When I began with my coaching business, I put every moment that I could into it. I worked late into the night on my computer and often worked for long periods of time at the weekend. I never read novels, as I read instead books about business or more about coaching. I thought that if I just kept working longer and harder that my business would work.
So some of the rules I had were:
Reading fiction is not a good or valuable use of time.
I need to stay up very late in order to have time to myself.
I am not allowed to have fun until my business is financially successful.
I am not allowed to buy any new clothes for myself until my business is successful, even if my tops are starting to get holes in them.
I am not allowed to go to any social events during the week, as I should be working on my business.
I need to work on weekends to make my business work.
I need to work as long and as hard as I can to get my business to work.
I need to be seen to be working as long and hard as I can to show my husband that the money we have invested in the business is worthwhile.
I need to know that the niche I pick is perfect for me in every way.
I need to be perfect and have the perfect business.
I need to keep investing money in business courses because other people know how to do all of this perfectly and I don’t.
Eventually I pushed all of this too far. As part of my coach training with Dr Martha Beck we are taught to ‘live it to give it.’ Essentially this means living in a way that makes you feel good in your body. It begins with growing an awareness of your feelings and emotions and using them as a guide in your life.
I wasn’t listening to what my soul wanted. I was creating a coaching practice that I would not have been happy with, one that was run more along the lines of a Victorian factory than a modern holistic enterprise.
I realised also that the rules that I was choosing to believe weren’t working for me or for my business and I had a choice to build a different foundation for my life’s work.
[bctt tweet=”When you have always believed that working harder and harder will get you what you want, it’s hard to turn back the dial on that.” username=”DeborahChalk1″]
Every ounce of your being tells you that you should be hustling. I did some metaphor coaching work with a fabulous coaching buddy I have and I realised that I didn’t want to feel like the stereotype of a dodgy used car salesman (I am sure there are also lovely ones) or a World War Two spiv with a line of fake watches up his arm ready to sell to unsuspecting customers.
So how did I revoke the rules?
I made it an experiment.
Making things an experiment helps you to allow yourself imperfection, as hey, you’re just looking to see what happens. It’s no big deal.
Some questions I’ve experimented with, that you might to experiment with too:
If I allow myself to enjoy my life, what happens to my business?
If I allow myself to get enough sleep, what happens to my business?
If I allow myself to read fiction, what happens in my life?
If I allow myself days out with my family on the weekend, what happens?
If I sometimes watch ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’ or a BBC history documentary (Mary Beard on Ancient Rome or Suzannah Lipscomb on the Tudors) at lunch, what happens?
If I allow myself to read academic history books because I am drawn to them at the moment, what happens?
If I meet a friend for tea on a weekday, what happens?
This week’s action point:
What rules are you making in the belief that if you are harder and harder on yourself, you will succeed?
What evidence do you have that those rules are working?
What evidence do you have that those rules are not working?
Which rule do you feel that it is safe to experiment with?
Set a period for the experiment.
Write on your calendar the end date of the experiment.
Journal to track your progress through the experiment.
So I’d love to hear from you, which rule are you going to experiment with?
If you are finding all the rules you hold yourself to are stopping you from living the life you want, I offer a free 30 minute tea chat over Skype or conference line so we can talk about how I can help you as your coach. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you my scheduler’s link.