Finding Happiness in Each Phase of Business

Take a step outside of your goal-driven mindset to appreciate how far you've come and all that you've accomplished.

This past week caught me smack dab in the middle of a grand ol' funk. And I thought it was especially strange timing since we had just returned from a week away. I thought for sure that the first week back I would feel energized, and ready to smash my to-do list. Instead, I found myself more energetically depleted than I had been in a long time. It brought me to tears a few nights because I felt utterly flummoxed and defeated. This was more than just a readjustment back into your normal routine after some time away. This was deeper. 

So I started to ask myself what the heck was going on. I was feeling really anxious, and frankly a bit lazy. I am close with a couple of groups of business friends, and I have been watching them crank out really stellar offerings for the past couple of months. Looking back, I think that (subconsciously) I put a lot of pressure on the vacation as the time away I needed to have my next big business epiphany, and when I came back empty-handed, I was disappointed. So then that laziness feeling crept into my psyche.

Was this complacency? Or worse yet, even apathy? Had I begun to give up on my business? All week long I had been asking myself: What more do I need to be doing for my biz?

And then of course it came time to write this blog post, and time to review what card I had drawn for this month. 

My card for August: Four of Wands

Notably, one of the happiest cards in the tarot deck, it's all about celebration, completion, accomplishment. 

I studied the symbols, interpreted the meaning, and for the first time it felt off. Mainly because I'm not celebrating anything this month. But probably more profoundly, I don't feel like I have accomplished or completed anything. And based on the looks of my calendar, no timeline suggests that I will either in the next 30 days. In actuality, I have a lot to do this month in order to prep for two awesome events in September (Creatives Meet Business Experience & VenturePOP), so really my expectation heading into August was one of yang energy and lots of producing, creativity, inspiration.

And then I had a realization.

I'm in a new phase of my business.

I think that my unhappiness, or what I was perceiving as laziness/apathy/complacency, is really me needing to work through the transition of being in a fresh stage of business where I'm not a total newbie. I have learned a lot over the past year and a half, and I know a lot more about who I am, what I can do, and what I want to do than I did when I started. I certainly have a more clear vision and direction than I ever have before.

And yet... I long for the Friday afternoons when I could take the afternoon off, having wrapped all client work, and simply read. I yearn for having more flexibility in my schedule and the ability to meet with friends last-minute because I wasn't committed to client meetings booked 2 weeks out. So why the disconnect? While I was spending time mourning the loss of my free Friday afternoons and spontaneous friendly lunch dates, I completely glazed over and missed out on the happiness of having a full client roster. And I haven't fully celebrated that.

Like many business owners, we get serious tunnel vision working hard towards that end goal. The problem is that once we obtain that first goal, we quickly shift focus to the next one. That endless state of seeking the next thing can leave us feeling inadequate and wanting. So while we're busy chasing our dreams, let's make an effort along the way to stop occasionally and observe where we currently are and give ourselves a bit of gratitude for where we've come and where we're going.

So with this realization, I'm vowing to celebrate all my small wins this month. Instead of letting fear creep in and allowing myself start worrying about what my client roster will look like in December, I'm going to be grateful for what it is now and continue to do the work that I do best. Instead of worrying that I'm not keeping up with my peers, I'm going to continue to turn inward to ensure that I'm living up to my own standards and following the path that best suits me. Instead of glorifying the "easier" days behind and ahead of me, I am aiming to find the peace of truly experiencing the present. 

As my favorite yoga teacher said: The formula for living in the present moment to the fullest is simple.

Gratitude + Contentment = Extreme Joy

I'd love to know - what are you looking forward to this month? How are you planning to celebrate all of your wins? Let me know in the comments below.