Setback Or Leap Forward? We Get To Choose.

I wrote the title for this blog post more than 2 years ago and never actually wrote the post.  It is so perfect to have found it again, just now ... when re-framing yet another potential setback into my next leap forward.

For the past couple of years, I've been trying to share more openly the experiences of my own journey.   To model "liberating my point of v-you," knowing that it's not only about me—it's about all of us. And with the exception of face-to-face interactions, I've been "living it" under cover.

My biggest excuse for not sharing has been that I haven't had time. True, I've been fully booked with clients, yet I also let myself believe a "business coaching" business is not what I'm most inspired to build—that I'm more inspired by helping others to build their businesses.  As I write this now, that sounds ludicrous.  It's so obvious that this belief and choice are coming from my own diminished state of being someone who doesn't get to build her own business. Someone who belongs back stage, not center stage.  Someone who needs to "get over herself" (note: my point of v-you phrase is "get over yourself.")  And deeper still, it's coming from a subconscious, self-defeating belief that I am someone whose existence hurts people and has no value. Whew. Yeah, that's the deep stuff of anorexia that almost took me out.  Of course this subconscious belief is not true and definitely is not the point!

Looking back over the first 20 years of my professional life, it feels like I yo-yo'ed through my career — going out into the world to fill one predefined role, successfully contributing, gathering experience and insights, "losing myself" in the work, then leaving with the hopes of finding myself again—on continuous repeat. And despite significant successes and accomplishments in each role, the sense of "losing myself," while trying to "find myself" through my work, felt a lot like failure.  In hindsight, while I'd failed to find my complete self in each role, I had uncovered important pieces of "the point" of what I'm here to bring.  And after each supposed setback, I had regrouped and put myself out there again, and actually had made a leap forward, towards making a difference and more fully "being" in the world.

Since starting my own business, the yo-yo-ing has continued, yet has shifted.  The journey has been less about finding myself and more about learning not to abandon my self and my work:

Four years ago I abandoned my own business for the first time, when I moved back to California with hopes of joining a start-up team in the Silicon valley (where I'd grown up professionally).  I remember feeling like I had been "living under a wet blanket," and I wanted to return to the "sunny side of the street," where I'd experienced my greatest sense of success and where people in businesses get to think big.  Reality: these Silicon Valley businesses were no longer looking for the "me" I had grown into, or, more accurately, I didn't know how to "bring" me to them then. I didn't know the point.  I worked on a few projects doing whatever was needed and felt the life being sucked out of me, again.  I sent resumes daily and heard nothing back.  I felt like I didn't fit in anywhere.  Feelings of hope and possibility turned to hopelessness and failure, again.  Another reality: my greatest strength never has been fitting into one position in a business.  It's been seeing "the point" of the whole business and knowing how to design, build and orchestrate all of the parts to manifest it, on the one hand, and seeing how individuals' self-defeating beliefs get in the way of their potential, on the other.  It's so clear now how I was limiting my own possibility by trying to fit all of me into positions that were too narrowly defined for my greatest strengths.  I'd given up on my own work, because it felt pointless ... because my diminished state of being wasn't allowing me to do my own work for my own business.  I was unknowingly denying myself the very thing I stand for.

With this insight, I turned what felt like a huge setback into another leap forward.  After 8 months in California, I returned to Portland, Oregon, started my first BizDesign Group, built up some 1:1 clients and stepped into my new brand.  I was meeting clients all over town, and to grow, I needed an office where clients could come to me.  I signed a year lease in a really cool new creative space (after getting over the fear of putting down roots and not being able to disappear).   Three months into the lease, I was asked to leave.  I couldn't believe it.  I'd finally given myself the chance to step up and "show up," and this felt like another huge setback.  Reality: the space wasn't working well for me, after all.  Many things promised in the lease had been taken away, and I had just been set free.  [Note: this is when I originally wrote the headline for this post.] Although this triggered my "I have to disappear" state-of-being (and a lot of tears), instead of abandoning my self and my work again, I "got over my self-defeating self" and manifested a much better place to be, that perfectly supported significant growth of my business, and the growth of my clients' businesses, for the next year and a half.  (See Hatch.)

During this year and a half of growth, one of my clients began to grow significantly.  We went from working together 6 hours per week, to 15 hours per week (as an employee), and early this year I agreed to 30 hours per week to manage operations.  My goal was to take my work to a new level within a quickly growing company.  While my brain thrives on the challenging complexity of a rapidly growing company(!), I quickly began losing myself again.  My "doing" (and doing and doing) overwhelmed my "being."  And while I'm good at doing a lot, I was "doing" too much and "being" too little of what I'm best at being, and this wasn't making anyone happy.  Once again, I'd lost the point.  I got the hard lesson that working in this capacity in someone else's company isn't a good fit for me and what I'm here to bring.  And, no surprise, the initial takeaway was "failure."

But after a few weeks back focused on my own work and reconnecting with both previous and new clients, I feel like me again.  It feels so easy and natural, and I've gotten empowering new insights and clarity! Yes, it's a bit daunting and scary to face replacing 30 hours per week income overnight, but it's also invigorating!  I have the time to write blog posts and post on Instagram and share the extraordinary stories of our revolutions together ... and to think big, again, about the possibilities of my own revolution.  And, surprise, my work is not about building a "coaching" business.  The point is to create possibility for myself and others to manifest our own greatest value through the fullest expression of our existence.  And to that possibility, I'm recommitted.

Clearly, I've reached another big juncture in my own journey ... a juncture that "diminished me" easily could have turned into a debilitating setback.  Reality: I get to take a grand leap forward, and I'm choosing to let myself.