)

Honestly, I made more money and had much better benefits working for others. On the other hand, it was more accessible and less fulfilling. I had more time to be bored and feel unaccomplished. My relationships suffered more because I had no connection to my authentic identity. 

The most significant difference is that an entrepreneur must be willing to face themselves on a more profound level regularly to succeed to greater heights.

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