Last year, I decided that 2020 was going to be about building on what I already have, focusing on creating sustainability for me as an entrepreneur. (More about that here)
My retreats, I figured, fit into that description. I’ve done it before, It’s a tried and tested concept, and people keep asking for them.
But for some reason, it didn’t feel like a yes inside.
Maybe it was the fact that I had to find a new venue, which is time consuming.
Maybe it was the financial aspect of it – a real life workshop or retreat is a lot of work but not a lot of cash.
Maybe it was because I haven’t found an assistant yet, and the tech side of any launch is difficult to handle alone.
Or maybe it was some factor I wasn’t aware of yet.
Whatever it was, I consider that feeling, that inner holding back, to be valid information.
But then I started thinking, maybe I could do one in October, that would give me plenty of time. After all, it’s so much fun! (It is!) So I started casually looking for a venue.
And then I started thinking, maybe I could make it happen in May after all. Maybe if I find the right place quickly and then it wouldn’t be too much work to launch it.
This is how I usually end up lost. I talk myself out of my intuitive knowing, step by step, until I find myself doing exactly what I said I wouldn’t do.
I found myself swearing while looking for venues when I truly didn’t have time for it.
I found myself struggling with tech issue after tech issue.
I found myself aware of the feeling of unease, of not quite wanting to move ahead, but not trusting that information enough.
Because once I get going with something, it’s ridiculously difficult for me to stop.
I did an Intuitive Strategy Session with money coach Jenny Karlsson and she said something that hit me so hard it kept ringing in my ears for days afterwards: “Empowered choices create abundance”.
I knew what that meant. I know what an empowered choice feels like and it’s always based on that inner knowing. That inner yes or no. The abundance I’m looking for (the abundance of time, money and resources that makes up a sustainable business) can be found on the other side of empowered choices.
But still I went ahead, wrestling technology that delayed the launch some more.
It was almost comical, if it hadn’t been so exhausting. Just hours after I finally opened registration, something happened that brought everything to a stop. I can’t share the details and it doesn’t matter, but I had to cancel the retreat.
And no, I couldn’t have known before. Except I did. That’s what the gut feeling was telling me all along: “This is a no. Don’t move forward on this right now.”
I don’t know how we know, but we do. There’s ALWAYS information available, only we’re not so keen on listening when it’s not saying what we want it to say.
So why tell you this? Why not just shut down the launch quietly and move on?
Because I want you to know how messy it is, for all of us, even when it looks really smooth on the surface. Even when we’re smart people who’ve gone a few rounds and “should” know better.
Doesn’t matter, we keep failing, keep learning.
Failure is part of the deal. It’s part of the creative journey, and the entrepreneurial journey. I’ve come to think that our level of failure tolerance is probably what separates those who give up from those who doesn’t.
So I’m here for it. I’m here for shifting the conversation about what failing means – especially for women – so that you don’t quit when you fail because you think it means you don’t have what it takes. I’m here for sharing my own failures, to show that you’ll survive. It’s uncomfortable, yes. In this case, I don’t take cancelling a commitment easily, it was both painful and embarassing. But it happened and nobody died.
This is what sustainability is about too, right? Reasonable expectations. Less shame about us not being perfect, more permission to grow and learn the way we humans do – through failing.
For a business owner, a failure can cost you dearly. But it can also be exactly what gives you the information you need to succeed the next time. So I’m bringing it all with me as I go back to the drawing board, revising and refining my plans for the year ahead. A little bit wiser, I’m sure. Not wise enough to keep me from failing again, I’m sure of that too.