Every entrepreneur, or aspiring entrepreneur, has their own reasons for trying to start up their own business.
For some it’s money, no doubt, or a sense of purpose and independence, or an all-consuming idea, a way to do it better, or differently. Others may be to help, or to serve a greater purpose or be part of something bigger than they are.
For me, it was freedom; financial freedom for sure, but more of a sense that I was the captain of my own ship, charting my own course and deciding what I wanted to do, when, and with whom. I wanted to be accountable to myself.
When I first started the business, this was a pretty clear dream and it was an easier to achieve than I originally thought.
So naturally I wanted more. I wanted to make a difference; I wanted my company to be better, different. I wanted staff and customers that loved belonging to a company that looked towards continuing improvement and betterment of its staff, relationships, and its systems.
Secretly, I wanted to build a little empire and the recognition and accolades that go with that.
The business started growing, more money, staff, and shiny new offices. It all happened very organically at first – word of mouth, slowly adding new customers to our growing client list, keeping the existing ones happy.
People around me noticed the changes too, I’m sure. Nicer car, bigger apartment, bigger bank account. It was my dream come true.
I was miserable.
Sleepless nights, anxiety during the day, mental and physical exhaustion, and a constant nagging feeling that I don’t belong. I felt that I was an imposter and that I didn’t belong where I did. I didn’t know why I was doing this anymore, and I sure wasn’t having fun anymore.
Freedom flew out the window long ago.
I was focusing on just making it through another day. What I would give for just a regular 9-5 job at that point. I was in over my head.
A colleague, who was also owned a business, suggested a business coach. I admit that I scoffed at the idea at first. I had serious reservations about letting somebody else look behind the curtains; after all, I was an imposter.
What if they confirmed what I already knew myself – I’m out of my league. I relented and he put me in touch with Beverlee.
I’ll never forget that first meeting with Beverlee. She listened to my story, taking notes, and asking questions. She started drawing boxes on paper and started inventorying these abstract ideas and feelings and turning them into concrete objectives.
After that one meeting, what was once was a giant ball of knotted ugliness now had definition and contrast with a beginning and an end. All the problems and issues were still there, surely, but I could grasp them now, and go on the offensive. I had something to work with. I had goals now and they had a timeline and could be measured!
She was able to get me to express, in my own words what I was doing this all for. I’d forgotten long ago – freedom.
Forget the business for a moment – she helped me find the hand holds that I needed in order to grab on to my life.
She taught me how to think systematically and empowered me to create my own systems and processes.
More importantly I could measure my success and finally score what I felt were wins.
Turns out I am good at this, I always have been. I’m not an imposter – I belong here. I just needed somebody to help me bring it into focus, and keep it in focus.
Where once I had a compass that gave me a general direction now is a GPS system with laser point accuracy. She acts as my reference point, a lighthouse in a sea that’s always changing – a beacon that I can look to for truth, honesty, and peace.
Here we are ten years later, and Beverlee and I still talk every Thursday. I look forward to our discussions just as much now as I did when I had all of these seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
Our income has more than quadrupled, and we’ve won awards for both growth and profitability. Our staff has tripled, and as well as the number of customers in our portfolio.
I am happy and I am free.
I now believe in myself as much as you always have, and for that I am very grateful.
Thank you, Beverlee.