A friend and colleague challenged me to participate in Dr Robert Holden’s 100 Gratitudes. I accepted with alacrity, as is my wont, and then repented at leisure, as is also my wont, when I worked out how time-consuming it would be for me to fully participate. Then I sulked for a bit, resentful of the ‘work’ I had taken on. Then – as luck would have it – I leaped out of bed on a Sunday morning, early, and they all just flowed out of me. Gorgeous when that happens, when I allow.
As I prefer to write everything online, I made five private blog posts listing gratitudes 1-10, 11-20 and so on all the way up to 50 and yes I know that means only half of the job is done, but I’ve got plenty of good stuff left to be grateful for. Lucky me!
Then I thought I would review the 50 I’d written down to see if I could get just one word to describe each one. My thinking was that I would end up with a long list of 50 – eventually 100 – wonderful words, or that perhaps they might bunch into clumps of words, some of the entries sharing one core word. Who knew what the outcome would be? Wordy for sure, but then I LOVE words so bring it on. I like a list too, so I was going to be in listy wordy heaven.
And when I reviewed the list, a few surprises jumped out at me. The first 50 chronological gratitudes explain why I find myself so suitable to being self-employed.
My childhood at boarding school from the age of 10 (because my father was overseas in the Royal Marines) taught me self-reliance, discipline, independence and resilience. Moving house and school and country every 18 months taught me to make friends and connections quickly and easily and networked me across the world. I became a person who loves variety, I am adaptable and curious, the latter standing me in good stead when I eventually became a coach. Boarding school taught me to be a rebel and anti-establishment.
Once I left school and went to secretarial college, I then had about six jobs in four years (I hated it, basically) which gave me a fabulous crash course in how to run a business better than my employers were doing. This led directly to accounting which became my business but even if it hadn’t, what a wonderful skill to have in business! All my various skills have stood me in good stead. In fact this list of 100 gratitudes makes me realise that Skills Are Good, the more the merrier. If you can turn your hand to anything you will never want for a living.
I wonder if “turning your hand to anything” is a state of mind? A statement of intent that becomes a fact?
I was made redundant early in my career, best to get that out of the way as young as possible as the older we get, the harder we fall to redundancy whereas a young person can bounce back. There’s that resilience again. I got the sack for the one and only time and from the last job I ever had only a few years after my redundancy and, although it was unfair or possibly even constructive dismissal and I will know it was unfair until the day I die, that was the point at which I picked self-employment. And never looked back.
So, how long did it take me to get fed up with being employed? Four years!
In my Thirties I started to get seriously into personal development and spiritual enlightenment which enabled me to grow as a human being whilst at the same time growing my first “proper” business which I sold when I was 41 for a six figure sum. It was this money which enabled me to start again from scratch, designing a business which was E-Mythed and works without me.
And looking back on all of that, and being grateful for what life has thrown at me and the choices I’ve made, has enabled me to see what synchronicities and happy accidents have shaped the businesswoman I am today.