As a person who went from over 30 years of salaried employment to self-employment, these last three years have been unprecedented.
The world of business presented an unexpectedly steep learning curve and much of my available funds went into business and professional training.
Self-promotion has never been a strong suit – except and often on behalf of others. (You’ll see me re-posting my colleagues’ workshops on social media, for which I’ve been admonished.) And even though I can understand and implement what I’ve learned from marketers, the challenge has been peeling away the layers of masks to let in a less defended expression of who I am after years of working within systems.
Business coaches can say Be Yourself all they want. But if you haven’t found out the truth about yourself, what happens? Frankly, I am not interested in parroting others again, as I did so much of my career life, in order to be acceptable, included and maybe (but probably not) loved. Making a contribution and delighting in what I do are paramount.
When I left my corporate life, I had to weave all of the experiences, skills and wisdom that I had accumulated into a plausible offering, and that’s been the single most difficult thing to do.
Was I to go back into corporate and leadership training, consulting and coaching, for the money, even if my heart wasn’t drawn there?
Not too long ago a colleague and leadership coach said I was selfish for keeping myself from helping leaders in organizations. Does she speak for my soul?
Or does she speak the language of marketers who promise 6 and 7 figure incomes, which leads me down the steep slippery ramp into the volcano’s flames to wonder if there is something wrong with me for being repelled by such pressure.
My needs are modest and my energy is exceedingly introverted and quiet. Blame my stage of adult development. I want to read, reflect, write, create and bring deep, heart wisdom to my clients and encourage their own fascination with depth and what matters most to them in this oh-too-short dear life.
I am more curious about soul, spirit, individuation and creativity and less about the right elevator pitch.
In this journey of business building, with aspects that are far from my native talents and skills, finding personal connection with my inner source of inspiration becomes oxygen.
For most of my life, I have had an inner knowledge, an understanding, that the material side of life was not the whole story.
The longing to be with and touch the world of soul, heart and mystery – this has been the life-long backdrop and common thread. Later, I came to understand this also as a call for the Feminine, that critical energy and way of being in the world that is needed to balance out centuries of patriarchy, domination, bullying and drive. The kind of drive that does not allow you to stop and smell the coffee, the roses, or bother breathing deeply, for that matter.
How to consciously and practically live simultaneously in the realm of soul and world has always been challenging for me. The teachings of the marketplace, where money is king, easily eclipse the yearning heart and often drag energy downward.
Try comparing yourself with any one other person on Facebook and see where your mood goes.
Making space for the soul and its inner wisdom has become more than necessity. Without it, I stand empty.
Moreover, I fear I may begin to believe my ego and its thoughts – that it can figure things out.
On its own, it cannot.
Do you distinguish your ego’s rapid-fire thoughts from what a higher truth wants of you? Or do you succumb and then end up with pneumonia or rosacea, your precious body begging you to slow down?
My higher self asked me to stop and dare to do something for myself before I got much older, and I said yes. It was the year my dearest friend died of cancer at 60. Life got a lot more urgent after that.
I have no idea where this unexpected jaunt into business will take me. The path is revealing what I could not have known about myself – irritating, annoying and in some cases happily surprising. Personal development on steroids, I like to say.
And this is why I need to dip into the pool of self-reflection and connect with my heart daily. Once in that land of soul, the balm of deeper values settles me as I once again listen for how I am intended to serve the world – my small part of it.
To walk courageously, consciously, moment-to-moment – to become the living poem – that is the longing.
To integrate the inner and the outer, in a way that feels whole – and to be compensated appropriately – that is the puzzle and the mystery.
Over To You
Come on. What is it that you would love to do before it is too late? Let’s have a conversation about the imperative of living a joyful life of contribution. Connect with me here.
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