So many people have a ton of great ideas — they just have no idea which of these they should pursue, and they are terrified of getting it “wrong” — of choosing the “wrong” thing.
There are, however, ways to move forward, and feel confident in your decision. Here are 3 tips to help you choose…
1 | THERE IS NO WRONG CHOICE
Sure, whatever you choose may or may not be a right fit for you. But, you had to make that choice in order to make that discovery. It’s a lesson, so learn it and then move on to the next thing. Know that you can always make another choice … you are never stuck.
2 | YOU MUST TAKE ACTION
Just going over and over the options inside of your head will never do you any good. It only serves to make you frustrated, and leaves you going around in circles (speaking from experience!). The only way to truly know if something will or will not work for you is to get out of your head, and do something with your options.
Maybe you try this new job or path for a while (an internship, perhaps?). Or, maybe you talk to someone already working in that line of work about what it’s really like, day-to-day. You could even try shadowing someone at their job, for a time, to get a feel for the type of work and its environment.
But again, you must get out of your head if you want to truly find your answer.
3 | MAKE TWO LISTS
Several years ago, when I was stuck in a job that I hated, I got out a piece of paper and make two lists: Jobs I’d Loved & Jobs I’d Hated (really, it was more like lists of tasks at each of my previous jobs that I’d either enjoyed or couldn’t stand). I listed out everything I could think of, whether these jobs had been paid, or volunteer, or even just odd jobs done for family members. Some of the items on my lists included:
Loved: lots of sunlight | freedom to make decisions | no strict dress code | able to generate ideas.
Hated: micromanaging boss | confined to a single spot all day | uniforms | being on-call.
Having these two lists, and the awareness these gave me, helped my next job to be so much better! It was near-perfect for me (as far as 9-to-5’s go). I had a ton of autonomy, didn’t have to get dressed up, was never called to cover a shift, and my boss was pretty cool!
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Really, the main point to remember is that you can always make a different choice. Heck, what I went to school for isn’t even close to what I now do for a living! But it took a lot of trial and error to figure out my true path. Nevertheless, I’ve found it and can now confidently reassure you that you, too, will eventually find your way.
LEAVE A COMMENT and tell me three of the options you are currently considering. I’d love to hear about what interests you!
When you read about entrepreneurship, or start looking into becoming self-employed, you’ll hear the usual things: set up a website, have a social media presence, understand your target market, and make sure there’s a need for what you want to offer. And, sure — all of those things are important.
But there’s a whole other side to self-employment that no one really talks about! There are skills you need that no one prepares you for, and there is stuff that comes up that you weren’t expecting.
Here are 9 things that took me by surprise in this entrepreneurial journey, so that you can be better aware of what to expect:
1 | THOSE CLOSEST TO YOU (FRIENDS, FAMILY, SPOUSE) WILL PROBABLY NOT BE SUPPORTIVE OF YOUR DREAM
They’re certainly not going to be as passionate or excited about it as you are… but, that’s okay, as it’s not their dream — it’s yours!
It helps to get yourself into Entrepreneur groups — surround yourself with others who get what you’re going through — and to turn to them with your highs and lows in business.
Family will probably worry about you and, meaning well, encourage you to go out and get a “real job”. Don’t let that deter you. Just know that they aren’t going to understand, and continue to do your thing.
2 | YOU WILL NEED RESILIENCE & PERSEVERANCE TO BE SUCCESSFUL
As an Entrepreneur, you will learn that failures are simply a part of the success process… so long as you learn from them. If you keep getting up, and keep pressing forward — if you’re willing to fight to see your dreams realized — then, in time, you will succeed. You just have to be willing to do whatever it takes to keep going.
3 | (ALMOST) NONE OF IT IS ABOUT YOU
This one really took me by surprise. When I first became self-employed, it was all about me — how much money I could make, what kinds of things I wanted to do or liked doing, colors and fonts and design styles that matched my tastes.
