By Bernadette O’Connor
Have you felt the calling?
The call to retreat, the call to switch off, the call to go within.
How often have you pushed through and ignored the calling, just kept going because it wasn’t the right time to shut down, to switch off, to disconnect?
You silence that inner voice that says it is time, and you continue to hustle, push, strive – because that’s what everyone else is doing and you fear what would happen if you stopped. It’s not a risk that you’re prepared to take – you’ve worked too hard to get where you have just to see it collapse because you’re tired!
You tell yourself that you will stop when you are on holidays, after you’ve take months to plan everything meticulously, working overtime for weeks, so that your time away won’t impact on the day to day running of your business.
The truth is to ignore this inner calling to pause, is so much more damaging to you and your business than briefly stepping away from it. Of course, we like to convince ourselves otherwise, and that is why there are so many burnt out women in business, who are ready to walk away from their business, feeling like they have been sold a big white elephant. That whole ‘work for yourself and reclaim your freedom’ concept feels like one big fat lie, because you now feel more trapped than you ever did before – a slave to your own business.
Many moons ago, as an up-and-comer in the corporate world, I would listen to this calling to step away. I was wiser than I realised back then, because I innately knew that once every couple of months it was imperative to my own wellbeing and to my success in business that I step away from my work. It became a guilt free practice of mine, when I felt the calling to switch off, that I would listen and gift myself a ‘mental health day’. That is what I called them back then, because I thought it was all about maintaining the integrity of my mental health. These days, with a deeper wisdom of myself and the depth and needs of my energetic being, I regard these days as imperative reset / reboot / recalibration days.
I choose to claim these days and retreat when I feel the calling, rather than being forced to stop with illness. Sure, when we are unwell we will finally stop, but the energy body is working so hard to just heal the physical body that it doesn’t utilise this time of rest to grow and expand and reinvigorate itself with a renewed passion for life and business.
To function optimally the energy body must be nourished and tended to in the way that it needs. The energetic body is very similar to a computer and if it is pushed to its limits, with too many tabs open and not enough time to reboot and restart, it will start to slow down and eventually shut down, inhibiting clarity, confidence, creativity and calm.
To be clear, confident, creative and calm are paramount to the success of your business. A depleted energetic body, also known as a starved soul, cannot thrive and as you are at the core of your business, if you do not nourish yourself and fill your soul, then you will not thrive and your business will suffer.
Do you wonder why your business becomes stagnant?
Why despite the long hours and the hard work, you cannot get the clarity you need to pull off the new strategy?
Why you lack the confidence to pitch to new clients?
Why your creativity feels stilted and lacklustre?
Why you are in a constant state of stress and anxiety?
What was once exciting, inspiring and fulfilling now feels like a constant struggle and you begin to wonder why you are bothering to work so hard, for seemingly so little return?
And then a strange thing happens, you walk away from your business, you take a holiday and you come back feeling refreshed and excited about new ideas and opportunities. You jump in with vigour and enthusiasm and you start to see results flowing in – new clients, great testimonials, more referrals. You are feeling the groove of your business, and you believe in the vision that you once had, you go into meetings clear on your objectives and confident in reaching your outcome. You are astounded that it is all flowing, that all the pieces are falling into place – this is how it is meant to be.
And then, you fall back into old habits. Burning the candle at both ends, convincing yourself that you don’t have time for the gym or that yoga class, or that walk with a friend – and before you know it your self-care goes out the window AGAIN, and as you begin to jam up because you are not tending to your needs, you notice that your business starts to jam up again. The flow stops, so you work harder to get things done, convincing yourself that if you don’t make things happen nothing will get done – you force your business to be what you need her to be.
It is now, that you will hear that calling – the calling of your inner wisdom to switch off and switch in. Before it all starts crumbling once again, it is the time to switch off and give your business some space to breath – and give yourself space to reboot and restart.
When you give yourself this space and sit in solitude you can connect to your inner wisdom. This is a practice that has been done by women since the beginning of time, the purpose of which is to ask questions and for the soul self to provide advice.
Many people run from this practice because they are convinced that they do not know how to connect to this aspect of themselves. That they cannot silence their mind, that the whole mindfulness and meditation thing just doesn’t work for them. The truth is there are many ways to connect – meditation, writing, painting, gardening, running, drumming, singing, prayer, yoga…..the list goes on, yet intentional solitude is most easily achieved simply by tuning out to distractions.
And as women we are good at this – we innately do this when we tune out from the noise of a house full of needy children, from a screaming baby in the middle of the night, from a self-indulgent friend who bores you with tedious details of her daily life. We know how to tune out and go within to seek refuge from a world that is overwhelming. The knowing how is not the challenge, it is remembering to do it, especially in a world that that feels that such time spent being in solitude is time wasted.
There is power in the solitude, and for so long in women’s tradition, the cycles of moon and menses were the natural cycles for women to go within to inquire into the state of one’s being – seeking to understand what is needed of the soul / the self to bring the whole being back into a balanced state. The assessment used to ascertain where the self is at, is simple and achieved by asking two questions:
What needs more and what needs less?
The question is being asked of the innate instinctual self, not the logic rational mind. The answer comes from a knowing, not a thinking. A knowing of what within the self / business needs adjustment, loosening or emphasizing; what is on course and what needs to be brought back into alignment. What needs love, moving, changing, disposing? Who or what are you holding that needs to be let go?
It is a constant refinement of the energy of you and your business. A beautiful balancing act to keep the magnetic attraction between your business and the vision you have for it, in alignment.
What raises the vibe of your business? What lowers the vibe of your business?
What needs less? What needs more?
Who needs to stay? Who needs to go?
Those who work in your business, and on your business, contribute to its energy. And assessing the energy that each person – you, partner, investor, employee, associate, contractor, client – brings into your business is essential to its overall vitality.
Ask questions of all aspects of your business – your book keeping; your website; your contracts; your storage facility; your business name; your office; your social media; your filing system; your inventory. The time spent in solitude seeking guidance from within about all aspects of your business and constantly refining yourself and your business so it remains in alignment with the bigger vision, is pivotal to your success.
Remember….Stay In Your Own Lane.
Ignore what is going on around you, what others are doing, what others want you to be a part of, what others are saying about you…. that is none of your business!
Your business is your business, so focus there and there alone!
Listen to your inner calling to retreat and become accustomed to looking within for how to build your unique business instead of looking outside of yourself, listening to ALL the shoulds and trying to replicate other people’s businesses. To go within is a recipe for long-term business success. To look outside is a recipe for inauthenticity, inadequacy, stress and burnout.
Are you ready to honour your inner calling and build the success of your unique business?
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