What if Your Business (and Life) F*ks Up?
This post contains explicit language.
I’d been putting it off for weeks knowing full well that it needed to be done, and yet I knew it would take time, effort and yes….more learning (urgh!). Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for learning, but it really depends on what I’m learning about….working out how to create email automation with auto-responders……ummm….not so much. Unfortunately, it’s a portion of the business that needs to be set up so I can stay in touch with my luminary tribe (by the way, have you joined us yet? You can by scrolling right down to the footer of this page to the ‘sign up’ area). So I finally rolled my sleeves up and spent an entire day going over the finer details of email setup, email campaign creation, and automation – I’d never done this before in my life (I’ve never needed to up until now) so it was daunting and unpredictable. What I found was totally unexpected….but let’s be clear first, this article isn’t about auto-responders (thank goodness right!?), this goes deeper than that.
Let’s rewind 3 weeks ago. My whole family had been struck down by the nasty cold/flu/chest infection virus that’s doing the rounds like a bad smell. First it was my handsome hubby who loves me so much he wanted to share it with me, and of course, since I love my son so incredibly much, I thought, “Hey, why should you miss out!” (You know that’s a joke right?) So there we were – dribbling snot (too graphic?), coughing our lungs up, and turning the heater on and off depending on our internal body temperatures.
Success is not guaranteed, nor is failure
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It got to a point where I was seriously considering getting some ‘contaminated area’ tape and sticking it on the front door to warn other potential hosts (i.e. visitors) not to enter. My hubby was naturally the first to get better, and thankfully my gorgeous son followed (no one like’s seeing their kids sick – including my husband because I like to put him in the ‘kid’ category at times!)….so I was getting excited knowing it would be my turn to feel ‘human’ again. It all seemed to be really positive – after 2 weeks I was starting to feel like me again…..that is until yesterday.
Now I totally get that I can’t blame my sickness on auto-responders and email setups….even though it would be a lot easier to do so! And sure scientists would say that I contracted a new strain of the virus which is why I was coming down with it all over again but I’ve learnt along the way to listen to my body. It wasn’t ‘normal’ for me to enter a third week of snot and mucous – especially as I was potentially getting better only a few days ago (by the way – this info isn’t meant as professional medical advice). But it got me thinking that there must be something more to it than just the run-of-the-mill ‘common cold’….and you know what? There is!
Although I’m writing this article from a personal perspective, I want you to see if you resonate with my own personal battles because if you do, then you’re going to have an ‘ah-ha’ moment in a second (or however long it takes you to read this article).
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Let’s be transparent here. I’ve had a fair amount of emotional baggage in my time (and I’m only in my 30’s!) and I’ve spent a good decade trying to shift it and be free of it completely. The email setup and automation thing I had to do yesterday was something I’d been dreading for a long time because [cue suspenseful music]…..I didn’t know how to do it. Shocking! I didn’t know how to create an email account. I didn’t know how to integrate my email account into my website. I didn’t know how to create automated emails once someone sign’s up. I didn’t know how to configure the email sign-up form so it looked as though it was still a part of my business brand even though it was being hosted by a separate company…..URGH! But it’s not about the emails, or the bloody auto-responders…it’s about THREE….BIG…WORDS.
I don’t know. There….I said it. I don’t know (actually it was more like ‘I don’t fucking know’ but we’ll try and keep this as PG as possible). And I knew I wouldn’t know how to do it which is why I’d been putting it on hold for so long. But finally it caught up to me and I had to face the challenge of doing something despite having no idea how to do it…to be dramatic, it was now or never. And yes, before the obvious is pointed out, I fully realise that life is all about ‘not knowing’ but what about the times when your unknowingness has considerable disadvantages to your life? For example, it’s okay to not know what the time is…but what if you have a really important event or meeting to attend and not knowing the time means you miss out on a really unique and exciting opportunity that could have potentially changed your life?! See the difference?
The outcome of ‘not knowing’ can be detrimental to our lives BUT it’s the emphasis we place on the expected outcome that increases our worry and stress levels….particularly when we’re unsure about something or when we’re unsure how to do something – which is to say, when we simply ‘don’t know’.
So here’s the thing.
The amount of pressure I’ve placed on the business being a success is huge (who doesn’t?!) but what if that pressure is so full on that it appears on a physical level…..i.e. the common cold?
