One year in the life of an entrepreneur - woo, work, and moving "any amount"

bent spoon
bent spoon

Wow.  Just about a year ago, I completed my coach training. The official date was February 29.   That morning, I bent a spoon that I thought was unbendable.  Not with my mind, with my hands, but it still felt like a feat.   (Spoon bending is kind of woo-woo and my science teacher side thinks it's ridiculous and a little hoax-y, but when I was able to bend a spoon that I had never been able to bend before on the final day of my coach training program, some woo woo part of me thought that was pretty cool. And then it almost immediately went back to being skeptical!) Since that spoon bending morning, I did a lot.  I coached and coached.  I hosted a book club about Martha Beck's new book, Finding Your Way in a  Wild New World, my first foray into conference call tele-courses.  I met Martha and over 300 other coaches at an incredible conference in Arizona.  I made stickers with my own Wild and Precious word collage and shared them with everyone. I got certified! I made a beautiful blank journal filled with inspiring quotes and my own photos. I hosted two amazing retreats.  I created a signature local experience called WIGS and WIGS.   I started a Facebook Page.  I started a Meetup group. I coached and coached!  I cleared out boxes and boxes of old papers and flotsam and jetsam from my 16 year science teaching career.  I created a five month course for women planning to hike the Appalachian Trail, and 20 amazing women joined it! I participated in two amazing months-long mastermind experiences with other talented coaches. I coached and coached.  I hosted eighteen wordless walks in the swamp.  I learned how to use programs that let me email pretty newsletters.  I emailed pretty newsletters!  I started using a real online appointment scheduling program.  I got a business banking account and a real business license! I cleared out boxes of old holiday cards and old clothes and other clutter that was lurking in the nooks and crannies of our home.  I read dozens of books about time management, de-cluttering, entrepreneurship, and all kinds of other coach-y stuff.  I created a course about managing money indulgently, and 31 fabulous women signed up!  And all throughout, the coaching and coaching - my clients are incredible and it's an honor to be by their sides while they transform their lives in big and small ways.

Sometimes I was good about telling people what I was doing, sometimes I kind of flew under the radar, sharing mostly with friends and family, wondering who else would be interested, or just being a little too scared to be "out there."  But the more I go ahead and sing what I do from the rooftops, the more wonderful opportunities, gifts and amazing experiences come my way!  So I'm learning to be braver.

This entrepreneurship stuff - it's wild.  Even when you surround yourself with people supporting and guiding you who've built incredible businesses, you still have to take your own steps, every day.  No one's going to do it for you, and no one's going to fire you if you don't do it.  You're suddenly only responsible to yourself, and that's a very interesting challenge!

So I learned to do something "any amount." When my yoga teacher is trying to help us correct our form in a pose, she asks us to make a small change with our bodies.  She says things like, "Bring your right hip up any amount." or "Spread your collar bones any amount." or "Lengthen your left torso any amount." Her message is that any incremental shift is valuable - we don't have to be perfect in our poses, but our awareness of where we're headed helps us move toward our goals, even when we can't quite perceive the body part moving at all.

That's how I've felt about this whole year.  I've been making shifts, trying things, moving this here and that there, any amount.  My posture might not be perfect, but I'm showing up.  And I've gained so much from my efforts, even when they're not quite "right".

Could I have done more this year?  Yes.  Could I have grown more quickly?  Yes.  Could I have been more focused, less inclined to nap, more consistent about blogging, sharing, communicating, planning, being strategic, less inclined to meet a friend, go for a walk, sit in the grass?  Yes. Could I have fixed the thousand things I can't stand about how this website is right now instead of taking the time to shop for and cook yummy local food, or curl up with a cat and a book, or climb into the tub, or go for a bike ride with my sweetheart?  Yes.

But there's the trick.  While building this business, I'm also doing my best to live my one wild and precious life.  To take a week off to go hiking on the Appalachian Trail.  Another couple of weeks off to explore the mountains of Colorado.  A week on the beach in Florida. All year I've taken enough time to sleep well, nearly every night. I listen to my body, and I haven't been sick a single day!

Sure, I've wasted my share of time.   I've watched way too many cat videos, read too many comments on articles I was only marginally interested in, watched too many Cake Bosses and 30 Rocks and Parks and Recreations on Netflix streaming.  I can avoid my work with the best of them, even after reading every Steven Pressfield book out there.

Nevertheless, overall it's felt like a year of miracles, especially when I've embraced the "woo" side and let the magic happen.  Wise owls appeared.  I spontaneously got to go see Madonna after putting her on my vision board. I created things, put them out in the world, and people signed up! Overall I've been challenged, inspired, and happy.

And here's what I've learned, boiled way down:

Four things to remember when you're working on something big: 1. Once you can envision it, it's really possible!  But you have to be able to picture it first. That's where vision boarding, writing and dreaming really help. 2. Start taking the steps.  Turtle steps.  Do anything.  Any amount.  And keep repeating. 3. Let yourself freak out, take a break, avoid, nap, temporarily run away.  It's ok.  Just come back to it when you're ready and start again. And try not to worry. 4. Embrace the woo.  Magic really is available to you. Look for it in the simplest things. Find it in nature, or in your imagination. Abandon your inner skeptic occasionally and let the unicorns prance around in your head a little.  Bend a spoon or two!

I'd love to hear what you do to keep the momentum going with a big undertaking, a new project, or exciting endeavor.  Share what's working for you in the comments!