In the relatively short time in which I have known Stephanie MacKay she has travelled on some wonderful adventures – India, Canada and Mauritius come to mind. In fact, she’s in Mauritius now and there’s a lovely photo on this post of hers of the sand between her toes! Read how she says no to hustling and grinding and yes to Her Biz Her Way:
I was invited by Judith Morgan, my business coach, to participate in Blogfest, a celebration of her new book Your Biz Your Way.
I started working with Judith about 6 months ago when I realised that I needed help. I have been a tarot reader for years now, relying on word of mouth referrals from satisfied clients. While I know all about reading the cards, I didn’t know the first thing about running a business.
My first job after university was as a correctional officer in a maximum security prison. I went on to work in administrative law for the Canadian government, both in Canada and abroad, and that’s how I ended up in London. I had only ever worked for large organizations, which was very different from working for myself.
In 2011, while buying a new boiler for my house, I had an epiphany. I had a really great life, certainly nothing to complain about, but it didn’t feel like it belonged to me. I wondered what would it be like to earn money on my own terms. I didn’t know the answer but it was an exciting idea!
I knew that I had to dismantle my old life before I could create a new one. In 2013 I sold my house and everything in it, quit my job, and went to live in a tiny fishing village in The Gambia, West Africa. It had always been my dream to live in Africa and I enjoyed just being there, immersed in a different culture and away from the busy-ness of my London life. I stayed there for two years and then went to another seaside village in South India. I spent my time there doing yoga teacher training, reiki practitioner training, and swimming in the ocean. Throughout all of my travels and adventures, I continued to enjoy doing tarot readings for clients all over the world, mostly by email, but it wasn’t exactly a business.
After almost 3 years away I was ready to come back to London, on my own terms. I knew that I wanted to work for myself, but I quickly realised that I didn’t have what it takes. All of the advice that I came across, in blog posts and videos and Facebook groups, was disheartening. In order to be successful, I would have to get up at 5 every day and hustle all day and all night. Or “rise and grind” as some business gurus put it.
When I get up at 5, I am not successful. I am cranky. When it comes to coffee beans, I’m quite happy to rise and grind, but as a way of running a business (and my life) it doesn’t appeal at all.
What I didn’t like about my former job wasn’t the actual work. It was having to be in a certain place at a certain time, for a specific amount of hours. This is what “rise and grind” sounds like to me: doing things on a regimented, enforced schedule in order to achieve. Tragically, the very thing that I hated most had to be an integral part of running my own business! Except it didn’t. It was Judith and her book who showed me that I could run my business my way.
Once I realised that I could do it on my own terms, I felt a huge sense of relief. I do have what it takes because I can do my biz, my way. Three years of living in the developing world, close to nature, made me more aware of the organic ebb and flow of life. I began to pay attention to my own rhythms as well and now I have brought that awareness into my business.
There are weeks when I am full of energy and 6 hours of sleep is enough. During those times I get up early (though never at 5!) and get to work. I might happily work all day and into the evening, not noticing the passage of time. Other weeks I need 10 hours of sleep and I let myself have it, knowing that I am much more productive when I am rested.
Rather than impose a strict regimen on myself, I trust myself to enjoy both structure and freedom. I make lists of what needs to be done and general deadlines because that keeps me on track, but I don’t have a strict schedule. Once I make my list I set it aside, trusting that everything will get done and it always does. I work on what feels like the right thing to do in the moment, knowing that inspired effort always bears more fruit.
The readings that I do in person and over Skype create a nice structure for me, as I respond to the needs of my clients and their schedules. (Thankfully nobody wants at Tarot reading at 5 in the morning anyway!) The turnaround time for my email readings is 48 hours which gives the client a clear expectation and me the flexibility to work on the reading at a time that suits me.
The grinders and the hustlers love to tell tales of how they sacrificed their personal lives in order to build the business. Once the business is flourishing, they go about creating work-life balance. To me this seems backwards. Creating work-life balance at the same time as growing my business is another way that I do my biz, my way.
One of my current projects is a self-study program, using the archetypes in the Tarot as a way of understanding our own personal journey. My first idea for this project was very grand and I quickly realised it would have a negative impact on other areas of my life.
Having been away from London for three years, I need to nurture existing friendships and build new ones. My grand idea involved a lot of travel; it wouldn’t have allowed me to spend time building personal relationships. Consequently, I went back to the drawing board to create a program that will deliver the same results to my clients and will allow me to have a social life during its creation.
Now when I come up with ideas for my business, I take the time to consider how implementing those ideas will impact other areas of my life. By doing it this way, I am creating a complete life that is sustainable over a long period of time.
Running my business in the ways I have outlined above allows me to feel rested, relaxed, and clear which is the perfect mindset for reading Tarot cards, and for living a fulfilled life. Not hustling and grinding means I am of better service to my clients, and that’s what a business should be about!
If you would like a Tarot reading, get in touch with me here on my Facebook page
Judith covers a whole range of topics in her book, all inspired by questions from her real live clients, other people who want to run their business their way. If you would like to know more about happily running a business on your own terms, get Judith’s book!
Read Stephanie’s post in full HERE at her Facebook Page and see that lovely sand-in-her-toes image I told you about.
I wish I’d met you about forty years ago and learned to run my life like yours, i.e life first. Still, never mind, I’ve come to that place now and it is refreshing to read your wise reminder that we can all start that way around, not the other more orthodox way which is waning in every sense, thank goodness, especially amongst people like us.
You are enjoying a wonderful life which is the whole point as far as I am concerned and yet not as easy as perhaps it might look. It sounds simple but holding ourselves to noticing and eradicating what’s wrong and being prepared to follow our epiphanies and experiment with what might be more right can be tough at times. You are a light for those of us trying to live a life closer to our heart’s desires, one of adventure, freedom, experimentation and the pursuit of what makes us feel better about ourselves and our work and how those all fit together – or not.
There you are with sand between your toes in one photo, and in a tropical garden in another. Thanks for the inspiration. x