I started my business because I wanted more quality time with my kids
When I started my diary business, it was with the idea of spending more time with my kids. What happened was the complete opposite, I found myself so snowed under with work, spending less time than ever before with the family. For the first 5 years I was literally “running my busyness” non-stop on the go, I was burning the candle at both ends thinking that one day when I arrive there, I would be able to slow down. The problem was, I didn’t even know where or what there was. While I achieved a lot in that time, my quality of life was not great. I was a typical case of “being driven”, instead of being the driver, and I was constantly being bumped into things. It took a couple of harsh wake up calls for me to realise my life was horribly out of balance.
They say when the student is ready, the teacher will appear! It was early in 2014 after some of these “wake up calls” that I met a guy named Greg, the first of many “teachers” who I would meet along the way. Greg introduced me to a course that started my incredible journey of changing my world from running a busyness to actually living my life. Within 2 weeks of starting the goal setting course I was hit with pneumonia – very unusual for me as in my “busyness”, I had never allowed myself a sick day. I pushed through for the first 3 weeks, coughing my way through meetings, not going to see a doctor, until my body couldn’t any more. The doctor said that if I did not go straight to bed and stay there, she was putting me in hospital. It took me months after that to fully recover. I was not able to do any exercise, shopping or chores for quite a while. I look back at this experience with gratitude as I know now that it was sent to slow me down. Even though I still had my laptop and the rest of my office in bed with me, I had to allow myself the time to sleep when I needed to and for the first time I had to depend on other people to do things for me.
A very impactful part of my healing from the pneumonia and transformation towards my new life came when we went on the most amazing holiday to a Game Reserve. This was just what I needed, a whole week in nature with beautiful views and no stress. It was my first proper holiday in a long time and was huge confirmation of what life should be about. It taught me that the reason we work should be so that we can have these kinds of experiences, not the other way around!
The route to our goals isn’t always what we expect
One of the things I have learnt on this journey is that when we set goals, it is so important to know and focus on the outcome, more so than trying to work out how we will get there. And that is the beautiful part of this process. An example of this is how three of the outcomes that I had written down were achieved in one activity, without me contemplating the how. I was adamant that I wanted to spend more time with my family, be out in nature and stay fit and healthy; shortly thereafter, we started doing early morning family rides at the weekend, driving to somewhere beautiful and safe, have a wonderful ride, and then rounding it off with coffee or breakfast. It was the most amazing bonding time for all of us. I have had many more examples of this along the way.
Obstacles are sometimes put there to guide us on the right path
Another lesson that I learnt while on this journey, is that there are always going to be bumps in the road along the way. One of these road bumps was near the end of 2014, at a time when it looked like I was going to have a perfect year that would finally give me the break that I needed. Instead, I spent my December nights tossing and turning and feeling completely ill from the stress. At the time I questioned how this could be happening to me after I had been so focused on my goals and what I wanted in my life. It felt like the complete opposite was happening.
This led me to the point where I felt I had to let go of my business before I did any more damage; I simply could not carry on like that. My health and my family were suffering. So I made the decision to let go of the business. An incredible thing happened after I let go – it came back to me, but in a completely different way and a way that I could never have imagined or predicted. My diaries are now published by a large company with an infrastructure that supports me and has taken parts of the business, which was causing me stress and keeping me busy, off my hands.
Once again, through this it reiterated the realisation that when we are so clear in asking for what we want, we need to be prepared to accept how it plays out because it rarely happens the way we expect it to. In my case, it felt like everything was against me, but in retrospect I truly believe my higher power was trying to steer me in a different direction because the way I was doing things was never going to allow me to achieve the balance in my life that I so desperately wanted. Even though I had started finding some balance by doing more fun things, everything about my business was still causing me to stay busy. I had to trust the process and to let go of my own will.
A few years down the line, I am finding these bumps are getting less frequent and far easier to overcome.
Finding my Balance
Having a less cluttered work day gave me time to start spending more time with myself. Between a couple of women’s weekends away, workshops, retreats, healing sessions and generally just spending time getting in touch with the person who I had lost over the years, I gradually started to heal and move into the next phase of my life.
Many years ago I was given a message by a very dear person that one day I would write a book and that I would stand up and speak in front of others and help them. Besides not being my focus, I had no idea what I would write a book about AND I was terrified of public speaking, so at the time I just parked the idea without giving it much thought. The direction that my life is being led in now is testimony that this prophecy was completely accurate.
After taking part in a pitch presentation in front of about 60 people and a scary panel of judges, and having been placed first for that, my confidence to speak took a huge step up. Since then I have done workshops, facilitated sessions with companies, given talks and training. As long as I am speaking from my heart, it always lights up my soul.
Last year I even took myself on a holiday to Vietnam for nearly a month to visit my two oldest sons. That is something that my “old self” would never have even considered as a possibility, but that is a whole story for another day. What I do want to say is that it was a life changing trip and the birth of my book happened on the airplane on the way to Vietnam. I have yet to publish the book, but it is written and ready for me to take the next step.
Although it’s been a process and my journey is far from over, my perception of life has changed so much and even though there are still challenges to overcome I have peace in knowing that I can do it. I wake up each morning with the excitement of finding out what life has in store for me today and what the next step of my journey will be. I feel that my balance has been restored.