What I Learnt About Self-Love in Start-Up
In March last year, I begin my entrepreneurial journey. I thought I had the tool kit ready, and I wasn’t wrong. I dreamed big and acted bigger. In the beginning had enough passion to fill the entire Atlantic Ocean and then some. It was infectious and love poured out of me. I knew the first year would be tough, and that it would require love…what I didn’t know was that it would also need self-love and that has been a chunk of wisdom that today I would want to share with any aspiring entrepreneur. Learning to love oneself first in a sea of transformation is the only thing that will anchor a business, and it has been my hardest lesson thus far.
These days entrepreneurs are the new rock stars. There are new networking groups, magazines, books, and business schools all shouting out loud about innovation, disruption, bold ideas, and brave action. The inspiration is infectious, inspiring, and we all want a piece of the action. We live in a world where the gunners are clearly defined from the doers. I wanted a piece of that purpose-fueled passion, and 2015 was the year that was happening. It was all that mattered to me and like a bat of hell I called in every resource I had to manifest a business that despite the challenges, I am extremely proud of.
It is not success that I want to talk about today. It is actually my biggest failings in 2015 that taught me the most. It is the disruption that disrupted me. It is the coward behind the courage, and shadow behind the light that defined for me how much I wanted this business. It was the ‘death’ in the supernova that would ultimately lead me to the truth I stand in today. January 6th 2016...just under one year into my journey.
Within the enormity of everything that I created in 2015, I hadn’t given the 'little girl' inside of me very much time to catch up with her current entrepreneurial reality. I dreamed, and I manifested quickly but before I knew it I had created something my muscles didn’t seem strong enough to hold. My disruption had disrupted me, and honestly, the mirror I now held was not a reflection of a bold and brave woman, but of a girl who had bitten off more than she could chew….and I wasn't quite ready for the spotlight of leadership. (The spotlight that also reveals shadows).
As the business got bigger, and my workload heavier, my arms started to waiver as did my heart and spirit. Not that I was aware of this at the time, my heart and spirit were broken when I began the business. The Supernova Tribe was the elixir to move through pain from past situations. I knew what pain felt like in life, and that was huge driver for wanting to change the world and help others.
Selfishly establishing purpose was the only way I could recover and rebuild my life. It was the only thing that would always be mine. The only problem with that is that (in that time) I had neglected my need for heath and happiness, as I was running from pain. I attracted adverse situations and repeated patterns that were no longer serving me as I stepped into my new reality.
Life has a brutal yet beautiful way of sorting these things out. There were situations that hurt at the time, and that also gave me the greatest of gifts. At first, I cried, and blamed myself for these things until the self-hate finally surrendered to a new fate. A fate of self-love, self-worth and self-respect. A new future that today as I write this post I am beginning to understand.
During this challenging time friends gave me books, offered their time, and their contacts believing so much in the beautiful business I had created. They could see ‘my value’ even if I couldn’t. Regardless I felt like I was failing. Unsure that I was able to follow through on all that I had promised. I wanted so much to be everything to everyone else that honouring myself with love and respect was beyond me. Instead, I silenced myself, and told the small frightened girl to sit in the corner and be quite. I was mean to myself when things were not perfect, and I wore a thousand masks pretending to be okay and that it was all okay, when really I wasn’t. I white knuckled my way to the end of last year until I had enough time to stop. To breathe. To see me for the first time in months.
A wise women once told me ‘put on your big girl panties’ and she was 100% right. I was dying and broken inside, but letting anyone in on that was a danger zone, and quite frankly no ones else’s problem…. but it was a problem for me. I didn’t build a dream to feel like it was a monster, but it wasn't the business that was the monster. The monster inside of my head (to quote Rihanna) was all me, and it was me I was neglecting the most. I was ignoring my boundaries, no longer listening to the intuitive genius that birthed the idea, and I did not love myself in anyway.
Right now, I am saying a thousand things one may advise me not to say in a public forum, but you know what, today I am going to 100% love all that I am, and that is why I am writing this post. I am deeply compelled to write from the deepest parts of myself so that you get all of me. My lack of self-love and self-respect in my first year of business was nearly my undoing, and I genuinely believe that anyone who steps into the light of leadership has felt or experienced this fear in some way.
So where does this lead me in 2016?
Today I read an article titled “What Do I Want?” Here is a way better question". This article talks about the challenges we choose in life, and how these challenges even if negative lead to the benchmark of what we really desire in life. 2015 has been bloody tough, but what I do know is how much I wanted this life and this love (self-love). No matter how hard it has been, I wanted it so much that I got through last year, I transformed and today I am a better human being, and I am becoming a better leader. I have in me a bigger more beautiful business to share with the world. Self-love isn’t easy, but it is essential to fly and live your dream life.
What I learnt in 2015 is that you can’t inspire yourself into self-love. Self-worth and confidence must come from a transformation or a 'dark night of the soul'. Just like a Supernova, we must die to be reborn, in turn creating life. I needed a dark night to see the stars in the sky which is why I began the business, however self love and self respect are the ultimate keys to the success of this business in 2016. The starlight was inside of me the whole time.
Fundamentally you can't 'downward dog' your way into leadership, and self-worth does not come in the form of a budget. After years of working with the most inspirational people in the world, I had inspiration and business toolkit fatigue. I was done. I have always been professional and done my job well, but to lead a business I needed a deep self-respect, soulfulness and the ability to live in alchemy.
In 2016, I am sure there will be days when my resolve is tested, but every day I aim to 'do' self-love. In fact, I have shamelessly named 2016 the 'year of self-love'. I am telling a new story, and I honestly believe that this will be the best year of my life to date and that my business, will ultimately be my happiness.