resilience

Entrepreneurship: 8 Secrets from the Other Side

Been thinking about becoming your own boss?

It's been over a year now that I have stepped out into entrepreneurship as a full-time coach - my own business, my own creation, my own freedom. I love it! Unreservedly, I would say to anyone contemplating the leap to absolutely do it - but be prepared.

I felt compelled today to lay out my experience which I can say also reflects that of other women entrepreneurs I have spoken with.

1. Resilience is Everything

There'll be days where you rock it out, leaping out of bed to be massively productive - on fire. There'll be days when you'll want to draw the covers over your head, hope it will all go away, so you can dream of life in a little bungalow by the sea in a hippy commune in the Tropics.

Entrepreneurship will test your resilience. Every. Single. Day. Campaigns will fail; audiences won't engage, and every day you will need to go back to look at things with fresh eyes and remain consistent. Being able to adjust, accommodate, reframe, reboot, will help you bounce back and enjoy the roller coaster ride.

"I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become." Carl Jung

2. Not everyone will 'get' you

You might be passionate about your purpose; you'll find quickly, though, that not everyone is - not your family, close friends nor even your audience. Your closest friends will be like strangers when you reach out; your acquaintances will be your biggest supporters; you'll find haters and trolls in the audience you want to serve. Don't take it personally. It is most definitely not about you - it is all about them.

If you're not passionate about your purpose, and you're in it for the money, go back to 9-to-5 - there are safer ways to make money.

"One loyal friend is worth a thousand relatives." Euripides

3. You won't be the same person you are now

Creating your own business is the greatest personal development course you can't buy. You will stumble, you will fall, you will grow, you will be humbled, you will be down on yourself, you will pick yourself up, you will know yourself better than you ever have before.

It's all part of living a life less ordinary.

"Shine bright like a diamond." Rihanna

4. Support of your spouse or partner has to be non-negotiable

Your spouse or partner may be scared of your goals and your growth - of change. They won't always understand where they fit in your Brave New World. They may be hesitant to go along for the ride, especially if it requires some level of change on their part. Make it clear from the outset that their support is non-negotiable to your success and how much it means to you to have them in your life. Appreciate them every single day. Tell them so.

"Be strong. Be fearless. Be beautiful. And believe that anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you." Misty Copeland

5. Never forget you are a business-owner

Be passionate about your purpose of course, but remember you are a business-owner first, a passionate 'x' second. The coaches and consultants that do not see financial success are frequently those that can't see past their purpose ("I just want to coach!") The sooner you learn, accept and relish that you are a business-owner first, the more quickly you will see the financial success you're looking for so you can ultimately serve your purpose bigger, better and broader for the benefit of everyone.

"A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business." Henry Ford

6. Your tribe is your life-blood

So now your base of friends has dried up because you have grown so much, you need your own tribe of people - the ones who totally 'get' you, who are experiencing the same ups and downs (or have already done so), those who know how to raise their own vibration and yours, who motivate and inspire you, and with whom you can innovate and create. It will be your tribe that pushes you to exceed all expectations including your own. They will give love when you succeed and more when you fail.

"Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames." Rumi

7. Be Resourceful - Get Resources

Entrepreneurship can be lonely especially as you start out. You are on your own - it's why you decided to be your own boss in the first place; so you could make your own decisions, create your own 'thing', reap the rewards directly. That seductive personal responsibility, accountability and creative freedom come at a price. Smart entrepreneurs appoint early on a lawyer, an accountant - and increasingly, a coach. A coach brings fresh perspectives, new ideas, challenges your thinking and behavioural patterns, without bringing a bunch of baggage to the party. Cultivating a success mindset with the help of a coach will help you to experience the sweet nectar of success - however you choose to define it. I'll be bold and say that most successful entrepreneurs have at least one coach in their pool of resources at any one time - often two.

