This is a guest submission from Ling at business-soulwork.com
I am a Misfit Rebel Maverick… always have been, always will be. I have cut off my limbs to fit into “other people’s boxes” and now I say “NO MORE!” for all of us.
What tripped me off and caused me to go through years of cutting off my limbs and fitting in a box was not knowing what was possible for me, and how I could express myself – fully and unapologetically – without ending up on the street…
The Miserable Cubicle-Dweller
Even before I started my own business, I had always be a sucker for creativity and individuality. I studied design at Yale College and went onto getting my Master’s of Architecture degree from Harvard University. I explored photography and did graphic design. When I got out of school, I followed the “traditional path” got a job at some prestigious New York City architecture firm and started my life as cubicle-dweller.
I was miserable.
I was not cut out to sit at the desk from 9 – 9 executing other people’s ideas while breathing in recirculated air. I sucked at my job. I got pink-slipped when the economy tanked. But I didn’t know better because “job after school” was all I was knew… so I went on to look for another job, and ended up in the online marketing agency world for 9 years. I learned a lot during that time, but my inability to sit tight at a desk executing other people’s ideas became painfully apparent.
I could not do it anymore. I walked away from a 6-figure New York City ad agency job and started my health coaching business. It was a big jump – there is zero entrepreneurial blood in my family and I had no idea what I was getting into. But it was inspiring, and it suited my adventurous personality. Even with my extensive design background and experience working in creative projects, my years as an entrepreneur are definitely one of my most creative times.
I soon found out that I am very good at identifying opportunity, synthesizing information and developing creative solution. I left my health coaching business and started a successful venture to help coaches build their businesses.
Looking back, I pat myself on the back for having the GUTS to walk away from “what I am supposed to be doing because of my trainings and certification” to blasting a trail that allows me to fully deploy my Superpowers.
Say NO To “Me-Too”, “Good Enough”, Mediocrity and Cookie-Cutter Business
As time went on and my business was plugging along nicely, something was bugging me. I loved marketing and was doing it quite well to promote my business. Like many entrepreneurs, I took trainings and programs to help me grow my business. The more I did so, however, the more I felt like I was being put on some factory assembly line called “guru” programs.
Learning about business and marketing turned into a chore, and my business started to feel more like a J.O.B.
I was spoon fed a bunch of information and told to execute (“just do it!”) without asking – where was ME in this whole picture? I was given blueprints but because of my maverick rebel personality I could rarely “do as they say” and when things didn’t work well, I fell into the comparison trap and blamed myself for being “too creative.”
Like, geez, why can’t I just be like everyone else and be happy with what I get?
My good intention of furthering my business through trainings was stifling my creativity and growth! Something was not right. I was doing what everyone else was doing and no longer felt the FIRE because my individuality was suppressed!
I missed that fire, the excitement, the drive – what got it all started. My mission, vision, and passion got diluted along the way. I realized that
- I tasted the freedom of entrepreneurship and there is no turning back
- My business won’t be sustainable if I can’t fully express myself
Even though my business was going well, a big part of me wanted to create something more, something innovative, something to help others build a fulfilling businesses from a different place, a different perspective.
I realized that buying another $297 training program was not the answer. There is no magic bullet and I cannot look outside of me for the answer. To live loudly, colorfully and unapologetically through my business, I have to do the inner work, muster the GUTS, come up with the strength – and pull myself through to the other side.
I Want a New Paradigm of Business Artistry
Staying within the confines of a prescribed way of doing things was oppressive. After a load of gut-spilling and soul-digging, I made a scary decision to stop listening to what others say, and listen to my own Heart and Guts.
I decided to take the leap and put all of me in my business. I decided to stop chasing my tail on the hamster wheel – even though the fears of not knowing enough or missing out creeps up from time to time. I decided that there would be no compromise. I decided to jump off the cliff while still looking for the “how to make a parachute” manual. I decided to walk away from what has been working and create something new and different.
When I took the leap, I had NO idea what the next iteration of my business was going to look like. I still don’t – not fully – maybe I never will. It is unfolding and in a way and I am enjoying the possibilities offered by the uncertainty.
I have by no means “got-it-all-figured-out” and sitting pretty somewhere on a pedestal. I am knee deep in this whole process that will keep evolving. I am ready to face plant and be proud of it.
During this process, I learned that mustering up the guts to jump off the cliff and letting go of the “what is supposed to be” is where the real challenge is. The taking action and marketing bit happens after there is inner alignment and clarity.
The more inner work I do, the more I marry personal growth with my business, the faster both grow. This experience has been life-changing for me, and I have coined “Business Soulwork” for the work/ magic/ transformative journey that has become my schtick today.
I created Business SoulworkTM for the Maverick Entrepreneur
There is a paradigm shift in the way we do business – it’s no longer about following a blueprint, banging out some stuff so you can “get away with it.” Success does not come in a blueprint and system with no soul.
Becoming an entrepreneur is an EXPERIENCE – it is as much the outcome as what happens and how to do YOU during the process.
Now that I have jumped off the cliff and proved that I didn’t die – I am here to invite you to take a leap. Being on the other side is very empowering and rewarding – both personally and financially.
Ling offers “Business Soulwork + Marketing Activation” that embodies her “Heart & Guts” approach. She helps the Maverick Entrepreneurs supercharge their actions not only through smart strategies and practical tools, but also through their personal growth and development – so they not only grow their business, but also LET THEIR BUSINESS GROW THEM.
You can find Ling and download her free “Reignite Your Fire” Soul-Bomb session at business-soulwork.com.