Entrepreneurship can seem overwhelming, where the more you do, the more there is to do. At least with freedompreneurship, the more you do, the less there is to do in the long run. With freedompreneurship, there is freedom at the end of the tunnel.
Today, as a master freedompreneur, I want to illustrate to you how actually, there aren't a million things to do. There are simply a few specific things to do, and you simply add depth and quality at each iteration, for sustained success. Not regular success, but sustainable success.
Said another way, too many entrepreneurs go round and round in circles, creating more busyness and overwhelm. Freedompreneurs follow a spiral, converging on each iteration closer and closer to freedom at the intersection of our 5 Guide to Grace questions.
As a freedom seeker, who am I here to liberate?As a lifelong learner, what am I here to teach?
As a creative trailblazer, why am I here?
As an overachiever, how do I surrender to grace?
As a truth seeker, who am I?
QUALITY AND DEPTH OVER "THE CHASE"
Before I do that, I wanted to stop and celebrate the things that I did NOT do.
- I didn't chase other people’s idea of success: fame, status, followers, cars, houses, boats, jewelry, top 10 lists, etc.
- I didn’t scale so fast that I ended up in the hospital emergency room or bankrupt.
- I didn't sell my soul or my business to Venture Capitalists who would have taken my brand and replaced me with a 20 year old white boy.
- I didn't blindly hire so much, so fast that I had to lay off amazing staff when funding ran out.
- I didn’t create a million dollar website that, like a hungry ghost, needed constant feeding.
- I didn't grow so complex with HR drama and technological multi-system chaos that I had to shut everything down and go back to basics.
- I didn’t blindly chase growth metrics, just because patriarchy said so.
Instead, I chose richness of wisdom, depth of tools, safety of space, generous of support and quality of products over profit and big numbers. And you know what, the profit and big numbers followed, as an elegant by-product of my work, not as a carrot that I can never reach. That's what I call grace, doing the right things in the right order.
Did you know that 86% of companies that obtain VC funding end up shutting the company down or selling for pennies on the dollar within 5 years?
Nobody wants to show you the hours and hours of becoming. They'd rather show the highlight of what they've become. Me, I adore showing you the hours and hours of becoming. Me, I love telling the truth.
So here goes, how I guide my clients, fellow founders, overachievers, trailblazers and freedom seekers, to lean on the power of iterations and self-compassion to create sustainable success,with grace.
POWER OF ITERATIONS • TIME
Managing, battling or making peace with time is the same as managing, battling or making peace with the ego. That’s why time is such a hot topic. To the soul, time is infinite. To the ego, time is VERY limited. So learning to create and dance with time is the same as learning to create and dance with the ego.
I held a laser eagle eye focus on the ultimate question, "Will this action free up more of my time?" Short-term, long-term, doesn't matter, will this task make me busier or more time free? Eg. Creating a group program allows me to teach, coach and mentor more people for the same hour, so yes investing time, energy and attention to this project is worth it. I will be freer in the long-term, not busier. And the group program can turn into a self-study masterclass, earning passive income, so yes, this is a very worthy, high priority project. Freer, not busier!
Making peace with time is a spiritual quest of making peace with the ego.
– ELLANY LEA
BUSYNESS TRACKER • CURRENT TIME INVENTORY
With any deepening, whether it's about co-creating yourself, your business or your masterclass, I always have my clients start with an assessment of the current situation. Like Maya Angelou says, "You can't know where you're going if you don't know where you've been."
So when I first dove into entrepreneurship, and smacked my head on the bottom of the metaphorical pool, I very quickly awoke to the the fact that I was doing busyness, not business. I was under the illusion that if I worked 100's of hours, I'd make 100's of thousands of dollars. Wrong. Notice also the green 'meal' slots... how poorly I treated my body, believing in the patriarchal way of doing business :(.
Look at the yellow 'Client' and gray 'wasted' or 'exhausted' slots, scattered all over. It made my week feel like a swiss cheese, with holes everywhere. It was very un-grounding and I was constantly swirling around, switching hats between coach, marketer, operations manager, web designer, etc. It was so hard to know if I was coming or going, I just knew I ware rarely here.
Now look at the teal 'Being' slots, I never had time (correction, I never made time) to sink into flow and work on a juicy creative project. And obviously, the red 'Doing' slots were filled with trauma-response and/or fear-response and/or scarcity-response random busyness, leading to very little outcome.
And worst of all (for me), were the purple 'Prospect' networking slots that were utterly and massively a waste of time. Networking yielded nothing. Nada. Zilch. Intentional marketing yielded a great deal, but networking, bleh, gag, no thank you.
SANITY TRACKER (STEPPING STONE TOWARD FREEDOM TRACKER)
So I changed that. If it ain't working, change. Even as a baby freedompreneur, I was wise enough to know that jumping straight to a dream freedom tracker would be unrealistic. The psyche doesn't go from patriarchal conditioning to freedom embodied living overnight. So I created a Sanity Tracker as a stepping stone.
First, I slashed all the purple 'Networking', adios! I put 'Play Time' in its place, going to places and doing things that expand my soul and fill it with meaning.
