When the uber-talented Kimberly Riggins invited me to be a part of the BossLady Blog Tour to celebrate the launch of her new baby, The Bead Effect, the first thing that went through my mind was this:
My second thought was, “Why me?” BossLady is not a term I would have chosen to describe myself. First, I don’t have the hair (see above photo). Second when I think “BossLady” I think someone who moved up the ladder in the corporate world wearing designer suits and emotional armor. Plus J.O.B’s and I have never been friends for long.
Then I read Kimberly’s BossLady Manifesto and realized she’s redefining the word and the culture.
No catty behavior. Give more than you take. Trust your gut. Don’t compete, collaborate.
I smiled, hit reply and typed two little words: I’m in.
With The Bead Effect, Kimberly is creating a circle of women entrepreneurs who want to connect, collaborate and support each other. She’s looking at the entrepreneurial world with an abundance mentality instead of the usual “there’s not enough to go around.”
Because I too believe in an abundant universe where there’s room for all of us to be successful and fulfilled, I want to share my Top 3 Tips to Being a Happy BossLady.
Tip #1. Find Your Way (but don’t reinvent the wheel).
I’ve worked with some incredible business coaches. Smart, successful women who really care about their clients’ success. I learned so much from them. I worked hard to implement what they taught. I also made myself completely and utterly miserable.
After repeating this cycle a few times the light bulb went off. Their way is not my way. I had to figure out what lessons, skills and goals I wanted to incorporate while still getting enough sleep, being a functioning mom, wife and generally happy human being.
I’m still working this out. I stretch out of my comfort zone and readjust, stretch and readjust. I go back to what I learned and incorporate more of it. I notice when I’m on the computer too late or I’m feeling grumpy because my child wants dinner when I haven’t finished working yet. (Oh the inconvenience!) I take a step back and check in with myself.
There are lots of people out there who are ready to sell you on their path to success. Find the one(s) you trust, go in with an open mind and then make it your own.
Tip #2. Don’t Listen To Everybody, Listen To Your Heart
When I first launched my business I chose a niche because “everybody” told me I had to. It was the way to get noticed, to be successful, to do it right.
The only problem was that in my heart I knew I didn’t want to stay in that niche forever, which meant that pretty quickly I wanted out. Badly. Only I didn’t know how to change niches gracefully. I had to let it all fall apart. Which felt awful and scary and like I was failing.
I’ve always been one to listen to my heart (or my gut, or my intuition – call it what you like), but for me starting a business was like being immersed in a foreign country where I was at the mercy of the few people who spoke my language. So I listened to everybody else first and myself last. Big mistake.
It took me over a year of listening deeply to myself for my business to crumble and rebuild. From the outside I don’t think it looked nearly as dramatic as it felt. There were moments of frustration and fear but as long as I kept walking in a direction that felt aligned with my core values and kept listening to the wise voice inside me, I trusted I’d be okay.
I was – I am – so much more than okay.
Now I have a business that lights me up in a way I wasn’t actually sure was possible. I still have questions and I know my work will continue to grow and change. The difference now is that I check in with my intuition first, then the teachers, coaches and big thinkers I have come to trust, then my intuition again. I would encourage you to do the same. Because “everybody” isn’t running your business, you are.
Tip #3. Find Your Support
Being a solo-preneur or running a very small team can feel incredibly lonely, especially if you don’t already have a community of business-minded (or success-minded) people around you.
For a long time the only person I could talk to about my fledgling business was my husband. He’s smart, knows the business world intimately and is hugely supportive of my work but he’s also my husband. It was hard for him to witness my emotional ups and downs and also feel able to offer advice without me biting his head off (Because I just wanted to be heard! No, I wanted advice! No, I wanted to be heard and held and loved!) It was crazy-making for both of us.
Then thanks to the business coaching, I found an amazing community of women who were willing to support each other online in a Facebook group. Occasionally we’d break into smaller groups or get on the phone with each other and it was such a relief to have someone else to talk to. Someone who really understood what I was going through and could offer empathy and advice but didn’t have to also do my dinner dishes, get our daughter ready for bed and sleep next to me at night.
At the same time, I’d been asking the universe (and some lovely humans) about a mastermind group and two years ago, one came together that has changed my life and my business. We’re a small group of five and we talk every two weeks, staying connected online in between calls.
It took time and effort as we stumbled through awkward moments and talked openly about our hopes and dreams for the group and ourselves. We were courageous in the face of hurt feelings and we kept showing up even as we stepped on each others’ toes. Now our businesses are exploding with goodness and we’re able to share our work and personal worlds with each other, knowing that we’ll receive support, encouragement and (tough) love when we need it. These women are my business sisters and I no longer feel alone.
So whether it’s in a free Facebook group, a weekly networking breakfast or a paid mastermind, find your tribe. Find the people who will cheer you on when you’re down and happy dance with you when things go well. Treat them well and hold them close. Give as much as you receive, with an open heart. Because one thing I know about being a BossLady is that no one is meant to do it alone.
Catch up with all 12 fantastic BossLady bloggers here. Make sure to read yesterday’s brilliance from communication maven Maggie Patterson and tomorrow watch out for the sparkly magic of visionary brand artist Lucinda Rae!