Get Uncomfortable: Lessons Learned

Let’s Recap:

I quit my job, became a certified coach, launched my own business, and shortly after: COVID hit. I learned how to redefine success, gave myself permission to celebrate MORE and have had many amazing experiences on the journey. 

Since you know I’m all about the real-real..launching my own business has not been a cake walk, nor has it been easy to figure out how to shed the “traditional” ways of doing things, in order to find the way that works best FOR ME. 

I want to share a list of the less glamorous parts of the past two years — the setbacks, mistakes and toughest lessons and the ways I moved through them. I want you to know that whatever you are going through, feeling or experiencing is valid and you are not alone in it. And, I want you to know that you CAN overcome whatever you are going through, and that the sheer act of you getting up after each knock-down is making you stronger every day. 

One of the ways that I get through the tough times is by adopting a mindset that serves me. So, when I hit my walls I try to repeat over and over to myself – “these things are happening for me, not to me.”

Here are the things that happened FOR me and the resulting advice for how to deal.

The Most Challenging Parts of My Journey — And How to Deal

The Challenge: Not Knowing
In the world of COVID, I certainly don’t have to explain how challenging it has been to get more comfortable with the reality that I can not and will not know what all my efforts will lead to. For example: not knowing when I will get new clients, not knowing what I should charge, not knowing if I can even sustain a life doing this work. There is so much I don’t know about this path less traveled, and it’s certainly NOT a path I have ever traveled.

Antidote #1: Know yourself and your internal world, by staying grounded in who you are.

Do things like spend time in nature, create your environment to support you, craft a vision board to see your goals in a new way, meditate, try exercise or other ways to connect to your body. Why? Because the reality is that the only thing you can know is the internal guidance you have.

Antidote #2: Find the Joy, Fun and Relief
Not knowing is hard. But, to embrace it in a more constructive way I think we must drop the false belief that no pain means no gain. Allowing fun begets more fun, and shit, if you don’t know what’s gonna happen you might as well enjoy the ride, right? When you are in a bad place, first strive for neutral, or for relief. Even that is a win. You can strive for fun once you are on more solid ground. 

The Challenge: Hearing “NO”
Each new potential client that says no can feel like a job I was rejected for. In a way, it brought up trauma from my past. Each time I would have to find a way to deal with it, and hopefully use it as a healing experience to keep driving forward. Hearing no from a recruiter, a potential employer, or even a sales clerk can all feel like daggers. That’s why I knew I had to find a better way of dealing with rejection.

The Antidote: It’s always about the long game
Maybe it’s a no, and maybe it’s a not right now. Maybe it’s a no because there is a BETTER door that’s waiting for you to open it. So, we have to think beyond the current moment of no. We have to stay the course long enough to discover what is truly meant for us and ensure we don’t let self-doubt hijack us. Treat life like the marathon it is, for results may not come when you want it, but they will come. Invest in your dreams and don’t set yourself up to expect that things will happen overnight.  Unhook from instant gratification, grieve what didn’t come to fruition and then move on what will serve you. 

Unhook from instant gratification, grieve what didn’t come to fruition and then move on what will serve you. 

The Challenge: Staying out of the Comparison Game
It’s been really hard to not compare myself to others in the industry, or even to the business that my husband has been building at the same time. It’s even been tough at times to stay positive about my unique take on the world and know that how I am trying to help and support people MATTERS and is NEEDED by so many.

The Antidote: Protect Yourself – Like the Porcupine
Instead of comparing, simply don’t pay attention to what others are doing. Nurture your own ideas and tap into what lights you up and gets you going. Turn off social media if you need – to allow you to remain confident that your ideas are worth pursuing. Protect these idea and let them grow organically – from your own knowing. Ask yourself who has earned your trust to share your ideas with – when you need to bounce things off of others. And for all others – carry your ideas under those porcupine quills.

The Challenge: Keeping the faith
When I feel lost or beaten down, or when I feel like I’m not getting the results I want (when I want it), my belief in myself and in something greater can erode quickly. It feels like each time this happens I have to pull myself out of the dirt and mud to find new energy and motivation to keep taking the next step and trust that there is something greater than myself involved.

Antidote #1: Surrender
Nobody wants to hear this – but TRUST – unclench those fists of control. Practice non-attachment to outcomes – to take the pressure off and accept that you are not in control of anything but yourself. Let go of what you think you want or what you think things should look like.

Antidote #2: It’s Ok to Take Breaks
Before you burnout. Before you totally lose inspiration. Before you can’t wait any longer. Remember that kindness to yourself extends to kindness to others. And sometimes when we are fighting and fighting for what we want – when what we really need to do is just let go for a bit. If you’ve been job searching non-stop for months – take a break, I guarantee you need it. There is a difference between forcing and allowing – which approach are you currently taking?

