In these days before Thanksgiving, when we think about being grateful for the abundance in our lives, I want to share something deeply personal with you.
Owning a business, especially a “heart-centered” business, is not for the faint of heart. It takes guts, perseverance and courage. Sometimes it is scary, putting myself “out there”, day after day. After all, those of us with our own businesses must get up and stretch ourselves outside of our comfort zone every day.
You may be thinking, “Of course!” But I don’t just mean the focus and guts, perseverance and courage required to put ourselves out there externally: to market, sell and serve.
I also mean the internal work and effort that may not be as obvious to others but in fact, requires digging deeply into ourselves to find the strength and focus we need to go out in the world, attract the right clients and help them succeed.
I have learned that a big part of the “work” is actually internal. I have also learned that as we grow into our own voices, and as we expand and get out there more, there will be tests.
By tests I mean failures, stumbling blocks and big, fat, life-altering lessons. And they are extremely uncomfortable. These stumbling blocks, these “stretchy-growy” moments, can sometimes last for days.
It’s as though the Universe, while acknowledging my growth to date, is still asking me, “How much do you want it? Are you willing to turn yourself inside out and look at every part of yourself – the good, the bad, your strengths, your weaknesses?”
I have learned that this is what it takes.
Since a heart-centered business is the expression of who we are on a very personal level, and since we have already chosen to integrate our heart and our heads and to do so in the public eye, our inner and outer selves must match. We must be “in alignment.”
To illustrate, let me tell you about last spring, when one of these big tests came along that brought me to my knees. I mean this both metaphorically and literally.
After realizing something was definitely “off” in me and my business that was showing up in my sales, I began to look inside myself and turn over every “rock,” asking myself, “Do I want this? Did I choose this piece of myself consciously?
Many of the rocks I turned over I did want to keep, some of them being my gifts and the best parts of myself. But some of them I decidedly did not want.
Some of them were beliefs I had adopted from someone else, and others were completely ALL mine and totally out of sync with who I want to be.
It was also during this time that I, for the very first time ever, learned to pray, literally on my knees.
Up until then, while I had developed a consistent meditation practice some time ago and was always happy to receive prayers or be part of a prayer, I had never really prayed for myself.
“I began a conversation with God” is how Elizabeth Gilbert put it in Eat, Pray, Love, and I think that is a very apt way to put it. Within a few weeks of beginning to pray, I noticed day to day life and business just started getting easier. I felt more centered and grounded, and my sales increased right away.
Having been conditioned all my life to value the intellectual and the logical, just sharing my story with you now makes me feel very vulnerable. I still have a lingering bit of fear that I won’t be taken seriously if I declare my spirituality so publicly.
But there it is! Between the inner work I did last spring, and my new-found connection and conversation with God, business picked up. Better still, I now have a new appreciation for accepting the spiritual side of me and letting it help me maintain more consistent alignment of all that I am.
The habit of conversations with God is not a one-time-only fix. It has become part of a consistent daily practice that I use to help me stay in sync. But I have made a start and it is making a difference in both my inner and outer lives.
So what I am most grateful for this year, is that I get to share this part of my story with you. That while I meet great clients and cool colleagues, all the while I get to be ME – thoroughly, unapologetically me.
Here I am cheering for Penny Lane Crull as the Emcee for the simulcast video feed at Lisa Cherney’s 6 Figures on Your Terms event.
What makes me truly grateful is that the more open, spontaneous, authentic and vulnerable I am, the better my personal relationships and my business are.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
P.S. If this sparked something in you, I’d love to hear from you. Simply hit reply and drop me a note. <3