I turned 50 last week! It is something that I have been looking forward to (I do know a few who dread it) and I am celebrating in style with a month long ‘Festival of Floral’. It rounds up with me and my dear twin sister, Josie, celebrating together in Hong Kong and Vietnam.
Leading up to this milestone, I have been slowing down… a lot, and continuing to question pretty much everything. Over the last 20 months or so, I have posted before about letting go of things in my world, but more recently I have been starting to really question some of the ‘world views’ I have fervently held on to over the previous 15 years. Memes and teachings that I have been so attached too that I have pretty much considered them ‘the truth’.
There is a bit of WTF going on here! Facebook has a funny way of reminding us who we were say a couple of years back. Sometimes when I see my posts of two or three years ago popping up in my feed, I am quite bemused. Did I seriously think that?
I know I am not the only one who is currently doing a 180 degree turn on things that I have been quite zealous about, particularly around the area of personal development. Don’t get me wrong, I am so super grateful for the decisions that I made and the way I was living but there was a giant personal cost related to those choices.
The two primary things I have been questioning have been
- Earnestness – being so hell bent on changing the world and getting people clear on their purpose and being the best that they can be.
- Working HARD – trying so hard to do the ‘right’ thing, follow the systems, get out there and make a difference. Also, trying so hard to fit in and ‘show that I belong and that I am a success’ (I would have probably denied that I was doing so at the time).
It has been an honourable quest! And something that when I felt in the zone, flow or whatever, felt really, really good. There were some massive successes and 'pinch myself' moments where I felt so bloody self actualised I thought I would burst!
But for all those moments, there were others where I just felt completely bloody useless!
- Useless when someone who was so ‘lit up’ by an opportunity I shared just disappeared off the planet when I followed them up to pursue it.
- Useless when I didn’t fill a room or a program.
- Useless when I looked at my earnings over a period of time and realised I would have done better financially if I had cruised and done nothing workwise.
- Useless when I followed systems that are ‘guaranteed’ to make you money, but for me not-so-much.
- Useless when I was paid to speak for a road show across New Zealand and when we went out to the airport with my clients I was the only one who wasn't a Koru member.
- Useless when I invested significantly in energy clearing/money unblocking/spirituality courses and nothing changed or ironically my earnings went backwards!
Here I was espousing following your dreams and creating the life you want, whilst often feeling like a failure myself. But the failure currency was all about earnings and not the actual difference I was making to others, or the general fulfillment i was feeling at the time (there was also some failure I felt around weight, but I will leave that to another blog post).
I am a bright bubbly optimistic person, and in the main, I managed to ‘jolly my way out of it’. But there have been times in my past where the way I felt about myself was just bloody awful. Like please let the ground swallow me up/I feel so bloody humiliated and useless, and like a complete failure. And here’s the kicker. Some of the stuff that I have so totally believed in and shared with my clients were the things that were the most damaging for me personally. Things like…
- It’s all about your self-worth. If you don’t believe you deserve it, then you won’t be ‘rewarded’ by the universe.
- It’s all about self-love. Ditto.
- It’s never about the money and it’s all about the money.
- You are out of alignment. Get back into alignment and the money will flow.
- If you want something enough it will happen. Believe it! If you are not getting it then you clearly don't really want it badly enough and aren't taking enough action (there is some truth in this one I think - more on that further down :-)).
So if I wasn’t feeling ‘loser-ish’ enough about not getting results, I was also feeling like a complete failure in the whole idea of manifestation/spirituality/flow. I think self-worth and self-love are fabulous things, but not when people measure their success around how much of it they have.
How many people do you know who turn themselves inside out because they are not happy with the money they are earning? On top of the actual pressure of not being able to pay the bills, they put so much pressure on themselves that they are a failure?
I almost feel like a traitor to my old self in saying this, but I think it needs to be said…
Being in business, whether as an entrepreneur or a coach/trainer etc can be bloody hard work and there are no guarantees particularly financially.
You can (in my opinion) do everything you possibly can to make it work, and things can go ‘wrong’. I know a number of coaches who aren’t making much money and I know businesses that are losing money monthly; from the outside they probably look ‘successful’ (and I include myself at times in this category too).
Some weeks, months and years are better than others. Sometimes stuff happens outside of your control and has a negative financial impact. Sometimes you invest in highly recommended programs or mentors, ‘do the work’ and still don’t get the results. Sometimes you make well-meaning or even stupid decisions yourself that result in losing money. It’s just being in business! Even the savviest business people in the world aren’t immune, although there are those who seem to do very well (either naturally, by luck, or managing to successfully follow a system) at the earning money business. Interestingly, some of these people then create an offering to show others how to do it, with mixed success. Personally, I am just not so sure it can be 'taught' any more!
How about focusing your success on how you feel? On the way other people feel around you? On how much freedom you have? On how much love you have in your world? On your courage to get out there and try something and take a risk when others don’t?
For me personally, I have been giving up trying sooooo hard. I have been giving up relentlessly working on ‘being a demand’ for others. They are free to do what they want, as am I. Maybe they want to change the world, maybe they don’t.
Presently I am loving exploring topics that I am really passionate about like boundaries, creativity, clarity, giving up dogma and being unapologetically you. I am just not quite sure how I am going to make money out of it yet and for once in my life, I am giving myself some time to percolate on these topics, rather than getting out there and creating an offering! I am not going to come back from my holiday in Vietnam and cruise forever, but taking the pressure off myself work-wise for a few months has been the best turning 50 gift I could give myself.
I do think there is a correlation between this ‘failure’ epidemic and the high levels of anxiety and mental health in our communities. What's the point of working your butt off and trying to reach a certain income or revenue level if you end up having a breakdown, or worse? I do of course applaud those individuals who are successful money-wise without putting a whole bunch of pressure on themselves, or managing the pressure in a healthy way.
None of us need to feel like a failure because of the money we earn in any given week or month. Of course if you are in the situation where your kids don’t eat next week if you don’t drum up some business then that’s a different story. If I were personally in that situation, I think I would go get a job, it’s just what would ‘need to be done’. This is not a post about financial irresponsibility, it's about freedom from feeling like a financial failure every time you have a tight week, month or year. It is of course wise to take a good look (compassionately) about what might need to be done differently to make sure the tight period doesn't last too long.
And if you want to strive, to be the best you can be, to make a profound difference to the world, great! And if you don’t want to, also great! Whatever you choose, I think it’s good to look at how comfortable you are with how you feel, rather than how successful you want to be seen by others.
I am taking a big dose of 'lighten the hell up', 'have way more fun in my life' and 'saying bye bye to earnest over eager Floral'! THAT's what being 50 is all about for me!