Yet, over time, I’ve come to realize that it’s really about the audience I want to help. They, after all, are the ones with the power to determine whether what I’m offering is worthy of their time, or worth their hard-earned dollars.
My audience and their needs and desires are the most important factor… everything I do as an Entrepreneur must take them into consideration. What do they struggle with, and how can I help? What colors and designs appeal to them? What do they want or need to learn about through my content? What will they see as valuable? It’s all about serving my audience.
4 | YOU MUST GIVE IF YOU WANT TO RECEIVE — SOW, IF YOU WANT TO REAP
A common misconception of new entrepreneurs is that you can set up a website, and put up this great sales page with your amazing offer, and — bam! — you’ll start making the big bucks! Yet, it doesn’t work that way. Firstly, because you need to actually tell people that your offer exists (they won’t just stumble across it, and be amazed), and secondly because, when you’re first starting out, people don’t yet know you. In order for them to buy from you, they first need to have a good understanding of who you are (as a business) and what you can do for them (see point #3, above). So, patience is needed, while you educate others about your business. Which brings me to the next point…
5 | THERE IS SO MUCH WRITING!
They say “content is king” — and for good reason. In order for your audience to get to know and like you, they need to be educated on who you are and what you are offering them. You need to show them that you know what they’re dealing with, and why you are the best person to help them solve that problem. How you do this, as an online entrepreneur, is through writing.
You write content for your website and blog, you write posts for social media, you write content for your email newsletter, you write copy for landing pages and sales pages and ads … it feels as if writing is your main job, even though you never signed up to be a “writer”! (Don’t like to write? That’s okay — you can hire someone to do it for you. But be aware that, first, you’ll need to be clear on your message, and on the tone you are wishing to convey).
6 | MARKETING AND SALES ARE KEY SKILLS YOU MUST HAVE (OR BUILD)
A lot of people have a really negative view of sales, and think “marketing” is a complicated thing. Thus, they try to avoid these two skills. Yet, the reality is, most of us are just misinformed about what each of these things really is, and we only have our experiences with others’ attempts at these to base our knowledge off of.
Based on what I’ve learned:
Marketing is simply creating awareness of your business, and what you can offer other people. That’s it, in a nutshell (not so complicated, huh?).
Sales, on the other hand, is simply educating others about what your offer can do for them, and then giving them options, and the choice of whether or not this is right for them, at this time. The idea that sales is “pushy, icky, slimy, convincing, or coercing” is wrong. When sales is done correctly — from a place of being of service to your customer, and allowing them to choose what’s right for them — it takes all of the “ick” out of it, and ends up being a win-win for everyone involved.
And truth be told, you cannot have a “business” if you aren’t willing to sell, or to marketing your offerings. These are foundational skills.
7 | YOUR PERSONAL GROWTH GAME WILL BE STRENGTHENED
… that is, so long as you’re willing to stay in the fight, and keep pressing forward!
I never would have imagined how much being an Entrepreneur would grow me, personally. It really is more about who you’ll become in the process, than what you do. I’ve become more patient, more resilient, mentally stronger, and I’ve developed more of a servant’s heart through running my own business.
There are also many mindsets and limiting beliefs you’ll need to work through in order to grow and succeed. It’s definitely not easy! But it is so very, very worth it.
8 | COACHES, MENTORS, & GUIDES ARE KEY TO MAKING PROGRESS
… and I’m not just including this point because I am a coach/mentor/guide! I honestly wouldn’t be where I am, today, if it weren’t for the wonderful people and coaches who gave me their time and shared their wisdom and insights with me, along the way.
There were times, in my journey thus far, where I was so confused and frustrated, and I could not see a way forward. Yet, in reaching out to, and then talking through things with these coaches and other entrepreneurs, they helped me to untangle the messes inside my head, work through the mindsets or beliefs that were holding me back, and they gave me the encouragement and support I needed to remember why I’d started on this journey in the first place. I am forever grateful to each and every one of them for their help!
