A few months after I put that request out there I heard about health coaching for the first time. It seemed like a perfect match for me so I signed up for a certification program. I was hoping that the school would show me how to build a business that would support me both financially and spiritually, but I had no idea what that would actually look like or feel like in actual practice.
I was literally shaking, but I knew that I knew how to do school so I told myself to just read the intro materials. Then do the first lesson. Over the next year, I followed the instructions, successfully completed the program, and worked with my first client. I loved it! Health coaching really did seem like the business I wanted to be in.
Then I discovered that I had to market my business if I wanted to get more clients. I had to put myself out there and be seen. I had to take consistent actions to move towards my goals. This was so different than anything that I had done before that I was almost paralyzed. Almost. But I’m very tenacious once I commit to something. I realized I couldn’t do it on my own and had to find a lot of help. I hired a business coach and joined an online community of entrepreneurs who were building service businesses based on more than just the financial bottom line. And I recruited some partners.
Today, it still requires taking some deep breaths to take some of the necessary actions to make the connections and move forward. And I am still pushing my own boundaries. Constantly. But I’m no longer terrified of it. Along the way I have heard that entrepreneurship is a great vehicle for personal growth. That has certainly been my experience. In small ways and big ways I’ve had to change almost everything I thought about my capacity to do things.
Living a life dedicated to growth is almost always uncomfortable because I’m always doing new things, stepping out of my comfort zone to get to the next level. I had a yoga teacher once who explained it like this: life is like a yoga stretch. You want to go to the point of stretching yourself, to the point of discomfort but not pain. Then you sit there in the stretch until it becomes something you’re easily able to do.
Some of the things I’ve learned on this journey: to be compassionate with myself and others; that mistakes are how we learn what doesn’t work; that if we approach any issue with curiosity instead of judgement it becomes an opportunity; to be willing to be vulnerable; to ask for lots of help.
An oft used metaphor says we should keep putting one foot in front of the other. But that implies linear motion, as well as a certain tendency towards trudging. I prefer to think of it as a dance. Sometimes my feet go forward, sometimes they go sideways, sometimes backwards, but I’m always moving, changing my perspectives and improving my flexibility.
I’m a romantic. I want life to be magical. And I’ve learned that that means I have to step outside my comfort zone and dance.