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!
Maggie Patterson says
I love this post in so many ways. It’s uncanny to me how Kimberly has found 12 ladies that share pretty much the same view because I was literally nodding along – especially with #2. The sooner we can all realize that, the better. Here’s to BossLadies.
Maggie, it’s amazing (and lovely) how similar we all are. I felt the same way when I read your post yesterday.
Kimberly Riggins says
Pretty cool huh Maggie? I love that we all have similar views. It means there is hope for the entrepreneurial world yet! Because my gut tells me there are many more BossLadies out there just like us. Perhaps this tour can give them permission to speak up and come forward and join the party!
Maggie Patterson says
You’ve created some serious magic Kimberly!
Lara Eastburn says
Oh Alana! I identify so deeply with what you wrote about your husband. So there with you. And so glad to be part of the BossLady movement with you!
Right back at you Lara! xo
Shannon Caldwell says
If we are the total of the 5 people we hang out with the most, then it’s the BossLadies for me! I love your honesty and humor! And I know so many other women will benefit from seeing that biz can be done with heart and soul.
Shannon – there are so many of us who are running our businesses with heart and soul. It’s a movement that seems to be growing and I look forward to seeing it change the face of business in our world! Can’t wait for your post next week.
Kimberly Riggins says
YES!!! This is so true: “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 have felt the exact same way. And honestly, I’m still learning this. Because every day a new challenge arises but I know as long as I tap into my inner strength and listen to my gut wisdom, it will all work out.
And hell yes to finding your tribe. It was the main focus behind creating BBB Society. To give those women a place they can call home in the business world. Because you are right…no one should do it alone!!!
Thank you for being a part of this project and for wearing your BossLady beads with pride! LOVE!
Kimberly – I am still learning it too. Absolutely. I don’t know that the growth curve will ever stop – though it might get less steep. Maybe. 🙂
And I LOVE my BossLady beads. Thank you for inviting me to be a part of all of this.
Boom! Yes! An amazingly kick-ass article, beautiful Alana! Point 2 really struck a chord with me… I remember the days when I’d go around asking EVERYBODY their opinion on EVERYTHING I did, and all the contradiction kept me frozen. In order to move forward and continue plugging along in this perpetual work-in-progress that is becoming our bigger and better and more authentic BossLady, we ultimately have to follow our heart…no exception. So happy to learn about you and your work, and be a BLBT Sistah <3