Sometimes, the things you think are just right for you are actually the complete opposite. Sometimes, it’s these things that pull you right under. And personally, I’ve hit my head on that rock several times now.
I’ve been extremely convinced about romantic partners that were really bad for me and got stuck in jobs that were doing me no good. And last year, even though it seemed like I was doing everything right, it became again very clear to me that it wasn’t…
“Follow your heart but take your brain with you” – Alfred Adler
There were some lessons I picked up from this experience and it’s the big 4 below that I wanted to share with you:
1. Feelings trump thoughts when it comes to choosing what you do every single day
Last year, I spent 7 full months building my online business coaching blog for growing startups. Which, after years of business consulting and being an entrepreneur with my brother, meant that I was finally doing something that was completely for me.
As this was the perfect combination of my skills and experience and my innate drive to help people’s dreams come true, I thought this was perfect! But, that’s the thing…they were thoughts, and it made sense, and it was smart…but it wasn’t what I wanted to do in my heart of hearts.
I’d denied it every time anybody asked me about it but in reality I had set up this particular business because I thought this was a relatively easy moneymaker…so that I would have an income when I would start my big passion project. But, as no business is when it’s just starting, it wasn’t a quick moneymaker and it wasn’t giving me any joy, which started to impact my health.
Remember I was only 7 months in! That’s nothing in entrepreneur years! As sound as the idea and business model was, it didn’t feel right to me at all!
2. Your body ALWAYS tells you the truth
I was entrepreneuring my booty off and it all went pretty decent apart from the fact that my costs still outweighed my income and the dark shadow of mortgage and bank began to slowly but surely fall over me. Being an experienced entrepreneur, I had of course already accounted for this but still…I started to cramp up.
Literally! My neck, my shoulders, my back, everything was stuck. My head felt like I was wearing a bowling ball for a hat and no matter what I did (yoga, meditate, special pillows, no typing, no sugars, lots of red wine, etc.), nothing worked…for months on end.
Something really wasn’t right here…And it didn’t feel like it was just the hard work getting me down. I’d been there before many times and knew how to deal with that. There was obviously also something else at play but through the fog of the headaches, working really hard, wanting to succeed and a draining savings account I just couldn’t see it.
3. Taking a step back can be the best gift you can give yourself
I got lucky and found a freelance job that gave me the opportunity to book a last-minute flight to Asia for a month and make some decent money that would get me going again for a while. It gave me a break from the incessant stress around money and from stress around having to make this business successful a.s.a.p.
So in this temporary stress free zone, I tinkered around with perhaps tweaking my business model a bit, or go after a specific niche or start cooperating with other instances more, but the more I thought (there’s that word again) about it, the less I was really feeling it.
What I was feeling…was a larger than life desire to work on my big passion project. To go around the world, create beautiful things and words and connections and work one on one with people that want to live the most fulfilling life they can.
And it was through the traveling, the freelance project and the freedom it brought that I was able to actually see and feel all this. Taking a step back can be absolutely priceless, even when it feels like you’re cheating on your business or yourself!
“To be successful you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart” – Sr. Thomas Watson
4. Never, ever, make concessions where your passion is concerned (a.k.a. there’s always a way)
But my big passion project didn’t have a very clear business model (yet)…And it would cost me a lot of time and effort to get it off the ground. But the more I thought about it, the stronger I felt I just had to do it. Even though it meant letting go of everything I’d been building so far.
That pretty much meant I could throw my really strong resume in the bin. Over the years I’ve learned to trust myself, trust the process and trust that the money will come, one way or another. So with the right precautions (some money in the bank, renting out my house, freelance writing and consulting jobs as back-up), I felt confident enough to make the leap and follow my heart!
For a long time, success has always looked like money, material possessions and being recognized as such to me, but over the years I learned that true success is much more than that. Success is a state of mind, of soul and of being.
Ultimately, it is the freedom to live the life you love. And be the person you love being. It’s still early days for my new business, I’m not really making any money (yet) and it could very well be that it doesn’t take off at all business wise, but yet, I’ve never felt more successful in my life.