Side note: I didn’t always have the money to hire someone, so I took advantage of the free 30-minute calls offered by these fellow entrepreneurs — often in exchange for a testimonial they could use. So know that, no matter what, the help that you need is always available. However, if you can afford it, I also highly believe in the value of investing in a coach. You gain so much clarity and confidence in being open and vulnerable with someone else, and letting them hold you accountable!
9 | STRUCTURE, SCHEDULES, & TIME MANAGEMENT AREN’T REALLY THE “EVILS” WE WANT TO BELIEVE THEY ARE
I’ve always been fiercely independent, and hated limits and being “confined” in any way. In fact, like many who branch out on their own as Entrepreneurs, they whole reason I wanted to be self-employed was so that I could have the freedom to do things my own way, on my own schedule, and without the restrictions one typically finds in a traditional work environment.
Yet, after several years of “winging it” — doing whatever I felt like doing, each day, without any real rhyme or reason — and not seeing the kind of success I’d hoped for, I came to realize that it really is important for entrepreneurs to create (and then follow) some kind of schedule.
Without structure, it is really easy to lose whole days “lost in the scroll” on social media, or to spend your time working on things that seem important but aren’t really moving your business forward, or creating income (again, speaking from experience, here!).
One of my favorite time management / scheduling hacks is Michael Hyatt’s “ideal week” (you can read more about that, here). He groups similar tasks together, and then assigns them to days of the week. So, for example: Mondays might be for marketing & promotion, Wednesdays for research & development, and Fridays for content creation (writing, recording videos, etc).
Personally, I love how flexible this method is — allowing me to still choose what I’ll do on any given day, and how much time I will devote to each thing, so long as it falls under that day’s category. It allows me to still work according to my moods, and to not feel confined.
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LEAVE A COMMENT and let me know which of these stands out as most surprising to you! Or, if you’re already self-employed, I’d love to hear what you, yourself, discovered in your journey that the “business” books hadn’t prepared you for.
Yesterday, I started reading, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. The very first lesson is that “rich people don’t work for money… they make money work for them.” And, within this lesson, another said, “we need to learn to control our emotions — to think before we act”.
Robert shares that most people (the 99%) are driven by the emotions of fear & greed… fear of not having enough money, and then greed about what things they will buy with the money they do get.
These two fears never completely go away. So, we need to learn to control them … to respond (after thinking), rather than react (without thinking).
After finishing chapter one, I set the book aside, needing time to let it all sink in. And, as I put some of my other books back on my shelf (ones I’d been reading the day before), my eye landed on “The Motivation Manifesto” by Brendon Burchard. So, I pulled it down and started skimming through it, as something in my gut prompted me to do so. And, sure enough, there was a whole chapter titled, “On Fear”. So, I sat down, and read through that chapter.
Where I started off, it talked about the “weaklings” — those who fear effort — calling them “worshippers of ease” and “escapists” (all of which struck a nerve). It talked about them having given up their power to absolve themselves of the responsibility of living a remarkable life. Ouch.
Brendon writes, “They don’t have the resolve to pursue their highest selves, or any meaningful purpose … [But] what good is a life without struggle? … What mastery can there be without real effort…?”
This made me think, again, about how I’ve never been driven towards “mastery” or “excellence” in anything. I’ve never cared to excel; good enough was good enough.
Yet, I’d also researched “work ethic”, this morning (along with what the Bible says about this topic), learning that it’s about dedicating oneself, and giving your all toward something… having certain principles that guide your work behavior. And, in combining that with these two new insights from these books, I’m starting to see that the value of all of this isn’t the outcome or the result. Its value actually lies in the fulfillment that comes from knowing you gave it your all, and –more importantly– that God is glorified by our dedication, integrity, diligence, and commitment to the task at hand.
For me, the outcome has almost never been worth the effort I’d have to expend; it wasn’t worth me forfeiting things I’d rather be doing with my time.
But that, there, is also faulty thinking: that “my time” is my own!
