I left traditional jobs to work for myself because I struggled to go to work and having to enforce rules that didn’t honor people. Rules and cultures that were harmful to our humanity.
Starting my business was a way for me to protect myself from the harmful environments I encountered over and over again. I have been told I am “too sensitive”, “a bleeding heart”, that I need to “toughen up”, and my favorite “it’s not personal, it’s business.” Well, these attitudes have made our culture pretty toxic.
Daily we are seeing news stories that demonstrate how little human life is valued in business. Burnout is at an all-time high, across professions. Our society is taking a good long look in the mirror and many of us are not happy with what we see there.
I am exceedingly grateful for my education in management and organizational development as well as the experience I have gained from the jobs I have had and the businesses I have run in the past. Each of these has provided a solid foundation for my current business. And I have spent the last 15 years, unlearning what society has taught me about myself and what it means to be in business. And all of it has been counterculture, meaning I am swimming upstream with unpopular views of business.
I have had to use words like faith and guidance a lot and while that is common in my everyday life, it has been interesting in my business life. Assimilating my spiritual world and my business world has been challenging. I think this duality is common in our culture, how we think and behave in our personal life can be quite different from how we think and behave in our business life, and we often don’t even recognize this truth. And this duality has created illness in our society.
As I move through the years, I have gained a new level of confidence in myself and my business and that is worth more than gold to me but the process of gaining confidence has been humbling and scary. I am using new muscles, going against business convention, and what some consider “common sense.” It recently occurred to me that I am terraforming a new landscape. The landscape is an economy where humanity and business can reside peacefully without conflicting agendas. Where humanity can let their soul’s lead and their businesses can thrive. I want my business and its practices to reflect my values of service, love, and a heart-centered economy.
Throughout this journey, I have watched the patterns develop and lessons have emerged from the chaos. Based on my own experience and those experiences of my friends and clients, these are the 5 lessons to learn as we terraforming the new economic landscape.
1. The Business of Money
First the practical. My fellow terraformers are mostly healers, artists, writers, architects, designers, and other creatives and as a generalization we can find ourselves in a quandary around money. There can be a struggle to price services competitively. Perhaps it is because we are used to thinking in terms of an hourly wage, maybe it’s a belief that we are too green to charge much for our service, or maybe we are just so eager to work we are willing to give our product or service away.
What we are individually and collectively unraveling are crazy things like self-worth and our ancestral money beliefs as well as facing where we stand in our culture’s money story (psst: it isn’t very pretty; institutionalized poverty, classist beliefs about the poor and the worth of a human life).
Money is a volatile topic, it relates to survival, values, and worth. Here is the bottom line: We live in a society that depends on money. Our work has no value when it is given away. Money is energy, work is energy. The exchange of product/service for money is part of what creates its value to others.
This is important stuff and if you are challenged around this topic, seek assistance in helping you clear it. Intuitive energy healing can clear the limiting beliefs that hold us back.
2. Authenticity – My business is an extension of myself
It takes time to find your marketing voice. Sometimes without noticing, we can begin to take actions and create from a place of fear or habit. We want to make something happen; we want to take action to quiet the voice in our head that is worried about the viability of our business.
Unfortunately, this can lead to decisions and actions that weaken our business because it is against our own beliefs and overall intentions. The most important thing to remember is if we aren’t being authentic then we are selling ourselves short, literally, our return on investment is much lower when we are working a plan that doesn’t resonate with who we are at our core. Besides at the end of the day we want to be able to see ourselves in our business, this is where we are spending the majority of our time (most likely), make it meaningful.
Make your business, it’s products, services, marketing, mission, values, something you are proud of creating.
3. Business Ownership is a Hero's Journey
I had a great teacher explain to me the difference between “my will and thy will” and it has been life changing.
I reflect on this lesson almost every day because “thy will” is counterculture and learning to embody it requires discipline and faith. I learned as a child that I can force my will upon something and get what I want, I can make something happen. Thy will means I can set my intention and follow the flow or signs from Spirit about the hows and the whens of implementing my plans.
When I force my will, I often only hold onto my creations for a short time before they slip through my fingers. When I follow the signs, I adjust my goals accordingly, I am building something with a solid foundation that will feed me for a long time. It is part of my path and my individual way of building things.
