2013 and 2014 were both challenging years for me and my family, with big, unplanned, painful and uncontrollable events; if you’re a regular reader you’ll know I broke my leg quite badly in 2013, and the following year was dominated by my Mum’s illness and death.
However both events were very ‘clarifying’ in helping get back to basics in understanding what’s really important to me and in stripping life back to the essentials that form my sense of well-being:
- Providing love, security and a nurturing, stimulating environment for my daughters to grow and thrive in comes pretty high in the list of what matters most.
- A mutual feeling of love, respect, understanding and connection with my husband is another.
- Being able to find space – both physical and emotional – on my own, for calm reflection and rest. I’ve come to realise is pretty much an essential for me and my introverted nature.
- And speaking of nature – being outdoors with trees, plants, birds, big skies and fresh air is also an integral part of my wellbeing.
- I’ve always known being emotionally and intellectually stimulated to make new connections and have new insights so creativity is fundamental to me feeling alive, but I’ve only just begun to realise what a big role physical movement plays in my wellbeing – looking after, and appreciating my body I’m belatedly coming to see actually does matter to me.
- I also thrive on feeling each day I have options, freedom and flexibility to choose to spend time on the things that matter to me, rather than complying with somebody else’s agenda.
- And finally, feeling I am good at, and able to contribute something that eases the lives of others brings me real joy.
These are the building blocks of my wellbeing. I have personal values which are the mortar that holds them together too. They include ownership, respect, appreciation, compassion, empathy, curiosity and humour.
Having ‘suffered’ with procrastination for many years, I’ve noticed these fundamentals make all the difference to whether I do something on time or not.
For example it’s inconceivable I’d ‘put off’ picking the kids up from school! I’ll move mountains to try to be at all the right concerts/school plays etc etc and I’ll drop whatever I’m doing if they need a shoulder to cry on. I never procrastinate when it comes to the kids.
But when it comes to my business I procrastinate all the time. I make lots of plans and see lots of potential, but then just don’t do the things I’d need to do to move it forward.
Some might say it’s fear of success, which may have an element of truth. Certainly there’s some fear of being too ‘exposed’ – potential criticism or having my motives for doing the work I do misinterpreted can make it feel safer to stay below the radar and keep things small and personal.
But it’s also clear that ‘making money’ just isn’t that important to me – it appears nowhere in my list above. Yes, money is an enabler and can help with comfort and security – but it doesn’t particularly motivate or drive me. I already feel very wealthy in lots of ways (which the experience with Valya certainly highlighted).
I see now that when I first started the business and became self-employed, it was to allow me to restructure my life around these fundamentals.
I didn’t consciously have such clarity around my basic needs back then, but if I look at the list of reasons why I wanted to leave my job and set up on my own, there’s a clear overlap: I wanted to be my own boss; I wanted flexibility to be with the family when I needed to; I wanted to work quietly from home; I wanted to concentrate on something I felt I had a real talent in and made people’s lives better; I wanted to only be accountable to me and my family – to know that the success or failure of the business was down to me, and me alone.
I had an absolute minimum figure I knew I needed to generate in order to keep us from having to make more radical changes (eg selling cars, moving house and downsizing etc), but with the savings I was making to our outgoings in childcare and travel costs alone, it really wasn’t very big!
Since then, I’ve worked on being the best coach I can be, I’ve learned lots of new skills and continued to thrive and grow.
I’ve worked with well over 500 people 1-1 and I know I’ve made a significant difference to many of them.
But I’ve also carried guilt about all the things I ‘should’ or could do with the business and have just never got round to. I’ve not finished creating or launched my online course. I’ve not run any webinars or seminars. I’m not very active on social media or do any real promotion – and what indeed would I be promoting anyway as the only product I have to sell is my 1-1 coaching, and I already have a pretty full practice and steady pipeline of clients through associate work I do for a bigger coaching company.
Apart from my guilt and missing potential income possibilities, there are no real immediate consequences to these things not happening.
So lately I’ve been feeling I need to reconnect with my bigger reasons why I have my business – why does Tea & Empathy matter?
There are a gazillion coaches and personal development businesses out there already – what difference does, or could Tea & Empathy make – to me, to you, to anyone? What am I trying to achieve and why? Because until I’m really, really clear on that, there’s very little point me working on the how and what – because I’ll simply continue to procrastinate!!
Don’t worry, this isn’t a crisis of confidence – far from it, I’m simply ensuring everything I do is aligned to what’s important to me and what helps my sense of wellbeing.
And I’ll love to hear your thoughts too, either in the comments below, or a direct email if you prefer. Do you have a view on why Tea & Empathy matters?
And what about you – what’s important to you and how does this show up in your life, work and relationships?