“Planning is king”
But, despite all the advice, despite all the evidence we have, and despite the need within us to do this, I’m going to share with you why it’s not.
I started off my coaching life supporting people affected by cancer, feeling that my background and cancer experience could be put to good use.
A few years in I realised I was seeing people in the cancer world and those outside of it, but similar themes ran across everyone. Some geeky but much enjoyed qualitative analysis of spreadsheets and time later I pivoted slightly into gentle living, realising also that this was a huge theme for me personally too.
A little while into that, I had another realisation – that many of the people who loved gentle living wanted it alongside their amazing achievements and the feeling of success too. It wasn’t all or nothing, it was measured amounts of both.
And many were starting or running businesses, which IS a hugely exciting but potentially stressful time too – to make it a success, to be good at what you do, to stay confident and focused, to be level headed when things feel anything but.
Which is where I really began to work with more people, and usually women, in business – supporting adjustments in thinking and habits of a lifetime for Founders to create businesses that really work for each of them and the life they want to lead, and succeed, in.
What I’m coming to, with this brief history lesson is that, despite being afraid and nervous as each slight, or major, pivot took place – it’s always paid off.
Before each I had an inkling that something was going to change. That maybe I had changed too, but each time I took quite a while to listen to that feeling – perhaps not fully trusting that this was a confident change, but rather something I was looking to adjust because I was running away from something else.
Instead, once I stepped into the decision and made the changes I needed to I felt much lighter within myself and realised I had not only been holding myself back but also wasn’t doing any favours to the people I was aiming to support and work with.
So there were huge shifts for me on the inside, and outside they sometimes took a little longer to manifest. Despite that, eventually outside changes could be seen.
Examples of what changed on the outside in that time include:
- Closing down a beautiful Facebook group which had really strong connections and community within it, yet it was no longer something I could manage – emotionally and time wise
- Changing my website – I kept the same URL but have adjusted the content within it
- Offering adjusted services to a slightly different audience – if you’d have come across my services 4 years ago they looked different to today’s
- Changing my overall tone of voice – I realise I have been creating something and getting more confident over the years to look and sound more like myself. I don’t think I was faking anything, I just think I’ve gained confidence to share more of me.
For all of these, and the other changes, of course I planned how I was going to do them once I’d made the decision to make the changes. BUT I could not have told you that 4 years ago I thought I would be here.
When I started, I was definitely thinking more of how I’d like to give back. Which was beautiful and felt exactly right. However I quickly saw and felt how giving back was giving away too much of myself in different ways without being able to keep boundaries and a good business sense in check. I just wanted to keep giving, which was going to burn me out before I could tell.
I also think I was in quite a fixed mindset of how I ‘should’ be working and how things ‘should’ work around me, which I can see was not just limiting for me but also those I was looking to connect and work with!
I certainly at that time would have shied away from saying I was the founder of X or Y. On that note why am I even using algebra to pretend I haven’t founded something… X = The Gentle Life Movement’ and Y = The Gentle and Successful Leadership Programme!
On making the changes I have done over the year, I also felt a relief once I listened to my intuition and followed where I felt I was being led. I didn’t know gentle living was going to show up and it did. I didn’t know I would move more into business, and particularly mindset and strategy, coaching but I have, and it all makes sense now.
I also realise how much knowledge 4.5 years of being in business – with the majority of it being online – has opened up for me to share. I do have really valuable lessons from things that have and haven’t worked for me, alongside the traditional coaching elements of my work which has now accumulated into the thousands of hours of coaching time with others.
I wouldn’t change my own business evolution for the world and I’m incredibly lucky that quite a few of the people who were around at the very start of my coaching journey are also still in my community in one way or another now too.
I can also see that my business evolution has changed as my own needs have, and I think I was quick to deny myself the need to have that change where I personally needed it – I felt it would look flaky, that it wasn’t putting enough work in, that I was abandoning something, that I would be called out for something I shouldn’t be doing, wasn’t qualified to be doing.
Yet it all comes back to what I saw now – how do I WANT to run my business and who do I LOVE working with. These have got to be such a central factor or else we will feel that our business is running us and not the other way around.
I wanted to share this with you now, seeing as I’m writing this during the summer months when typically we can go through mindset shifts that have us questioning lots – sometimes in the best way, sometimes in the most stressful of ways.
It’s a time for contemplation of change and perhaps a time of dreadful comparison too, which can be fearful – why do I want change? What’s not working? How did they make their thing work? What life do I want anyway? How do I make an impact in the world? And more…
So if you’re struggling with the unknown, then please know that it is possible to create very solid knowns from the change, the release, the sitting with the lack of clarity and allowing really lovely things will likely fall into place.
We can’t possibly plan for everything – in business or in life. But we can plan for knowing we’ll have shifts that we don’t yet know will occur, and bringing our most compassionate and confident selves to those shifts is where the magic happens.
I’m ending this blog with a big shout out to a few people who’ve supported and helped me along the way with my own shifts. A huge thank you particularly to my coaches and coaching colleagues Casey, Jessica, Suzy, Liz, Francesca and the hundreds more around me who’ve helped me so much over the last nearly 5 years!