Things may take longer than you would like, at least at first. This is because we are actively realigning our energy to be compatible with our goals and intentions and depending on the goal and our level of compatibility with it. And this may require some work on our part to prepare ourselves, heal ourselves, and update our beliefs so we can hold onto our creation once we have birthed it. This is the hero’s journey and we are either actively growing or we are dying.
Think about those lottery winners who win millions of dollars and find themselves broke in a year or two. They were not compatible with their creation and it slipped right through their fingers. Save the heartbreak and be willing to do the inner work that our business requires of us.
4. Vulnerability Builds Your Brand – Dive into your creativity
The stuff that makes our brand of business good is what we find when we dive into our creativity around our work. We practice so much that we begin to see how you might do it differently from how we were taught. We learn different ways to achieve the same outcome and start to combine techniques into our own personal method.
Or perhaps we have several skills or skill sets that are seemingly unrelated until all of sudden we see how to incorporate them into a service or product. This is our creative genius at work. Creativity requires time and a willingness to be vulnerable.
It is scary and uncomfortable to open up and take risks, our egos can sometimes resist diving into the unknown depths of our imagination. However, that is where all the good stuff in life lives. Tried and true makes for a boring business, our genius lies in opening up to our creativity and building something personal and unique.
5. Cultivate a Relationship with the Unknown – Pushing our business boundaries
Maybe you have experienced this too…there are no paid vacations, health care benefits or regular paychecks in the life of a soulopreneur, at least at first. Everything is far less predictable or dependable than that of an employee.
This where faith and guidance really play into the work. It is also where we are challenged to understand ourselves in a new way. We are a productivity-obsessed society, we are results junkies. How much money have you earned this month? How many client sessions or products sold?
For many, these tallies represent (at least in some way) our self-worth. What are we accomplishing? For some, there may be a period of time that we are doing incredible work but it is inner work and produces very few outward results. This can be troubling to our spouse or our savings account or our credit cards.
This inner work is equally important to the outer work, in fact, the outer work is not possible without the inner work (see number 3). In our money-oriented world, there is a tendency to want to give up or quit if making good money takes too long. This is a personal decision for each individual on this journey.
These dilemmas are meant to push you to the edge, that is the difference between a traditional start-up and a soul purpose. The spiritual journey is a lot more intense, the lessons are for the soul and highly personal. It is a misnomer to believe that simply discovering your life purpose means that carrying it out will be smooth sailing, the reality is the hard part has just begun. The commitment must be total because challenges are great.
Now maybe you are asking, “why do it? This seems like a big headache, I don’t want to be scared and challenged this way.” And that is a personal answer and different for everyone. There are times when I wish I was the type of person who could find happiness and fulfillment working for someone else, but I’m not. I have tried and each time I have felt my soul being sucked out of my body. If you are one of those people who are like me and acknowledge that there is no other way, here are the three practices that make this soulopreneur journey possible and rewarding.
Ground your energy daily, open the communication with your higher self (Source, the Universe, God, Buddha, etc.), and create the discipline of operating from your own compass. This practice is necessary to keep you from feeling beat up and battered by indecision and fear. It gives you the access to your intuition and allows you to manage the many emotions that will come up during this process. While Napoleon Hill says, think and grow rich, I say, meditate and grow strong. Mentally strong, emotionally strong, and spiritually strong.
Regular inner work
“Being in business for yourself, especially as someone who stands in the service of others, requires constant personal reflection and spiritual growth.” ~ Michael Port, Book Yourself Solid
I love this quote and nothing could be more true. As you walk this path, take advantage of therapy and regular energy work. Energy healing is an effective and efficient way to release the patterns in our life that hold us back. These patterns are based on our belief systems and come from our own personal experience in life as well as past life experiences and those of our ancestors. Success depends on moving through these barriers and it will go faster with regular support and attention.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to find fellow travelers on this journey. Our souls require connection and fellowship. Our minds gain so much knowledge by sharing with other business owners. A community provides support in the form of caring compassion, brilliant ideas, and disciplined accountability.
To my fellow terraformers, we are the ones on the front lines creating this new business landscape. I am glad you here on the journey. I hope you will share your lessons and practices that help you succeed. What has been challenging about launching your business?