If you can bear with me while I tell you a little tale, I’ll share with you the 6 ways you can embrace the proverbial ‘journey’ if you’re an entrepreneur.
When I was pregnant with my first child (and now son), my hubby and I trotted off for the first ultrasound scan at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, here we were living at the time.
We had that uncomfortable mix of excitement meets nerves. Trepidation bumps up against joy.
It was surreal and very real all at once. I was the kind of expectant mum who read all the books and tried to know what to expect and looked into everything that could go right. And wrong. And having worked in paediatrics for a while, I already knew a little too much.
We were extremely lucky, grateful and relieved that all looked good with our little bub.
And just as I was thinking to myself, thank goodness, that’s all over and we’re all clear, the sonographer said: ‘We’ll see you next time for your 18 – 20 week scan. That’s the big one’.
Big one, I thought?! What the hell?! Wasn’t THIS the big one?
And in almost slow motion, I remember thinking forward to all the things yet to come and had a gradual dawning that there never really would be a time that would arrive when I wouldn’t be in the clear and told I was ‘done’ with uncertainty.
I remember thinking, so there’ll be the 18 week scan, and then any other scans, and then the birth – all times when we could still be told there was something ‘wrong’. Plus there were even more opportunities into the future for additional developments and potential bad news.
I realised that there was no date that would ever exist in which I would be told that ‘everything is totally ok. You’ve arrived and this perfect place and there is nothing that can go wrong from here. Congratulations’.
We never actually ‘arrive’, no matter how much we may make believe that we do. When I say ‘make believe’, I mean the way that we, as humans, can train our minds to believe something even if it’s not true.
I mean you might believe that if you’re turning over a million dollars that life will be dandy. That you have ‘made it’. That it’s all smooth sailing from here.
And that’s not necessarily from a logical point of view, but a subconscious or deeper belief system.
Remember when you started out and you thought: ‘If I can just get my first client, I’ll never look back’. In the coaching world, when you start out all anyone is aiming for is their ‘first paying client’, because they build their skills and experience with pro bono coaching prior to that.
Or ‘once I hit $10K (or $20K, or $50K, or $150K) months, I’ll be unstoppable’.
I mean this may be true for you at some level. But also, no.
Imagine you’re a pilot and you’re coming in to land the plane. I mean there’s a few minutes where you get the all clear from traffic control and you begin your descent and land smoothly and announce the arrival to passengers and then think: I’m so glad I got to this moment. Now everything is going to be ok’.
Because before you know it, you’ll have your butt back in that cockpit and ready to take off again!
There is always another hurdle; a new milestone; an obstacle to go over, under or through, before we can feel like we’ve arrived. And then another and another and another. And so, you never actually do arrive.
‘New level, new devil’, you may have heard in business.
As in, you arrive at a new level of your business (in terms of revenue; outsourcing; programs; growth etc) and suddenly all these thoughts or obstacles or barriers pop up that had not even been visible before. Or you thought you had well and truly slayed them back at the [insert relevant section of your business journey here].
The truth is, we just don’t arrive. If we did, what else would there be to do? #GameOver.
The word journey is defined as: an act of travelling from one place to another, especially when they are far apart.Oxford Learner’s Dictionary
To continue to focus on the end of the journey (ie the destination), is to ignore everything you are currently experiencing.
The journey is everything, my friend. The bumpy, exhilarating, frustrating, hair-pulling, marvellous adventure of a ride that is ‘life as a business owner / entrepreneur / Boss Babe (insert preferred term here) envelops. And let’s not forget, human.
If I had fixated on ALL the very many things that could have gone wrong during my pregnancy (and beyond), I would not have been able to enjoy it at all. (and that’s quite aside from morning sickness – do not even get me started). I would have missed soaking up the wonder of each new thing (a kick here, a full body-roll there). It keeps us in a place of scarcity, because we don’t have the thing we want ‘yet’.
Same in business, right? If you focus on when the next new client may or may not appear; what will happen when you outsource something new or to a greater degree; on hitting ALL the revenue / profit targets possible; on growing your audience; and on looking left and right incessantly to compare your progress with others (which is essentially the ‘my kid isn’t crawling yet, but your’s is! Oh my god, I wonder what’s wrong with my kid!), you will freak yourself out. And you won’t enjoy, celebrate, appreciate and feel grateful for everything you have right now..
Instead, you could choose to remember that all those new levels of:
- Time away from the biz
WILL bring up new challenges, in the form of nagging thoughts that can sabotage your progress and hold you back from gloriously experiencing the next things that are available to you. No matter how much you say you want them (because logic is very different to our subconscious mind and emotions).
So here’s 6 steps to take, if you feel like this is happening with you:
- Notice the areas where you have resistance to being ok with where you’re at right now. What does that bring up for you?
- Remind yourself that this is perfectly normal; to be expected, even! Being kind and compassionate with yourself is always far more beneficial than bathing in shame, judgement and belittlement.
- Get curious about what the resistance is about: standing out even more; worrying some people will judge you (ask yourself which people? Family? Friends? Clients? Peers? And how much does it matter if they do?); fearing you’ll run out of time to fit everything in and have no time for your personal / family life (this is a really common one. Actually, they all are lol).
- Stop following people who leave you feeling like you’re lacking; ‘behind where you ‘should be’ or inadequate in any way, shape or form. Just like I learnt quick-smart that some of those mums in mother’s group left me feeling like an absolute failure with my ‘never-goes-to-sleep baby’, steer clear of those people!
- Following on from point 4, choose a badass crew that you DO want to hang around. People who are happy to be real about their challenges and bumpy rides, and to celebrate the shizzle out of you when someone (big OR small) goes well! Who you notice you feel terrific after being around. They’re your people. A structured group; a mastermind; biz friends going for coffee or lunch; networking events (be really clear which ones are a good fit and what your purpose for joining is); someone who fits the ‘cheerleader and biggest champion’ role – we all need one (or more!) of them (Hint: they’re also usually the ones who can hit you with the truth when nobody else would).
- Above all, build trust in yourself and develop your emotional regulation to a point where you can handle even the most uncertain of times without resorting to self sabotage; unhealthy ‘coping’ mechanisms; distracting from the present; and endless work to try to ‘get ahead’ (hello burnout). Know that the journey is the point of this whole thing called life, and therefore business, and learn to embrace it.
Enjoy my friend. And don’t forget, crying into a pillow or throwing your hands in the air or despairing that you’ll never ‘get there’ so you might as well throw the whole thing in, is perfectly normal behaviour when you’re on your entrepreneurial journey. So don’t hang out with anyone else who tells you otherwise.
Ps – if you enjoyed this, you might like to check out my last Blog post here, all around Are You Starting The Year Behind The Proverbial 8 Ball?