Heard that quote before? So have I. Several years ago. When I was building what was at the time, one of my businesses. My intensity was so focused that my mind, body, and spirit became imbalanced and disconnected. I ballooned to my highest weight, to the point where the mirror reflected someone I did not recognize. More urgently, I became physically ill. I was forcing my success and following all the motivational quotes I favored, only to retreat to square one.
You see, I was focused, but I wasn’t paying attention. That’s the difference. I was listening, but I did not hear. I began to wither more and more. Meanwhile, I ventured out to networking and seminars to see what I was missing and what I wasn’t learning.
And there’s the rub.
In business, as in life, we need knowledge, education, tools, and training to support us. All of this is tantamount to our success as entrepreneurs and business owners, as is branding, marketing/advertising, team-building, etc. The misconception, however, is in thinking that this is all you need. If it were that simple, would not everyone be successful?
When I won the Inspiring Lives’ Empowerment Award (for Leading Women to Their Own Empowerment) this year, hearing my name being announced was surreal—not because I felt I was undeserving but because I didn’t feel I contributed much effort toward winning. In the past and in many goals I was driven to achieve, I not only put in tons of effort, but I had to be in control. For me, asking for anything was not a strong suit and, as I came to realize, not asking for help is a weakness.
Shortly before meeting Dr. Shellie Hipsky last March, I had decided to overcome my fear of “asking.” “What’s the worst that could happen?” I asked myself. And so I asked a friend to introduce me to Shellie. Had I not crept out of my comfort zone, I would never have enjoyed the exquisite experience of being a part of an amazing Global Sisterhood and league of extraordinary women. By now I knew that asking and getting a “no” was not the end of the world and that there are reasons for every “no,” one being that something better is always behind the rejection.
What three empowering lessons can you learn from the previous paragraph?
- Learn what your weakness is. Lean into and face it head on, no questions asked.
- Know that you can learn everything you need to in order to propel your business, but you cannot lead yourself.
- Relinquish control and allow yourself to “be led.” I now know from personal experience that you can be equipped with all the information in the world, but it is not the catalyst to business growth. That said, I would love to be able to say that I controlled my destiny, but the only thing I really controlled was my ego, or rather, my ego controlled me. If not, surely I could have predicted what was going to happen, right? It’s also easier to say buh-bye to the ego and live life day-to-day, hour-by-hour, moment-by-moment. It just is. I am better served when I let go of my own hold, empty my mind of preconceived notions of how things should run, and implement the tools, strategies, and action steps, and watch it flow. So much easier!
If you look back, you’ll see that this principle has applied and manifested time and again, whether it be with your business, personal life, or relationships. When you pursue what feels right, good, and clear, you will encounter more success than if you set out to accomplish it on your own! I can’t begin to recount how many times I started some new venture that lacked a sense of joy or “knowing” that this is what I was supposed to be doing.
Things are different now that I have found the reason and the answer. I’m not saying you shouldn’t let your passion lead. In fact, you should! Just know that the day will come when your deep passion and true purpose intersect, and when it does, everything will fit like a puzzle. Leading yourself to greatness—although in concept sounds profoundly powerful—is a fallacy. You can only be empowered by God…when, if, and until you have found, as Paulo Coelho describes it, your “personal legend.”
Of course it will take time. There is a rocky road ahead of you, and roadblocks will appear in order for growth spurts to happen. And the blocks will become bigger and the road rockier. Brace yourself, pace yourself, find balance, don’t quit, be relentless, and understand that every hardship and challenge is meant to move you to the next level in momentum. All of this, in hindsight, is good and in God’s plan. Be patient with yourself!
And if you lead with the soul, your business WILL manifest. As Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ CEO, professes, “Every business should have a soul!”
Caryn Chow, America’s “Love your Life Coach” is an author, speaker, celebrity, and lifestyle architect. Caryn Chow helps people offset their mindset utilizing a unique blend of mindfulness and breakthrough techniques.