Lat week I gave a one hour talk to a wonderful group of health focused business owners.
I’ve never given a talk about myself or my business before but as I was asked by an enterprise that I’m a proud ambassador for, I couldn’t say no this time! Joining Hands is a not for profit organisation that provides health and support services to the homeless youth in Brisbane (my home town). I came on board as an ambassador mid last year and have loved watching what this organisation does for my city. They not only provide things like massage, haircuts, retreat days (and more) to homeless youth but they provide all types of training for the business owners of the health services that contribute.
So I went and gave my talk and I got to pick the subject matter. I picked three important points to chat about.
- How you don’t need things to be perfect to start something (and why I call myself the accidental business woman!)
- How major break through can be disguised as struggle and hardship
These three points were easy for me to talk about and I had my own personal stories for each topic (because you can only properly teach through stories). I chose these three points because they are just as important in life as they are in business. And I believe that anything important for us to know can be applied to all areas of our life which is why I thought it’s worth popping them in a blog for my lovely readers.
Ditching the Idea of Perfection
I wouldn’t even have my Naughty Naturopath Mum business if I didn’t just start it from where I could. Which was from my back verandah! I made flower essences with hand written labels on the bottle and I either gave them away or sold them through facebook. I had no website or online shop for the first year simply because I thought I was just doing something until my ‘baby days’ at home were over. Now, just 4 years later, I run a company with a pretty busy online store, website and blog while employing staff. And I don’t even think about going back to consulting again. I do miss my consulting days but this is who I am now. I get to keep learning in a whole new field and challenge myself every day in an area I never thought I’d enter…business.
I’m a naturopath not a business woman!! This was a common thought process for me and to be honest, it still is….but somehow they have morphed into the one thing. Even though I stumble through everything there is to learn about running a company…I still do it. Nothing is perfect. It’s far from perfect. I make mistakes daily but they all teach me how to do it better next time. If I had waited until I had professionally printed labels on my bottles or a fancy website shop and done at least SOME business training…then I know Naughty Naturopath Mum Pty Ltd would never have happened.
And if I waited until I was at my ideal weight before doing facebook videos of myself, I would wait forever. If I waited until every recipe was perfect before I blogged it, I would have no recipe section. If I waited until I knew what would work when I posted a facebook ad, I would not have grown my business. If I waited until 100 people had given me good feedback about a new flower essence blend before adding it to my shop, then I wouldn’t have helped so many people by now….I would still just be helping myself, and my family and friends. And something that helps deserves to be out there.
Anything I haven’t done before is far from perfect but I do it anyway and I know I can always tweak it later. Everything gets better with time. And if it never happened at all because we didn’t allow an imperfect thing to get off the ground…what a shame that would be for everyone. Luckily this thinking has also spilled into my personal life. I always try things I’ve never tried before because I have the confidence in allowing it to be messy before it gets better. My parenting style has really benefited from this thinking because lord knows, if you expect anything to be perfect as a parent, you may as well shoot yourself in the foot right now.
Key points for ditching the idea of perfection –
- It’s ok to start where you can and end up somewhere different
- Allow things to still be unpolished when you release them to the world
- Nothing is a tattoo except a tattoo. You can tweak things as you go.
Breakthrough in Disguise
Have you ever had a major triumph, reward or just took things to a whole new level that didn’t have an icky, uncomfortable, disastrous or downright traumatic beginning? I liken it to pregnancy and birth. It’s such a change and struggle for most women. Your body changes, you spew for days, you realise that life as you knew it is about to change forever, your emotions get completely out of control and then you go through, in my opinion, the hardest thing you’ll ever do….and give birth! Yeow. Oh and look what you get in the end!!! Life. The most perfect thing you’ve ever seen. Your baby. And you think to yourself, how bloody incredible is this!? Farking amazing!!
I have seen amazing ‘uplevelling’ in my business and personal life after my biggest hardships. I gave two stories in my talk to demonstrate this.
1) The first story was about nearly losing my son when he was 9 months old. It was the most horrendous thing I’ve been through and the people who would usually hold me up when I was struggling were all going through the same thing so I couldn’t make sense of anything. So I didn’t. I numbed myself on valium and wine until he was out of ICU 2 weeks later and then I realised the awful journey we were on was only just beginning really. I learnt so much about myself in the next 3 years as we dealt with everything that started that one night. And I began to write again. I poured my soul into blogs and without knowing it would, it helped me so much and it helped my business. I discovered that all we really need to do to heal is connect with something that feeds our soul which can then also connect us with others. My Gratitude blog where I write about this initial experience with my son touched many people and they in turn touched me back. It later led to other personal blogs like a letter to my husband and my journey through postnatal depression and so many others. These blogs have all helped so many other women. I know this because they let me know. And each time I read an e-mail or message like this, another little part of me heals.
