Over the past couple of years, life has thrown me several curve balls; curveballs that have stopped me in my tracks and forced me to assess what I was doing and where I was going.
And of course, the curveballs arrived just as I felt like all the pieces of the puzzle were falling into place… my business was growing; I was attracting customers from outside of my local community; and I was strengthening my reputation by continually providing top-notch services.
And then… BAM. I ruptured a disk in my back and suddenly I was calling clients and declining contracts that I’d been ready to close on with the sincerest of apologies. There was no way I could facilitate an 8 hour Strategic Planning session when I couldn’t actually get out of bed for more than 2 minutes.
My soon to-be clients were very understanding… but I was FRUSTRATED. I’d been working at my business for over a decade, and while progress had been purposely slow to reflect the needs and demands of a busy young family, I was NOW ready to fly. Or at least my brain was: my body, not so much.
After five months of being bedridden, bored, and bummed out, I was eager to get going and start pushing my business forward. I followed up with past clients, sought out new opportunities, and patched together enough work to keep myself going without pushing myself too hard. It was heavenly to be back doing something that I loved.
But apparently life still needed to teach me something else… and I found myself back in bed with a second ruptured disk and no chance of surgery to repair it. Rest and recovery were the Dr’s very clear instructions.
As I lamented my business challenge – not able to work – with a good friend of mine she said to me…. “What is the universe trying to say to you? What did you miss the first time around?” With a big sigh, and a shrug of my shoulders, I strongly asserted I had NO idea!
These questions resonated with me for the next two months as I slowly recovered and re-gained mobility and an ability to do some “work” on my business. I went back to the basics and reviewed my values, assessed my journey, explored what really got me excited about the work that I do, and better defined the skills that I brought to my work.
It was an interesting examination… and I learned a couple of things about myself.
I knew what my core values were and for the most part was living them (+1 point).
I knew what I was good at – facilitating conversations (+1 point) – and offered this as one of my services; however I wasn’t ‘owning’ this skill fully (-1 point).
I knew I wanted to work with clients who shared my values and that my client list needed to include non profits (+1 point – was doing this) and women entrepreneurs (- 1 point – not doing this) as I’d initially laid out in my business plan.
I also realized that I’d taken the easy route accepting contracts that came my way that used my skills but didn’t require that I stretch and learn new things (-1 point). These contracts had however allowed me to earn a living and effectively balance my work and family well (+1 point).
The examination went on… and as you can imagine, TEAM ME won some points and lost some points. In the end, I think I came out about even… but with a renewed sense of how important it was for me to carve my path and define my journey on my own terms. Its’ my adventure – both in life and work – and I need to choose the path that best reflects me!
Have you every found yourself faced with a similar life challenge that has forced you to re-examine your path? What did you learn? Please comment below.