I am walking the beach at night, the waves are crashing nearby as the tide is high and the moon is new. My dog Billy is racing up and down the beach exploring and playing. We come out here in the evenings because the beach is empty, no one is around for miles and Billy can run free.
We have been here for a little less than a month, and we have walked nearly every morning, every afternoon, and every night. I have observed out of this world sunrises where the colors in the sky feel hand painted and foggy mornings where we can barely see past the first wave on the shore. There have been rain storms and lightning that lights up the sky and days of sunny with a high of 70 degrees. Sunshine, rain, storms, fog, darkness, light—often all in the same week.
As I am walking and reflecting I realize that the night walks are the best. They are calm, expansive, the stars light up the sky and I often feel most myself alone there next to the giant ocean. I like feeling small, it makes my problems and worries feel small too.
Many times in the past month I have thought to myself, “these moments are why I wanted to have my own company. To choose when I walk the beach and how often, to have the flexibility to visit this place on my timeline without stress of missing a deadline or letting a boss down…or more importantly, avoiding the fear that I don’t look like I am not working hard enough.”
To be an entrepreneur is to be someone who invites chaos and instability. We don’t always know where the next sale is going to come from, if our product will land in the market, if anyone will care at all how hard we worked to bring our idea to life.
It’s personal. Most entrepreneurs I work with are working to drive positive change. They are deeply connected to their work and the impact their work has on people’s lives.
There is no hiding in entrepreneurship. You cannot run and hide behind the failure of the brand, or its failing leader. You are the brand, you are the leader.
To be an entrepreneur is to be someone who sees constant rejection, to be told no thank you over and over, to produce content no one likes, to innovate and develop without any assurance of success.
All in the pursuit of personal freedom. Freedom of thought. Freedom of time. Freedom of money. Free to create. Free to object. Free to change your mind.
One client said it so well this week, “Well there’s that vulnerability again. I guess I need to get used to it.”
We don’t really talk about this rollercoaster that much. We say things like, “Keep going when it gets hard” and “If you dream it you can be it”.
We celebrate the entrepreneurs successes when they come and we promote their financial wins like money is a God.
And I get it, money is what makes my company possible. It is what allows me to hire people, to invest in vendors I believe are great collaborators, to acquire knowledge that can help my clients get better results.
But while we are busy celebrating a great financial quarter or a year of growth, I think it is more important that we are celebrating that we made it through the minute by minute ever changing emotional rollercoaster of the work and the daily rejection of trying to build something no one else believes in as much as you.
Faith they call it. That word has shown up in my journal more and more over the past few months as my company has grown and my dreams are starting to take real shape.
Keep the faith, Teresa. Trust that the work is working.
We are conditioned to wonder what could go wrong. To evaluate the risk and potential roadblocks of our vision and our choices.
“Don’t get too excited” they tell you. “Lots of things are too good to be true.” “Nothing is free”.
I get it. I know these sayings, they are ingrained in me—stuck to my thinking mind like super glue.
When is the next shoe going to drop?
I have to be honest, I have never had a big win in business or supported a client through a big win wondering when the next shoe was going to drop.
But society wants us to be afraid because fear is what drives commerce. The fear of being robbed sells alarm systems. The fear of losing love drives lingerie sales and diet drinks.
We know this inherently but the pressure to think this way to survive doesn’t allow for us to always choose ourselves over our fear. It is a conditioning.
Choosing yourself. That’s the bottom line, isn’t it? To bet on your own self as the one who knows best. To decide that riding that rollercoaster of emotions is the process.
I feel I say that on repeat lately. Trust that your emotions are normal, that they are here to help you—as if to reward you because you are willing to live life on the edge of what is normal and choose yourself.
Choosing yourself is hard in a society that tells you constantly that who you are is not good enough.
Each week now I have my clients submit a report of their progress. I review these reports and I adapt my approach to coaching for the next week.
In these pages of reflections I see fear and the courage to try anyway.
In these pages I see honesty and vulnerability and the wisdom to pivot and adapt.
In these pages I see big hearts reflecting on the meaning of their life and their pursuit of a deep understanding of why they are here.
The pursuit of a life well lived.
Of making the most of their time here.
So I know you are looking at cashflow and you are wondering, “am I getting anywhere?”.
“Have I been validated by this society that tells me money is how I measure my success?”
But you are successful. Every day that you get up and rise again to make the world better and push through your fear and doubt and bet on yourself you are a success. That’s what success looks like.
Don’t be afraid of these emotions. These emotions are the process. You are on track–trust yourself.
And when it gets hard, because it will, maybe even today as you are reading this you are stuck in a hard emotion.
Should I keep going?
Do I have what it takes?
Will it matter to anyone that I show up?
Am I enough?
Yes. The answer is yes.
Those that tell you that it is too hard, or impossible. They just are too afraid to feel the feelings. Don’t be afraid of your feelings, they are yours, deeply connected to you, made to show you the way, made to guide you in the darkness. Cherish those feelings, allow them to teach you.
On the other side of the hard emotion you are feeling right now is a peak in the curve. Hold on tight, let the rollercoaster of emotions take you where you are meant to go—and then toss your hands up in the air as you ride the curve down again.