PRATT Guest Lecture, 2019

The Challenge: Charging My Worth
It is so much easier to preach this than to DO it – especially with skill sets that I have for years and have given away for free. Pricing my work where I feel valued, good and know I can do my best work has been scary – especially in the midst of massive financial disruption everywhere. I want to be affordable to everyone, but I know that’s not a sustainable way to build my business. Standing up for my pricing has tested me in ways I never saw coming.  

The Antidote: Trust Yourself, Always
No one knows better than you what is in your own best interest or what you are worth. You know what you need to feel good in any relationship or job. Fight for that. 

The Challenge: Embracing Jealousy
Jealousy at times has shut me down and made me question everything. Why isn’t my business as successful hers? Why does it seem so easy for them? Why aren’t I on that stage, how did she get that opportunity?

The Antidote: Change your Relationship to Jealousy
When you feel jealous, see this as information and not another excuse to beat yourself up. It’s information about what you are longing for yourself. Someone recently told me that jealousy happens because at first we see the possibility that we could be that person, and then we realize that we are not. We have not yet accomplished those things. Imagine then, that you can learn more about what it is you want for yourself, by investigating what you are in fact jealous of.

The Challenge: Not Making A Consistent Paycheck
It took me a VERY long time to not beat myself up over this. To be ok with my not contributing to the household in this way. To know that I still had value even if I wasn’t bringing home a cent of revenue. This made me put pressure on myself to ‘make the paper’ – even though when building a business TAKES TIME (like, seriously, TIME), and of course I am not in control of anyone deciding to hire me (sound familiar?)

Dig in to what feels right for you.

The Antidote: Always know your numbers
Don’t tell yourself stories that might not be true, which means you should understand the “runway” you have to either chase your dream or take a break or find the next thing. You could be giving yourself a completely untrue story about how much you need to make by when. Perhaps even more importantly, address and heal from any shame you may have around money – so you can be freed from this – and move into a mindset of abundance. There are lots of resources for this – dig in to what feels right for you.  

The Challenge: Breaking the Conditioning Patterns
Being able to see what it is I actually need and want versus what I THINK I am supposed to need and want is a challenge that will likely ensue for the rest of my life. As a small example, there have been times that I realized that I need a day off mid-week, and the decision to actually take that day off while putting my guilt aside has been extremely hard. 

The Antidote: Become Aware & Get support…lots of support
As yourself which of your thoughts are from conditioning. I loved the book “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle, who talks about this topic so beautifully. And once you have awareness and know what you want to shift – put your team together and when your needs change, identify what needs to change in your team. Find people who can help you be accountable to the new way of thinking and new actions you want to take. De-conditioning is NOT easy so get all the support you need from people who you can trust.

The Challenge: Being 100%, Unapologetically Me
Before the current BLM movement, I was already working on speaking my mind in a way that honored who I was and where I came from. This meant not defaulting to my professional polish filter or code-shifting when speaking to a corporate audience. After the movement, I have also had to make the decision of how I want to show up in the world, despite the fear of making mistakes. Un-peeling and revealing all the layers of my true self is an ongoing process – but it’s the work that I know will help ME to continuously breakthrough my own barriers.  Because yes – I know I often get in my own way. If you are honest with yourself, you might even agree that’s true for you too.

Un-peeling and revealing all the layers of my true self is an ongoing process, but it’s the work that I know will help ME to continuously breakthrough my own barriers.

The Antidote: Set Boundaries To Transform Your Life
Sometimes to be who you are and to honor what you need, you have to hold boundaries for yourself. Meaning – you have to stop accommodating everyone else, or doing what everyone else wants you to do. If you’ve been doing this for years, you may not even be able to identify your own needs easily. You may have even forgotten about parts of yourself that have been buries for so long. But I have good news!! You have the power to say no, not now or not ever. It’s uncomfortable, but necessary. Because as you know, ain’t nobody got time to give energy to folks who only take and take and take (cue: Hamilton). Set boundaries to come back to yourself.

Two Years Later…

At the end of the day, you know what? I think my journey of the past two years has helped me in being able to keep plowing forward, even in the darkest moments of the COVID world we are living in. The lessons I learned helped me to let go even more – to surrender to what will happen in the external world, so that I could focus even more on my internal world.

And actually, maybe there is some serendipity that on the day I am drafting this blog, I confirmed a new client. Maybe that’s a sign to keep going another two years, eh?

So, I end this reflection on a high note – two years later and still no regrets. I feel more free than I ever have. Liberated to be myself, to follow my own heart and mind. More badass. More bold. More using my voice. And certainly more ME.



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