Nearly 10 years ago I started a conversation with an awesome entrepreneur, Dean Soto. Dean and I had a lot in common and he seemed to be slightly ahead of me on the journey so I started digging in deep to what he was teaching. We were talking Virtual Assistants and I was growing my side projects. Then, I put too much time into my side projects. Things were taking off and it was awesome. I had a graphics designer who was sending tons of work and I had someone else who was helping me get it done. The problem was I kept adding new commitments to my plate.
To get it all done I was burning the candle at both ends and Kristine told me she was afraid where this path would lead. About that time my developer who was helping to get work done had some family issues and scaled back his hours significantly. Suddenly all the work fell on me, so I started shutting things down because it was that or lose my health and hurt my family.
Unfortunately, this has been a cycle I’ve gone through a number of times. Get excited about an idea (or three) and throw myself into it. Spend a ton of time on the front end and push, push, push to get it off the ground. Just as I start to see success, things crash down around me. For a while I thought maybe I was self sabotaging my projects because deep down I was afraid of success. Looking back now, things fell apart just because I was building them on a weak foundation.
When things fell apart this time, I dropped most of those that I was following to simplify my life. I cut back to 1 or 2 people I would follow for advice and unsubscribed from the rest (and that included Dean). Looking back, this was totally the right call. I would do the same thing again in a heartbeat given the same circumstances.
Sometime last year, while cleaning out some old notes, I stumbled upon some things from Dean. It got me wondering where he was today and so I looked him up. He continued on his path and has built a successful business and did so while keeping a focus on his family. I was jealous of what he had done, but I didn’t know what to do with that information. It bounced around in my brain for a few months and then I decided to reach out and see how he had accomplished what I wanted to do. Yes, I was 10 years behind where I could have been had we kept in contact, but maybe I could learn to do it right following his example.
I sent him an email, explaining my situation. What I ended up asking was “what was the most meaningful thing you did to get where you are without sacrificing too much time with your family?”. I thought that was a great question. Do you know what he asked?
What is wrong with what you have now?– Dean Soto
WHAT? That question hit me hard. I spent the night thinking about my answer to that question. I spent the next morning journaling about my answer. And I wrote a response back to him. Basically, I told him I love my life, including my full time job, but feel like there is more I’m supposed to be doing. I told him I want to start business but that I’m not sure how to do it and not repeat my cycles of the past and that I’m worried my full time job won’t give me the opportunities I need in life.
Then, the next morning I sent Dean another email. I had realized, while talking to a mentor at work, that I was missing the point. He suggested to me that because things have been so crazy the last few years at work, that my brain had become addicted to stress and pressure. One of the reasons I pushed so hard on things was because my brain was craving the cortisol produced from stressful situations. As things were changing a bit at work, he suggested I needed to slow down and allow myself to become ok with downtime. I told Dean that his question, coupled with the advice I had received caused me to realize that I first needed to slow down and become grateful for what I have now, and allow that to be enough.
Throughout this series I am going to give you some assignments that will take this content and allow you to methodically apply it to your life. The first few assignments will help us identify “what do I have now”. This will include commitments to our family, friends, church and other groups, as well as reviewing our statuses with projects and tasks that are in progress. Most assignments should only take a few minutes (5-10) unless you want to spend more depending on how in-depth you take them.
I have personally found that writing things down forces me to slow down my thinking and I think more clearly. My favorite notebook is the Nomatic Notebook, but if your are price conscious, you can use anything from a spiral notebook to the Amazon Basics Notebook.