“There must be something wrong with me/my business model/what I’m doing because I haven’t been able to make my business work. I feel embarrassed that I’ve not been able to make this work yet.”
I read something very interesting last night in what is fast becoming a fave book by Pam Grout called Thank & Grow Rich. It was about the voice we use to talk to ourselves, and the nasty messages we tell ourselves too. Pam describes “the maniac in our own heads”. She says a non-stop voice loop reminds her of all that’s lacking in her life and this obnoxious voice keeps tabs on all she’s doing wrong and makes long lists of things she needs to improve.
The voice is very clear that something is wrong with her.
For the longest time, she thought this voice was her because it did a very convincing impersonation. And it wasn’t until she began counting her blessings that the other frequency was able to make contact, the still, small voice that whispered kind truths. It suggested that the most important thing Pam could do for herself was to get happy and quit judging herself.
The still, small voice reminds us that everything we see, everything we believe, is just a story we made up. Pam recommends that it is time to give our mind a new job.
I know my client who sent in this question knows this because she is a clever woman. I was reading Pam’s book just as the question came in and I knew it was the answer. I often receive answers even before I know the question but these debits and credits were simultaneous.
Feelings of embarrassment and of something being wrong with us is not the vibe from which we are going to attract what we want or achieve the results we seek. We all know this; surely we all know this now, don’t we? We all have both voices, it is just that the beastly judgmental one is SO MUCH LOUDER than the still small one.
There’s nothing wrong you, or with any of us. And there’s absolutely no need to feel embarrassment. There isn’t anyone reading this who hasn’t felt this at one time or another or who won’t again at another time; I had just such an incident over the weekend and another this morning! Be kinder to yourself, please.
It can all just take longer (much longer) than you think or want, especially when you keep shifting in every sense. But impatience with yourself is not the solution.
Choose instead, as much as possible, nurturing thoughts and feelings and create an attractive vibe of self-love. Find an ease about yourself and your business that you can communicate both directly and indirectly to your potential clients. Allow it to leak out of every pore. Be a woman in love with life and with herself and at ease in her skin. That’s your job. Let it radiate in all that you are, all that you do, how you show up to help clients, on social media, in your newsletters and most importantly of all, how you think of yourself. This will require some mental conditioning to start with until you remember that this is just as much a truthful assessment of who and where you are as the other. I know without a shadow of a doubt that’s true because I know you.
Yes, I think there are things we’ve all done to slow down our own progress. And, even while that may even look very attractive to the casual onlooker, it isn’t how it feels on the inside at all, is it?
I suppose the ultimate truth is that self-employment is as far away from employment as it is possible to be, and if you are judging your progress and success or lack of either on the standards which are the only ones you know, brought with you from your old schooling and business career, then no wonder you are running this narrative in your head. Your opportunity with Your Biz Your Way is total freedom and, in that humongous space, we can each find our own sweet spot. Some drop into that overnight, others take longer. It is humongous, as I said, so sometimes it can take a while to find your comfy place, a bit like camping. Not that I would ever find a comfy place were I camping, but I can be a bit of a princess like that.
Just like my relatively new low-carb way of eating, where others are obsessed by my weight loss, this isn’t a race or a competition. I’ve stopped counting and measuring, and so can you. Who on earth are we measuring ourselves against? A bit like joining the gym and erroneously assuming everyone else is looking at your unfit bod and judging, they are not. They are far too obsessed with the view of themselves in the mirror to waste any energy looking and thinking about you. So, no need for embarrassment either. Stop it immediately!
You can relax into this being your new way of life, one in which you please yourself, you do entirely what you want to do and what you love and you take the focus off achievement by all measures that worked in your old life but do not in your new. You will find new measures for this new way of being and they simply bear no comparison.
In fact, the ones you brought with you from your old employed life work less well in 2017 than I have ever seen them work, because we are all changing and evolving all of the time.
