That incredibly good feeling when everything is where it should be. Literally and metaphorically.
When you simply feel good. Full of energy, ideas and inspiration. You know that you’re on the right track. That nothing stands in your way to thrive. In whatever areas of life you want to thrive. When you have clarity, purpose, determination and a plan.
That’s what I got. In the form of a 7-day challenge. An inner journey. And I’m so thankful for that.
And for you, Marva.
Listening to the wind of change
I didn’t start out as an entrepreneur. Most of my adult life I’ve jumped from one office job to the other. I’ve worked both for the private sector and the public sector. No one in my family was a small business owner, you see. I had no role models. It was the ‘norm’: Be employed, go to work, then retire after 35+ years.
And for a long time I haven’t challenged this reality. I got up, jumped on the commuter train or bus, did my job, travelled back home. And repeat. Day after day after day.
Yes, I climbed a few steps on the career ladder over the years. Got even more responsibilities and a small team to manage. My hard work and commitment bore their fruit. But by that time I was at the edge of the cliff. Yes, I’m talking about burn-out.
In a part-time work arrangement I tried to continue sailing both ships: my office career and my own life & health. It was somewhat better than before. But then the wind of change came.
After having talked so often with friends about quitting my jobs and doing something more fulfilling, less drudgery. Yet never actually acting upon it. Because you know how it is. That last big step of really quitting and starting everything anew is just t-e-r-r-i-f-y-i-n-g.
I was lucky because the burden of making this life-changing decision was taken off my shoulders. The universe got tired of me talking and not moving forward, so it acted on my behalf. I was made redundant. Got a severance package. And the chance to make this opportunity count.
To not just talk and dream about it anymore, but to live it, to its fullest.
Yes, I CAN
I invested part of the money to re-skill myself. I’ve never thought that after 20 years of my high school graduation I’ll be back to school again. Willingly. Not to mention paying for it. Yet there I was. Full of excitement and anxiety.
You need to know that I’m not a native English speaker. I’m from Hungary, though I call Ireland my home since several years now. Also I’ve worked at several multinational companies with German and English as office languages. Still I had this unrealistic fear of ‘what if I won’t understand what they’re talking about in class’. ‘What if they’ll laugh at me because I have an accent and can’t alway express myself as elaborately as I wished.‘
Enrollment fees were already paid, so I went and had a wonderful time. I got acquainted with a bunch of like-minded people. The best decisions ever.
Also, to my own greatest surprise (and secret pride) I passed all three courses with flying colours. This gave me that confidence boost I needed to start my small business. The proof (in the form of certificates) that I’m not an imposter. That I know what I’m talking about.
So ARRA design studio was born.
Being a small business owner is simple - it’s just not easy
It taught me a lot and does it since then every single day. That being a small business owner is a constant learning experience. But I don’t mind. I’m a sponge. I love how a whole new world opens up before me bringing something unexpected every day.
Yet for a long time I was drifting. I was doing things, working on my small business. Routine tasks, almost like chores. I searched and researched. Followed the advice of other established business owners by doing this. Than trying that. Because that’s the way – they said. That’s what you need – they said.
Possibly you recognize the problem with this. I often got discouraged. Torn between ideas. I was lost. Sometimes only a little bit. Other days completely.
Seeing that others doing so well. That they’re way ahead of me though started their businesses around the same time as me. What am I doing wrong?
I was meant to thrive
I didn’t look for a mentor. I was skeptical. I was saving up my remaining money. I was telling myself that maybe later. If it goes pretty bad. Then…
Other days I told myself that once I booked a couple of clients and made some return on my investment. Then…
Then I signed up for Marva’s free 7-day challenge. It was about celebrating wins, setting ourselves up for success and preparing to finish the year strong.
Seemed like what I needed to get out of the hole I dug myself into.
By following a guided inner journey based on daily email prompts a lot of things became clear to me.
#1 Celebrate every little win on the road - and always give yourself credit
I usually don’t track my activities. Don’t keep journal. So I had to sit down, and think about all the things that happened since January.
These seven months were quite a journey for me both personally and professionally. In some areas I surpassed my expectations. In others I still have a lot to do. But I don’t mind it.⠀
I am exactly where I need to be.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
And I’m thankful for this immense learning opportunity that is part of my life now. That helps me evolve and get better with every step and challenge I face.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Where I definitely need to improve is noting down every achievement however small it seems that brings me closer to my goals and dreams. And I need to start properly celebrating my own wins.
Be it a work-free afternoon stroll in the lovely Phoenix park among the fallow deers.
A delicious mug of coffee from one of the nearby cafes.
A glass of wine after dinner.⠀⠀
Or re-reading one of my favourite books
#2 Have as much fun as you can - every day
When was the last time you had FUN? When you really enjoyed where you are, what you do. No negative thoughts. Sheer joy?
Upon reflection it turned out that I let myself down on this front. I’m pretty much absorbed lately in activities related to my small business. Some brownie points are due though because I’m keeping my earlier promise to eat healthy and work out regularly.
But what I realized is that I need more fun in my life. And more spontaneity. Good for me that as I’m not bound to an office desk in a 9-to-5 job anymore it’s also easier to do. So I started a list of things that I want to do till the end of the year.
It’s such a good feeling when I can cross out an item from that list!
#3 Being a Cool Cucumber is actually cool
The challenge brought a mini personality quiz: I got Cool Cucumber. Wasn’t surprised. I’m rather reserved and less a party gal.
- I enjoy solitude over big social events. So running my online business and working from my home office is the best set-up possible.
- Though looking at social posts of others showing them “working” while traveling the world or “working” from fancy cafés always makes me want to do the same. But let’s face it. I’m easily distracted given the chance. So sticking to my cozy home office it is.
- As a cool cucumber I don’t overshare activities of my life and may come across to you as a reserved person. You’re not entirely wrong. But it doesn’t mean that I’m not open to get to know you. Because my business is about and for you.
- Also, I’m a very good listener – instead of adding to the noise – I’d rather keep my eyes on you. So that I can understand better how I can help YOU.
I’m up for the challenge - what about you?
Since Marva’s challenge I’m better focused on my dreams as ever before. Not to mention I’m more productive and spending time on things that bring me closer to my goals.
Sometimes the best thing that can happen to you is doing something completely unforeseen, unplanned. Something that you’ve never imagined you would ever do.
Like me signing up for this mini self-discovery exercise. I’ve never seen that one coming.
If you’re trying to do all-the-things alone in a completely new role as your-own-boss-small-business-owner. And you feel lost. Discouraged. Out of focus.
Don’t wait as long as I did.
Sharing the burden with expert ears and finding an accountability partner helping you get back on track is priceless. I wholeheartedly recommend you Marva’s coaching services.
And to join the Free to Thrive Facebook Community where you’ll meet a sisterhood of women committed to thriving in every area of life.