“In all new things you do, be like an infant learning to walk. They neither write a business plan nor articulate a goal. They just take those imperfect shaky steps over and over again until they finally succeed.”-Jasmine Wilborne Founder and CEO of Anna Hope Coaching
People started saying weird things to me once I started High School.
Usually the words would come after an engaging intellectual conversation. They’d get this look of admiration or wonder and say, “You’ll be good at anything you do.” Or “You’re an amazing writer, you need to write a book.” Or more recently, “You are so inspiring. Have you considered becoming a life coach?”
For the last 15 years people (friends, family, clergy, strangers) have imagined a beautiful legacy for me sometimes within moments of meeting me.
I’ve always felt incredibly flattered and emotionally buoyed by the positive visions people had for me. But privately, once the moment passed, I’ve always felt deeply inadequate and in some ways like a failure.
As much as I’ve tried to utilize my entrepreneurial spirit, writing skills and public speaking ability, I’ve faced obstacles that felt insurmountable to me and quit. This is true for nearly every big idea I’ve had.
During the pandemic, a friend of mine asked if I could give him dating advice. I was overjoyed! I deliberately taught myself how to become a more attractive, confident and date-worthy woman and knew exactly how to change this guys life around.
Within a week I had designed a 5-part program called “You Meet Her: An Intuitive Dating Program for Men”. Within 10-weeks I had coached and “graduated” two of my guy friends from the program. I felt amazing and filled with a sense of purpose and promise that I had tasted when people had talked to me. Within two months I had designed a simple website, written my first article and invited my friends to like the Facebook page. I could to this. I was going to build my life coaching company on this dating program.
Then suddenly, without a moment of consideration, I quit.
I even wrote about me quitting in this Facebook post.
In short, I mused, I couldn’t sacrifice everything it would take to grow a business (or write and publish a book) just for the monetary gain. I didn’t care about money enough to monetize my skills and talents. I wasn’t fueled by money, but by pleasure and I didn’t find working for money pleasurable. Especially, if it meant that I could spend years toiling away at something that I did for fun, just for money.
It wasn’t until I called my uncle a few days ago that I learned my “why of quitting” I was wrong.
“When are you going to open your own daycare?” He asked after I told him how much fun I was having in my new role as a Pre-K teacher.
This was an easy question, I had discovered the answer just a few weeks ago.
“Never,” I said. “I’ve learned after starting two different companies and attempting to write a book that I’m not built to be an entrepreneur. It’s too stressful. I don’t like the idea of being tied down to something I’m building. If it’s a beautiful day out, I’m going to the beach. Not working on my website or handling a customer refund.”
He laughed. “That’s a good thing to know about yourself. But I think you are looking at this all wrong. Your business should be as big as your current life and desire allows. For instance, you could choose that you are going to work with two clients every six months.”
My heart stopped. “I never thought about that. I just imagined what the finished product would be and all the systems I would have to create and sustain to get it there. It takes so much time and sacrifice to build something worthwhile. I can’t commit to all those nights.”
My Uncle laughed, “Yeah. You’re a big picture thinker who has the ability to envision making that big picture possible. And because you understand what it takes, you got paralyzed in your own capacity to make it happen. Don’t do that. Take little steps and expand your dream as you master each baby step.”
We talked a bit more and I concluded that I had to change my mindset to embrace achieving small goals toward the big one: owning my own business and publishing a book.
Suddenly, I understood why my attempts at creating something failed. I had become so committed to being perfect that I quit when I couldn’t get things just right. With a simple switch of mindset and with an endless slew of mini-goals and checkpoints along the way, I could gradually and incrementally grow something that I could be proud of.
If I took just tiny baby steps, I would be able to make my dreams reality.