Lessons from my business: Four years of growth, progress and gratitude.
Four years ago, I started my business. There is so much to reflect on and I feel humbled and honored to be walking this journey. Life is full of opportunities for personal growth, so looking back, here are some of the lessons I have learned.
Year One was about humility.
I never thought I had a big ego, but as it turns out, it has always been there. I left my job after 25 years with a big salary, good title and loads of experience thinking, “why wouldn’t I be a valuable, successful entrepreneur?” I took the leap of faith and like many coaching entrepreneurs, I expected things to come easier. But I quickly learned it was hard. Many times, I didn’t know what I was doing.
I am a big-picture, visionary leader and I always had good people to help me with details and execution. My administrative assistant, my IT department, my accounting department, and my team – they were the best – and now, they were all gone! It’s just me. I love working with a team. I love supporting the talents of a team. This felt lonely.
The professional networks I had because of my job, title and experience didn’t do me much good. I was in a new city where I had NO networks, and I was missing my professional colleagues who gave me energy. It was a year of “wow, this is humbling”. Year One my ego was taking a beating.
Looking back on Year One, it made me resourceful. For me that was about finding professional people who gave me energy. Thank you to the wonderful women of NAWBO! These women will always have my heart. I learned to be flexible. I took on work that wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do, so I could do what I wanted to do. I did some consulting. I did contract work. It paid the bills. Rarely is the entrepreneurial path straight. I learned to be humble.
Year Two was about growth.
From the beginning, I quickly learned there were (and are) a lot of amazing people doing the same thing I am doing. It’s a bit intimidating. I was constantly asking myself, HOW do I fit in here? DO I fit in here?
A few months into Year Two, things started to get a bit more fun. I decided to really invest in the path I wanted to take. Although Leadership Coaching was my passion and I had a lot of experience, I did not have formal training. I felt if I wanted to commit to this path, I had to be all in.
I signed up for IPEC coaching. This was one of the best decisions I made. As I was building new knowledge, I was building new networks and new friends (enter good energy). I was gaining confidence, new ideas and new perspectives. I was stepping into the path I felt called to. I was creating and building. This brought good energy too. I was being prepped for the work ahead.
FINALLY, things were looking up, and then…
Year Three was about adaptability, acceptance and perspective.
What a year 2020 was. It was a year for many – including myself – to examine the impact of chaos on my business and on me. From a business perspective, it was navigating survival. My clients where scurrying to adjust to safety-security needs and leadership development was not a priority. I knew Coaching was an important human need, now more than ever, so I spent a lot of time doing pro-bono coaching and service projects. And out of this, ithrive31® Coaches Who Care™ was born.
And if the 2020 craziness wasn’t enough, for me there was deep personal loss. I lost a cousin, aunt, and sister in one year. I spent six months engaged with my sister’s health battle only to lose her to a brain tumor. My priorities shifted in 2020, as they should have. I mourned and yet there was deep gratitude and reflection. It fueled me. Life is never guaranteed. I was reminded that we only have one shot, so we must make it count. I love the energy of gratitude. The way I can honor those who have passed is to take the best of them with me.
So here I am… in Year Four.
Year Four is about discernment, finding the right next step.
From a business perspective, 2021 is starting off strong. Yet I still miss a connected, mission-focused team. I feel called to build something with others. I want to create collectively. I want to support, encourage and uphold other coaches. I want to create collective success, not individual acknowledgement. I believe coaching has a powerful place in this world, so I know I am in the right spot. Through discernment I pray the right people will be placed in my path who feel this calling as well.
I absolutely love being a business owner and I love the profession of Coaching. I feel so incredibly blessed by the journey ithrive31® has paved. I also believe the journey to grow my business is also about growing me, so I pay attention. As I work on my business, I work on myself as well. Being intentional to learn new things, reflecting on growth, surrounding myself with positive people and centering my life in gratitude. I work to bring the best of me to the world.
Back to humility. I am not sure what the future will hold (none of us are) but my humility is now my strength. I get energy here. I find peace here. We are each traveling a journey and whatever my path looks like, I know it will be okay.
And that’s pretty amazing.