I have often lamented about the fact that I kill plants.
It turns out, though, that if you water them on the regular… they pretty much grow all by themselves.
And if you dig a hole and put seeds in, pretty things will pop out of the ground, just like that. And having beautiful things growing makes me more happy.
I used to tell people that I was such a terrible cook that I could burn water.
Until I bought a cookbook and started cooking.
And it turns out, I’m now a really good cook. And I love it. And cooking good food makes me more happy.
I totally don’t get why people love Twitter.
But I tweet. And tweeting connects me with people. And connecting with people grows my business. And growing my business makes me more money. And let’s be honest, we ALL like making more money. So making more money makes me more happy.
There. I said it.
Making more money makes me more happy.
But so do a lot of other things, as you read above.
And here’s the interesting thing: When I talk about the things I’m doing that make me more happy, I wind up making more money. Happy attracts happy, just like money attracts money. It actually doesn’t really matter that much what you’re happy about – just sharing whatever it is will help you connect with people who have and want more of what you’re sharing. Hearing how someone has changed their story for the better is compelling. Humans are drawn to stories of personal shift. It gives us a sense that, “If they can change, so can I. If they are doing cool-thing-du-jour, so can I.”
The stories we tell about ourselves, in most cases, represent roughly 95% of the clutter standing between what we have and what we want. Be it more clients, more business, more money, or more happiness.
If your story is that you can’t afford X, then you can’t afford it.
If your story is that nothing you try ever works. Nothing you try ever works.
But this is not about the power of positive thinking or some secret mindset miracle. It’s about deciding to take action, to re-write YOUR story and to then tell people all about the new one.
It’s about taking the reins. It’s about doing something. Actively, and with purpose.
If you have always been the person who swears they suck at math, go take a math class and learn how to not suck at math anymore.
If you have always been the person who feels invisible in a crowd, look for ways to be unforgettable.
People change all the time. But only when they stop focusing on their fear story and take steps to craft a braver one.
My fear story in the past has most often money-related. I worked all the time out of fear of not having enough of it. As if I could will myself into knowing what having enough would feel like.
And then I did my taxes for last year, and found out two things:
1. I need to hire an accountant next year, like I promised my financial accounting prof in grad school that I would (if he agreed to pass me by the skin of my teeth).
2. I made money last year.
Actual money. It was the highest grossing year I’ve ever had, and exceeded my best employed year. So yay me! And yay Makeness.
But there’s a problem with this. And the problem is that I could have made more. A lot more. And more importantly than that, I could have helped a lot more people a lot more effectively if I would have done three really important things better…
1. Decide who I wanted to be.
2. Owned who I truly am.
3. Told my story.
See, I spent years building a thriving business, but all the while, I also flopped around in the background – questioning, responding, poking holes in the formulas. Asking the endless stream of questions of myself that we all ask: What thing is the right thing? Is this the right move? Why didn’t X work the way I thought it would? And I hid.
I hid under and behind all the things I didn’t want to be.
“I don’t want to sell my soul.”
“I don’t want to be an asshole.”
“I don’t want to pretend it will all be easy.”
“I don’t want to make all the same mistakes other people do.”
“I don’t want to forget what’s important.”
“I’m not like ________.”
“I’m not a fan of__________.”
“I’m not the best at_________.”
I don’t… I don’t… I don’t…
I’m not… I’m not…. I’m not…
Every move I made was in-response-to. See, somewhere along the way, I got so caught up in all the things I didn’t want to be that I forgot to decide what and who I do want to be, both in and for my business and my audience.
And since I really hadn’t decided, I hid.
Instead of pushing forward with new ideas and directions, I redesigned Makeness over and over as a way of exploring and experimenting with what worked and what didn’t. I never let anything take root long enough to know if it could fly or not because I was so afraid it wouldn’t, that I let the fear of possible failure stop me from knowing for sure.
All the while, I was still plugging along… honing my skills, working with clients, building my reach, connecting slowly with new people, trying out new ideas. And then, while I wasn’t really looking, something interesting happened. I had apparently helped a LOT of people. My client list had swelled enough that patterns started to emerge.
I stopped seeing only what I didn’t want to be, and started to see what I am.
It was time to step forward. Step up. Push out fear.
And THAT’S when everything changed.
I took the reins. I looked at what was working and what wasn’t, both personally and professionally, and I made some massive shifts.
First, I looked at my health. And it wasn’t pretty. Years of living with a laptop attached to me had made my body heavy and slow. Excuses pushed out motivation, and my former-dancer’s body had morphed into something that felt like quicksand. So I hired a trainer to come to my house and pry the laptop out of my workaholic death-grip. I decided the debt incurred to do something so luxe was WAY worth feeling strong again. After all, I AM MY ONLY ASSET.
As soon as I did, new opportunities started emerging. Quickly. The confidence and strength that came from successfully breaking a lifelong pattern was magnetic, credible, and empowering. My writing changed. My offers changed. The way I approached challenges and new opportunities changed, and people noticed.
Second, I looked at my schedule. I realized that working 15 hour days seven days a week did not make me Wonderwoman, it made me exhausted, lonely, and uncreative and it set a terrible example for my clients.
So I cut my work week to three full days + 2 half days. I adjusted my production schedule, set working hours that actually work for me, and I stick to them.
And new clients started banging down my door. And the ones I had seemed relieved. It was the most unexpected thing; clients seemed genuinely glad that they no longer had to try live up to MY pace.
Leading means modeling intention AND action. I help my clients to take the action required to feel healthy, happy, and successful in a well-designed space [both online and off] – and when I finally took my own advice, the fear of not being enough fell away.
Then I looked at my work. I cut my services down to the things I’m great at and added new offerings and new avenues that fed the leader in me – that allowed me the space to USE my guts to teach and support others.
And finally, I started telling my story. I stopped trying to be so shiny and pro all the time. I told the truth – fiercely and hoped for the best. And for every inch of realness that I let out, a thousand yards of growth, attention, accolades, and support sprang at me from every direction.
I took the reins.
I pushed out reactive behavior.
I changed the stories I told about myself and about others that didn’t help me thrive.
I took every opportunity to pursue more happiness with the same drive that I pursued my work.
And a funny thing happens when you proactively chase down happiness – you find it.
When you actively chase down the road to wherever it is you want to go, it WILL rise up at your feet.
And THAT is the secret to finding the success you want, being more happy, and yes, making more money.
Every fiber of my imperfect bones, ever-strengthening body, and happily big-enough bank account is living, breathing proof.
So chase happy.
Face your fear.
Take the reins.
This post is part of The Bravery Blogging Project we are hosting here at Makeness.
Should you be kind enough to share, please use the hashtag #braveblogging to help participants and readers connect with each other.
Please note: I have turned off comments on the blog because I have found that we have far more lively conversation inside the Makeness Insider Community on Facebook. If you would like to join us there, consider this your cordial invitation.