I’m a huge fangirl of Arnold Schwarzenegger and his The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding. I read it for inspiration whenever I need to remind myself to stay focused on my goals — both for fitness and business. I love reading all the things he did to become the best bodybuilder of all time.
In his “Total Preparation” chapter, he talks about tanning, posing oil, body hair and even posing trunks. Yep, posing trunks are super important! Color, shape, size, and material — get any one attribute wrong, and you could possibly blow your entire competition!
Reading this chapter for the first time, I immediately realized one thing I had totally overlooked with regard to my own goals: my office.
I had rented commercial space for five years, and when I moved back to my house a few years ago, I painted the spare room, moved my furniture in, and went to work.
But the walls were bare, the window lacked a “treatment,” my desk chair was close to 20 years old and quite icky, and my one lamp was a cheap purchase from Target.
I also had a very ugly rug. It had looked good in the photo online but when it arrived, I realized I had made a mistake. But since it was too big and too heavy to rewrap and send back, I kept it — and hated it ever since.
My office was bare and very low energy. It was depressing going to work each day.
I decided to do a major upgrade
It’s taken a number of months to make my vision a reality, but today, my office is totally high energy! Framed art hangs on the walls, as do my awards and other career milestones. I replaced the cheap lamp with a very cool and unique vintage one I found on Etsy.
My colleague and friend Rachel Cunliffe made a poster for me of the photos I’ve taken while out riding my bike — and this now hangs on the wall right in front of me. I use it to remind myself to take bike breaks.
A Craigslist search led me to a high-end office supply store. The owner scours the greater Boston area for companies going out of business; his inventory includes over 100 Herman Miller office chairs! I bought one for a quarter of the cost of new. “Companies just throw these away and many are still almost brand new,” he said. Sweeeet!
I replaced the ugly rug with a brand new one that I picked out by visiting the shop in person — thus allowing me to run my hands over it as well as inquire about how it was manufactured, etc.
I’m happy to say that my office is now filled with a ton of high energy because it contains only things I love. It’s also become a true pleasure to work in each day and is now my favorite room in the house.
What does all this have to do with improving your cash flow? Plenty! As with Arnold’s advice about posing trunks, a fabulous office is a crucial element in achieving any business goal you set.
1. It gives you high energy
Our surroundings impact us. According to the principles of feng shui, everything has energy — and we absorb this energy whether it’s good or bad. Tired old furniture or items in your office that you don’t like give off negative energy.
This negative energy is absorbed by you . . . and you either become low energy or infuse your work with it.
Conversely, office items you do love give off positive energy, which makes you happy and more energetic and this positively impacts your work.
2. It says you’re a success
Once I began paying attention to what was — and wasn’t — in my office, I realized I was missing markers of my own success. Each morning, for example, I’d sit down in a tired old office chair and look at a blank wall.
Basically, nothing in my office said, “The woman who works here is a success.” Well, it sure does now!
When you feel like a success, you act successful. You stand taller. You talk more confidently to customers. And, you charge higher fees — because that’s what successful people do.
3. It makes coming to work a joy
One of the drawbacks of being a freelancer is that it can be isolating and lonely, and if you’re busy, you could be stuck in the house for days on end. It can get depressing.
Having a fabulous office helps alleviate some of this low energy by making it a pleasure to come to work each day. One of the things I do to ensure high energy is to keep my office clean. I dust the furniture regularly, vacuum, and make sure the window is sparkling for when the sun shines in mid-morning. I file papers and don’t let anything stack up.
In conclusion . . .
The old (and true) cliche “happy cows give more milk” works the same for us freelancers. A fabulous office gives off high energy, making you feel good and happy. When you feel good and happy, you do better work. And when you do better work, you earn more.
If your office is on the lackluster side, take some time to figure out what you can do to inject some energy into it. It could be something as simple as a new office chair or framing an award you’ve won . . . or it could be a total and complete upgrade.
Whatever your office needs — do it. Don’t let that voice tell you it’s not necessary or that you can’t afford it. You will be glad you did.