(The spiritual meaning behind an illness)
THE COMMONG COLD: A common cold generally relates to “now or never”. This is where you have disallowed a certain thought about yourself from creeping into your conscious mind right up until now where it’s trying to push itself to your conscious surface for recognition. No longer can this thought about yourself stay dormant.
So I guess the question is – what have you been thinking or saying to yourself that you feel ashamed about, or scared to admit?
For me, the cold has lingered for the past 3 weeks now and interestingly enough, the past 3 weeks I’ve focused my energy on doing ‘new’ things for the business – things I hadn’t had to do before. Things that I didn’t know about or knew would work until I dedicated time to work through it. And this constant inner dialogue of ‘I DON’T KNOW’ seemed to be the flavour of the past 3 weeks…. “I don’t know”……… “I don’t know”…… “I don’t know” URGH! Talk about exhausting!
What is so bad about not knowing?
Ummm….well, considering not knowing relates to the success of the business, EVERYTHING! If I don’t know how to do something that relates to the business, then the business could fail. That’s the kind of stressful emphasis I’ve placed on myself to succeed at all the ‘new’ things over the past 3 weeks. It’s no wonder my body has held onto the ‘common cold’ symptoms because I’ve been holding onto the question which I would prefer to never answer, which is……
What if I Fail?
What if the past 2 years of frustration and stress of trying to get this business up and running was a total waste of time? What if people don’t respond to my services as much as I hope they will (i.e. they absolutely love it!)? What if I let my family down who have such high hopes on me doing well? What if I can’t teach my kids that you can turn your joy and passion into something that is truly fulfilling for yourself and others?….What if………so we’ve come from the three big words that were ‘I DON’T KNOW’ to the two big words of….
And even though I’ve discussed this at length with Benoit (my Spirit Guide), I still have no set answer. I can’t guarantee that I won’t fail. But I can’t guarantee I’ll fail either.
So this is a whole new ‘ah ha’ moment for me. You might laugh at this because I’m in the field of self-discovery and empowerment so it might seem strange that I’m going on about my fears, but let me just say this, I don’t know one professional in this field who hasn’t doubted themselves or their ability to move forward. I don’t know one professional who hasn’t wondered if their choices were the wrong ones. And I certainly don’t know one professional who is completely free of negative self-talk. That of course is my aim – but I can’t get there without healing the limiting judgement I’ve placed on myself! It’s a process – and that’s life (isn’t it delicious….and sometimes incredibly annoying?!)
So as I sit here blowing my nose for the thousandth time, I’m reminding myself of this….and I want you to do the same.
Sometimes you’ll be confronted by fear and face it head on with courage and strength, and sometimes it’s going to be so incredibly overwhelming that you’d prefer to look the other way (who doesn’t!), but there’s something else that tells you ‘NO’. Something within you that tells you to keep going despite the number of common colds you get.
Because the thing is – you can’t guarantee anything that is outside your existence. It’s beyond your control. Now if you’re a control freak, then the idea of having no control might make you dizzy in the head, but I’ve found it surprisingly comforting. The only guarantee I can make right now is that I’m trying. I can guarantee to you that I’m trying my absolute hardest to make this work….the other stuff is out of my control – so I’ll say it again for great effect:
Success is not guaranteed,
nor is failure
So why not approach each ‘I don’t know’ scenario with ‘I DON’T KNOW YET’ And then sit with that knowing – that it’s okay that you don’t know yet. And you know what? Every single thing in your life was new to you at some point. At some point you learnt how to use a knife and fork, how to dress yourself, how to put the toilet seat down after use (some are still learning this even in their 30’s)
Every….single….thing……that you can do right now was originally unfamiliar to you…but here you are! And you’re here right now because at some point you ‘DIDN’T KNOW YET’…and then you took the leap of faith and did it anyway. Just give yourself credit! This whole ‘living on Earth’ thing is a tough gig but holy cow, it’s worth it isn’t it!
So knowing that has brought a strange peace within me. Of course, I feel that I need to go a little deeper with the origin of the fear but for now, I’ll respect the presence of my cold and thank it for appearing – what a wonderful gift it has brought me. I now realise that it’s okay if I don’t know how to do something straight away or know whether the risk I’ve taken will be worth it…..more to the point, I don’t know yet. And I’m willing to love myself enough to say that that’s perfectly okay…..so if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with Vicks VapoRub (no, that’s not a person).
With much love and a box of tissues,