From the time she could talk, my now teenage daughter expressed her imagination in performances and the creation of experiences. From puppet shows to spa getaways (in her room), we never knew exactly what the “treat” of the day would be upon entering her lair.
It was Christmas Day, one year when her stocking gifts included fairy dust that I finally realized how vast her imagination had been…and still is, quite frankly.
“This is not the right kind of fairy dust! Where did you get this?” she blurted, with an accusatory tone. Hands positioned on her hips. Chin set with frustration. (She may have been about 6 or 7 years old.)
“What do you mean, not the right kind?” I just didn’t get it, clearly.
“It doesn’t work. I keep sprinkling it on my head but I still can’t fly. It must be old!”
I had to bite the inside of my cheek to keep from smiling and take a deep breath to keep from laughing. Her determination to understand how someone could be so cruel as to sell fairy dust that doesn’t work was endearing. But it was at that moment that I remembered both how precious it is to have child-like faith in the magical and how disappointing it is to learn some things are just in fairy tales.
This story came to me recently as I was feverishly planning my younger daughter’s mermaid party. Her preoccupation with mermaids can be likened onto her big sister’s past(?) love of fairies.
This time around, my thoughts were connecting to my entrepreneurial journey and the faith required to stay the course.
FAITH IS NEEDED FOR THE JOURNEY
For most new entrepreneurs, we begin our businesses with an amazing, dare I say magical, idea. We burst with excitement that grows exponentially the more we engage with our idea. It feels like flesh is beginning to develop on the bones of our vision. And it’s almost supernatural how things begin to fall into place. We come across articles that illuminate the very thing we were considering. We run into people who encourage us and expand our perspectives. We find resources that make this idea move from possibility to probability.
Then we hit a disappointment…
For me, it was my first fall into the comparison trap!
IT HAS BEEN DONE ALREADY
I remember when I first watched MarieTV. I became an instant fan. I loved how Marie shared quality information that was helpful for my business. AND she had a mission that motivated her. Her “why” was beyond making money. (Though we all could use some of that…LOL). In the desert of entrepreneurship, she was like an oasis of encouragement for me at the time.
Then I realized something. I loved her because she was/is doing exactly what I want to do…helping people realize their “special something that only [they] can give”…and it sounded A LOT like my whole genius philosophy. (Side-eye)
For almost a full day, I kept rolling this notion around in my head. If Marie is already doing it, doesn’t that make me redundant? Then what am going to do? Who will come to me for guidance and support??? Every self-sabotaging question that you can think of, came to my mind that afternoon. It was exhausting.
I had to snap out of it!
The next morning (mainly because I’m always optimistic in the morning when I have my quiet time), I began to reset my thinking. In my 20s, I was a volleyball player and marathoner (Ok…I ran only two marathons...back before the children began coming…does that qualify me as a marathoner?).
The point is…I am familiar with the process of adjusting my mindset in the middle of a match or race. It requires a quieting of my thoughts and an increase in self-awareness. After bringing a sense of stillness to my mind, my personal approach consists of three steps:
First, I admit what I am feeling.
I was disappointed. It didn't make sense to try to pretend that I wasn't. My philosophy was not something that was born overnight. I had been operating in some version of it as an educator for over twenty years. In my mind, it was completely original. Now, I was finally focusing my time and energy on building a business around this idea and passion, and someone had the nerve to have done it already.
It was unnerving.
It felt overwhelming and urgent, at the same time. But the first step was admitting it and leaning into the feelings.
Next, I confront the lies hidden behind the truth.
Yes. What Marie is doing is similar to what I am doing. The truth is that there are very few new ideas in business, unless you are in an untapped market, according to Fast Company. Also, Entrepreneur reminds that “there is nothing new under the sun” (originally spoken by Solomon in the Bible). Just because others are doing what I am doing and what I want to do, does not mean that my contribution is not valid nor does it mean it's not worth bringing to the marketplace. I am not in the same space as my would-be “competitors.” Even if I am, at my core, I am an Encourager. I celebrate the successes of others because I know their success does not impede on my own.
Anyway, my purpose is for me to fulfill, even if it resembles someone else’s.
“Do YOU!” I heard deep in my spirit, as a response to all of this negative internal chatter.
So, I had to speak these things to myself…speak my truth. And the lies began to dissipate from my mind.
Then, I set my focus.
One of my favorite sayings is: Vision drives Discipline. I have been saying this to myself since I was in my 20s. There is something about it that hits a chord in me.
I did some self-talk. I rehearsed my Vision.
I began thinking about my own “why” and what I love about it. I began focusing on what I wanted to see happen for the people with whom I get to work. I began digging into my own genius to unearth new aspects of my vision.
Then I applied some Discipline, with a capital D.
Trust me, y’all. Discipline is a GOOD thing.
In terms of my workflow, I put boundaries around my time and decided which activities would be done when. I set goals and sub-goals to track my progress. And for my IOS (that’s my Internal Operating System), I applied a good healthy dose of patience and fortitude. I worked my growth plan.
Before I knew it, I was back on track. I was excited about my idea again. I was flowing in my gifting. And I was driven by my sense of purpose. It may not be fairies or mermaids but it felt magical to me.
Strangely, that is part of what I believe we get to do as entrepreneurs…we get to create and bring a little “magic” into the marketplace. If we do it well, our customers will experience a shift in their quality of life due to working with us.
Until next time…
CONNECTING THE DOTS
What is your reset approach like? I want to know…share in the comment section below!