It's only in the last few months that I've started to find some sense of normalcy in my life. After moving across the country and starting over again in Philly, I introduced quite of bit of instability into my life. New city, new yoga studios, new people, new weather patterns (Winter ugh) and on top of all that; trying to start a new career as a health coach. I had all of these grand plans of getting settled in a new apartment and jumping into action with building my health coaching business so I could be landing new clients in no time. Well things didn't go exactly as planned...instead of using all of my precious free time to work on my new business I decided to follow the Lives of Teenagers on the Upper East Side....ie I binged on Gossip Girl, hard. It was agony getting through it but I had no other choice...
If I wasn't watching Gossip Girl I would be forced to confront the fact that I had no clue how to start a business.
I had never spent much time thinking about building a business. I assumed since I had somehow pulled off quitting my job to become a yoga teacher this would be a piece of cake. I knew I wanted to be a health coach so I signed up for training and started day dreaming about my new career path. It's a good thing I didn't dive any deeper into what it takes to build a business because if that were the case I would have given up before I even got started. I'm writing this post to give some honest insight into my experience of starting a business so that maybe you won't be as quick to judge yourself if you face some of the same setbacks along the way.
Fast forward 5 weeks and 121 episodes of terrible acting and dramatic debauchery...I finished watching the series finale of Gossip Girl and could feel the fog clearing. It was a profound moment of clarity where I realized that Gossip Girl was exactly what I needed while I got my bearings and summoned the courage to take the next steps in building my business. It was my refuge from the overwhelming thoughts of fear and doubt that would have crippled me if I gave them time to marinate. I wasn't capable of facing the smack down my doubts wanted to give me, so I found an outlet. As much as I hated myself for the obscene amount of time I invested in that show, as I closed the final chapter on Gossip Girl I was ready and willing to start pushing through these defiant road blocks that stood in my way.
I observed my fear and doubt to take away it's power
Building a business is a straight up emotional roller coaster, moving through periods of feeling powerfully inspired straight into periods of being completely paralyzed by fear. There are moments of clarity when I have no doubt that I'm doing the right thing and this is exactly where I should be, but they are inevitably trumped by the dark moments where it feels like the whole world is watching me fail as each day passes and I haven't made any forward progress.
"I'll never be able to pull this off"
"I should get a stable job and make more money"
"I'm going to be broke forever"
"I'm too lazy to make this work"
"Other people can do this, not me"
Becoming familiar with these thoughts and their frequent visits to my consciousness allowed me to identify their purpose. They want to protect me, to keep me secure and guide me safely back into my comfort zone. Since my ego has an impressively strong desire to be in it's comfort zone, I knew I needed to make some fundamental changes in how I managed these thoughts. So I started reading, a lot. I read self help books, books about getting rich and books teaching me how to harness the power of my thoughts. I read every morning to start my day on a high vibration, even on the mornings where it was hard to drag myself out of bed because I just wanted to give up, I disciplined myself to stick with it and push past it. I was gentle and kind to myself on days that were less productive, and I kept reminding myself that this is a process, not a race. And over time it worked, I felt a shift into this 'confident/can do' mindset and out of the 'pessimistic/judgmental' mindset. I started to truly believe in myself and my ability to bring this business to life. I also worked to accept the fact that these thoughts of fear and doubt would always be hiding in the shadows, and that there would still be days when the sun doesn't shine. I learned how to take care of myself on those days so that I wouldn't succumb to the strong hold of my ego telling me to give up.
The best thing I did for myself was slow down
When I needed to take a nap or watch TV for an hour, I made peace with that and let myself relax. I always thought that in order to be successful you had to spend every waking minute working towards your goal, forgoing any free or social time to get where you want to be. I quickly realized this was never going to be a motto I could champion, it's just not me. I need to breathe fresh air, I need to spend time on the couch with my boyfriend, I need to exercise and get lost in a book every now and then and guess what, THATS OK! Before Gossip Girl I would judge myself for any time I spent outside of working on my business. I would be so nasty to myself for spending an hour on the couch instead of marketing or researching, and it actually ended up being those thoughts of shame and disgust that spiraled me into my Gossip Girls binge in the first place. Now, when I feel myself becoming drained or uninspired - I just roll with it. I watch a show or go for a walk or read a book and I move on when the juices start to flow again.
After a few weeks of being kind to myself and learning to manage my fear and doubt I finally started feeling super inspired and motivated to hit the ground running, and then it hit me; I STILL had no clue how to build a business! I always expected the next steps to reveal themselves once I put my energy into it, but unfortunately that was not the case. I was lost on cloud 9 with all of this inspiration and nothing to do with it. That's when I realized I needed help. It was time to surrender to the fact that I can't do this on my own. And after some consideration it made perfect sense....
I'm a wellness professional seeking to help clients make the changes in their life that they haven't been able to on their own, so shouldn't I subscribe to the coaching philosophy myself and seek out professionals that know how to get me from point A to point B?
DUH. I hired two coaches and got tons of amazing advice, helpful tools, tips and planning intel. From this work with my coaches I formalized a business plan, a timeline and a budget. I've since developed my launch strategy and a specific list of actionable items that I need to accomplish in order to officially launch. I've learned how to market myself in a way that feels authentic to me and I've already started to gain leads and new opportunities that will get the ball rolling for my practice.
Whether you're building a business, changing careers or just trying something new, it will always breed feelings of fear and doubt. The challenge isn't the act of doing something new, it's about how you manage fear and doubt when they arise. Thoughts of self doubt are like TV commercials, you can listen to them if you want to become a hoarder surviving off of Bud Light and Doritos OR you can choose to fast forward through them and make your way back to the main attraction. The key to creating something is not about how smart or motivated you are, it's about how you harness the power of your thoughts and bring it back to your intention, over and over again.
So when you're ready to take that leap of faith and branch out into something new - follow these simple guidelines to avoid letting yourself get discouraged
1. When you're feeling overwhelmed or drowning in doubt, be kind to yourself and let yourself get lost in Gossip Girl (or some other guilty pleasure) if you need to.
2. When you're ready to move forward, commit to your vision until you believe it.
3. When you believe in your vision, get yourself inspired.
4. When you're inspired, seek out the help you need to put inspiration into action.
5. When you fall off track, refer back to step #1.
I'll be honest, I expected to be much farther along in this process by now, but I wouldn't change any of it because the process itself has taught me so much about patience and self awareness that it's been well worth the wait. Building a business isn't about money or success, it's an opportunity to reinvent yourself by accessing the power of universal intelligence and offering your unique gifts to the world!
While we're on the subject, I'm excited to announce the launch of my Group Cleanse! Head over to my Detox Cleanse page for more info!