Who doesn't dream about being their own boss at one point or another? Inquiring minds want to know how I made the leap. But what everyone really wants to know is my story and how I found the courage to go out on my own. Because it's seems so scary! And it's such a big risk. There was a time I thought that too until it was the only option that made sense. (As they say, follow the dream that keeps coming back.)
My first client chose me as her coach. I wasn't even sure I wanted to be a coach. But I knew I didn't want the life I had and was ready to experiment, like an overprotected teenager finally rebelling.
Because that's the thing about change. You have to want it and need it. But above all ladies, you have to be ready. Change doesn't happen by chance; it takes a helluva lot of heart and hustle.
And then one day I was ready after years of worrying I would make a wrong decision and would regret my next move. My transition was much less planned out then "they" tell you it should be. One day I was half way through "Finding Your Element: How To Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life" by Sir Ken Robinson, and before I could put a hand over my mouth to stop it, the truth slipped out: "I'm quitting my job." (Needless to say, I highly recommend this book).
And the more people I told, the more I believed it myself. I was quitting my job and making my mission my reality.
It was planned and not so planned all at the same time. I thought about it a lot, but thinking and doing are two different things. Moving forward was long overdue. It was the day I refused to live a life of "What if?" and go for it.
Fear and all. No regrets.
So because of how things played out, I would shy away from reading articles about what it takes to be a successful business owner. What if I didn't have what "they" said I needed to be successful? It was too late to do anything about it. So my only option was to kill it!
I could write a book from all I've learned in starting a side gig and turning it into a full time business (right now the wheels are turning). In the process, I got to know the real and because of that, everything in my life started falling into place. And I'm happy so I feel successful.
What defines success for you?
Life is about sharing our experiences and learning from each other. So what has my journey taught me? What is the secret sauce to being wildly successful in work and life?
1. Be STUBBORN with all of your heart
The other day Mr Jackson looked over and thanked me for being so stubborn. In February we hit our one year anniversary, a significant milestone for both of us. Most days it feels like I fell head-over-heels into a RomCom. But, it's not perfect (but it's perfect for us). And it's work- like every relationship. And on the rare day that we don't see eye-to-eye and I have to consciously recommit myself, it helps to focus on the big picture: this is the person I want to spend my life with. We have what it takes to enjoy the best of days but more importantly what every couple needs to get through the worst of days.
And sometimes in owning a business, like being in a relationship, there are days that test you. Days where nothing happens the way you want it to, no matter how hard you try. Control freak be damned. Maybe it's so hard you want to give up. And those days deflate my balloon. But I'm stubborn so I push through. What is the alternative? Giving up on my dream? That is not an option. So I persist. This is what I am here to do. And I am stubborn so I am NEVER giving up no matter how hard it is. Love, work and everything in between.
2. Own Your TRUTH
It's hard to own your truth, the bits and pieces of ourselves that we don't want to acknowledge, or even more, for anyone to see. Like when we were in NYC for my birthday. On Halloween. In Times Square. And I was that hot mess balling in the middle of the festivities. Love didn't look too pretty right in that moment. The tears of shame and fear flowed because I had to own my truth and it was so hard. I so wanted to steal someones mask to cover my face and disappear into the night.
Have you ever heard the Regina Spektor song "Fidelity"? She sings about keeping one foot (safely) on the ground. It's one of my favorites because I can relate. Needing to always be safe does not make for a good relationship. Mr Jackson helped me see that you have to let your guard down to fully let love in. That is the best thing about being in the right relationship. It was scary for awhile. So we took turns being scared. And our resolve let love grow and in turn the fear slowly disappeared. Until it was gone. And I know it's gone or I could never share this with you. I would be too worried I would share my big aha-ha and then my relationship would fall apart. But I am believing that what we have is so solid it won't just fall apart.
So too do I have to own my truth in my business. The roller coaster ride that is business ownership. The client that says yes followed by two clients that say no. The check that doesn't show up. The bank account that is dangerously low. Or the celebration that comes from a new project you landed or the public kudos you are showered with. Up and down. Every day.
How do you your truth in business? By surrounding yourself with coaches and mentors to set you up for success. Because success doesn't happen by accident. My (informal) board of directors holds me accountable, celebrates my victories with me and most importantly they encourage me to get back on the horse when I get bucked off. I am very selective with who I let advise me. I listen to their advice and then let my intuition have the final say.
In business, every day is trail and error. And in my truth I find the silver-lining. I find, and take, the lessons that come with failing fast and fabulously. I use what I learn to make my business better- and that is how I am able to support my clients as they build their businesses too. It takes a lot of confidence to rock it every day (or psych yourself up on the days of unending nos). That's where my inner cheerleader comes in handy.
Not only do you have to own your truth, you have to be willing to share it. People work with people they like. How do you build likability and trust? Your story. So you have to find a way to share it. Maybe not like I do, but in your own way. Starting a business and falling in love has taught me a lesson in vulnerability. Like writing this blog post and being scared to hit publish but doing it anyway. Boom!
3. Take "No" As a Challenge Not a Threat
No sucks because it's hard to accept rejection. But I've learned the bigger the risk, the greater the reward. So, you have to ask yourself, how badly do I want it? (Which then challenges you to be selectively stubborn).
"No." stirs up the part of us that thinks we aren't enough. Often, deep inside, we feel like we don't deserve what we are asking for, so a no reinforces that self doubt and the voice that holds us back grows louder. It kicks up the fight or flight response and we often bolt out of embarrassment and shame.
How could they/it/he not want me?
But what if no was simply another way of saying "Yes, but not now." What if we get a no so that we have the means to accept a bigger or better yes?
Rejection is a part of life. And it can feel personal. But everything happens for a reason. And that no gives us a chance to reflect on the situation, do a gut check, and reconsider: Do I really want it? Is it worth putting in more time and effort? Or was the no maybe a gift? In the moment it doesn't feel like a gift, it feels like a kick in the shins, but with enough distance we realize most nos are exactly what we need at the time.
We all have it within us to create a wildly successful life (and business). How? Dream big. Commit to what you want and go after it. Own your life's story like a badge of honor. Don't let "no" define you.