The Big Hoax
I didn’t know I was an entrepreneur, I just knew I wanted to love my career.
As a little girl I used to imagine myself as an adult. I imagined life as a marine biologist, swimming with whales and befriending dolphins. I saw myself as a psychologist with my own private practice in Santa Barbara. I smiled at the thought of writing advertisements for a hip company in Manhattan (with sassy heels and power suit to go with my fancy corner office… obviously!).
A career could be so cool, right?
But here I was, years out of college, settled into full-time job as an executive assistant at a nonprofit organization for $12 an hour, wondering, “Is this it?”
This is why I studied hard to get good grades in school? This is why I took on a mountain of student-loan debt? This is why I’ve continued to do the “responsible” thing – so I could spend the majority of my waking life at a job that I feel lukewarm about at best? So I could wriggle myself into a box of a job description that’s two sizes too small, and the leftover scraps at the end of the day are where my life squeezes into the picture?
I started to wonder if this whole 9-to-5, give-your-life-away-in-exchange-for-a-paycheck, hamster-wheel rigmarole was, well, a hoax.
noun: a humorous or malicious deception
There had to be another way to do this thing.
I had to believe that a career could be more of a playground than a prison… one where we get to make up our own rules. Play with whom we want to play with. Create our own game from scratch. Invent our life around what brings us joy.
Doesn’t it just make sense to design our work around our greatest gifts and our truest self-expression? Wouldn’t we naturally contribute what we’re great at and make a difference in the world doing what we do best? Wouldn’t we just be better people?
Yes! A career could be SO cool!
Bankruptcy and Birds
And so I leapt. I up and quit my job to start my own energy-healing practice. Only problem is, when it came to business, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I got an office and some clients, but it wasn’t enough. I started falling behind on bills, which turned into falling behind on mortgage payments. I was steadily sinking toward bankruptcy and foreclosure.
I remember one particular day when I was at the lowest point of my low. I was walking to the café around the corner, counting my change to see if I could afford a cup of coffee and trying to ignore my ringing cell phone, which I knew was a bill collector.
It was one of those something-has-got-to-give moments. All I wanted was to be able to do what I was uniquely good at – what I enjoyed – and to be able to support myself in return. Was that too much to ask?
Tears started burning the inside of my eyes and suddenly, in this desperate moment, I became totally present. I felt my feet as they hit the concrete with each step. I felt the sun on my face. I looked up and saw a couple birds flying overhead in the bright blue sky. And, it occurred to me…
The birds weren’t stressed out. They were just existing. Maybe that’s what’s natural. What if life were actually… simple? What if this life I’ve carved out for myself, with all the obstacles and struggle, was just… invented?
My day with the birds marked a turning point in reality as I knew it. Subtle and yet galaxy-shifting all at once. Because I made a decision that day to rewrite the script of my life. To invent my experience as I wanted it to be.
In the coming years I broke through into a new reality I had only suspected was possible. I’ve run my business from the beaches of Belize, islands off the coast of Panama, and while vagabonding around the U.S. in a motorhome. I’ve broken through to new income levels I had always assumed were for other people, not little ol’ me. As founder of the digital magazine Business Heroine, I’ve created whatever projects struck my fancy including producing a magazine, creating trainings for rising entrepreneurs, and speaking around the country.
Business Heroine was not listed in the job postings section on Craigslist, that’s for sure. So I just made it up. Every bit of it! And now it’s real. It elevates humanity, it generates abundance, and it is FUN. The best part? I show up as ME and that is my career.
Ummm, YEP, a career can be way cool.
Purpose-driven, freedom-infused, joy-activating business IS real. And the access point is soul.
Five Types of Freedom
Whenever I lead workshops, I ask the audience members why they want to have their own business and, while expressed in various ways, the same themes inevitably emerge in their answers:
- Financial Freedom – To ditch the world of trading your time for a paycheck and generate financial abundance that supports your desired lifestyle
- Time Freedom – To have spaciousness and flexibility of schedule so that your calendar is dedicated to life and love, more than it is to work
- Location Freedom – To be able to run your business from anywhere in the world, whether it’s a Tahitian island, a Tibetan mountain top, or the comfort of your own home
- Brain Freedom – To operate within your daily life in the way that works best for you, so that you can move in flow with your thinking style, strengths, and natural tendencies
- Soul Freedom – To be who you are here on the planet to be, to share your gifts generously, and to make a difference in the way in which you are uniquely designed to do
Can I get an amen? The desire for each of these freedoms is what led me into entrepreneurship, too.
What I’ve discovered over the years, in witnessing my own experience and the experiences of Business Heroines I’ve met all around the world, is that the last freedom on the list – Soul Freedom – trumps the others.
After all, money is fantastic and yet we all know it doesn’t buy happiness. Time grows stale if it’s not put to good use. Travel and adventure can eventually become rote if there is no bigger purpose. How many times have we heard stories of people who had tons of worldly success yet were secretly unhappy?
Soul, on the other hand.
When you are fully aligned with your purpose on the planet – completely on fire for your mission – it is impossible to be miserable. When you are serving the people who were born to receive what you were born to offer, work doesn’t feel like “work” at all. It just feels like being yourself.
That’s what’s natural. Like the birds.
Say YES to Your Soul
Is it always easy? Of course not.
Designing a life and business around your unique calling takes courage – exposing yourself to the elements and baring your most precious art to other people’s opinions. It takes faith and trust in yourself to make decisions based on desire versus should and the net will appear when you leap. Indeed, soul-fueled business is not for the faint of heart. It’s for the strong of heart.
The definition of a Business Heroine (and also our tagline) is an “entrepreneur who says she will, and does.” She faces obstacles, doubts, and her fair share of fears. But she says yes to her destiny and she does it anyway.
Because there comes a day when you identify more with the BIG YOU that you are growing into rather than the shoes-too-small version of yourself you settled for in the past. There comes a day when the pain of settling for less hurts worse than the fear of surrendering to the abyss of the unknown. A day when you care more about your mission and service to the world than you do about staying safe and comfy in your own harbor.
There comes a day when you are done letting yourself down. Pretending to be less than you know you are is no longer an option. Because, soul-fueled one, you are here change the world, and entrepreneurship is your tool for doing just that.
Let your soul fuel you.
To learn more about Business Heroine and Anne’s courses and workshops, visit businessheroinemagazine.com or click the banner image below for your free subscription: