Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share a bit about jewelry, and a lot about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I am sharing the one thing I want all aspiring entrepreneurs to know. I have so many tips, tricks, and information to share with aspiring entrepreneurs, but if I had to boil it down to one thing, it would be this: in order to be successful at leaving behind your day job and starting your own business, you have to be willing to completely change your thinking.
If you've been reading my journal entries for a while now, you may have noticed that I sometimes say, "You need to work on your mindset more than your website in order to be successful at owning your own business." Today's journal entry expands upon that.
So what exactly do I mean by "changing your thinking?" Well, let's start with the present moment first. Most likely, today you find yourself in a job (or perhaps you recently left a job) that you don't like very much. Or maybe you like it, but it's just not fulfilling and you can't imagine spending the rest of your life doing it. Well, how did you wind up in this situation in the first place - working at a job you don't like or don't find fulfilling? You have a set of internal beliefs that played out in real life and brought you to the now. Most likely, those internal beliefs go something like this:
- Work isn't supposed to be fun
- The purpose of work is to earn a paycheck
- I'm supposed to work until age 65, give or take, and then I can retire and enjoy my life
- The right thing to do after college is to get a stable job with good income potential
- I work an office job because I need health insurance
- I stay at my stable job because I need the benefits
- Having a regular paycheck makes me feel secure
- I work a 9 to 5 job during the week and I countdown to the weekend. Friday at 5 pm is my favorite. They say TGIF for a reason!
- Who am I to think that work should be any different than this? Everyone else feels the same way. That's just life. We all have to work to pay the bills.
Do some or all of these beliefs ring true for you? And do you find yourself at a job you don't particularly love? If your answer is "yes" then you, my friend, have created the exact set of real life circumstances to support your beliefs.
Therefore, it naturally follows that you can create a new set of beliefs. And those new beliefs will create a new set of real life circumstances that support those new beliefs. Do you follow me? If not, read this over again a little more slowly. The "big picture" logic of it all is actually quite easy. It's getting from here to there that's not so easy.
So how do you get from here to there? You begin by changing your thinking. You have to, have to, have to change the way you think about work and career. Please believe me when I say this. I am speaking from 100% real life experience. You see, I quit my lawyer job not once but twice. And both times I left to create a jewelry business. The first jewelry business (which happened in 2010) failed after one year. The second one (grace + hudson) is in its fourth year and thriving. When people ask me what the major difference has been, I always tell them that it's my mindset. The first time I quit, I had the beliefs that are listed above. I actually felt guilty and naive at times for trying to make a living doing something I enjoy. I'm not sure if it was (a) the guilt or (b) the doubt that I could go against the grain that killed my dream first, but I was back working as a lawyer within a year. I truly was not in alignment with my dream. I was in alignment with working in a career I didn't really like. It can be hard to examine your beliefs and have enough self-awareness to admit that. But looking back, gosh it was so clear. I honestly didn't believe I deserved better.
The second time I quit I was in a totally different headspace. Part of that was the wisdom that comes with growing a little older, and part of that was some real transformational work I had done with a therapist after I lost my dad to cancer. I was in a dark place at that time in my life. Everything was going wrong and it was just one thing after another. I was finally in enough pain to say, "Ok! Enough is enough! Something's gotta change here!" And that desire for change propelled me to work on myself and really challenge myself to grow beyond this dark place. It didn't happen overnight that's for sure, but slowly and surely I worked on a little tiny aspect of myself, and then another, and another, and another. And soon enough the momentum was great enough to make big changes. I'm quite a different person than I was back then, doing a different job, living in a different city, with different friends. Making big changes like that are never easy, but I can honestly say, looking back, the journey was a pretty beautiful one!
So what's the next step for you? I'd say it's taking 30 minutes of true self-reflection and writing down your honest beliefs about work. Maybe it resembles the bullet point list above, maybe it doesn't. Then, write down your ideal beliefs about work. Chances are, it looks like the opposite of the statements above. For example (again going off of our bullet point list above), the first item can read: "Work can be fun and joyful - it doesn't need to be painful and boring." The second item can read: "The purpose of work is to use my gifts and talents in service to the world around me. Money is a natural by-product of sharing my gifts. When I do what I am called to do, what I was put on this earth to do, money is going to eventually start naturally flowing from that." You get the idea.
If you find your current beliefs and your ideal beliefs about work don't line up, you have to start changing your internal beliefs to more closely resemble your ideals. How do you start doing that? Well, maybe it's as easy as reading your list every single day before you leave for work and, on your walk or drive to work, you allow yourself to really imagine what it might feel like to have a job that fulfills these ideals. If you're doing it right, it won't be long before you arrive to work with a huge smile on your face. And then it won't be long before you use this new positive energy to make some transformational changes in your life. You'll know the right steps to take, just be open and aware.
Or maybe it's not going to start that easy. Maybe it's going to require the help of a therapist because you have some tougher issues to work through. For example, perhaps you grew up in a home with food insecurity which led to the deeply held belief that "there is never going to be enough." Maybe that belief has infiltrated how you think about work and money, and you need some assistance developing healthier thoughts around these topics. Whatever path is yours, honor it and know that the obstacles you have been given were given to you for a reason. If you overcome them, you are going to grow and evolve into a higher version of yourself. Trust me, it won't be for naught.
If you still aren't getting this, if you just aren't buying it, let me give you a very simple analogy of how your thoughts can really change your experience of a thing. I have a dog. He loves to walk. You know what he loves even more than walking? Sniffing. This dog loves to sniff anything and everything as we walk along our path. I mean, he can sniff a tiny uninteresting patch of weeds for 6 minutes straight while I stand there feeling unproductive and thinking of all the steps we could've gotten on my Fitbit if only my dog would walk quickly. I'll admit it - our difference of opinion on how a walk should be walked had me a little irritated at times when he was a young puppy. But you know what changed? Me. One day, I had this thought seemingly out of nowhere - we do not take dog walks in order to rack up steps on a Fitbit. That's not the point. We take dog walks so that my dog can empty his bladder before I go to work and get a little fresh air and smell the weeds and grass and fire hydrants around the neighborhood (I once had a dog trainer who referred to this as the human equivalent of reading the morning paper - they want to know what's been going on in the neighborhood!). When I changed my thinking away from "this should be a productive walk with lots of steps" my experience of our walks changed with it. I didn't get restless. I didn't look at my Fitbit with dismay to see we had only taken 30 steps in 9 minutes. I even started to use this time to say little silent prayers over the day ahead of me, listen to a podcast, or catch up on the texts on my phone. And ever since then, our walks have been just lovely.
You see how your thoughts about a thing shape your experience? You see how changing your thoughts about a thing can drastically change your experience? Big or small, it's no different. Thoughts help shape and create your reality, so use them wisely.
p.s. If you enjoy my journal, I will be doing an Instagram Live on Tuesday, September 22nd, at 8 pm eastern over on my Instagram account which is @graceandhudson. It's a little Q&A time together where you can ask me anything about career change, starting your own business, or growing a new business. I hope you'll join me! If you can't make that time, feel free to send me a question at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll answer it on the Live and you can catch the replay.