I work in a “measure twice, cut once” profession.
To be honest, I’m more of a “throw it at the wall and see if it sticks” personality.
But for each project I own, steps are carefully laid out months in advance. Details are meticulously reviewed. Often, the pressure to get things right is high. Not only do I represent myself - but I’m also a face of ConvergenceCoaching, where our brand (in part) is our dedication to delivering the highest value to clients. I admit that working in this precise manner goes a bit against my natural grain, but I have grown leaps and bounds by being challenged in this way. Working with this talented team of high-performing women who don’t stop until the job is done right was meant to be a part of my journey.
And now I’m setting out on a new one. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spark, a desire to build something meaningful of my own - but the dots had not yet connected. Today, however, those dots have formed a big, bright arrow that I feel called to follow, despite the future being unknown. As I transition into this new chapter of my life, armed with the lessons I’ve learned at Convergence, the process of building my own business is messy - not always measured or clear. This is a season of taking bold action and having faith. I have fired that arrow and now I work on my aim.
Though I’m personally speaking from the experience of building a business, the lessons I’m learning relate to the pursuit of any new endeavor. This could be a renewed dedication to your health after busy season, the pursuit of a new hobby, stepping into an elevated role at your firm, starting a leadership program, taking on an important project or even just procrastinating less.
Here are a few things I have been learning along the way:
Be humble in your beginning. This idea is less a bit of advice and more so an inevitable part of starting something new. Prepare to be humbled by the experience. You must be open, listen, explore, allow yourself to be a student. The beginning can be an overwhelming place to find yourself but there is a vulnerability in new starts that is worth embracing. You must admit there are others who know more, do more and do it better but decide to keep going anyway.
Have courage. We love to talk ourselves out of things, to retreat to our cozy comfort zones. The comfort zone is a lovely place to be - where there are no surprises or lofty expectations. A place where you can simply pass the time. Or in other words, waste it. We’re here to grow and evolve. If you’re feeling stagnant, bored, or disconnected, it’s probably time to step up and step into something new. This could be an elevated position at your firm, as head of a project planning committee, or coach of your kid’s sports team. Show up, engage, do something that requires more of you and pushes you outside of your comfy, cozy boundaries.
Take messy action. And take this sentiment with a grain of salt. If you work in the accounting profession, you should probably not be taking this in a literal sense. What I mean to say is don’t get so caught up in planning to take action that you never do. Commit yourself by speaking up, investing in yourself, verbalizing your goals, taking the first step, putting things into motion. Yes, make a plan - and then begin! For example, have you been putting off taking charge of your health and losing the 30 lbs. that snuck up on you over the years? Stop pinning low-carb recipes and go for a walk. Momentum is a powerful force, but you won’t have it until you take action.
Find a mentor, coach or community to support you. This is huge! You have to be accountable to someone outside of yourself. It is far too easy to let yourself off the hook and you’re likely to make greater strides when someone who is invested in your success is watching. In the overwhelm of your new pursuit, a mentor can objectively assess your position and identify the next most-important-thing so you can focus on what matters and let go of worrying that you’re not doing enough or doing things right.
Finding a community with like-minded people who have similar goals will keep you grounded. It’s easy to drift into self-doubt when starting something new. In the company of others who are going through a similar experience, you get confirmation that you’re not alone or crazy or incapable - you learn that everyone feels unsteady from time to time. Additionally, you can witness one another's success which naturally affirms the belief you have in your ability to reach your goals.
Don’t forget to rest. Chasing after your personal and professional goals requires a great deal of physical, mental and emotional energy. Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking your stress will disappear when you “get it all done.” You and I know there is always more to do. Find activities you enjoy to manage any overwhelm, be it meditation, exercise, time with family and friends, getting outdoors, having a date night, or taking a day off. If you find yourself going through the motions and running yourself ragged, have the awareness to check yourself and take a break. I’m always amazed by the ease of progress after a solid reprieve.
Spring is a wonderful time to start anew. With major deadlines behind you, longer days and the evidence of renewed life all around - what will you begin?