It’s coming up on a year since I set out on my own and launched True Story Communications. I hope the universe agrees with my synopsis--that my entrepreneurial dues are paid. While I don’t call myself a fan of Coldplay, a line from their 2002 ballad, The Scientist, has run through my head too many times to count. “Nobody said it was easy. No one ever said it would be this hard.”
Really. This shit is hard. I am shifting a paradigm established by my role models, working women that include my mom, my grandmother and Mary Richards from the Mary Tyler Moore show--women who put their security in the hands of their employer. I’ve wrestled with the temptation to jump my own ship in search of a team and a consistent paycheck. During this time I’ve had the honor to serve some awesome people in brand development, and for that, I am super grateful and even proud. But between jobs, I’ve stared down a dark tunnel or two.
Day in and day out, feeling inspired and motivated does not come naturally, at least not for me. Judging by the $9.9 billion self-improvement industry, I’m not alone. It is a muscle that needs flexing and daily reinforcement. Left to its own devices, an uninspired, purposeless day can meander itself into the corner like a deflated balloon. I’ve learned that having a purpose is a basic human need. And staying connected to your purpose, living on-purpose, knowing your why--that is how fulfillment and meaning materialize.
Overcoming the doubt that crept in and out this year boiled down to relying on one of my greatest assets: I am clear on my why. Knowing my why gives me access to a superpower. I know who I want to serve. I know how good it feels when I am operating from my heart. It gives me access to my unique contributions and I am able to show up as my best self--fearless, connected, and on purpose.
I am more committed now than ever. My mission is to create authentic, real, powerhouse brands by helping leaders find and maintain connection to their true north.
Here are five tips to help you stay motivated, enthused and coming back for more, day in and day out:
Be clear on your WHY:
A thorough brand discovery brought it home for me. I am a student of leadership, striving to be the leader I always wanted to have. When doubt looms, I remember what brought me here--the leaders that let me down and the ones who gave me meaning and purpose. Connected to my why, I’m able to capture the essence of “be the change” and feel energized.
Know who you are serving:
I serve employees who (just as I did) put their trust in a leader. To do this, I help leaders take a stand for what matters most. A leader connected to their meaning and purpose is keen to make a positive impact on the world. Leaders who inspire make sure their staff is enthused, empowered and ready to move the mission forward. “You got to serve somebody,” sings Bob Dylan. Ultimately who are you serving?
Connect to your heart intelligence:
Discerning the voices in my head from the messages in my heart is an ongoing exploration. Emotions are a system of guidance when we can distinguish their value. Cultivating gratitude, appreciation, compassion and generosity requires daily practice. All emotions deserve tending. Process your day by giving your heart some time to catch up and weigh in. HeartMath has been a gamechanger for me. Whatever mindfulness practice speaks to you, lean in with your heart.
Create a safe work environment:
It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to get it wrong. It’s okay to be me and not that kick-ass brand expert over there. Not feeling safe at work means your contribution is not valued. And feeling utterly void of value is the last place I want to be vibrating. My personal journey has taught me resilience. Sometimes I’m the problem. Sometimes I’m the solution. Either way, it will be okay. I can love myself through it all.
I owe this bit of advice to Brennan Murphey who shared it in his presentation to the Taos Entrepreneurial Network a few months back. It has gotten me through a number of bleak moments and brings to mind a sea-kayaking experience I had on Lake Superior in early July. After the storm and against the wind, the waves were high and we had three miles in front of us. There was no option except to keep paddling. There’s a survival instinct that comes with entrepreneurialism. Keep rowing. With persistence, momentum ensues.
Soon, an entire year will have passed. My true story as an entrepreneur continues to unfold. I keep showing up in my corner office, writing, designing, creating, digging in and getting ‘er done. I am extremely grateful for my friends and loved ones for showing up with support and encouragement. I hope I’ve weathered the worse. Regardless, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, which is staying on purpose and continually reaching for the next best version of myself.