This post is about one of the most inevitable things about business... Change. Last year so many wonderful and great things changed for Making Straight Paths (MSP) but one of the biggest changes was realizing business as usual had to well... Change! To get to the goals I set for myself and this company, I needed to completely overhaul everything starting from the top down. This post will guide you on how to tell when its time to make a change and hopefully encourage you to not waste any time making it! Oh and there's some Oprah in here too. Ok make that LOTS of Oprah (Can you ever have too much?). Hope you enjoy!
Let's set the scene… I was coming off from a VERY successful July with the Summer Sizzler Series (see more here) and other events culminating in a whirlwind trip to Boston (see pics here) when BAM! I get hit with some big changes all at once!
- My lease was up and I needed to move by the end of August, and had nowhere to go. (Don't judge me! I really thought I could just do a last minute renewal but, "No way Jose!" They had already sold the spot right from under me!)
- I needed money (FAST) to move and make some moves, and didn’t have it nor know where to even get started.
- My business income, was not only inconsistent but not really what I wanted because I began to hate what and how I was doing what I do. I needed to make some BIG changes in the way I was running this business but couldn’t figure out how. I felt stuck and overwhelmed but didn't have enough time to deal with my situation.
Knowing WHEN IT’S TIME TO MAKE A CHANGE:
The space between where you are and your goals is expanding - Yes it will take time to achieve your goals that's why they are there but if what you are doing is not directly taking you TOWARDS your goals there is a problem. My day to day operations were NOT directly correlated to my future. Matter of fact they weren't actually helping my present situation either.... (more of that later). If you want to go somewhere you need to map your steps to ensure you stay focused on your bottom line and the purpose of your entrepreneurial journey. Also make sure you do systematic checks to quickly catch if you've taken any unnecessary detours while trying to take the "scenic route."
There is a growing sense of discontentment - Although I was “busy” in my business I was becoming more and more unhappy with my life. My choices were not being authentic with my values. I was accepting behavior from others that wasn’t serving me. I was having limiting beliefs and a ton of STRESS. And I wasn’t really sure where I was going… Listen to yourself. If you are unhappy take some time to explore why and then bust a move! Don't wait for ANYONE to co-sign your misery. Most people will never understand what it is to be you and NO ONE can feel how you feel. Think about what needs to be done and rip the band-aid off!
You are being forced to make a change that you probably should have made already - In the Fall I had to deal with a series of changes/upgrades that I can’t say I was best prepared for. I executed with the best amount of grace I could muster but I wish I could have done things differently and had more time to process. First, I needed to move. Yes my lease was up but I had really outgrown the space. I wanted something that reflected where I was going and although I was "comfortable" I really was stunting my growth. I also needed to "Get My Money Right" the reality was I had poor money habits. I was in denial about my debt and even worse not taking ACTIVE steps to make changes. As with most young adults I was hoping if I ignored it my money mess would just go away. Not a chance honey! I had to face the mess, make a plan, and take action!
I was just miserable I finally found a place to move ONE week before my lease was up. I found what looked like would be an easy and simple job to help with my finances. Unfortunately, it turned out to NOT be the best fit! And I finally was brave enough to say no and change how (and who) I coached but could not figure out how to get to my ideal clients nor how to make the money I DESPERATELY needed! Now what?
HOW TO MAKE THE CHANGE:
Realize change doesn't have to be negative - Often people do not like change because they become too married to their vision or routine. And by people I mean me. I had a plan. I’m a planner. Although unrealistic I knew my plan would just come together and everything would work according to MY schedule. I quickly learned that the very one thing that you are gripping to may be the very thing that is holding you back. In reality, the “PLAN” was causing a TON of stress and worry. Now I’m stuck in a job I hate because I NEED money. I moved to a new side of town and was living out of boxes and on takeout. And I couldn’t figure out how to salvage and re-start my business or if I even wanted to… The best way to embrace change is to remember two very simple things:
Be present - Often with change we rush back to the past and think or romanticize how things used to be. Or we rush to the future and think of how things will go from here. Just stay in the present and accept the now. Do not be the big tall oak in the middle of the storm but rather be a flexible palm that may easily bend but not break. I realized I can either continue to resist that I was in a new area and with some new challenges or not. I decided to embrace it. Hey! Let’s make this an adventure.
