I recently read a magazine article about Andrew, a 42-year old businessman. He gave up a demanding law practice in the Northeast, moved South to launch a new furniture and interior-design store, and wrote his first fiction novel in the midst of that transition. He persevered with his passion for writing, buoyed by the love and support of his family, by drafting ten pages daily for two years. Since the completion of his novel, he started a new advertising business and is co-authoring a non-fiction tale on top of his other interests.
Do you know people like Andrew? People who are Solo Mojos --- thriving, solo entrepreneurs who rack up quantum accomplishments in their business with relative ease while keeping up a fulfilling personal life. They have MORE money, time, joy and ENERGY for home and work! Solo-Es like Andrew have figured out their passion and true direction. They've found the 'juice' that fuels Solo Mojo power!
Managing energy and finding your juice may be the single most important skill for solo entrepreneurs to master. It's all about tapping into that unique energy that has you feeling like running faster than a speeding bullet and leaping over tall buildings in a single bound.
To set the record straight, when I talk about increasing energy, I don't necessarily mean doing more. What I'm getting at is reaching a feeling of being more alive and having the capacity to manifest more --- more money, time, joy, people --- in your life as a Solo-E.
Struggle and the Solo-E
After a global-trekking career with an international processor and distributor of agricultural products, Jean quit at 35 to have a baby and spend time with her family. When she considered going back to work in a corporate setting, she cringed: thinking of exhausting travel, long days and politics left a sick feeling in her stomach. She couldn't find the energy to go back to work.
When money pressures prompted her to act, Jean examined her values, strengths and passions. She realized a career as a financial planner was now an ideal fit for her life style. Three years and six million in managed funds later, Jean is glad she listened to the guidance provided by her struggle to return to work.
Have you seen signs of Jean's struggle in other Solo-Es? Or experienced it yourself?
-- Low energy
-- Physical symptoms like headache, sickness, pain
-- Emotional outbursts
-- Spinning or obsessive thoughts
-- Problems with clients, production
-- Not meeting your business goals
-- Problems with suppliers/vendors
-- Etc., etc.
Being drained and losing vitality is a death knell for Solo-Es. There's nobody to step in to run the show when you're feeling out of alignment. If you don't become very, very good at managing your energy, you'll face an uphill battle just to sustain your business, let alone grow it into the success of your dreams.
Struggle can be hard to pin down! Often, it seems easier to stay with what we know, and within the struggle, by maintaining habitual patterns or living with unconscious behaviors. Sometimes, we even deny there's a problem.
Moving from struggle to supreme Solo Mojo energy takes aligning all aspects of business and life with your true self. It takes learning to be extraordinary at remembering who you are, learning more deeply who you are, AND leveraging a supportive environment (getting help from others or learning new skills yourself), in order to reap extraordinary results.
It's important to get the right kind of support on the journey to re-energizing. Entrenched beliefs, attitudes and assumptions often fuel the struggle, especially if we're fixated on a specific idea or result. If we don't stop, look at what we're doing and try something different --- something really outside the box --- the struggle continues.
It helps to think about struggle as the result of forgetting who we are, of trying to be something we're not. Because struggle pops up when we don't leverage, honor or understand our gifts.
To gain perspective on struggle, think about how you'd respond to this question:
What would I have to believe about myself in order to be in this situation?
Whatever you do, don't go it alone. If you're stuck, sometimes an impartial outsider can offer perspective on the perfect remedy to the insanity of ongoing struggle! And beware of getting help that tells you what you want to hear ? find someone who will challenge you forward.
Struggle and Energy: the Inverse Proportions
As an occupational therapist (OT) in a public school system, Margaret was close to burnout. After talking with her supervisor, she learned part-time work was an option for her. The reduced schedule offered much-need relief with time for her beloved hobby of quilting and an opportunity to start a home-based OT practice.
Since cutting back hours at school, Margaret is now well on her way to achieving a thriving Solo-E business. The school system also implemented a buddy system to reduce the strain on OTs, in part because Margaret shared her concerns. As a result, Margaret's energy and enthusiasm has soared!
Energy is just like any other resource you need to manage --- money, time, food. You watch it come, you watch it go and, ultimately, you want a positive balance in your account!
Solo Mojos have figured out this simple truth: energy flows more when struggle is viewed as an opportunity to learn. They discovered that the more they struggle, the less energy they have. Conversely, the less they struggle, the more energy they generate.
