Didn’t you think you would always love running your business? Sure, maybe a few days of frustration here and there. But hate? Disappointment? Betrayal? You would think we were talking about marriage here. Often, when clients with a creative business work with me, they are stunned by the reality that they could fall out of love with the very business they created.
I love coaching clients through the journey back to falling in love with the businesses. Because it’s not the business that they’ve fallen out of love with. It’s really themselves.
Today, I’m sharing 3 essential steps to falling back in love with your business. Because I believe every creative should run a business that brings the best they have to offer in the world.
Honor Your Values
Values are simple, memorable articulations of what is important to you. They may change over time, but they are never negotiable. Honoring your values looks like you (1) knowing what is important to you and (2) consciously choosing to make decisions on what is important.
I love starting to coach my clients out of “stuckness” by talking about values. Because once we outline their story about what is truly important in objective terms, we can quickly see how they are not honoring their values in their businesses.
An all too common values mismatch involves money. As creatives (and people) money is an important resource, enabling you to pay your bills, eat, take creative risks. But all too often we prioritize beliefs about money that don’t actually align with what we value. The consequence is that we set financial expectations for ourselves that are inflated beyond what we actually want. I fell into the same trap when I first took my business full-time. I set a yearly revenue goal that was wildly inflated, paying for 2-3 conferences per year, unnecessary website re-designs, and a personal assistant when I did not know what I would really do with one. Unsurprisingly, I felt equal parts frustrated and stressed trying to achieve a financial goal that I didn’t even find important.
When you honor your values, you start to live consciously. You can start to consciously choose how to spend your time, your energy, and your focus. You can start to create a business that no longer competes with your values, but reflects them.
Honor Your Gifts
If I were to ask you if your business is centered on you using your gifts, what would your answer be? If it would be anything but “yes” we would know why you’ve fallen out of love. When you use your gifts, you allow yourself to honor how you show up in the world when you’re at your best. Maybe you are skilled at turning people’s emotions into something tangible. Or maybe you are wildly adept at seeing the essentials of any situation or experience. No matter what your gifts look like, there are two important things to remember about them.
First, your gifts are not task or hobby dependent. Just because you love to sing and are skilled at singing, does not mean your gift is to sing. How do you approach singing that makes it such an enjoyable experience? When you answer how you do what you love, then you can see your gifts for what they truly are. An easy example is podcasting. I love podcasting and I’m very good at podcasting. Why? Not because I’m a good writer, communicator, or thinker. My gifts are being able to notice patterns, to bring those patterns together, and use words to share the essential links between seemingly disparate things. The way I approach podcasting is the same way I approach casual conversations, writing, coaching. And when I allow myself to use my gifts for podcasting, I love my experience. Your gifts work the same way. Your gifts are all about how you do what you do, not simply what you do.
Second, your gifts are essential to enjoying your work again. When you use your gifts, you’re allowing yourself to show up in the world that feels the most natural and exciting to you. Otherwise, you’re expending extra energy to do things in a way that does not feel right to you. Your gifts go untapped, you feel stifled, and any rewards you receive feel disappointing. When you use your gifts in your business the opposite is true; you enjoy the work you’re doing, you feel lit up, and the rewards you receive feel like a bonus to doing what you love to do.
Take Trusting Action
Trusting action means you take responsibility for moving forward, for the effort you invest. But you also trust that you are safe, well, and will be in the future. Even in the midst of uncertainty, even in the midst of botched plans, epic failures, and total losses. Trusting action requires tenacity and faith. Tenacity in that your business’s vitality depends on your ability to keep going. Faith in that your emotional health depends on your ability to stop trying to control everything in your midst.
When I decided to rebrand Chantiluke as a life coaching business, I knew it aligned with my values. I knew the move would allow me to use my gifts. But I did not (still don’t) know if the decision meant I would be “successful.” I had no other choice but to walk forward trusting that I was safe and that I could not stay in the same place if I wanted any sort of progress. Trusting action happens every day we sit down at our laptops and pitch ourselves. Every time we create a new product or service. Every time we turn our wild stirrings into plans. We cannot control our results, but we know that’s not the point. The point is to move forward. Trusting action allows you to do just that.
Business is a fantastic journey of self-discovery. The more we can allow yourself to show up in your world without pretense, without judgement, and without alteration, the more you can learn and grow in your business. And the success that may come, that would just be the icing on the cake.
Danielle Callendar, the proud creator of Chantiluke, helps smart, soul-seeking women create careers and lives that are centered on meaning and fulfillment. Learn more at chantiluke.com/about.