Three years ago today, I was working at my last catering gig.
It was a gigantic wedding in a beautiful yard, but it was catastrophic from the beginning – starting with when I had said yes to working the event when I wanted to say no. I said yes, because I wanted to be helpful, I wanted to be a team player. I said yes, because, three years ago, I was more concerned with how others perceived me than how I felt in my own life.
I remember spilling a sauce down the back of a woman’s beautiful silk jacket. I remember the dishes piling up, without a convenient water source. I remember lugging things around, getting progressively more upset and disgruntled as each moment passed.
And, at the end of the night, I remember taking off my waitressing shoes and throwing them in the trash as I walked, barefoot, to my car.
I wasn’t mad at the gig.
The gig was an ordinary disaster, one that I had become lovingly comfortable in over the twelve years of waitressing prior.
In fact, I wasn’t mad at all. I was ready.
Six month prior, I had made the terrifying decision not to become a social worker, a year and a half and almost $80K into earning my social work degree. I had realized that the life that I was building for myself was no longer a good fit for me, and I started consciously moving in another direction – a direction of my very own.
Over those six months, I started creating my very first coaching offers. I wrote Body Loving Homework: Writing Prompts for Cultivating Self-Love (which has since been downloaded over 2000 times). I created a new website. I got myself in order.
But the readiness that I felt on this day three years ago wasn’t about the preparation. It wasn’t the sparkly new website or the clients that were starting to come my way. The readiness that I felt had to do with choosing to be all in when it came to the life that I was building.
I didn’t have any money saved. I didn’t know how it was going to work out.
What I knew was this…
I wanted it more than I had ever wanted anything before. I wanted it so badly that I was willing to risk the possible heartbreak of failure in order to make it happen.
I wanted to be the beneficiary of my hard work. I wanted to be able to bring all of my creative talent to my daily grind. I wanted to help people – as many people as I could reach.
I wanted the kind of life where I had the freedom to take really good care of myself. A life filled to the brim with rest and love and fresh air.
And, I wanted all of that more than I wanted immediate financial stability. Or a lot of material possessions. Or a career that would impress people at my high school reunion.
For the first time in my life, I gave myself permission to want something for myself – for the health of my bright spirit – instead of wanting something because it was what I “should” do or what others expected of me.
For the first time in my life, my expectation wasn’t perfection – it was the messiness of choosing to become an active participant in my life.
These last three years have been the most spectacular and challenging of my life.
Since officially starting my business as a personal blog seven years ago, I have shown up here in some capacity every single day. Over these years, I have been consistent in my service to my audience, but more than that, I have been steady in my desire to pour all of my attention and my adoration into this dream.
I had never created something that I showed up for so consistently before.
It wasn’t easy. There were many moments of panic and frantic maneuvers to try to make enough cash to pay my rent. I cried every day of every launch that I had for the first year and a half. I got myself some amazing support to help teach me how to believe in myself and the power of what I was creating – holding me together in moments when I really just wanted to give up and run away.
Today, as I was smiling to myself this morning, I was feeling really quite proud of myself for showing up and navigating this business these last years. I started thinking about the three things that helped me devote myself to this dream and I wanted to take this opportunity to share them with you.
Also, a note: this is my recipe for absolutely everything – not just starting your own business. Wink.
1. Keep it simple.
It is far to easy to allow yourself cozy up to self-sabotage when you project yourself far out into the future of your projects. You are not going to know what it is going to look like ten years down the line, no matter how hard you think about it.
Instead, pledge to show up, be present, and do the best work that you can today.
Ask yourself: what small action can I do today to get me closer to where I want to go?
Start there. Start with one small action and then another.
2. Decide for yourself when enough is enough – and what your expectations are.
In my two years of business I taught myself to define success on my own terms. When people would ask me what success looked like, I would (not so) jokingly say: “The bills got paid and no body died.”
That right there was what I was aiming for.
Of course, I had other ambitions. I am writing a book. I want to own a house. I am consciously making space in my business and life for a baby. But, I get to choose what success means to me. I check to choose to celebrate the fact that I have worked for myself for three years and the bills got paid and no body died.
In a sea of people ditching their day jobs to make six figures doing absolutely nothing while dancing around the globe, I think that it is HUGELY important to remember that you get to define this for yourself – and you get to celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how large or small they might appear if you were to compare yourself to other people.
3. Your business works when you do. You are your #1 asset.
I show up fully when I am well-rested, well-nourished, and making sure to take really good care of myself. For me this includes carving out space for play and making sure to shut down all of my devices to connect with the world around me every so often.
There are many people who would like you to believe that you earn your rest by putting in your time. We live in a society that reinforces that very idea.
But, I want to feel good in my skin more than I want to have cash in my bank account. I want to bring the best of who I am to everything that I do – and I cannot do that if I am burning myself out a little bit more each day.
Fill yourself to the brim, so that you can serve the world from the overflow of your energy. Prioritize your self-care. Put meeting your own needs at the top of your daily agenda.
There is no lack here unless you believe there is.
You will flourish – but your business (and life) will flourish also.
A Thank you
Oh man, I really freaking love you guys.
I love this community. I love creating pieces of writing and e-courses and live events that serve your vibrant hearts – and help you reclaim the power to stand in the middle of your life and create something beautiful all around you.
I want to thank each of you you for being such bright light in my orbit.
I want to thank you for showing up for yourself each day. You are making the world a better place, simply by allowing the beauty of who you are to shine through.
I want to thank you for all of your support for me over the last three years – and especially those of you who have been here since I started Medicinal Marzipan seven years ago.
P.s. If you’re aching for the bravery to cultivate a life of your very own with ample space for rest and taking care of your sweet self, I want to invite you to join me next month for The Deep Exhale. I am planning a BIG, exciting surprise for next Wednesday, September 9th when registration opens, so keep your eyes peeled. Whoop!