I’m signing off the Internet for 10 days to have family time starting on Thursday 17 December. But before then, I am taking stock of 2015 and celebrating one of the biggest achievements of this year: birthing my business.
The journey began in January 2015. I was over eight months pregnant. I left for maternity leave from my academic job with a huge relief. It was time to put my feet up and wait for my baby girl’s arrival, right?
Well, not in my case. Instead, I enrolled in a high intensity immersion programme with the amazing Samantha Nolan-Smith. A dozen of us across the world came together to mastermind and build a business from the inside out.
The immersion programme was just that: a complete immersion into building a business. Every week, there was a community call. We had a healing workshop on week 1, a business strategy session in week 2, implementation time in week 3, and masterminding in small groups in week 4. At the time, I didn’t even have a business. All I had was a vague idea that one day I’d leave my academic job. Except for a burning passion to learn and grow, I had no idea where this path was leading me.
I simply put one foot in front of the other.
It wasn’t easy to start with. My baby was in the breach position (as in not facing the right way down to come out relatively easily) and I had to fight the medical profession not to write off my chances of giving birth naturally. It was perhaps the first time in my life I was willing to stand up for myself so clearly. I did everything under the sun to encourage my baby to turn – and she did.
What was going on in my personal life was very much the reflection of my participation in the immersion programme. It was time for me to define what exactly I wanted from life, not just to let the river of life take me to places, however nice or pleasant they might have been from time to time. My birth experience had also encouraged me to speak up. It’s interesting that my writing voice has changed since then. It was as if I was forced out of my hiding place at long last. I didn’t want to carry the burden of unsaid words anymore. Having conveyed the things which I was unhappy about in my care, I left the hospital empowered to the degree that three weeks later I was back to share my birth stories with the board of the maternity hospital, in the hope that it would help to improve the standard of care for other women.
Despite a beautiful labour in a warm pool in my dining room, my baby girl arrived via an emergency C-section. I caught up with my mastermind tasks with relative ease. Within four weeks post surgery, I was editing my manuscript. In April, I joined a blogging challenge that helped me to build my blogging muscle and explore the theme of ‘authenticity’. Attending webinars with my mastermind group, I worked tirelessly on identifying who I wanted to serve through my writing, what was my big Why and what I needed to do to achieve it.
Then in mid-April, I had a conversation about my desire to teach and run writing workshops. I wanted to integrate self-development/spiritual tools with writing practice. By then, I had ample evidence in my own life that clearing the inner blocks can make writing effortless and joyful.
‘Why don’t you start by offering 1:1 work? Build it from there,’ the director of the writer development programme that supported me for a year suggested.
I came to my mastermind group in panic.
‘I’ve got nothing to offer,’ I concluded after a long monologue.
My group brainstormed with me and within a month I offered my first 1:1. Several sessions followed shortly after. People I’ve been working with were having breakthroughs and meaningful shifts. I started training to enhance my skills and toolbox.
Within a few months, my offering took a clear shape. Here it is.
My whole life has been a journey of reclaiming my authenticity and voice, and it came together in this offering. It has helped me to grow in ways I didn’t imagine were possible. It taught me to get comfortable with
- Shining my light in the world
- Giving and receiving without getting in my own way
- Embracing my inner healer.
My unquenchable desire to write a book has finally made sense: I wanted to facilitate healing through sharing my personal experiences, to give voice to those who may never be heard otherwise, and to inspire transformation.
With this clarity and Samantha’s step-by-step guidance, building my business was in some ways plain sailing.
For example, in May, our assignment was to submit three guest blog posts. The aim was to reach people who’d be interested in our work. Starting on the same day, I got e-mails popping into my mailbox with the simple message: ‘Guest bloggers needed.’
A month later, we were asked to prepare a gift for our mastermind: something relevant to our business that came from heart. I set a small photo camera in my dining room and shot a short video explaining why I feel so passionate about the message of my book. The next day, I accidentally ran into the crew of a BBC radio station who were actively seeking out people who wanted to be interviewed on the same day. With the video shoot in my dining room the day before, speaking about my book on radio felt easy.
I’d never imagined before using the word ‘easy’ in relation to building a business. But ease and flow are two constants of this year. I took action, there was an internal response (usually fear or resistance, and often both), I did the inner work and cleared the blocks, took the next step with ease and confidence; then the deeper fear and resistance surfaced; I did more clearing, stepped forward and repeated the cycle. Except each time, the sense of ease, trust and confidence has deepened, and I cleared layer after layer of outdated fears and limiting beliefs.
I wish I could mastermind every year. The focus, support, clearing of inner block as they arise, and, more importantly, the momentum that propelled me towards my dreams, were priceless.