Have Grace - You are human therefore you will make mistakes. It's ok. Anyone who tells you differently is lying and probably in denial… That job I didn’t like apparently didn’t like me much either and I got fired… The beautiful thing was instead of being judged, the people around me told me of their stories of being fired and I actually realized that it was a blessing because our values never really matched anyways. Above all else it taught me some much needed lessons and FREED me to get back to working ON my business. I was STIRRED to get my hustle on and do what needed to be done! I was RELEASED to my next phase!
So here I am about to embark on a new phase of working ON my business not IN my business. I took up THREE part-time jobs and just was GRINDING & LEARNING. I was working like no other but I was happy. I consumed all I could about growing my business as quickly as I could. I also took some time to re-work the vision without the PRESSURE of having to perform. I was making money and helping others which helped restore my vision of myself and restore my pockets! Then I received emails from two fellow entrepreneurs that I totally admire not only declaring their mid-business pivots, but explaining how important it was to do so!
It was just something about seeing these brands and women that I admire say, “Hey! I’m making a change!” that freed me to embrace my changes even more. I had already given myself permission but now I could give myself a pat on the back! I was in great company! And maybe MORE people needed to do the same type of self-care to sustain and evolve their businesses and lives. I always say your business is as healthy as your life and now I was living it even more.
Stop thinking you have “THE” plan - You have a plan and honestly maybe not the best. For all of my planning last year most of it probably wasn’t going to serve my highest good and was very stressful. I was trying to achieve some pretty lofty goals in an unrealistic amount of time. Which brought a HUGE amount of stress and worry. I haven't stopped planning, however, I have learned to change HOW I planned. No longer was I going to box my future into a set schedule but instead I would examine the necessary steps I needed to take, prepare as best I can, and let God work out the rest.
Choosing to live EVERYDAY doing what I really want - Becoming laser focused on what brings me joy and how to incorporate that more into my business and life. Que Oprah! During this transition the “Life You Want Tour” was coming to Houston and although I was low on dough I knew I didn’t want to waste such a great opportunity to choose to live my best today. And of course see the ultimate Shero Ms. Winfrey!
The tour was AMAZING from every part. It was a branding and business tour de france. A spiritual and personal heralding to the masses. And a great re-charge and re-set in perspective. My favorite part was being lead by Oprah herself through what she has found as the thread of her life and the power of just following that thread. Lady O gave us homework and asked to boil all of our dreams down to the things that really speak to us and I realized while I may not be able to plan for the next 5 years but right now all I wanted to do was - Speak, Teach, and Write.
Now - March 2015
So in all I took 6 months OFF of my business and I’m ready to jump back in! The funny thing is I made more money while OFF then while I was ON. I started TWO new and lucrative consulting projects and made more in the FIRST quarter of 2015 then I made all last year! I’m in the beginning phases of some super cool projects (coming to you later this year) and re-connecting with some like-minded entrepreneurs. I’m super CLEAR about what needs to be done and making active steps to get there. I am fulfilling ALL parts of me and LOVING everyday! I can attest all of this to Oprah! J/K. No all of these changes occurred once I STOPPED fighting or resisting the changes that were happening not TO me but FOR me. Also once I began to just let go of PLANNING and focus more on PREPARING I began to bring in the right amount of energy and excitement to my business. The kind of energy that attracts what you want and propels what will not serve you! I cannot wait to Speak to more audiences and TEACH them all that I learned about the often tumultuous journey of entrepreneurship. I also plan to continue to WRITE more on this platform and others (stay tuned) to continue to spread the message of being a purpose-minded entrepreneur and what you will need for the journey.
My wish for you is that you take time to reflect about where you are and where you want to be and take stock. I hope you feel inspired by my honesty and get moving to make some of the changes you may need to make. But above all else I wish that you realize your entrepreneurial journey is full of surprises but that EACH part is necessary for your overall success. Until next time!