By Wendy Reese, a clarity and courage coach, www.wholebeinginc.com.
GaijinWorks International Business Coaching will be featuring a number of blogs from us as well as guest posters like Wendy Reese. You can expect weekly doses of wisdom on things like goal setting, working through joy, accountability, time management, work/life balance, financial planning, organizational skills, empowering women, the benefits of coaching, brainstorming, nutrition, exercise, yoga or traveling. Interested in guest blogging yourself? Please send your potential topic to Lauren Vanessa Zink at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At 34, my business started much like my yoga career did: by necessity. See, I didn’t choose to be a yoga instructor, it chose me. Though, at the time, it was only supposed to be so that I, as the Senior Program Director of Health and Fitness, could step in when our yoga teacher “no-showed” a class. At the time, in staff meetings, other directors and I would regularly lament, “What’s up with how irritated people get when the instructor doesn’t show? I thought yoga people were calm and peaceful?” When I say upset, I am understating. So I got a weekend warrior certification. I liked yoga, but I didn’t want to teach it. About the time I did that, we hired a new teacher who was very committed and I never had to teach. When I left that job to pursue a new career, I basically forgot all about the long list of certifications, especially the yoga. They were on my resume, though. Six months later, my internship for my new career ended and a week later 9/11 happened. Jobs froze. I searched and searched until finally, out of desperation, I walked into a YMCA and applied for a teaching or trainer position. The director looked at my resume and hired me on the spot…to teach yoga. My first class had 34 people awaiting, and I taught from notes for the first six months until I started my 200-hour teacher training.
Yet, there was something magical every time I stepped on the mat. I observed my transformation as much as the students’ transformation. Relationships developed. Within two years, I’d forgotten all about the new career and was back to my roots in health and fitness, teaching 20 hours a week and personal training. The only problem was where I worked. It became more and more limiting as I grew. A student approached after class and told me about a doctor looking to offer classes on a regular basis in his office. My business began shortly after. Beyond being a good teacher, I sucked at the business. I did not know who I really was serving or why. I didn’t know how to market to them. I just kept throwing ideas out, like spaghetti on the wall, to see what stuck. Miraculously, despite my ignorance, my tenacity and my guides kept me afloat, albeit often just barely. It took 10 years to learn the foundation and almost a lifetime to fully grasp the most important wisdom. There are many, many business books, courses, and coaches out there. None know the wisdom within you. I am sharing with you the top 7 lessons I have learned over the past 10 years. I hope they help you shortcut many of the painful mistakes I made.
What makes your heart sing?
You can rationalize why you should do a certain thing in terms of your business, but until you do what makes your heart sing, you will be out of alignment and into what Stephen Pressfield calls the “resistance.” Let me assure you, being in resistance, being out of alignment with your deepest Source of wisdom, joy, and energy of Love is going to keep you stuck. It is the root of suffering. While teaching yoga certainly makes my heart sing, what makes it hit those high C notes is helping people reconnect to their essence and live in the most Divine, infinite potential, especially when they are doing a business or career that is designed to make a difference in this world. I absolutely love the ah-ha moments and holding sacred witness to the reconnection and then awakening of the soul. Pure joy.
When did you start playing small?
There are many reasons why you get out of alignment with your heart wisdom. Most have to do with that very first time when you realized you needed to tone down your Light, your gifts even, in order to fit in, be safe, or feel loved. I know for me, this was when I was 4 years old. I knew that I had to “take care of mommy” because I promised my grandmother on her death bed that I would. As I tried to comfort or help my mom in a Divine way, I would feel I made it worse. As a child, I didn’t get why my mom would turn away out of her own shame and guilt. To me, I thought I’d done something wrong. So I held back, played small, and thus, the seeds of resistance and suffering were planted. I worked deeply in going back to those roots to see the situation as it was, not as I’d always viewed it, and surrendering all of the energy attached, returning to Love. I had to give that 4-year-old a safe space to play and remember how to use her gifts again. The investment in that relationship has been the highest return on investment I have ever made.
Who do you serve and why?