2) And the second story was about how my business came under attack last year which saw my Naughty Naturopath Mum facebook page go away for a while. I unpublished my page and had to pause my business until the people that were wanting to hurt me got bored and moved onto their next internet victim. Now this could have been devastating for my business as most of my revenue comes via facebook but I used this awful time to get myself more set up. I changed the structure of my business and got more confidence in the things I hadn’t bothered looking at (because more of a naturopath and not much of a business woman remember?!) and I actually improved the way things ran and how I operated in my business. I came back and thanked the trolls and haven’t heard a peep since. They really helped me to stop, take a look and uplevel.
Everything awful, uncomfortable, upsetting and stress inducing for me now has me thinking ‘wow…I wonder what amazing new chapter is going to come out of this crappy time…?’ I’m a big believer that nothing happens TO us, it happens FOR us and I gain so much strength from this. It’s not everyone’s belief system, I get that. I wonder if I could still type this sentiment if I had lost my son….. But I honestly hope this would still ring true somewhere in my brain as this belief gives my life meaning and I believe my lessons come easier. Don’t get me wrong, they can still be pretty awful but they make so much sense later.
Key points for breakthrough in disguise –
- Help yourself through the darker times by wondering what your life is making way for
- Nothing happens to us, it happens for us
- Look for the lessons and take that shit to a whole new level
This is such an important one. I don’t thing anything is worth doing or being in this world if it’s not 100% you. You have to be who you are whether it’s while you are running your business, participating in your relationships or even posting something online. It won’t just serve you, it will serve humanity. Being real and unpolished (if that’s what you are!) will give other people permission to be real and unpolished too. In this day and age of perfection on instagram and facebook, we need to let it all hang out a bit more so we can all feel a bit more normal again!
And if you offer a service or sell a product, you need to do it with YOUR story. It doesn’t have to be sharing anything you are uncomfortable with. Everyone will need to draw their own line in the sand when it comes to sharing online or in person but you need to share something. Customers and just people in general want to feel connected to something. That’s all we really want.
You may feel like you’ve got something unique to offer and yes, maybe you do but I can guarantee you, it can also be offered by someone else. The point of difference between what you’ve got and what they’ve got is YOU. And that is an amazing power. for anyone out there reading this and thinking that you’re not special and no one would be interested in your life and what you think, then sorry, but you are so wrong. Do you know how many different types of people there are in this world? You will attract the people that are meant for you but only if you be you. Authentically you. I love people and businesses more if I see that it’s just really genuine. I’ll even like someone or something I don’t agree with if I see that it comes from a place of authenticity.
I didn’t learn this anywhere other than my own journey in life. I’m not good at being anything but me nowadays. I don’t try to be anything other than I am (gosh the teenage and early 20’s were hard with this one though!) and this has to roll over into the way I run my business because my business is an extension of me. That’s why I’m the ‘Naughty’ Naturopath Mum because yeah, I can be naughty, I love health and as a mother to a 5 and 6 year old right now, I’m knee deep in my mum journey too.
I used to think that I shouldn’t post stuff about my kids or the funny things they said…or even my thoughts on parenting because I thought I was just here to provide support and health info…. I also didn’t want to turn people away who weren’t parents from my page or website. But as soon as I posted anything that wasn’t in line with me right now and wasn’t my authentic truth at the time, all I would hear was crickets…and guess what gets more connection and reach than anything else? My very unpolished sharing of who I am and what I think right now.
I know I’m not everyone’s cup of tea but I love people and I love to help people but as soon as I try and edit myself on how I connect with people, it all turns to poo. It’s the same when I want to connect with my kids, my family and my friends – I’m not ripping them off by pretending to be anyone else. Who has time for that and what exactly would be the point? And sometimes I’m too much for some people to handle (all that emotive sharing!!) and that is completely ok as well. But I know that my business has grown the way it has because I am who I am and I’ve put myself out there. I’ve attracted my tribe and I want to stay connected to them. It’s my biggest ‘why’ for the work that I do.
Key Points for Authenticity –
- Being authentic is your biggest asset in life and business
- Help give someone else permission to be who they are around you by you showing up as YOU
- You will attract the right people for you if you give them YOU.
Thanks so much to Kylie, the founder of Joining Hands for doing what she does and to everyone involved. Make sure you check out their website if it’s something you’d like to be a part of.