Every year around this time I go to a favorite spot to get quiet, settle my mind and ask “What is my word for this next year?” Sometimes the process is fast and other times not so much. This year when the word finally came I wasn’t sure about it at first but then it all made sense.
My word for 2019 is love.
An odd word for an entrepreneur, right? What does love have to do with business? Let me share my revelation with you.
This message will not be for everyone but for those women in leadership positions we might just become a virtual tribe of successful sisters that don’t want to get lost in the success or defined by it.
What I’ve learned is that there are aspects about my life and business I don’t love anymore. Gasp! Shocking to admit right? Wrong. When did it become shameful to say “I need to switch things up and it is not because anything bad is happening”?
Now, let’s be clear you’re not going to love everything you do, mature leaders understand this. What I didn’t love is what I had allowed to happen in my life. Have you ever been there?
In my quest for success, I placed myself on the back burner of my own life and the quest took over. At one point I don’t even know what the quest was about but moving forward I went full speed ahead.
Isn’t that what I was supposed to do? Isn’t this what success is supposed to feel like? This didn’t feel good at all but how could I complain after finally being able to walk away from Corporate and create the life I wanted? Or, at least the life I thought I wanted.
“On the journey don’t get lost in what you thought it would be but open your eyes to the reality of that moment.”
Success was happening but I would sit at my desk and ask “Is this all there is?” After years of:
Building my business (all the late nights and early mornings)
Working on my mindset (I own way too many books)
Getting healthy (Kale, cardio, sugar is the enemy, repeat)
This year I was only semi enjoying success. But that is when I asked myself a key question. “LaDawn, how are you defining success and have you put celebrating life in a box that can only be opened at the end of the journey?” Ouch! Asking myself these questions felt worst but to grow you must face the hard truths and many of it starts with the woman in the mirror.
Memories then came flooding back to the days of my twenty-year adventure in Corporate America. The times that I sat in meetings and observed dialogues with such intensity, you would think we were solving world hunger. Nothing was further from the truth. I felt trapped then (because I allowed it to happen) and I was feeling trapped now. Almost like I was suffocating. Let me give you a visual.
I secretly wish to be a gardener with a green thumb, my past record of trying to care for plants has proven otherwise. But, picture this for a moment.
Our lives can be a garden but they start off just a patch of dirt
We have the vision to turn that lot into a beautiful garden
We gather the tools we need to start building and tend to the garden night and day
In my garden, I would plant my favorite flower, roses, and each day water the flowers, pull out the weeds, chase the critters away (with a very big stick!)
Basically, we protect our creation
But pretty soon, the roses have grown full and strong, as we desired them to be. But with the more roses come more thorns. The roses are gorgeous but they come with the thorns. Do we throw out the roses to avoid the thorns and just stand on the exterior of the garden looking in at our creation that has now taken on a life of its own? Heck No! We woman-up (or man-up), deal with it and refuse to let anything distort our vision.
The garden is your business. The thorns are what organically happens as companies scale. And the Gardner, the one who started off with the vision, is not supposed to be the worker bee our job is to remain the visionary.
We are the King or Queen of our empire and in my life, the Queen wasn’t leading but rather being led by her empire. This had to stop.
How did this happen to me? How can you watch out so that you don’t fall into the same trap? In the words of the wise Jay-Z “Wheres the love?” Here are the first two steps to regaining your power & rekindling that fire that is fading.
Allow yourself to have a vision again for your business and this starts with being honest about what you desire in life and this my friend is where you ask yourself the question “What type of life would I love?” Be very specific the more details the better.
Next, we get to work. This is one of the very first areas that I cover with my clients. What life do you want? Next, let’s talk about how the business can support that because leaders can’t do it the other way around.
Leaders gain rewards that are more than a monetary exchange they must see their vision come to life.
As for me changes are underway so I can get back to being the Queen and not the worker bee which entails saying ‘no’ more often to what I’m not aligned too. I’m also keeping myself open to what is a ‘yes’ for me is in this season. I call this back to basics, the up-leveled edition, because I’m not the woman who once had an idea for a business I’m now the woman that has brought that into fruition so what's next?
Are you the same? Are you in a position that the success you thought you wanted has now happened but something is still missing? Get back to (up-leveled) basics and start by getting real with the life you desire and next get to work.
Cheering you on to 2019 and beyond. Be honest with yourself, get the support you need and above all else be strategic #BeStrategic