Hi Sydney,

I hope your Spring is getting off to a great start.

March and April didn't turn out as planned, at least not according to MY plan, which I believe is precisely the point.

My apologies in advance if you're one who already knows this story, but I'm sharing it here to make an important point.

Two weeks ago I underwent extensive eye surgery after losing all functional vision in my right eye. The surgery was much more complicated than my surgeon anticipated and I'm guessing by some of his comments that it was almost as traumatic for him as it was for me.

The very good news is that thanks to God and my surgical team, the surgery was a success, although the healing process will be slow.  

In the weeks leading up to surgery, as my vision was becoming progressively worse and in the weeks post-surgery as it improves, I've learned some important lessons that I want to share.

  1. Prayer and meditation work. I thought I'd be a nervous wreck like I was before retinal detachment surgery (on the same eye) 10+ years ago, but I wasn't. Why? It's because I've added prayer and meditation to my daily routine. Sure, I'd been doing both before, but not with the same consistency or intentionality. It makes a difference. Both a week before and minutes before surgery, two different nurses doing pre-op vitals told me that I had the "most calm" and "the most beautiful" EKG graphs they'd seen in a very long time. My blood pressure just before surgery was 90/60. I was even able to share a joke with my surgeon just before I went under. The most surprising thing was that I was awake for the most difficult part of the surgery and I was able to stay calm despite hearing my surgeon and the nurse talking about how difficult the procedure had become and they were running out of options to do what needed to be done. Through it all, I was able to remain amazingly calm.
  2. Vision is about so much more than our eyes. As my vision was declining rapidly, I noticed that other senses became more prominent, especially my intuition and my hearing. We rely so much on our eyesight that we often miss other signs and messages that are important for our spiritual and emotional growth. I took full advantage of the opportunity to practice mindfulness during this time. This too had a profound impact on my physical, emotional, and spiritual healing.
  3. Some situations are meant to invite us to refocus and reset. Because I wasn't able to launch my new coaching program because I couldn't use my computer, I went old-school and used a sketch pad and colored Sharpies to do some mind-mapping and outlining my course learning objectives and modules. During the process, I realized that it wasn't enough to focus my program on the great systems I've developed to help my clients gain clarity on their vision, set strategic and impactful goals, and significantly reduce mental and digital clutter. I needed to go deeper, to help them understand the profound impact of alignment - of purpose, passion, and possibility (my new tag line!) - and to hold space for them to explore what that looks like for them. More on the enhanced Calm the Chaos program coming soon.

As crazy as it may sound, I'm grateful for my eye surgery experience and all it has and will continue to teach me.


The Darker Side of Solopreneurship and How to Lighten Things Up

When thinking about the many challenges of being a solopreneur, one that's very real but rarely discussed is loneliness.

Solopreneurs face a number of unique challenges that are breeding grounds for loneliness. Carrying the burden of all the day-to-day and strategic functions of managing a business, bearing sole responsibility for all decision-making, not having a business partner or team with skin in the game to talk things through, and expending so much time focused on the business that there's little or no time or energy left for self-care all contribute to founder loneliness.

Research confirms that loneliness is extremely unhealthy. Several studies have found that loneliness, social isolation, and living alone can increase the risk of premature death by 26%!

As scary as that sounds, the good news is that there are a lot of ways to combat "founder loneliness." Here are 10 tips that may help:

  1. Attend in-person networking events nearby. Fortunately Google Meet and Zoom allowed so many of us to maintain and grow our businesses (or start entirely new ones). Virtual meetings are a fantastic, low-cost way to engage with people from around the world that you may not have met otherwise. If it's working for you, keep at it, but now that COVID restrictions are loosening, it's time to get back out there. Be careful, of course, but re-establish previous relationships and create new ones. Virtual engagement is great, but there's still nothing like connecting with people face-to-face.
  2. Make time for self-care. Sadly, self-care often feels like a luxury we can't afford as solopreneurs. In reality, it's a necessity for our mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being. So much so that we should start a movement to advocate for being able to write off certain self-care activities as a business expense. Any self-care activities you can do with a friend or neighbor (such as a yoga class or a walk around the neighborhood) is even better. Whatever self-care looks like to you, make sure you make it a priority. Your business and your loved ones will thank you.
  3. Find or create a tribe of other solopreneurs. Even though it feels like our problems and feelings are unique to us, they're not. However, nobody really "gets" a solopreneur like another solopreneur. Spend time with other solopreneurs virtually if you must, but try to connect with some locally whom you can meet for coffee or attend a networking event with.
  4. Collaborate. While you may have made an intentional choice to be a solopreneur, consider collaborating with others on specific projects. Working with others on a common goal creates a synergy that's greater than the sum of its parts, and, it means that you don't have to do it all by yourself.
  5. Volunteer. There's nothing more gratifying when you're feeling down or lonely than helping someone else in need. Find an organization in your area with a mission that you're passionate about. Even a few hours a month will make a big difference - in your life and in the lives of others.
  6. Work in a co-space. If you need a place to meet with clients, get some quiet time away from the kids, or simply a change of scenery, consider a brightly lit, welcoming public space. Options include a local coffee house, park, college campus, or the local public library.
  7. Reach out proactively. I'm an introvert with occasional social anxiety, so starting a conversation with strangers is hard for me. However, one of the wisest combined business and personal moves I've ever made was the time I followed my intuition and made the first move. I took a chance and reached out to a woman I was immediately drawn to when I saw her ask a question during a very large virtual coaches' summit.  After finding out that we were both enrolling in the same Masterclass. I asked her if she wanted to be study buddies.  Today we're not only strategic business partners but also life-long friends. 
  8. Get outside. Nature is a powerful healing force. By spending just a few minutes outdoors daily, you can find inspiration, healthy doses of Vitamin D, easy exercise, and a different perspective that often leads to creative ideas.
  9. Try meditation. Even though it's a solo activity, meditation is a great way to create and maintain a positive mindset. Its many benefits include being more centered, calm, creative, goal-focused, aligned, mindful, and self-aware. The best part is that it only takes a few minutes to notice a difference, you can do it any time and anywhere, and it's FREE!  There are loads of free meditation apps and YouTube videos covering virtually every type of meditation and every goal you want to focus on. My personal favorite is InsightTimer, available online and on your smartphone. I absolutely adore Liza Colpa's meditations and listen to at least one every day. 
  10. Hire a coach. The right coach can help in a variety of ways. We can help you uncover and deal with your limiting beliefs, provide a safe space for you to vent and be vulnerable, offer unbiased insights, hold you accountable, support you in navigating challenges in new ways, and keep you focused on your core values and goals.

Loneliness can creep up when you're not paying attention. Recognize the signs and be proactive about keeping it at bay.


  • Stunning virtual photography anywhere in the world. Need gorgeous headshots for your personal branding? Brigitta Scholz Mastrioanni of NUX Photography is an expert at creating beautiful images virtually. Working from her studio in the UK, you can be anywhere in the world and as long as you have a smartphone and reliable internet access, she can make the magic happen. Hate getting your picture taken? No worries, Brigitta will have you laughing in no time and you'll love the experience! Her links are below. Please be sure to tell her that Sydney sent you.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nuxphotography/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brigitta.scholzmastroianni
Website: https://www.nuxphotography.com

  • The best tip ever for improving your creativity and focus: Try Eating Chocolate for Breakfast. Seriously! Check out this article from Entrepreneur magazine.

  • Free Referral & Barter Directory. I recently discovered a great Facebook Group that's helping small businesses grow in a variety of creative ways. Check out the Women Entrepreneurs Referral & Barter Network Helping Small Businesses Grow

  • The Fearless Fund: Women of Color Grant Program. The Fearless Fund invests in women of color-led businesses seeking pre-seed, seed level, or Series A financing. Its mission is to bridge the gap in venture capital funding for women of color founders building scalable, growth-aggressive companies. Learn more here (scroll down below the LONG list of recent grant recipients for eligibility and application information)

  • Free Tech Training from Google: Google is planning to give every U.S. business up to 500 Google Career Certificate scholarships to help train employees. Click here to learn more.


  • FREE Webinar: Join Cash Flow Management Coach Maima Jones on May 10th for a FREE workshop, "3 Characteristics of an Offer that Brings Steady Streams of Money Into Your Business." Click here to reserve your spot.

  • Tired of Being Tough: 3 Principles to Step into a Deeper Level of Power and Peace AND Release Any Need for Approval, Perfection, or Control. Join me and my amazing coach, Blanca Vergara, as she hosts a masterclass on May 12th.  Learn more and register here


My goal is to help female entrepreneurs find creative and low-cost strategies and tools to help them work smarter, not harder. The myth that the most complicated and expensive solution is usually the best one is a lie, and I can usually prove it!

Have questions or want to share feedback or suggestions for future issues? I'd love to hear from you:

Website: www.sydneytylerthomas.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/coachsydney
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/sydneytylerthomas/
Email: sydney@sydneytylerthomas.com
Newsletter archives: https://sydneytylerthomas.com/newsletters

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