Until you do the work in the previous two questions, this one will be illusive. Trust me. You’ll think you’re clear, but a veil will remain because you’re not fully stepping into your knowing and certainly not trusting yourself. That lack of trust carries an energy felt by others. They won’t know why exactly, just that you’re not the right person to do business with. They won’t get what you’re offering and they certainly won’t say yes to ambiguity. An exercise I take my clients through to discover who they most want to serve is to imagined the people they know that in some capacity they have worked with or would love to work with. In your mind’s eye, put them all around a table—one big, fun, deeply engaged dinner party where they are sharing their hearts’ contents and you can magically hear and follow every conversation. Who’s there and what are they talking about? Allow that to guide you in what you create and how you market.
Listening to the inner wisdom
You know what you know. You have to learn to trust that rather than the voices of those who got you to play small. As a Divine, infinite being, you have the power to create and destroy. You are far more powerful than you give yourself credit for. How will you use your skills, wisdom, experience, and inner knowing to spread your unique expression of the Light and Love within you? I love spending 15-20 minutes with my heart in conversation via a spiral notebook (because I don’t want to mess up the pretty journal). This is a free writing exercise in which I ask my heart what it wants me to know. I listen. When it is complete, I express my gratitude. I have had some incredible pearls of wisdom come through this simple exercise.
So what? Now what?
These two questions came through a class in graduate school, taught by Ben Lozarre. They are designed to push your comfort zone. It doesn’t matter if you’re thoroughly excited and feel you have the greatest epiphany or if you’re in the throes of doubt (and maybe despair). Ask these two questions and see what comes up. It takes you to the flip side. That’s important because you become more complete in your decision making and inspired actions moving forward as a result.
Growing up, I took dance lessons. Five days a week, every week during the school year, for several hours a night. Though I have not done that style of dance for longer now than the years of lessons, I can still remember and do much of it because the repetition made it second nature. There are just some things you may not enjoy, but if you’re willing to do the discipline with consistency, the payoff is enormous. You complete a marathon not by all the training runs, but by each individual step. Each training run you took simply made the final run easier. Same with business. Reach out, doing the follow-up, adding the extra, engaging people, hustle will payoff. Play until you need to rest. Rest until you’re ready to play. And it’s all play. This beauty is from Martha Beck. She’s right. If this life isn’t fun (yes, there will be hard, sad, challenging, and difficult moments), what’s the point? If work is drudgery, why are you doing it? Shift! And while you’re at it, look at your inner circle. The 5 people you spend the most time with. They are mirrors of your future. If they are not fun, inspiring, motivating, encouraging, and even educational, find a replacement. Certainly you can’t get rid of family, but you can sure cut back on the time spent with them. Replace that time with someone who fuels you. Honor yourself when you need to rest. Then get back to the play once you’re rested. Life is too short to waste another moment.
In those quiet, frightening moments of doubt, “What am I doing? Am I crazy? How’s this going to work? Am I good enough? Why would someone want what I offer?” I invite you to take a breath, place your hand over your heart, and hear my words:
You are Divine, infinite being. You know what you know and there’s no mistake in this Divine path. You’re here for a reason and there are plenty of people waiting for you to show up to shine your Light in the unique way that is perfectly you. So lean in. Breathe. Know. You’ve got this.
About Wendy Reese:
Wendy Reese is a clarity and courage coach who works with heart driven entrepreneurs who want to make a difference and earn a healthy living. She is author of “Just Tell Me What To Do! A guide to becoming the true YOU” and host of The Whole Being Zone podcast on itunes. She teaches yoga for the pure joy and fun of it. When she’s not “playing” for pay, she can be found playing in the Green Mountains of Vermont on a trail, in a kayak,on a mat, in her garden, or on a deck with good friends, good food, and her sweetheart. You can learn more about Wendy, find her blog and podcasts at www.wholebeinginc.com. You can follow Wendy on twitter: @wholebeinginc, facebook, G+ and Instagram.
Are you interested in guest blogging for GaijinWorks International Business Coaching? If so, please send your potential topic to Lauren Vanessa Zink at email@example.com.