What are your dreams when it comes to your career or working life? Perhaps to stop working for someone else, find your “true” passion and have total control over your life? Maybe you already do, but you are wondering why, and how to make it work?
I want to tell you a story about someone I know who was inspired by some dark parts of her life to take the leap, and found something amazing.
Starting with this poem.
like a rabbit on the road,
this place, unfamiliar,
long, dark and endless,
leading nowhere apparently,
each side of the road
suddenly shoved in my face,
fear, panic and now
cars run over the top of me
squashing me flat
making me stay
part of the road
and the endless white lines.
Do you know the author of this poem?
Well you do, because I wrote it back in February 1997 when I was in the middle of a break down and the grip of major depression, anxiety and panic attacks. I had suffered depression before in my life, but after post traumatic stress through my work in child protection and family violence, it all got the better of me and I lost control of my life.
As I got better, I decided that I did not want to feel this lack of control ever again. I stopped drinking to avoid that feeling. I looked for ways out of the system I was working in. Eventually I decided to take total control and left my job on the whim of starting my own business helping people with diabetes, using the then very new Internet. I had an idea about helping people (I have lived with type 1 diabetes since I was 12 years old), to have better wellbeing and quality of life through online support and counselling. People with diabetes suffer double the rates of depression compared to the rest of the population and greatly reduced wellbeing.
Lots of people thought I was mad and could not understand how you could do this using this Internet thing. But I could see something.
This tiny idea is now 15 years down the track and is a thriving online counselling and support service for people living with diabetes. Other people are just catching up, and e health is now a growing trend. We provide counselling and education via email and closed groups in Facebook, information, resources and a blog, which is a place for us and our community to share stories. I have won multiple grants and awards over the past 15 years, including a large Commonwealth grant that is just about to end, which we have used over the past 3 years to develop resources and services.
I am half way through my PhD. I studied and became a diabetes educator. My business is a charity and supports thousands of people all over the world. I did not have to go back to work for someone else. My idea grown out of that dark part of my life was not stupid. It was in fact, great.
In 2013 a new chapter started when I became burnt out from living with, working in and studying, diabetes. Managing a huge grant like that, with a new team of people, was not all it was cracked up to be. I needed an outlet that was simply me and nothing related to diabetes. My creativity, passion for the world, people, wellbeing and love of design, led to Recycled Interiors. At first as a blog, a way to tell and share stories about sustainable design and living, health and happiness.
As it grew it became clear that my stories were striking a chord with LOTS of other people, and you all became the wonderful community around Recycled Interiors! Then the possibility of services and products grew from this, that it could be more than words and stories, and we get to where I am today consulting in and blogging about social media, sustainable interiors and wellbeing.
The point of this story, is that my story is the driving force behind how I got to where I am now. All of my story, and in fact the difficult and painful parts have most often been the ones which have propelled me to take action to make great changes in my life.
Have you experienced that?
If you are in business for yourself, or want to be, or want to be but are worried about taking the leap, you will also have stories which have led you to NOW. These stories are the reason you are where you stand at this moment. And they are the stories which will propel you to take the steps to where you want to go next, even if you are unsure about it.
I have learnt through this past 15 years of making my living from the internet, and not having to work for someone else, that there are some important things about stories:
- We all have them and we have many of them
- You often get stuck with a dominant story of you and your life, but you need to look hard at all the alternative ones
- Your stories matter and need to be shared
- Your passions and your dreams are inside your stories
- Telling your stories will help you navigate where you want to go, create your community, and work out how you can help enrich their lives and your own, for the better
So spending time thinking, writing and planning, around your stories, your values and your dreams, really matters.
I have also learnt that succesfully working for yourself requires my “7 P’s of heartfelt & mindful business”:
- Productivity; and
I am talking more about this, along with Michaela Clark from Tradies VA and Kelly Exeter from A Life Less Frantic, in the small business blogging bootcamp at the upcoming Pro Blogger event on the Gold Coast, and will expand on some of these points in my talk. There are still a few tickets left if you want to come along to the conference. I wrote about my experience there last year here. I highly recommend it!
I am also including some of these things in my workshop coming up on 4th August in Adelaide, Heartfelt & Mindful Business and Social Media. You can see more here. And book here. I also plan to run some online courses soon.
Whatever your dreams are, you should think about taking that first step, even if it is coming from a dark place, and no matter how scary it is. You never know where it may take you, it might just be up the cliff and over the top to the sunshine.
Do you have a dream and are you are a bit scared to take the leap?