Someone once told me I could never lead a country.
My inability to stand firm in any belief. My beliefs seem to crumble so quickly when put up against another point of view or perspective. I see the holes - the many, many holes - in what I had been believing and realise that maybe there’s another side to the story.
I feel as though I’m constantly swimming around in a vast soup of every single belief on every single subject in the whole entire world but unable to hold on to any of them for long. I see other people holding on and from where I’m standing, it looks so good. They look stable and secure and happy. So I attempt to do the same - what do I believe, what do I believe, what do I BELIEVE? But always, even when I think I’ve found something I can truly believe in fully, it falls apart and crumbles and I’m thrown back into the soup.
And if I could never lead a country, can I ever really lead a business? Isn’t it the same sort of thing?
Over the last few years, here’s some of what I’ve learned, read and heard repetitively about building an (online) business:
Your job is to polarise people. Only when you polarise people will you attract YOUR true audience. Your job isn’t to serve everyone.
Step by step systems and proven formulas are what sell best.
Create an “us and them” feeling within your community and tribe by showing them how you’re all different to the rest of the world and thereby creating a band of loyal followers and fans.
It’s ok to keep charging more and more and more because it just means you’re valuing yourself and seeing your own self worth more. Charge more, it means you're growing.
And whilst I’ve done my best to remove them from my newsfeed, ads with phrases like this still pop up:
The 3 secrets you need to know for...
The formula you can’t do without if...
Some of these things, (you might particularly remember my spectacular belly-flop-fail story about step-by-step systems from earlier this year) I’ve already seen through. I’ve already seen them as a story I no longer want to be a part of.
Even as I was creating my “signature step-by-step programme” earlier in 2016, I felt the tug in my heart of it simply not being authentic or true for me. Thank goodness it failed so completely and delivered me the lesson I needed in its entirety.
But others? Others I’ve still been living as my daily accepted narrative. I’ve bought into many of these as The Truth.
The thing is, these things do work to build a successful business. And if your goal is ONLY to build a successful business - never mind if you do it through creating fear in people’s minds or through intensifying our story of separation - then these things are likely excellent patterns to follow.
But what’s become so clear to me over the last few months particularly - as I’ve seen my business actually start to work - is that my only goal ISN’T to build a successful business. It might not even be my main goal, or even a goal at all. My actual goal is to create a more beautiful world.
Three years ago I sat down with a coach for a conversation. He asked me why I wanted to be a coach. As my eyes grew heavy with tears, I explained to him that there’s so much I care about it in this world. I explained that there are so many things that pull at my heart and make me want to do something about them and how, at the same time, I felt it almost impossible to dedicate myself to any particular cause. I told him that if I could be the support for the people who were born to champion each of those causes, I’d really feel as though I was doing my work in the world.
THAT’S how this started. THAT’S the work I wanted to do. There wasn’t a system or formula in sight.
What I want to remind you of today is simply this:
As you go about creating your own life and business, continue to question everything. Keep one metaphorical hand over your heart and listen for (and trust) those familiar tugs that tell you something’s not right.
It’s so very easy to get swept along in the dominant narratives of what it looks like to build a successful business and how to go about that. Without a little caution, your original purpose can get lost. It certainly got pretty cloudy for me for a time there. That cloud’s starting to lift now (or I’m rising up and poking my head out above it) and I can feel myself being strongly pulled back to my true work.
Many of you reading this I think are in a slightly earlier stage of building whatever you’re building. Some of you perhaps not, but I know many of you are just getting started. When I was first getting started, I was fresh and my heart was clearer. Some call that naivety. I call it a gift. That is you in your truest state, listening to the truth of what’s in your heart. Do what you can to stay in that place. It’s always about trusting yourself.
Back to how I began this piece. One half of me thinks my friend was right - that because I can’t stand firm in any belief, I could never lead a country OR a business. The other half of me thinks that's exactly why I need to. (A business, not a country.)
Sometimes it’s not that you’re the wrong sort of person to do the job. You may well be the best person for it. But it all depends on what you see the job as being and whether you see the current system as one that’s working or not.
Love and courage,