It was an oddly proud moment in 2016 when a student of my first ever taught business course said to me “Thank you so much for this course! Without it I wouldn’t have realized that I don’t want to have cake as a business – I want to design clothing.”
I felt proud. I felt content.
And it was because someone had been set free from something she thought she was supposed to love doing but resented doing because it wasn’t filling her.
I set out then to be so honest about what needs to happen to run a truly successful home-based cake business that there would be no mistakes made by my students and prospective students: it’s not easy to succeed.
I had been part of many Facebook group with home-based entrepreneurs and hobbyists, and two things became super clear to me after not too long.
- Making cool things was what they believed would make them successful.
- Most people teaching them stuff about running a business had ZERO qualifications to be doing so and were spewing harmful bullshit.
And that’s why I set out to create a business skills course for cake decorators. They were becoming chained to the idea of their business because they were chained TO their business. Everything they believed they needed to do for success – because that’s what all cakers do – wasn’t making them successful, and instead was causing more of these would-be entrepreneurs to give up completely.
I was so tired of seeing people in positions of influence giving horrid advice. When you have a big name in your industry you have a duty to be responsible and clear and thorough and not BS people by just telling them what they want to hear.
So I started teaching them because yes, I’m qualified, and yes I could do far better to serve my peers on my community.
And that makes all of this talking people out of the businesses I helped them build so… weird.
“I don’t know. When you mentioned blogging about living with a chronic illness and the ways you’ve learned to manage it successfully, you lit up. There was so much life in your face and energy. Then when you said you could just do cake because you already know that and you’re good at it you seemed resigned. You know you don’t have to make caking your business just because other people say it makes sense and you’re talented. Your happiness and enjoyment matters.”
Whoa. The look of shock and relief on my client’s face was a beautiful sight – I’m not sure I had seen her look so beautiful than when an obligation, a burden from the outside world’s opinion, was lifted. She had been given permission to not listen to “reason” or go with the safe and obvious path.
It was as if a lead blanket had been lifted off her.
THAT is what makes exploring our inner-inner worlds so worth it!
That moment of realization and acceptance and excitement and relief and hope all mixed together in a single visible shift in energy in a person’s being.
The truth is that YOUR HAPPINESS MATTERS in choosing what you want to do with your life, how you earn money, how you contribute. You don’t need to do what makes sense, what is reasonable, what is expected, or what is safe just because it has meaning and earns you enough money.
If you’re not sure if your business and what you do in it is actually what you should be doing, ask yourself these questions:
- Is this business/job stealing energy from the most important areas fo my life?
- Do I really (no, like really… the deep-down place that only you can hear and answer and where no one else will hear your real thoughts) find my deepest meaning in what I do?
- What thing do I love to do so much that I might choose IT over sex… and is that what your business/job is?
- What story do you tell yourself about why you continue to operate your business or work in your job? What makes it worth it?
- Does your job/business align with your purpose?
If there is something that doesn’t feel good in one or more of those answers, you might be out of touch with, and out of alignment with, your purpose. And there is no greater tragedy in life than a life’s purpose not being realized and lived out.
“Well, you successfully talked another person out of cake for a business.”
I cheered. This time it wasn’t just a client, but a good friend.
Being a coach with a certain talent for seeing and hearing through all the extra stuff people do and say, and being able to see what’s really at the heart of things, makes it tough to watch people you love live half-lives.
If you think you’re living a half-life because of money (needing it so doing things like jobs); because everyone says you have too much talent doing XYZ to waste it (even though it doesn’t light you up inside); because it’s safe and reasonable (though it dulls life and your energy); because life is about just doing what you need to because you have responsibilities (wrong… just wrong); or because wanting to do something that rewards you with joy and more money is somehow selfish… then stick around this place. I can help.
Maybe someday I’ll be able to talk you out of the place you’re in and into the business, entrepreneurial endeavor, or career that allows you to bring all of your purpose and joy and contribution to the world every day, only growing your energy and love daily.