God says we are to be good stewards of this life, including — maybe especially — our time… because my whole purpose for existence is to know God, love God, and to make Him known… to do as He calls me to do… not to whittle away my days, being comfortable, scrolling social media, and gluttonously feeding my ego with motivational quotes.
So, the true fulfillment isn’t in what we get from the work we do (eg. the money, or all that it could buy). True fulfillment lies in giving our all to the work, itself, because that honors God — which is the whole point! In using the gifts and talents God gave us, in service to others (with a good attitude, and with excellence), we are bringing glory to God, and being –proving ourselves– set apart for the Kingdom.
And, honoring, and bringing glory to, God is FULLY worth my time… it’s the only thing that really is!
By knowing that our joy and fulfillment come through doing the work, it seems all the more imperative to me, too, that we choose work that best uses the talents and gifts God has given us… choosing work that brings us joy.
Do you know what work best aligns with YOUR talents & gifts? If not, feel free to set up a time to chat with me (30 minutes, no obligation), and we can get you some insight on that!
When you first start out in business for yourself, it’s so exciting to get everything set up. You choose a name for your company, you set up your website and social media platforms, you pick out a color scheme, and you decide what you’re going to offer to your audience. Best of all, you’re finally escaping the 9-to-5 grind… or, you’re starting on the path towards that. It’s only a matter of time.
After a couple of months of being “open”, and doing promotion and other things you’re supposed to do as a self-employed business owner, you start to get discouraged because, for all of your efforts, you’re mostly hearing crickets… maybe you got a little bit of interest, but it’s been nowhere near the fanfare (or income) that you’d expected.
What’s the deal? Are you just not cut out for this whole entrepreneurship thing? Are you just not trying hard enough?
Here’s a hint: Go back and re-read the first paragraph of this post, and notice the word that appears (in two versions), over and over throughout. Did you catch it?
That’s the problem. It’s been all about you. In actually, “your” business is supposed to be all about …them.
Who are they?
“They” are your audience and potential customers. Without them, you’ll never have a business, only have a hobby. Because, they are the ones who are supposed to be paying for your offerings.
Doesn’t it make sense, then, that it should be all about them?
So, let’s come at this from this new perspective. Let’s go back to the beginning and put this together with our audience in the spotlight.
START WITH WHY
In this book (and TED talk), “Start With Why“, Simon Sinek talks about how the most successful brands (eg. Apple, Inc.) don’t start with what they offer, but instead, why they’re offering it. The reason for this is because we, as consumers, shop first based on our emotional response — and then we justify our decisions with logic. It therefore makes sense to start by thinking about why you’re offering this particular product or service, and why your audience needs it. Also, why did you decide to get into this particular business?
Next, you’re going to need to think about who needs what you’ve got to offer. Whose problem aligns with why you feel compelled to be an entrepreneur?
After all, that’s what business is all about — solving the problems others have, and getting paid to do so. It’s an exchange of value.
The tricky part, here, is finding a balance between who has a problem you can solve, but also who fits the profile of someone you’d most like to work with, or serve.
Depending on your business model, this second bit may or may not matter. For example, if you’re opening a retail store, perhaps the customer’s personality type isn’t going to matter; whereas, if you’re offering a service like coaching others on-on-one (or, even in a group setting), it’s going to matter a great deal whether or not you and your customer get along!
This topic needs far more depth than I have the space to go into, in this post, so I’ll do another post about it at a later date (or, you can dig into this more with me, one-on-one).
Simon Sinek also says that “customers don’t buy what you do; they buy why and how“.
So, the next question you need to ask yourself is this: How will my product or service help my audience get what they want? How will it solve their most pressing problem?
Notice that you’re not yet touching on what the customer needs. They may not even know, yet, what they truly need. All they do know is that they have this problem, and they want relief… they want it solved.
So, answer the question they’re really asking, which is, “what’s in it for me?” How can you (your product/service) solve their problem?