So, the key to transcending struggle is to get comfortable with and learn from struggle. THEN energy increases. And this ability to increase and manage energy is directly proportional to the capacity to handle anything and everything in business and life.
If we, as Solo Entrepreneurs, want to find our juice and reach those highest levels of capability and success, we need to get really, really good at learning what struggle has to teach us. As we do so, struggle no longer is a struggle; it morphs into just being one of life's simple lessons.
That's when we get the big ah-ha: Struggle is optional in the first place. It is simply resistance to learning a different way of doing things.
To help shift thinking from 'struggling' to 'learning,' play with your answers to these questions:
1. How is this struggle compelling me to grow?
2. If this struggle were a friend, what would it be telling me?
3. How is this situation about me?
4. What am I protecting?
5. If I had nothing to be afraid of, how would I proceed?
Seven Steps to Building Energy Reserves
How is your energy level these days? Are you on top of the world with Solo Mojo power? Or looking for ways to build your energy equity to get more out of work and life? Below are seven simple ways you can use to pump up your juice.
1. Notice things that give you delicious delight
What offers you joy and fulfillment? Being creative with your work? Playing and laughing with the kids? Working alone? Collaborating with others? Then do more of these things! Energy comes from the inner joy that results when we follow our instincts and heart.
2. Practice gratitude
How do blessings, money and other riches flow into your life? Find those sources and align your life around them. Move to a place that ensures a style of love, growth and expansion.
3. Eliminate energy "leaks"
Can you identify where and when that sinking, draining feeling starts washing over you? Let go of tolerations --- those things in life and work you put up with just to get along. Strengthen weak boundaries and fulfill unmet needs that rob you of your juice. (However, beware of setting boundaries to avoid struggle --- that's only avoiding the discomfort of moving toward something new!)
4. Surround yourself with energizers
Everybody loves the Energizer Bunny?! That's why you want to be around an army of people who share its characteristics. Collaborate with folks who challenge you to be your best. Enfold yourself with people who revitalize you, always cherishing and refreshing those relationships.
5. Get really good at self-care
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. And taking good care of you as a Solo-E results in less downtime from poor health or low energy. Hop onto a regular program of exercise and smart eating, coupled with gentle treats like massage, meditation, finding spirit, etc. These aren't just "nice to haves" ? they are essential energy-building workouts where you practice trusting and remembering what feeds your soul.
6. Get really good at clearing limiting beliefs, fears, anxiety, worry, doubt
President Roosevelt hit the mark when he said the greatest thing we have to fear is fear itself. As a Solo-E, you've taken the first step by starting your own business. Now clear away those remaining fears and beliefs that hold you back from being the Solo Mojo you were meant to be. Fear leads to protection and contraction ? of yourself and business ? and is deadly to the Solo-E business!
7. Get to know yourself extremely well
The greatest gift you can give yourself is to understand, recognize and use your gifts or talents. Then practice *giving* those gifts to others. You'll be amazed at how much comes back to fill your life many times over and increases that precious energy stockpile.
Finding Your Juice
In my many years of coaching and running my own solo business, I've observed that Solo Mojos move through a universal cycle as they find and refine their juice. It goes like this:
1. Learn about self
2. Expand energy and self
3. Expand the business
This process isn't a one-time deal and then we're done! Solo Mojos successfully navigate this cycle continually as new opportunities (also known as struggle and life!) arise. Instead of resisting struggle, Solo Mojos embrace it. They are curious, playful and intrigued by it all, diving into the adventure of uncovering new wisdoms struggle has to offer.
Solo Mojos don't perceive struggle as a threat, something to be "eliminated," or a signal that things are going "badly." Instead, they realize that the discomfort, uncertainty and even fear that come with struggle is a sign that they are on the right track! They've found their juice and figured out that "struggle" is just another opportunity to?.
-- Develop a new skill
-- Reveal strength
-- Realize what's most important
-- Allow passion to flow
-- Become more fully alive!
-- Be ENERGIZED!!!
Copyright 2004, Karen Tax ~ Life Coaching
Karen is a Life Coach (http://www.karentax.biz) who works with people in shifting to entrepreneurship. She especially likes working with folks to find their "juice" or sources of energy, using their passions to guide their business and life.
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