This post was written by Gina Ruccione, one of my clients and a truly fabulous human. Gina is a chef and culinary culture event designer and host. Learn more about her on her website, www.ginaruccione.com!
In the past few years, I've started several businesses, a handful of diets and a few relationships. It's safe say I know how to start things. There's no lack of get up and go on my part. If I decide I want to do something, I just WOMAN UP and make shit happen.
They call me a firecracker. I'm super excitable, quick-witted, full of energy, and creative. These characteristics allow me to fire off passion fueled ideas with an unbridled, explosive enthusiasm that very few people possess. Some ideas burn harder and brighter than the finale of a 4th of July fireworks show. Others smoke, fizzle and disappear into the dark night's sky.
Last December I hit a pretty low point. Much to my disappointment there was no fire and and a whole lot of fizzle. And this wasn't just showing up in my business ventures. This was a reoccurring theme in all areas of my life. I felt like I was the place where good ideas went to die.
I thought maybe owning my own business was a bad idea. None of my ideas were taking off, potential clients were flaking or unresponsive and I took it personally. I knew what I wanted for myself, but I couldn't see the steps to get there. I couldn't even articulate my vision or complete my list of services on my website. I didn't even have a website. I tucked myself away at my parent's house, ate copious amounts of cookies, read books and listened to podcasts about other people's successful businesses. [Enter here a little more self-loathing]. Basically, my life felt very much like Bridget Jones's Diary before she slept with Hugh Grant. And no one wants to be that human.
Finally one of my girlfriends suggested I talk to a coach.
From the very first phone call I was all over the place. I was manically ambitious, if that's even a thing. I'd find myself panting, pacing and almost out of breath, as I spewed out potential ideas and businesses plans to her. It was as if I didn't get everything out right away, they would disappear again. It was unsettling and I felt unstable. What's worse is that I had attributed my inconsistency and lack of stability in my business to a lack of talent. I feared success, because with that came a newfound responsibility: succeeding consistently. I felt like a failure.
My strengths lie in creative pursuits. I was used to coming up with the ideas that other people executed. It's not that I was incapable of being stable or consistent, but I didn't have the tools to do it all on my own. A mighty team of one just isn't that sexy. And it's not easy to juggle several business without a little help or a solid sounding board. Working with a coach helped me realized I could accomplish so much more just by slowing down and tackling a project piece by piece.
Here's what I picked up from Rowan Coaching that I will share with you.
- Great ideas are nothing without Focus + Direction. My coach turned me around in a series of three sessions. She gave me homework (that I actually wanted to complete). She had me thinking about my core values and how they align with my business. We also brainstormed about what I want for this upcoming year. Anything is attainable but without clear direction and then action, you'll just be running circles.
- You will fail several times in the beginning. And that is GREAT. Welcome those horrible moments with open arms. Learn from those pesky "failures," so that you don't blow it hard when stakes are high later.
- Figure out the metrics to measure your own success. I don't have a 9-5 job. I don't get paid every Friday. In fact, sometimes I don't get paid at all. I take meetings from my car. Some days are super busy and full of action. Other days I feel like I've done nothing. There is an ebb and flow to owning your own business. If I connect with one person a day who I can turn into a potential client, collaborator, or customer, then I've planted a seed and I've done my job that day.
- Patience. Oh man. Patience is the absolute worst but so incredibly necessary. Starting a business has been a testament to my patience and it is trying to say the least. I thought if I built my website, they will come. Let's be honest, all relationships especially business relationships need time to build a foundation of trust and familiarity.
- Celebrate. When you own your own business, you don't have a boss to tell you that you did a great job. There's no bonus. No end of the year review. In the beginning, I found myself calling my mother to give her a play by play of my accomplishments, so she would tell me she was proud of me. That's cute, but I'm an adult. Be proud of yourself. Goals are finite. Work through the process. Achieve desired result. Celebrate.
And with that folks, go out there and be bold in your endeavors. Oh, and if you ever need a sounding board, I'm here for you too.