Finally, you’ll need to come up with what you can offer that answers all of the above questions. To recap:
- Why are you offering this, and why does your audience need it?
- Who needs what you’ve got to offer?
- How does it benefit them? (What’s in it for them?)
There are other questions you’ll need to answer, of course (like how you’ll offer these solutions, what you’ll charge, etc).
The key, though, is to always keep your customer at the forefront of your mind in everything you do throughout “your” business.
. . . . . . . . .
How has this post opened your eyes to changes you could make in your business set-up or thinking? Let me know in the comments (or, message me!)
Have you ever gotten into something, realized it wasn’t the greatest fit for you, and then… accepted your fate and stayed put? Maybe you thought it was the “responsible” thing to do, or that, since you’d already invested this much time in it, you may as well keep going. But, what if I told you that it was okay to quit — to let it go?
So often, we blindly follow rules and perform actions without questioning why. We accept that things just are the way they are, because that’s how it’s “always been”, or we do things a certain way because it’s what is “expected”. The problem is, we then end up just going through the motions in life, and things continue to feel boring, or routine, or mundane. We continue to do and think things, but then wonder why we feel so unfulfilled.
Here’s a question for you: Who decided that you must keep doing things that way? What would happen if you changed things up? And, who said you can’t do this or that? What if you all-of-a-sudden just…did? (obviously, I’m not meaning anything illegal, or morally corrupt, okay?)
Seriously, though… I think far too many of us are left with unsatisfying and unfulfilling lives because we forget the following 4 things:
It’s okay — and even GOOD! — to question things; to ask “why”. Until I was in my late teens, I never really questioned my faith or the things I’d been taught in church, or even the way we did things in that church. Yet when I learned to question, I saw the flaws, and I realized I’d fallen into legalism. My faith has actually grown by leaps & bounds, ever since I learned to question why I do & think the things I do.
Despite what they say about our poor feline friend, curiosity won’t (normally) kill you. Instead, it makes life brighter, and it adds an element of fun! We are born curious… it’s how we learn! Which leads me to…
You know that thing you’ve been wanting to do, but you’ve put off doing out of hesitation? What would happen if you took a leap of faith, and just gave it a try? Sure, you might fail at it. Would that really be as bad as you think? Isn’t regretting chances not taken ultimately worse? Don’t let your fear hold you back, and leave you with end-of-life regrets. Take chances! Have an open-minded attitude. Decide you will try the thing, and if it doesn’t work out (or you end up really disliking it), you can just let it go and try something else! You have the freedom to choose. Use it! (and hey… maybe it will work out — maybe you’ll succeed — and you’ll have a blast! Only one way to find out!)
All too many of us (myself, included!) tend to forget that it takes practice to become good at just about everything. All of us start at Level Zero when we’re first trying something new. Every single one of us starts as a beginner — a “newbie”. And that’s an okay place to be. Why? Because you can only go UP from there! By practicing, you may never reach “perfection”, but you –guaranteed!– will see progress. Yes, it may take a while. The more you do a thing, however, the better you’ll get at it. Keep practicing, and you’ll keep “leveling up“! It’s the only way to succeed.
So, the next time you’re feeling stuck or bored, ask yourself if you need to throw out the old ways, and try something new. Be curious about how you can change things up. And, when you find something that does bring a spark back to things, accept your “beginner” status, and commit to practicing until you’ve gotten to your preferred level of excellence. And, don’t forget: nothing is ever permanent (except death). You ALWAYS have the freedom to make a different choice.
Have you ever tried to ignore something, but just couldn’t seem to escape it? I most definitely have. Let me tell you a story…
For my 10th birthday, an older friend gave me my very first diary. I still have that book today. It’s got a mint-green cover, and the pages are heavily perfumed. It has its own lock and key.
I remember, as a young girl, weaving stories in my mind as I drifted off to sleep each night. Often times they included living in a mansion, and/or horseback riding through the woods on my grandparents’ property.
