When UnglueYou® was 5 years old I wrote a blog post called ‘Learning to Let Go: 5 Life lessons from 5 years in business.‘ As such, it seemed apt to draw on my ten years of experience to bring you an updated version. Because there are ten key lessons I’ve split them into two posts to make them more manageable to read.
1. Do what makes your heart sing
I love this phrase as a metaphor for that sense of joyful expression of self when you’re doing something where you feel fulfilled and contented. You know it’s a thing you should be doing because you’re happiest when involved in this activity, despite the challenges. In terms of work, when you find or create those spaces where your heart finds a joyful song, it’s also where you’ll succeed and make the most impact. Because you’re engaged in something you love, your emotional, physical, spiritual and psychological well-being increases, and this abundance can flow to others. However, this can’t happen when operating from a place of overwhelm and depletion. So if you haven’t already, I’d encourage you to find your hearts song.
2. Money is a form of energy
This was a tough lesson for me. I adopted the language of ‘money as energy’ to help me unlearn the habits I’d developed through an unhelpful relationship with money. But this is more than a reframe. It’s a fundamental shift in understanding and accepting that money is neither good nor bad, it’s a force that moves from one place to another. As such, in terms of my business, the energy that flows from me for guest speaking, coaching and training etc., returns in different ways, including financially. When I embraced money as part of that cyclical flow of energy, I became comfortable with setting my fees. I included this lesson especially for entrepreneurs whose relationship with money impacts their business.
3. Things are not always what they seem
This point is for anyone working on their business who hasn’t yet seen tangible results from your endeavour. Often your focus is on the external measures of success, such as an increase in finances, followers on social media and clients. However, focusing on external indicators can mean missing growth in other areas. For example, building resilience, patience, knowledge and determination as you continue despite your circumstances. Over time, collaging helped me see my progress from a different perspective which stopped me from feeling demoralised. So, if your work makes your heart sing, I’d encourage you to keep going and trust that external breakthroughs will follow.
4. Don’t be afraid to defy convention
I used multiple social media platforms for my business and became increasingly overwhelmed as I tried to maintain visibility and engage with my followers. I knew I couldn’t continue in this vein, so I chose to focus on LinkedIn. However, even when you instinctively know your decision is the right one, it can remain difficult and scary to take the necessary action. Especially when it’s contrary to general advice and behaviour. While I was anxious about the impact on UnglueYou®, taking several weeks to withdraw from the other platforms, I knew it was the right choice and felt empowered when I acted. I don’t regret it for a moment. Moving away from the other platforms created emotional and mental space that also helped my well-being. The lesson here is broader than social media, it’s about having the courage to trust and act on your instincts regardless of social or business norms. You’ll feel better for it.
5. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable
Unsurprisingly, throughout my 10-year business journey, I’ve had times when I’ve felt upset, disappointed, frustrated, sad, angry and confused etc. It’s easy to dismiss or try to avoid situations that can trigger these uncomfortable emotions. But I’ve learnt to become ‘comfortable with being uncomfortable.’ Accepting that I’ll feel emotional discomfort stops me from shying away from difficult conversations, taking risks or expressing myself openly and honestly. I’m no longer trying to contain or ignore my emotions. Instead, I validate them at that moment, recognising their transitory nature. By remaining open and curious, I can name and explore my feelings. In doing so, I understand their true nature and can respond more effectively. Next time you feel emotionally uncomfortable, try to sit with those feelings and be comfortable being uncomfortable as you experience the broad expression of your humanity.
You’ve read the first five of my ten key lessons, now continue to 6 – 10.