I am often asked: “How did you create a successful business that has lasted for more than 20 years?” Like many before me, my business began with an intention, determination and a dream. As a living process unfolding and evolving over the years, it has morphed into ways of expression that have defined and are defined by who I have been willing to become. As a long-standing solopreneur, I’ve come to recognize that a long-term relationship with my business is a deeply intimate and personal affair. And like any good relationship, without the give-and-take of that enlivened and enlivening connection, my business would not be sustainable over time.
Like many, I began this journey believing that I was creating something ‘out there’ – separate from me – whose value would be reflected by meeting the needs/wants of others; inescapably linking my outcomes to the boundaries of what was defined as meaningful and relevant to them and for which they would pay. By doing that, I would amass vast fortunes by appealing to the patterns of consumption of my clients.
Surprisingly, within the first few years, I soon tired of it all. The cha-ching of dollars accumulating lost its ability to delight. I could have been left seeking to sustain a viable business through will power and determination; through the discipline of self-imposed performance expectations; and ultimately, by doing what was required rather than risk losing the very ground for which I had paid significantly in time, effort and energy. Instead, what I discovered and subsequently have written about, spoken about and shared with thousands of people, is quite simple:
There is no business ‘out there’ – there is only YOU in relationship with others and the quality of your own life!
There are clues to how you are living and what you select as ‘your work’ that can guide you and give you feedback on how things are going.
What’s it like for you to get out of bed in the morning and face another day? Are you eager to engage your life? Or do you find very good reasons (like illness) for you not to bother?
Are you genuinely excited by what you seek to share with others? Or are you tired of the sound of your own voice and find very good reasons (like fatigue) for you not to have to speak?
Does the potential of your business to contribute and make a meaningful difference in your world propel you into the next wave of its expression? Or do you find creative ways (alcohol, shopping, exercise, food, affairs, gambling, etc.) for you not to bother showing up?
What I have come to know is that my business is and always has been all about me – just like your business is all about you. It is a way for me to come face-to-face with my own internal truth that defines the quality of my life – just like yours, invites that discovery in you.
Building a business can be about ‘stuff’ and/or it can be about creating a meaningfully sustainable life. Either way, it is a deeply personal and intimate experience; and one that will, at some time, bring you face-to-face with the truth of who you know yourself to be.
My first book (Fully Alive) invites you to accelerate the path of your own awakening. In a rapidly changing world, how we used to do it is no longer big enough, fast enough or courageous enough to pave the way for redesigning ourselves and our lives.
Life is all about choices. Women are choosing differently and redefining what business and their lives look like, sound like and feel like. We are doing it our unique way and awakening to new choices on how we go about creating it. As a singular expression of individual identity, women approach their business with a recognition that it’s about interconnection and interplay of varying aspects of our lives. It is a visible expression of a transparent web of life – easily accessible to ourselves and our clients; lying low to the ground and easy to engage rather than reflecting the long-standing monolithic model for business that emanates from a core and seeks to define all that it touches. Such an approach is counter-intuitive to and for women, both as creator and client.
Are you building a business or transforming your life? Truth is, they are like the back and front of the same hand: where one goes, so goes the other. They cannot be separated; and the one you focus on is the one that will define you and carve out the quality of your life.
Living my life authentically spawned the WEL-Systems® body of knowledge; and that body of knowledge redefines my life, from one breath to the next. Without a solid place to stand, in the face of ‘experts’ and competing realities, I would never have survived 20 years of carving out a meaningful and sustainable business that honored the truth of what was meaningful to me. Should you desire to seek out and embrace that much deeper inner truth as fuel for your own personal/professional evolution; or should you have the interest to engage with others as they seek this in themselves, know that you are not alone.
Being yourself is a potent and viable way to create a successful business! And for that, you must first know who you are. Do you?