Sometimes I would even speak my stories into my brown Fisher Price tape recorder.
In grade school, one of my favorite things was when the teacher would fill all three chalkboards with notes for us to copy into our notebooks… then erase it all, and fill all three boards again. I loved taking notes! And I still take notes from every nonfiction book I read, actually!
I completed NaNoWriMo in 2006. I wrote 50,911 words in 28 days. My novel still sits on my shelf, unfinished.
To this day, I keep a journal. I don’t write in it daily, any more — only when I desperately need an outlet for my emotions, and/or I need to sort through the tangled messes of my thoughts. Writing things out almost always brings clarity.
I oftentimes “pray” on paper, as well, seeking God’s take on the issues I’m dealing with. I’ll write out what I feel He’s saying to my spirit, in response, also. This practice has truly helped to deepen my faith, and draw me closer in relationship with my Lord.
Also, I’ve been a blogger since 2005. It started as a way to record the books I was reading, then morphed into a community of others who loved the book-related memes I posted each week, and then evolved over time into a place where I now teach others the things that I’ve learned, thus far… and what I am still in the process of learning.
You would think, on reading all of the above, that I’d classify myself as a Writer. Yet, for the longest time, I’ve fought that title. I’ve even told God that I don’t want to be a Writer. And yet, the thread of writing has been woven throughout the tapestry that is my life, and it seems that I, like Jonah, must surrender to the call.
I realized something, this past week, that has truly helped me to start the process of accepting this: that I don’t actually hate to write. In fact, I have to grudgingly admit that, yes, I even like writing. As I said earlier, writing is how I sort through my thoughts; it’s always been how I am best able to express myself.
The “aha!” came when I saw that what I don’t like is writing for others… and, in asking myself whythat is, it all came down to one thing:
PERFECTIONISM (aka: Fear)
…I don’t like writing out posts for my blog because I feel like my writing has to be “perfect” and “polished”, or else I won’t be seen as the professional that I’m aiming to be.
Yet, every professional was once a beginner. And God even tells us to not “despise the days of small beginnings” (Zechariah 4:10).
I guess I need to learn to give myself more grace — to accept my “beginner” status when it comes to writing, and to not mentally kick myself for being so inconsistent.
After all, I teach others that practice makes progress… and I think progress is as close to “perfection” as we’re going to get, this side of heaven. So, if I want to feel more confident in this role as a Writer, I just need to keep practicing. The more I do it — the more I write — the better I’ll get.
I’m curious… is there some title or calling that you’ve been trying to run away from? Share in the comments. I’d love to know I’m not alone in this!
If you have seen the Disney/Pixar movie, “Up“, you probably caught the reference in today’s post title. Yes, I’m talking about… what, again? Oh, right — distraction.
The Dark Side has many tricks and tools in its arsenal to keep us from living the full & abundant life God promised us. Some of those schemes include:
Discouragement | Fear | Procrastination | Gluttony | Apathy | Convenience | Mediocrity | Doubt | Ease | Instant Gratification | Laziness | Overwhelm | Pride | Greed | Lust | Anger | Jealousy
…and, of course, DISTRACTION.
The devil knows that we are easily distracted, so he uses this to keep us from doing what God asks us to do, and he slyly makes us forget what is really important. If he can distract us, then we don’t complete the mission we were sent here for (to make God known & bring Him glory). And that makes the devil really happy.
I have been falling prey to distraction, a lot, lately. This is part of why my blog post schedule has been somewhat erratic. I’ve gotten distracted by the side-hustle I’m building, the books I’m reading, and the worst culprit of them all — social media.
Revelation Wellness shared a quote, the other day, that really hit home, for me, on this. It said:
“My concern is that our generation will miss their destiny because
they are too busy scrolling through everyone else’s.” (Christine Caine)
So, how do we combat this distraction? How do we wake up? Is this even possible?
It is absolutely possible. “With God, ALL THINGS are possible!” And it starts with prayer.
