‘Evolution’ is not a word you’d necessarily associate with ‘business’, yet it’s definitely one that features in pretty much every ‘prime time’ business. And today’s guest blogger, Lesley Pyne, is a fantastic example of a woman drawn to starting a business in her 50’s as part of her personal evolution.
It was Lesley’s own painful experiences, combined with an acknowledgement that it was time for things to change, which catapulted her into action. And as her story illustrates, it’s a continuing evolution accompanied by continuing growth, expansion and development – both on a personal AND a business level.
Over to you, Lesley….
Six years ago, after I finished training in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) I set up a coaching business to help women in midlife. It didn’t work because I wasn’t being true to myself. I wanted to support childless women but didn’t feel strong enough to do it because it meant being open about my story and myself.
Then I read this quote by Brené Brown, from Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead
“…. nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous and hurtful as believing that I’m standing on the outside of my life looking in and wondering what it would be like if I had the courage to show up and let myself be seen.”
It jolted me to the core as I realised how perfectly it described my life. I was standing on the outside, hiding my true self. And it hurt. A lot. I decided that I’d had enough of hiding but I didn’t know what to do; being open and honest about my life and my story seemed too hard. So I did the best thing I could which was to ask for help. I found Karen, who immediately believed in me and the difference I wanted to make in the world. Her belief and the work we did together gave me the courage to change my business to coaching childless women.
I thought, yes I’m okay now I have the business I want.
The evolution continues….
My business continued to evolve over the years but finding a regular flow of clients was always hard. I didn’t really enjoy it and was never as good at coaching as I wanted to be.
During this time my Dad died and I was really struggling to come to terms with his loss. Then one day in a yoga class, I heard a really strong calling to write a book. I saw myself at the publication party surrounded by close friends and those who’d helped me and the book become a reality. My body was flooded with wonderful feelings as I realised how much I wanted to:
- hold the book in my hand and
- show other women that they can have a fulfilling life and how to achieve it.
So fast forward 18 months, and I can hold my book ‘Finding Joy Beyond Childlessness: Inspiring Stories to Guide You to a Fulfilling Life’ in my hand anytime I want. And here I am with Karen at the publication party I imagined in my head.
Now, having done the work I am a completely different person. Well maybe not completely different. I am now closer to being the true, authentic Lesley and I am extremely happy and comfortable in my own skin. Would I have done this work if I wasn’t writing the book? Of course I can’t answer that question, but given that writing was my biggest incentive it seems unlikely. As I thought about what to write, I realise that what I’ve learned can be summarised into three key things.
Three things I’ve learned
In the years I’ve had a business there have been many times I’ve struggled and wondered whether I was doing the ‘right’ thing. But now looking back I’m glad that everything happened as it did because otherwise I wouldn’t be where I am, and more importantly who I am now.
Of course it wasn’t quite that simple or straightforward, essentially I was writing about different ways of working through grief. And in digging wholeheartedly into the subjects of each chapter, I’ve worked through the grief I was carrying from my childlessness and the loss of both parents.
Luckily, I’d been collecting stories on my website for a few years. I’d been using a standard list of questions to understand what other childless women had done to achieve a fulfilling life and I realised that there were many common themes which I could use for the different chapters.
1. The importance of starting and being open to your business evolving over time
I’ve had two false starts before writing my book. They were both incredibly painful, but I’m glad they happened because each time I became stronger and learned a lot. They also encouraged me to be open to new ideas and options.
So please know that you will absolutely fail, things won’t always go to plan and you will want to give up. This happens to everyone and when you take the time to look you will see that there are gifts, and often the biggest gift is your own growth.
2. Ask for help
I couldn’t have done this without Karen’s help. Well you’d expect me to say that wouldn’t you, this is her blog after all. But it’s absolutely true, working with Karen was pivotal to getting me started and she’s been there, supporting and encouraging me all the way. And not just Karen, I could make a list of others who’ve been essential to helping me get to where I am now.
So if you’re not sure about getting support, let me ask why you think you can set up and run your business on your own? My guess is you employ an accountant and car mechanic, so why not use specialist help to get your business on the road, maybe a business coach, social media expert, website specialist, etc, etc. All the business women I know have had support at some point on their way. I used to think that asking for help was weak, and now I know it’s the wise thing to do.
3. Be open to HOW you achieve your dreams
My goal has always been to support childless women, to show that they can have a fulfilling life when the dream they worked so hard for didn’t come true. I thought I would do this by coaching. In the end, with my book I will potentially reach many, many more than I would have done if I’d been fixated on coaching.
So dear reader, please don’t have the idea that you can achieve your dream in only one way. Be open to the Universe gifting you false starts and unexpected turns and most importantly start now. Because one thing is certain, if you don’t start, you will never realise your dream.
How about you?
Does Lesley’s story resonate with you? If business has been an integral part of your personal evolution, I’d love to hear about it, so please leave your comments and feedback below.