In honor of Andrea Schroeder’s Give Your Dream Wings Blog Hop, I’d like to tell you a story about my dream, giving up on it, and how I came back to it.
In 2009, I had enough early success as a coach that I quit my corporate job so I could focus on my business full-time.
I expected to see continued, steady growth. What I actually saw were short periods of success divided by much longer periods of creative drought.
Within a few months my body began to rebel. I was frustrated because my business wasn’t growing fast enough. I was freaking out about money all the time.
I was angry. Angry at my body for not staying healthy enough for me to build momentum. Angry at myself for not being able to ignore how I felt and just keep going.
Most of all I felt angry at the Universe because I’d gotten a clear signal that quitting my job was what would be best for me and my business, yet things seemed to be falling apart. It felt like a cruel trick.
The harder I pushed to grow my business, the less it grew until it started to shrivel. For three grueling years, I tried to subsist on the fumes of my past successes.
I didn’t realize until far too late that by continuing to pushpushpush, I was depleting myself. And that, in combination with my thyroid slowing down, led to a deep depression.
I’d often struggled with depression, but this was the lowest I’d ever gone. Even if I could have kept working, I no longer felt connected to my dream. Whereas my business used to feel like a being with its own soul before, now I wondered if it was all bullshit.
And so began a long, frustrating fallow period
Any desire to work came from a place of being afraid to stop working, rather than being connected to what my soul wanted to create.
I tried to focus on healing myself and the heartbreak I felt for things not going the way I expected. I had reached the point of being willing to walk away from my dream if I had to.
Eventually (over a year later), I started the long climb out of that deep pit.
I noticed a gradual willingness to look at what didn’t work before.
I saw all the ways I’d hurt myself by basing my self-worth on accomplishments.
I saw how I had been steamrolling my own soul, when I should have been partnering with it. (Well, I did partner with it for a while, until it was time to slow down, and then I stopped listening to what it had to say.)
I realized that no dream was worth losing my Self.
It’s been nearly two years to the day since I first acknowledged that the way I’d been pursuing my dream was utterly unsustainable.
And it’s only been in the last three months or so that I’m starting to see — outwardly — the fruits of the inner work I’ve been doing to heal myself and reconnect with my dream.
Here’s the thing:
What allowed me to reconnect with my dream was being willing to let it go, and to put my own needs before the needs of my dream. (The truth, though, is that your dream’s number one need is for you to get what you need.)
In a sense, I had to find the dream beneath the dream.
I thought I wanted a thriving business that would allow me to look forward to getting up and going to work every morning. That’s still true, but what I wanted even more was to be connected to myself and my soul so deeply that nothing could disconnect me.
I thought the deep connection I craved would be the result of creating the business.
The truth is that by nurturing the connection, I’m finding an ease in my business I’ve never experienced before.
Does it mean that things are always easy? Fuck no. Ease and easiness aren’t the same thing.
I have to choose to connect with my soul multiple times a day, and let it guide me. I have to choose to be honest with myself about whether I’m committed to growing my business (or am I more committed to dicking around on Facebook?).
Every day I have to start where I am and find a way to make it work.
The ease — despite the hard work — comes from knowing that I’m enough, even if I create something that doesn’t take off.
I’m learning to trust that deep, lasting progress comes from connecting to my soul, and working from that place.
Maybe you’ve experienced something similar:
You had a dream, it didn’t work out, and you’re feeling the heartbreak of that.
Here’s what I want you to know:
You are not alone. Though it may not feel like it right now, you have it within you to do what’s needed to support your dream.
The key to being able to nurture your dream sustainably is to make sure you’re connected to your soul. It knows what you and your dream need.
Learning to connect with your soul is a practice. Keep practicing.
Trust that your dream originates from your soul. Your dream is possible, because your soul would not hand you a dream you can’t achieve.
The Give Your Dream Wings Blog Hop is a peek inside the process of how inspiring people make the magic happen. We’ve got some of the internet’s most inspiring bloggers sharing how they give their dreams wings – what they do that supports, nurtures and encourages their tender dreams to come to life.
This is happening in celebration of the new e-course of the same name by Andrea Schroeder of the Creative Dream Incubator. The Give Your Dream Wings e-course shows you how to nurture and grow YOUR dream, for free, in only 10 minutes a day. You do not have to wait until you have more time or money!
Click here to find out about the free e-course, and to read the other (crazy inspiring!) posts in this Blog Hop.