What stops us taking action to make our dreams a reality?
Have you ever wanted to do something new but failed to take action?
I’ve thought about starting my own business for a long time, but never taken serious action to make it a reality.
Years ago when I lived in Dunedin I attempted to start a counselling business. I did some advertising and got a few clients but I was too soft about charging. I let them have sessions at drastically reduced rates. Maybe at that time I didn’t really value the service I was offering. I served them well and they made changes in their lives as a result of the work we did together. This attempt at starting my own business was on top of my full-time counselling job. Because of my inability to charge what my services were worth, I decided that I wasn’t good at this “owning your own business” thing.
Here I am 20 years later, about to start a coaching and speaking business. What makes me think that things will be different this time? What makes me think that I can be successful? Why am I now cut out for business whereas I wasn’t before?
These are questions I have been asking myself. I was a very effective counsellor so it’s not like I didn’t see the value of my services. I did feel awful charging for my services, because I worked for a community agency where people could access my services for free. I don’t think this was the real issue though. I think it was because I didn’t have a good enough reason to make it successful. I didn’t have enough confidence that I could be successful as a business owner. I wasn’t committed enough. I wasn’t focussed enough. And I didn’t have a vision of what my counselling practice would look like and why I wanted it.
Now I have a vision of the services I would like to offer. I also have a compelling WHY or reason of why I want to achieve this vision. I want to inspire people to grow and make changes so they become leaders in their own lives. That is, moving from a slave or a victim of circumstances to being able to create the way they want to live. I’ve had a pretty exciting life doing things that I love and living in places that I love. I’ve taken risks and had lots of adventures. Now I want others to be able to create the same kinds of opportunities that are in line with what they want in their lives.
The other compelling reason for starting a business now is that I want to be financially free! I don’t want to go down the path of working in a low paid job and then scrimping and scraping on the pension like many people do when they retire. I feel young and still feel like I have a lot to offer and, of course, I have a wealth of experience behind me.
I have just completed an Internet course, and one of the activities we were asked to do was to write a letter to ourselves 3 years from now about what our business looked like. I described my vision for my coaching and speaking business. The next step was to write down what role we would have played if we didn’t get the results we wanted. We all know the answer to this question but we may not like to admit it.
The role I would have played if my business wasn’t successful would be: not taking the first step, not marketing myself adequately, trying to do it all myself without asking for help and support, trying to do too many things at once, get excited by ideas but not follow through on them, not having a laser focus so I can create effective products and services, not charging what my services are worth, not consistent, giving up too easily, get distracted with Facebook and emails etc.
When I look back, all of these were the reasons that my first attempt was not successful. I would like to think that 20 years later I can do things differently. There is a saying that goes something like this: “You can’t do things the same way and expect different results.”
What am I doing differently this time?
- I have started this blog – that is a start and I have written an ebook to go with it.
- I am studying some business and marketing courses, with a focus on marketing. The courses have active Facebook groups where I can explore difficulties and obstacles and get support.
- I need to focus on one part of the business at a time, and not spread myself too widely.
- I'm going to engage a business coach to help me set up systems and for encouragement.
- Practice consistency in other areas of my life – “how you do anything is how you do everything”, so I need to practice the habit of consistency in every part of my life. I have already started this with my daily meditation practice and gratitude journal.
- Not get distracted - I used to get up and check the news, my emails and Facebook, and generally muck around wasting time on the Internet. I changed my morning routine about 3 months ago. Now I get up and practice meditation, write in my gratitude journal and do some exercise. Having a different morning routine has helped me to interrupt the habit of distraction. I find that I am able to be much more focussed when working on something, and I schedule time for Facebook and emails.
- I am prepared to do whatever it takes to make my business successful. I now believe that if others can do it, so can I!! I knuckled down and achieved a Masters Degree and so I can knuckle down and do this too!
What about you? What’s your vision for the next three years? Do you have something that you want to achieve? What is stopping you achieving it? If you were to write a letter to yourself 3 years from now, what would it say? If you didn't achieve what you wanted, what role would you have played in that? Are you prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve your dream or vision?