When I made the conscious decision to become a stay at home mum, for some reason I suddenly began to worry what people were thinking about me and what they thought I was doing with my time when my son was at school. I believed I should be out there doing my bit for the community and society. I joined committees and gave away my time freely. I did this willingly, but it left very little in the tank for me.
Similarly when I created my business, my only intention was to succeed, and I eagerly followed the advice of those who had gone before me. Not once did I stop to think whether this was right the business for me. I had simply set a path and I was going to follow it. There was never the option to back out as I had committed.
However, by investing my whole self into the business and saying yes to every event and work opportunity, I had once again left myself very little time to come up for air. But I believed it was what I had to do to make my business a success, and I refused to let people down.
The result of all this was that I maxed out on spending my time doing for others, and working in my business. I got into debt with myself; there was no reserve left.
So I had to start saying no to others and yes to myself a bit more. It took a few attempts to crack this one, along with a huge dose of guilt, and feeling as though I was letting people down.
As for my business, my love for the product I had been promoting and selling had never ebbed away, but after 2 years I was beginning to feel unsure as to what direction I was heading. I remember sitting at a huge gala event at the start of the year, where other women in my line of business were being awarded huge prizes for the effort and output they had achieved over the past 12 months. At that point I think I was supposed to feel inspired, and hungry to achieve what they had. Instead I left feeling numb and uncertain, what did this mean? Had the past 2 years been a waste of time? I needed to find out where I was going.
Trundling through life, school, working, paying the bills etc. I never really made time to find out who I was, what made me tick, or what made me sparkle. Personal development was just not on my radar, and anyway I thought by now I surely had it all sussed. I knew who I was; I was a mum, a wife, a business owner, what more was there to know? Quite a lot actually as it has turned out!
Although I felt secure in my role as a stay at home mum and wife, the uncertainty about my business needed addressing. It was time to take a step back and work on what being truly me was all about. I set out to put personal development back on the map. I wanted to explore my talents, work out whether my business was the right fit me, and embrace whatever else came across my path.
So where did I start?
I started by deciding to invest in me.
At first I didn’t know what that investment would look like, who might help me, how much it would cost, or even whether it was worth it. Whatever the answers were going to be, my gut was telling me it was the right time and the right thing to do.
With my business I had been going to networking meetings on an off for the time that I had been up and running, and for a long time it was all about what I could gain for my business, whether it was sales, events or recruits.
However, networking became so much more than this for me and for this I am hugely grateful. The friendships and support that has flourished from the groups I attend has helped me in my quest to invest in me. Spending a couple of hours of my time once or twice a month to go networking has turned out not to be about promoting my book selling business after all. It was in fact the opportunity I needed to get out there and meet people who would open my heart and mind to welcome in new opportunities.
In this year alone, and through the contacts I have made through networking, my decision to invest in me has resulted in taking up yoga and meditation, having a full colour and style edit, and a new skincare regime to name but a few.
But by far the biggest and best decision and commitment to invest in me this year has been to work with a coach. Claire at www.clairedore.com is fabulously intuitive; she has challenged my every way of being and thinking, helping me to create the life and business I desire. She has helped me to learn about my true talents, and shown me the power of journaling. I’m still work in progress, and know I won’t ever be the finished version of myself, but I no longer look to the outside for what I want. I now have direction, and it feels great to be on a path where I am being truly me.
Whether it is investing money in property or cars, or time spent with our friends and loved ones, we all invest ourselves in things or people we love. I believe some of these investments come out of necessity, some are born out of instinct, and others are behaviours we may have adopted or learnt. But when do we make time to invest in ourselves? When do we take time to nurture what’s inside of us?
Taking time to invest in you is incredibly powerful. But in equal measure so is surrounding yourself with people who champion you to be truly you.
So what’s next? More about my being truly me, my colour and style edit and a bit of a hair dilemma!