You know how they say that the world is a reflection of yourself? Well, if the number of people talking to me about planning their coming year is anything to go by, I’d say there’s a bit of truth to it.
Because that’s exactly what I’ve been doing: Thinking about my year, considering my business, understanding myself a lot better now than I did eleven months ago, starting to plan my next (Gregorian) calendar year.
In doing so, I’m thinking about what it might mean for me to challenge myself in new ways.
An unusual challenge: Backing away from audacious growth goals
The first of the unusual challenges is to back down from audacious growth goals, which I have held onto and husbanded for the past four years or so.
It’s caused me enough angst, realistically. Reading back through this blog is enough to give you a sense of that. If you’re curious, go read through the business category.
Now that I have the right systems in place, and the right workflow in place to scale up, I’m letting go of the idea of scaling up. Recently we have had a contract put on hold, the incoming work isn’t high enough to sustain team members and myself, so I’m coming right back to ground zero. This means: Doing all the work myself for at least the next three months.
Given I have the people I need, and the systems in place, scaling up won’t be the same difficulty that it has been previously. But what I can’t do is bash my head against that proverbial wall any more, because it’s unhealthy.
Where 2018 has been about reigniting my creative life, I feel that 2019 is going to be about reigniting the joy.
Choosing to harvest joy means everything from dance to reiki
On the one hand, it means rediscovering the joy in my work. I actually really do love my job. When I let go of the difficulty of growth, all that’s left is the joy. And when there’s joy, everything is easier.
The second thing means redirecting funds away from pointless activities and purchasing, into savings and dance. I love to dance. The best year I’ve ever had in business, I was dancing 8 hours every week. So in 2019, my plan is to level myself up: Sign up for pointe classes, go back to Muay Thai for the warrior skills, upgrade my daily exercise, yoga, pilates. Maybe even reconfigure my days so that I can do more of this instead of less of this.
The third thing means continuing my creative days. Because I freaking love them. So, my Wednesdays off and creating will continue.
The fourth thing means music: Playing my flute every week – maybe every day! – because of the sheer peace it gives me.
The fifth is being true to myself by reigniting the routines and skills I’d started training in from as young as eight. The practices include meditation, visualisation, astral work, reading cards, those kinds of crazy, ‘occult’ things. In fact, I’m reinitiating in reading cards, using a method that had been unfamiliar to me until recently. Learning it is a real challenge, but with small success comes encouragement! It makes me feel complete, so even if it’s all woo-woo to you, I don’t much care. I feel like I’ve come home.
And finally, I’m going to continue on the energy healing pathway I began this year. If it becomes a practice, great! If not, that doesn’t matter so much.
Joy also means choosing honesty
As I have worked to ascertain which narrative is whose in my life this year, the one stone that I keep finding in my shoe is the stone of perpetual growth, of scaling a business. It’s also kind of a false dream: One that I should pursue because ‘all things grow unless they die’, kind of thing. But really, unless it’s something that people actually really need – like food, health, accounting, law, or pure entertainment – there’s not much point. Not when it just causes you agony, any way. Forcing things rarely works.
I’ve achieved a lot this year, but the one thing I haven’t achieved is interpersonal honesty. When your business isn’t growing year on year like everyone else’s, lying is just… dishonest.
The lies I’m talking about are those small ones that make you feel like a charlatan. They go something like this:
‘How is business? Looks like you’re doing amazing things!’ says random person at an event.
‘Yeah, it’s going great!’ is the standard reply, while churning on the inside with disgust.
It’s revolting. And I’m not doing it any more. In fact, this week, I had my first go at just being honest.
I was asked by a friend on Friday, ‘How’s business? Growing like crazy?’
‘No, it’s not,’ I said very directly. ‘It’s terrible. Sales are down. Clients are down. Revenue is down. It’s quiet as hell and frankly I don’t even know what to do with it.’
My friend stared at me, agape. I realise that it broke a social contract. But it’s the truth, and I am sick of propping up an image that is bullshit.
So I’m not going to do it any more. Can I hear you cheer with me? THAT’s the way. 😀
The yardstick for 2019 will be: Can I afford my dance habit?
I am doing lots of business development work in the background, and am working on sales campaigns and so on. So, if the work comes in and we grow – brilliant! But what I am not going to do any more is beat myself up about it not hitting targets every damned month.
Instead, my yardstick for 2019 will be: Can I afford my dance habit?
After a year of battling with myself, of building great virtual infrastructure, of doing brilliant things for people and still being disheartened, my next calendar year will be one of joy.
Life is too short to do otherwise.
It means not being ‘that entrepreneur’. It means not applying for awards. It means not agonizing about the fact that my clients (who apparently love me) just don’t refer people to me, ever. It means not chasing after things any more.
Hell, it might even mean getting a job.
Because what this year has taught me, if nothing else, it’s that making money is not equivalent to growing a business. I can make money by doing things I love to do – and my Patreon is proof of that. So if growing a company doesn’t bring me joy every single day, why would I even consider doing it?