The truth is that lots of people are less successful than they think and feel they “ought” to be. But, again, what are you measuring this against? By what are you judging yourself? There’s really no-one to compare yourself with out here in this reality because you are unique, and if you even try doing that you will fall into all sorts of misery traps like these.
There is no doubt in my mind that anyone can employ themselves for money. Getting the flow started is often the trickiest bit and can, for some, be the bit which takes longest. We are groping about in the dark, trying to find a way of being and working that suits us. We are working out what the world wants from us and what they will pay for.
We are distracted by all the received wisdom and we are trying to model ourselves on others who seem to have it cracked. They make it look effortless. And some of us, myself at the head of the queue here, do not like to be not good at things. That’s one of the reasons why I loved line dancing because I could be the best in the class, but hated the gym because every time I got good, they made it harder for me. I need to feel good, not endlessly challenged. And yes, I know it means I was improving but what good is that if it never feels like it? You are making improvements like that in your business. It just doesn’t look or feel like it yet, and knowing doesn’t feel like enough.
We each have to find our own way. Sometimes, sure, that feels like that little game where you wiggle and wiggle and wiggle the thing about until the little silver ball drops into the hole. Time-consuming. Impossible. Endlessly challenging, up to a point! But everything we do and learn to do in this life takes time to finesse.
There’s nothing wrong with you. You are on the journey. Maybe it is taking longer than it has taken some others of your acquaintance to get the magical silver ball in the hole, but comparisons are meaningless and soul-destroying. Energy-zapping too. I know you are cast down by this often. I feel for you.
My recommendations would be to strip away all shoulds and sink into loves instead. I suspect the answer is right under your nose and when you eventually get the little silver ball into the hole you will exclaim in wonder about how you could have missed it for so long when it was so obvious and so close. That’s what happened to me.
But only you can decide. I do firmly believe (and I know this is a tad woo-woo for you, my client) that if you do what you love, the money will follow.
Trust yourself enough to do what you really love. And trust in the abundant universe who still has your back even while you feel you are floundering.
Everything’s unfolding perfectly just exactly as it is. You are having a more interesting journey than most. And yours and mine and everyone’s are 100% unique.
There are no textbook answers. We all just wiggle and wiggle and wiggle until it works. And as long as you keep trying and adjusting and focusing on what you love, you’ll break through in the end. There’s no failure except when we give up and, even then, who’s to say you’ve failed except that horrid voice you’ve been conditioned to carry with you all your life?
As luck would have it, just as I was finishing this piece, artist Rhian Wyn Harrison sent me the following. Since she answered her own question I asked for her permission to share her Q&A in its entirety. And there you have it. She’s wiser than she knows. How funny that she should share this right at this red hot second. And for it to be so precisely on this topic.
“One of the constants is when every painting goes through that “Oh God, this is shit” moment. Every. Single. Time. In the beginning, I used to just throw them away, but now I just push on past those thoughts, and on, until suddenly the painting works! I don’t give up any more, but I am aware that I still think the work is no good. I think it is SO normal for creatives to self-judge and self-sabotage. I even believe that the edge of your seat tension between “it’s fine” and “it’s shit” is quite thrilling and ultimately breathes life into your creation. Does that make sense? I’m not sure if this is even a question now… but I would think it comes under the heading of “Am I good enough?”
Am I good enough? If that wasn’t the original question, I don’t know what was. And Rhian has been self-employed long enough to have discovered her own answer. She’s getting the little silver ball in the hole despite the nasty voice still being audible. She’s pushing on regardless, she knows this is normal. That’s precisely what I wanted this book to do, to collect together thoughts about how normal we all are in our bonkersness and how we can do this anyway.
Thanks, Rhian for helping me to make the case on this point. How wonderful to observe your advances and be able to share your wisdom in my book for the benefit of others.
Look at Rhian’s deliciously quirky art and see how well she’s doing: rhianwynharrison.com
Read Pam Grout’s wonderful book: Thank & Grow Rich: A 30-Day Experiment in Shameless Gratitude and Unabashed Joy published by Hay House.