Actually, let me back up a bit. In reality, it starts with knowing that you have committed your life to God, by accepting His free gift of being saved from sin, through faith… which then gave you the Holy Spirit within you as your Counselor, Guide, and a sort of holy GPS system!
The Spirit will nudge you to pay attention (maybe He’s using this very blog post!), and that is how you start “waking up” to the devil’s schemes. Once you start to become aware of what’s going on, then you can start fighting back! And, prayer is a good place to start.
Prayer is our call to God to say, “Hey, I could use some supernatural help here, please!” Because really, we cannot fight the devil on our own. We can try, but it won’t last — it doesn’t really work. We need God’s help in this battle.
So, we pray and ask God to open our eyes to all of the ways that the Dark Side is trying to distract us and keep us from our destinies. And we ask God to give us focus and strength to combat the temptation toward those distractions. Then we need to trust that God will help us (for when we ask for something that is already God’s will for us, we can have FULL confidence that we’ve already got it — it’s a done deal!).
And finally, we then need to get to work, and DO what God has been asking us to do…pursue that which we have been distracted from.
So again, to overcome distraction (or, any of the Dark Side’s other tactics), we need to:
- WAKE UP
- TAKE ACTION!
A quick example for you:
That quote from Revelation Wellness is what the Holy Spirit used to start waking me up. I recognized what had been happening (that I had been doing other things, rather than what God wants me to do), I prayed for focus and believed God would help me out, and then I took action — I left my computer turned off, this morning, in order to get this blog post written FIRST, before the online world could suck me into its distractions.
Like I mentioned earlier, maybe the Spirit is using this very post to get your attention! If so, don’t hesitate… pray, believe, and take action, today. It’s the best way to fight back against the enemy. Don’t let him steal another day. You’ve got this!
PS… As I wrote this post, my pens kept dying! I had to switch them out twice! Obviously, the Dark Side was working hard to keep me from sharing this with you!
I love personality quizzes! Mind you, I’ve always been very self-reflective, and I love psychology (knowing what makes people do what they do).
Either way, I honestly believe that knowing my personality type has brought me freedom. Let me show you how…
A LITTLE HISTORY
I started learning about personality types back in 1997. Florence Littauer’s books were the first to introduce me to these, and from there, I have taken several others.
THE RENAISSANCE SOUL
Margaret Lobenstine has a book called “The Renaissance Soul“, and it describes me perfectly! When I found this book, I immediately recommended it to my sister, and she, too, feels that it perfectly describes her. She and I now frequently reference this aspect of our personalities. 😉
Tom Rath’s book, “StrengthsFinder 2.0“, had a code for you to go online and take the Clifton StrengthsFinder quiz. From that, I learned that my “Top 5” are Empathy, Connectedness, Input, Intellection, and Strategic.
This explained for me my love of keeping empty boxes around in case I might need them some day (Input), and my love of books & reading (Intellection / collecting knowledge!).
MYERS-BRIGGS TYPE INDICATOR
Through reading several descriptions online, I learned my MBTI — only to then take a quiz at 16personalites.com and have my findings confirmed. I am predominantly INFP (Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Perceiving), but also ENFP (probably about a 60% | 40% mix).
[Fun fact: One who has a fairly even split between Introvert & Extrovert is called an “Ambivert“! Thanks, Pinterest!] LOL
I haven’t done enough research on this one, yet, so I don’t know enough about it. But, from the quiz I took, my Enneagram number is 5.
Generally, I tend to stay away from Astrology & horoscopes — they’re never very accurate, anyway. However, there are bits of the Sagittarius profile (my horoscope) that fit me perfectly … fiercely independent? Yep! A fiery temper? Not so much. I’m quite easy-going, in fact.
I also researched my core values, and came up with a list of my top 10 (plus a few extra). Suffice it to say, Freedom is my #1 core value, and SheWillRise has that as its overarching theme — the thread that ties all of my various interests together.