Then look at the yellow 'Client' slots, I corralled my clients like a master shepherd into Wednesdays and Thursdays, so that I'd have peace. Deep, deep peace. I'd wake up, put on my coach hat on and thoroughly enjoy the day. Nowhere else to be, nothing else to do, no one else to be, just coach. God, it felt grounding and peaceful, from which ease and joy naturally bloomed like a cherry blossom.
And yes, it took 6 months to transition all clients over to Wednesdays and Thursdays, since some clients had just started on other days of the week. But I had a clear, crisp visual taped to my wall of what I truly yearned for: peace, simplicity and joy. And I declared that I was done being my client's bitch and a yes-sayer. I call that a reclamation! And the caliber of my clients skyrocketed immediately!
Then notice the teal 'Being' slots. I started my week with space (the why) before particles (the what). I started the week with day dreaming, strategizing and uninterrupted flow space to capture, create and unleash my wisdom. It was like a weekly date with destiny that I looked forward to with glee!
And when it came to red 'Doing' slots, I made a gargantuan leap of faith: shift my behavior from working wiser, not harder and trust that it'll all turn out better. I became ultra discerning of what matters most, what had the greatest 80/20 impact and limiting marketing and business development to one day only. If I didn't set and KEEP those boundaries, I would have been in an emergency room with an IV bag in my arm already. Trust paid off. Things turned out better than I was capable of imagining.
The best part was, I dumped out the window the indoctrination that "early bird gets the worm." My mental, physical, spiritual and emotional systems don't come online until after 10am. So I start my business work after 10am. All this "5AM club" rah-rah-rah is way overhyped. "Honor your circadian rhythm" is what I champion.
WISDOM TRACKER (ANOTHER STEPPING STONE TO FREEDOM TRACKER)
I was sooo eager and excited to finally be living my Freedom Tracker after 2.5 years of experiments and tweaks, but I knew there needed to be one more stepping stone beforehand.
I discovered that I wrote my best work on quiet Saturday mornings. And my body and nervous system adored not working on Monday, because they empathically get so oppressed by the masses' dread of Mondays. I decided I'd stop fighting that over-empathy, stop forcing myself to work when I was feeling oppressed. Instead, Mondays were my day off and with time and healing, my body/nervous system could alchemize the world's dread into utter joy and blissful freedom. So that made me shift my work week from Tuesday to Saturday. Why conform when my soul and body knew better?
I also needed time/space to adjust to hiring, firing and delegating to my team. Things were shifting on the HR front and I was wise enough to know not to change everything at once. So I kept things on the time front relatively the same, but shrunk my work day from 9:30AM - 7PM to 11AM - 6PM. Progress! Every little bit counts.
Lastly, if you look at the yellow 'Group Coaching' slots, I high leveraged my time by running group programs. I made 4X more money that year, working about the same hours. That's called high leverage, indeed!
FREEDOM TRACKER • ASPIRATIONAL WEEK
And here we go, just over 3 full years of intentionally and wisely guiding my time, I reached my Freedom Tracker dream.
Firstly, I reduced my work week to 4 days/week instead of 5. I reduced my work hours from 11AM - 6PM to 11AM - 4PM. Remember, by now, I had a small freelance team supporting me and a masterclass that sold 24/7.
I merged all my group programs into one group program. I encouraged 1:1 clients to join the group instead and they gladly did so, with the added perk of community, while being gifted 2-4 one-on-one coaching sessions as part of their group package. And I was able to raise my price for one-on-one packages.
I teach and guide clients to imagine and design an aspirational Freedom Tracker in about 2 year's time. It took me over 3.5 years to achieve it, but that 2 year marker provides breathing space. It doesn't trigger the inner hyper-achiever alarm bells that the Freedom Tracker needs to be achieved yesterday. It's realistic, grounded, and not too far into the future.
Author TRACKER •
Empath TRACKER •
POWER OF ITERATIONS • ADVANCED TIME
It takes time to make peace with time. Why? Because to the soul, time is eternal and infinite. To the ego, time is very, VERY limited. So making peace with time is the same as making peace with the ego, and that in itself is ALWAYS a spiritual quest, never an over-night sensation.
As we go along, for clients or students who are eager, I also have them track their level of success, fulfillment and freedom along the way. This is what mine looked like:
Busyness Tracker (current time inventory, aka Burnout Tracker)
Success Index: 6/10
Fulfillment Index: 3/10
Freedom Index: 0/10
Sanity Tracker (stepping stone between Busyness and Wisdom Trackers)
Success Index: 8/10
Fulfillment Index: 6/10
Freedom Index: 4/10
Wisdom Tracker (stepping stone between Sanity and Freedom Trackers)
Success Index: 9/10
Fulfillment Index: 8/10
Freedom Index: 6/10
Freedom Tracker (aspirational week)
Success Index: 9.8/10
Fulfillment Index: 9.8/10
Freedom Index: 9.8/10
Next week, I'll share with you several other metrics beyond time and money that contribute to sustainable success. Not just success, but sustainable fulfilling, soul-aligned, prosperous, liberating success, with grace.
In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.
With infinite grace,
(First Published Feb 5, 2020)
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