10 of the Most Loving Things I Could Tell You
In the yoga teacher training as we were discussing our heart chakra journaling experience, I found myself realizing and saying this out loud at the same time:
"I often tell my mentees and clients to find their flow in business, to let go, have faith, and trust. I encourage them to find ease in their experience and not enact harsh rules for success. But, if I am being raw and honest, this is not how I got where I am. I got here by kicking my own a** at times and pushing myself in ways I would never model for those I teach..."
Then my teacher gave me a potent piece of reflection: "Wanting the people we care for to journey through life without strain or pain is always the desire and preparing them for the discernment, persistence, and will that something like a business requires IS love." Thank you teacher Kate Holly!
Don't get me wrong, there are moments of flow in my work where I don't feel like I am taking the business anywhere but instead, the business is taking me. I revel in these moments. But they are not the norm and they are not the place I rely on to deliver me the things I wish to experience.
I sat with this. I journaled on this. And here's the place I've come to:
As I dug in a little more I found 10 things that I wish weren't true in owning a business — but simply are. My hope is that reading them gives you relief if you feel a bit frazzled at times and not alone in this process.
10 of the Most Loving Things I Could Tell You:
1. The most loving thing I could tell you is...ideas demand so much.
Ideas demand energy and effort. They equally demand a belief in them that might have little to show for it for far longer than you're comfortable with. They don't care about your personal life, struggles, or pain.
If relinquished because an idea is too hard, they will simply jump ship to the next viable creator. It isn't personal; ideas require a certain environment to thrive and you either provide this or you get out of the idea's way. You don't own that idea — in many ways, the idea is owning you.
2. The most loving thing I could tell you is...success is a byproduct of not quitting.
This is not my first rodeo. Before this coaching practice, I attempted 8 other businesses. (Yes, 8.) Some I loved and wish I'd stuck through the muck that comes with any business. Some were a means to an end. And some were, admittedly, a way to make some extra cash so I could buy anything I wanted at Anthropologie. ;) (You never know what is going to motivate you!)
Successful people don't necessarily have the best product or service; they just didn't quit so soon. Walking away from an endeavor is one way to quit, but you can also quit when you change direction because you doubt yourself, or stop marketing an idea because you aren't getting the immediate traction you craved.
I see most practitioners give up on their business at two crucial junctures: month six and year two. Most of us believe we can do more in six months than is really possible. We set goals that are unrealistic and when we don't meet them we want to quit.
If you were lucky to have some things work early in your business, you aren't thinking about things yet like systems and cycles, and the terrible twos in your business will feel like a brutal wake-up call.
3. The most loving thing I could tell you is...you will want to quit, sometimes daily.
Even though I advocate that you stick it out, you may want to quit frequently. I want to quit all the time. Yes, really. Do I quit? No. But I stopped trying to kick the desire to quit off my path. Wanting to quit is a byproduct of fear, uncertainty, and exhaustion.
When you want to quit, pause and ask: "What is fueling this desire? Will quitting actually solve this? What else might solve this?" Now, you can't confuse "not quitting" with automatic success. Your business needs more than your presence; it also needs your drive and commitment.
4. The most loving thing I could tell you is...your business doesn't owe you anything.
Your business doesn't owe you success the same way your car doesn't owe you arriving at your destination. Can it get you there? Of course. But how? By driving it. Your business is not magical; it is a tool designed to deliver services from you to another.
Being in business for a long time, getting knocked down a ton, sticking it through doesn't warrant success. Success isn't something you earn; it's something you enable.
5. The most loving thing I could tell you is...success is proportionate to your willingness to fail.
Success is not something you plan. Now, no one plans to fail, but you will. You will fail more than you succeed. For every program and offer that now works in my business, there are 10 that failed. Remember Journal Love Club or Seat of the Shift? Probably not, because they didn't succeed!
The sooner you can accept and welcome the invariable experience of failure, the sooner you can welcome something actually working. Failure is the dear friend of success, and I had to learn to accurately interpret failure. It isn't an indication of your worth or lack of. It's a simple sign that this thing still needs tweaking.