So, having done all of these quizzes (plus, a whole slew of the ones through BuzzFeed… Thanks, Facebook! LOL), I now feel I have a really good grasp of who I am, what makes me tick, and why I do what I do… especially on default/instinct, when I’m not really responding, but reacting.
LEARNING TO “SEE”
Because I know my personality type and core values, I can now see why certain jobs never fit me (mainly any of them where I work for an employer! LOL), and why I’ve acted as I have — or made certain choices — in the past. Knowing that I’m a right-brained creative, for example (INFP is “the Artist”), shows me why the left-brained, secretarial jobs I’ve had never worked out for me (I had 3 of them in 3 years!). I was trying to force the proverbial square peg into a round hole, so-to-speak… acting in a way that was in opposition to my type.
During the second of those secretarial jobs, I was super-stressed because of work, and decided to make up a list of all of the things I both loved & hated from all of my previous jobs. Doing this, plus taking into account my personality & values, I was able to make my next job a much better fit for me, even if it still wasn’t perfect. Of course, at that time, I still hadn’t realized the bit about my right-brained creative side (I knew I had it, but it’d been buried for years at that point). Therefore, I still didn’t see that secretarial jobs weren’t a fit for me. After all, I’d gone to college and had gotten a certificate in Office Administration! So, I assumed that that’s what I needed to (should) be doing! I knew that, eventually, when finances allowed, I wanted to start my own business — I didn’t know what business, yet, but I knew I wanted to work for myself. But again, finances at that time didn’t allow for that.
Well, fast forward nine months, and I found myself out of a job — again. And, being that the job market was pretty sucky (especially in the small town where I live), hubby suggested that I go through the government-run self-employment program (here in Ontario, Canada) and try starting up the business I’d told him I’d been considering (virtual assistance for authors). So, I did!
Since October 2013, I have been self-employed (yay!). As previously mentioned, I’ve always had a gut feeling that I was meant to be an entrepreneur — long before I got the chance to be one! I come from a family of entrepreneurs, actually (both of my grandfathers, two of my uncles, and my sister), so I like to say “it’s in my blood!” LOL
Mind you, even my first year-and-a-half of self-employment was a learning curve. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, the “virtual assistant” thing didn’t last long, partially because it was yet another secretarial gig.
I then thought about doing Life & Business Coaching and took the steps toward that, but I realized I’d need years of training first, which I didn’t have the time or money for. So, that got set aside…
Four-and-a-half years into my self-employment journey, I realized that coaching really is the thing I’m meant to do with my life. I was able to look back through my journals (from the past several years), and connect the dots. And it stood out like a glaring light… Plus, it helped that I found some Life Coaching courses on sale through Udemy, which I purchased, and am working through.
The biggest thing my path has shown/taught me, though, is first, to know myself (ala Socrates), and second, to trust my intuition. All of the various versions of my “business(es)” over the last few years have been me getting an idea, trying it, feeling that something was still “off” (not quite “it”), and then pivoting to the next thing. It’s been frustrating, at times, and somewhat discouraging, too. However, I was blessed to have an amazing business coach & friend who helped me work through all of that, as well as my sister — a business-owner herself — whose business is thriving!
Another thing that helped add to my feeling of “freedom” was going to an Art Journaling class once a month, via the local library. This helped me to reconnect with my creativity.
I used to spend a lot of time doing “creative” or artsy things, but motherhood pushed that (mostly) into the background for seventeen years.
I also met some great new friends, in the last couple of years, who are musicians and creatives, themselves — which helped me to realize (after having spent time with them) that they are my “tribe”, my people… the creatives and the dreamers are with whom I feel at home.
So, be encouraged. If you still don’t know what you are meant to do, just keep experimenting. And, if you need help, you can always book a FREE discovery call with me to see if we’d be a good fit to work together through my Business Coaching services. I’d love to help you get clarity!
Do you know YOUR personality type? (Share it here! I’d love to see what mix we have!) If so, how has it helped you?