A mastermind group will also help propel you towards the success you define. It's a group of peers that raise the bar on performance by challenging each other to create and implement goals, brainstorm ideas, and support each other with total honesty, respect and compassion. Napoleon Hill describes it in his must-read "Think and Grow Rich" as "...the coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony."

"It takes a village to raise a child."

8. Elevate Self-care in Priority

Listening to what you need - mind, body and soul - will keep you on top of your game. You can't give to others including your business if you have nothing left to give.

Daily rituals such as meditation, physical exercise, journalling keep you in peak condition. The days you need to get out, take time out, co-work in a cafe, walk on the beach - listen to that inspiration. Your mind, body and soul are always right.

"Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel." Eleanor Brownn

All this and I wouldn't change it for the world!

Still interested in taking the leap into entrepreneurship?

Want to explore what's possible for you, your life and business?

Let's talk!

Losing Face(book)

Catastrophe.

This week, my Facebook account - personal profile and business page, have been suspended pending authentication of my identity. Don't know why - but I can only suspect it has something to do with my weird last name. Facebook didn't much like it when I first joined about 10 years ago, and I had to verify that I could possibly have this most ridiculous last name of 'Fitness.' Either that, or someone has complained about me.

Rude.

The horror - to be disconnected so abruptly.

As an online coach entrepreneur, I can only say, it sucks. Much of my marketing to and engagement with potential clients, engagement and support with other coach entrepreneurs, and my on-going professional and personal development are conducted to some level via Facebook. I spend a good couple of hours a day on it, catching up with the coaching world. Then there is the purely personal aspect. As an expat NZer, it is a convenient communication line to my family and friends spread across the world.

So you can perhaps understand why I have begun going through the range of emotions comprising the Change curve of Shock / Denial, Anger / Fear, Acceptance and Commitment. Facebook has been a very big part of my life for the last perhaps 10 years and it is suddenly no longer there.

I experienced Shock / Denial ("Nooo - this can't be happening!") and Anger / Fear ("****ing Facebook! What happens to my stuff?") I am now in Acceptance phase ("OK - so life without Facebook..."), moving into Commitment ("What can I do to overcome this?"). After doing some Googling, I have found there are some individuals who have never had their identity finally authenticated with Facebook, even after providing them the requisite government-issued ID. Their entire history of virtual memories and identity no longer exist. It got me thinking - what if that happens to me?

What has all this got to do with entrepreneurship and career management?

  • The Change curve: Being very familiar with the stages of the Change curve give me insight into how I am feeling during times of change, transition, or challenges. When I recognised the range of emotions I was feeling about this seemingly minor episode, I realised them immediately as being indicative of a loss or grief, exactly what the Change curve was originally designed to demonstrate. And think about it, loss of ID authenticity? FB are questioning my very existence - that's a type of loss with a degree of grief that goes with it.
  • Resilience: It comes up over and over again as a critical skill to have in dealing with obstacles, challenges and 'course-correctors'. I have had to tap into my resilience. Resilience encourages expansive questions like "What do I do about this now? How can I look at this differently? What alternatives do I have? What if I did...?"
  • Creativity: As I move through the Change curve to Acceptance and Commitment, I have begun to think creatively about my options in an online entrepreneurial world without Facebook.
    • It might have an impressive 1.65 billion users (about 23% of the world's population) but that leaves 5.75 billion not using FB. They use other channels to communicate and are doing OK. Admittedly, they are not all my ideal client, but then neither are all the 1.65 billion Facebook users.
    • If they are using other channels, there must be a way to access them - in-person networks, websites, chat forums, online networking groups, sales pages, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Periscope, guest blogging for other publications. Facebook is not the only cab on the rank though it likes to think it is.
    • I have to face it - Facebook has made me lazy about keeping in touch with loved ones, and also with my marketing efforts. It has actually dulled my creativity to some extent. Perhaps some time without it will inject more energy and vigour into my life and business.
    • And of course - I can always start afresh with a new profile and business page (and a less controversial name).