Everything you do in your business should be considered a "lab experiment." Don't tie your value to it — they don't go together!
6. The most loving thing I could tell you is...business can be a lonely trek even in good company.
I have a tremendous community. This space, fellow friends I consider my colleagues, mentors, and even family members who also run businesses. But it can still feel quite lonely. I am the only one in my head when something goes awry and I am the only one who truly knows the depth of my potential and desires and how far along I am.
Not everyone will celebrate your success — this is a far sadder truth than feeling alone. Worse, some will actively spend their time and energy letting you know this. Wrap good people around you. People who are grounded in who they are, people who won't drag down your dreams or ideas, and people who genuinely want to see you do well.
7. The most loving thing I could tell you is...sometimes bad people succeed and good people fail; there is no "fairness" to business, only diligence.
The universe does not reward "good" people. It can only enable your focus and diligence. This means people you think shouldn't "succeed" will and people you think "deserve" success won't on merit alone. You have two options here: make it the central focus of your business or not. I personally encourage the latter.
I am not even talking about people in the public eye who are clearly working the system. I am talking about people in my own community who I've witnessed take actions that were unethical and blatantly out of integrity. This will happen to you too. But the last thing you need to do is spend your precious time focused on how "unfair" it is when they succeed.
8. The most loving thing I could tell you is...whatever you do, don't lose momentum.
Momentum in your business is more valuable than money. Money is a byproduct or symptom of your momentum and this commodity can take years to compound. The beauty is that no one is exempt from having momentum. It is a universal law. Things in motion stay in motion.
When I was in year three of my business I hit a potent stride and momentum was on my side. Then my mom's cancer took a major downturn and I lived out of hospital rooms and suitcases for nearly three months. Just a few months following this loss, my dad's health also took a final turn and I spent his final two months as one of his caretakers.
Where did my business go? Nowhere. Did I want to quit? Yes. Should I have? It isn't that black and white. Some say that in the face of personal adversity things like a business shouldn't take up so much space. However as a primary income earner in my partnership, and looking at the three years it took me to get where I was, I knew walking away would have potentially disastrous outcomes.
My focus for this phase was two-fold: A) Take my foot off the gas and only market the programs that already existed. B) Create systems to not lose momentum.
9. The most loving thing I could tell you is...you far overestimate what you're capable of and underestimate what it'll take to get there.
I wish I could say it was the opposite. I wish I could write massively long sentences full of affirmation that all you need to do is believe in yourself. And while you must have a strong belief in your vision and ability to produce that vision you also need something no one talks about...the skills to get there.
Whatever it is you're attempting to do or create will likely take you 3x the time you have allocated to achieve and may also take 3–4 iterations until it matches your original idea. By match I mean the right number of registrants, enough profitability, and even your confidence to fulfill this thing in its entirety.
None of this is actually a problem unless you expect it to go differently. I urge you to move forward on the ideas that truly captivate you because the only reason we push through sometimes is the allegiance we feel to our ideas.
10. The most loving thing I could tell you is...the only place you truly belong is to yourself.
Your business can not help you feel worthy no matter how successful you are. Your business can not affirm your value. And your business can not prove that you, in fact, belong.
If your business is an attempt to achieve any of these things, I encourage you to stop and reevaluate. You are already worthy, valuable, and belong. In my experience, it was seeing this and living from this belief that created success in my business, and not the other way around.
Business is no walk in the park. And sometimes, for a moment, it is. Succeeding on your path requires strength, vulnerability, resiliency, effort, trial, failure, and a deep regard for yourself that is unwavering.
I wish this for every person who attempts to walk their path. I wish that your best intentions were enough to grow your clientele, earn more money, and garner recognition for your contributions to service. Don't forget to marry mindful expectations, clear seeing, daily choosing, and a willingness to really try with those intentions.
Now, this is where I get to insert a massive dose of affirmation for the work you do. Wherever your wild and magical life takes you, I send you so much light and love. Know that I believe in you and you ARE enough.