So - that's why you won't see me on Facebook anytime soon, until the little boffins decide I am an acceptable version of Helen Fitness.

It's an abrupt reminder that resilience steps in at any time...

...and there are always options.

Bounce Back in 7 Steps

Ever caught yourself complaining that there's too much change?

Sitting tight through a restructure or another round of redundancies?

The only constant is change - this is true now more than ever, where change such as restructures, redundancies, outsourcing, insourcing, RIFs, 'right-sizing' and all the other euphemisms are the #newnormal. This does not even account for the constant changes that happen in our personal lives - marriage, children, divorce, illness, retirement, death, buying or selling a house, relocations, financial pressures; you name it - we are barraged with change.

Because of all this, I believe resilience is the most critical skill to develop to become more comfortable with change, to be able to embrace it, and all that life has to throw at us.

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude" Maya Angelou

Resilience is the process of adapting to stress, trauma, adversity, threats, tragedy - whether from family or relationships issues, or health, workplace and financial stresses. You may have heard of or worked with the Change Curve - a theoretical rollercoaster of emotions we feel as we come to terms with change, loss or grief. The Change Curve is used in business and change management, and is frequently attributed to psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross resulting from her work on bereavement and grief. In brief, the Change Curve runs through 4 key stages:

  1. Shock / Denial - "This can't be happening!"
  2. Anger / Fear - "This is NOT going to happen!"
  3. Acceptance - "OK - this is happening;"
  4. Commitment - "OK - let's make this happen!"

We all move through the curve at our own pace, but the key to being resilient is being able to scoot through stages 1 and 2 in a healthy way.

Personally, I have been through many changes in my life, and a lot just in the last 12 months. Generally speaking, I have managed to get through it in tact, facing them with courage, and I put it down to these steps that I have honed over years of restructures, relocations, job changes, and personal challenges:

1. Analyse It 

Ask yourself:

How does it serve me, and how can I serve i.e. how can I add value?

How does it 'feel'? Don't be afraid to tap into your intuition - if it doesn't feel good, it probably isn't.

Is what's happening aligned to my values? Can I support it in all conscience?

And if you can't change it, as Maya Angelou says,...

2. Reframe it

...change your attitude. You can't always change the circumstances, but you can change your response; and in all honesty, how is that anger or fear you're holding useful? As the saying goes,

"Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die."

"Accentuate the positive; eliminate the negative." Work hard to focus on a positive outcome or the pros, rather than the cons of the situation. Reframing to find the positive in a situation is a critical skill.

Every day, while you are getting used to a change include in your morning routine a mantra or affirmation like "I choose happiness", because it's true - happiness is a choice. There is real power in positive psychology.

3. Create the Conditions for Success

What else could you be doing to create conditions for success? Is there something you could be doing differently or better to make the situation work best for you?

4. Let Go

Don't hold so tightly onto the familiar. You do this purely because it is comfortable. Learn to be comfortable with the unknown. You can create the conditions for success, but learn that you cannot control everything. Let it go

5. Find or Create Opportunities

Sometimes it might seem you have to hunt hard, however the opportunities are there. By understanding fully the business or the situation and all its challenges, opportunities appear; and if they don't - create them! Be creative at this point - ask "What if we did...? instead of "We can't do..."

6. Be Brutally Honest with Yourself

If you feel fear or resistance to change, dig deep and ask yourself "Why?" What's blocking you from accepting the change? Is it really the change that is causing you anxiety or is it another underlying fear?

7. Have Confidence, Not Fear

Be confident in yourself - your values, strengths, who you are and what you stand for. These are your moral compass - all decisions come easily when you hold these close, untouchable and non-negotiable.

By applying these steps, you will be able to embrace change and improve your resilience, quickly bouncing back from shock, denial, anger and fear to capitalise on the opportunities that present themselves.

Become skilled at resilience. Book a free 30-mins Discovery session to learn how coaching can benefit you.