Categories
Mindset Coach Online Business Self Development

Why I Told “Fredericka” To Take a Hike

In fact, I told her to f*%k off. It was high time.

Who is Fredericka you might be asking? She happens to be that little voice of doubt; that little niggle; that stone in the shoe; that alter-ego who really has not served my greater purpose at all.

She has been that voice of self-doubt; that voice passing down her feelings of inadequacy. That voice where I thought I was an intellectual fraud.

She is the voice of Impostor Syndrome.

Wikipedia describes Impostor Syndrome as follows:

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenonimpostorismfraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.[1] Despite external evidence of their competence, those experiencing this phenomenon remain convinced that they are frauds, and do not deserve all they have achieved. Individuals with impostorism incorrectly attribute their success to luck, or interpret it as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent than they perceive themselves to be.[2] While early research focused on the prevalence among high-achieving women, impostor syndrome has been recognized to affect both men and women equally.

The words “doubts skills, talents and accomplishments to being exposed as a fraud” and “attributing my success to luck” rung true for me.

So, Fredericka had to go!

She came from a time past where I belonged to one of my first online groups, and I was too afraid to tell them my real name.

I was afraid that I might be exposed as a fraud.

She grew some power from there.

Fredericka kept Robyn-Lee, me, from understanding that the success that I was achieving wasn’t due to my efforts. I am glad that I became aware of her motives early on.

I must interject on my words that I am writing here, to say that this blog post is not intended to downplay or supersede professional guidance with this particular syndrome.

It only offers to trigger awareness to the reader, and for them to know that help is at hand and that you are not alone.

A few Characteristics to look out for:

  • Self-doubt;
  • Sabotaging your own success – I am (still) big on this one;
  • Unable to realistically assess your competence and skills;
  • Overwhelming fear that you won’t live up to expectations;
  • Feelings of inadequacy;
  • Rebuking your performance;
  • Striving for perfection because the smallest mistake is agony for you;
  • Extremely sensitive to constructive criticism;
  • Admiration for other’s success but believing that you are not fit for the likes of them;
  • Worrying that others will realise how little you know;
  • Not able to accept praise in the spirit in which it is given, and perhaps feeling like you dodged a bullet because you thought you did a bad job;
  • Believing that you are not capable of lasting success.

If any of these ring true for you, you are likely a sufferer.

It is interesting to note that around 70% of people will experience this phenomenon during their lives. This might also be a sign of some other underlying issue that highlights your need for extra support.

Some of the Tactics that I use:

As with most things in life, we all require some strategies to boost our performance. Whether that is the extra practice at public speaking; or writing in a public forum or even just posting your opinion onto a social media platform, and being resilient enough to receive the backlash that might ensue because all don’t accept your opinion.

It is how we manage our reactions, and for introverts in particular these reactions are mostly internalised.

If you have a “Fredericka” that tells you that you are a fool, try these to dispel that poisonous voice in your head:

  • Talking about your feelings acknowledges them. I am an introvert so like to blog, and a forum for writers like Medium.Com is a wonderful place to write about your feelings;
  • Make a list of your achievements and keep them visible;
  • Focus on your strengths. Yes, being aware of your weaknesses is important too, like being aware that Impostor Syndrome might grab you from time to time. When it does, revert to your list of strengths.
  • Practice an “Attitude of Gratitude”. All too often, we revert to everything wrong in the world, but if you are focused on those things that you are grateful for, your mind starts to change;
  • Every morning, before you start your day run through what yesterday was good for. I get it, sometimes you have to dig deep, but even the simplest thing like “I drank an extra glass of water” leans your head into the positive. Then leave yesterday just there – in the past;
  • Be very particular about what you read on social media. I make sure that I have people and their dogs in my feed! Dogs, I find are awesome to elevate a low spirit!
  • Value your perspective. Every single one of us has value to give to this world. Never doubt it. When you do, go back to your list of achievements and strengths;
  • Don’t play the comparison game. If you are an entrepreneur like myself, it is easy to see how others are being successful and taking action and when seeing it, you denigrate your own progress. Be aware that everyone’s journey is different, and always refer back to your own list of achievements to keep you on track;
  • Failing is inevitable. When a mentor told me this, it hit me full on in my stomach, and I was filled with such fear that it stopped me in the tracks! The reality is that even with a mentor and learning skills, failure will at some time find you. It’s learning how to take those lessons and move forward and be better the next time. Reflecting on those failures and accepting those lessons, goes onto your achievements list. There is no failure, only feedback.
  • Remind yourself that your successes are your work. Yes, you might have had guidance and a helping hand, but you had to do it. You had to sit and study the material if you were heading into an exam. You had to learn a process in your new job; it was you who stood in front of those people, presenting your programme or your case; it was you and you alone, who moved forward.

Accept your power. Be grateful for it too.

Accept your greatness and reward yourself by being your best advocate.

Above all else, speak to yourself with kind words; with constructive words and words that will build you up.

For all introverts who would like to get into the habit of writing, even it is to vent, have a look at my blog on Medium.Com. I have no affiliation here except to write, so don’t be afraid to check it out, and get writing!

https://perpetualpilgrim1006.medium.com/

Photo by Olya Kobruseva from Pexels

Categories
Mindset Coach Online Business Self Development

Four Steps To Overcoming Fear

Let’s talk about fear for a little bit.

We all have it from time to time. We all have been debilitated as a result of it, at one time or another. Some of us may struggle with it daily.

It’s part and parcel of what makes us human.

Never forget that – we have and experience fear because we are human!

I have written about fear before and have explained its purpose and meaning. If you missed this blog on how Jimmy Chin is my “fear guru”, it’s worth a read.

Today though, I will give you four steps towards overcoming your fear, but first, I want to start with this awesome quote.

I am starting here because, in a nutshell, the only way to overcome fear is to face it head-on.

Tony Robbins : Dance with fear

Face it, or dance with it!

  1. Find out what this fear is

What is it specifically that you are scared of? Is there a time of day or a place that this fear might raise its nasty head? In what situation might this fear present itself?

Be super specific about understanding this fear.

Let me give you my own example.

At the beginning of my journey into the online space, I was rearing and tearing to go! Nothing was going to stop me.

Fear did though.

I was so busy learning new skills in my newfound career of entrepreneurship. I used this excuse to be productive around learning to avoid taking action in my business.

You see, it was never about the perceived lack of knowledge because we learn as we go, don’t we? When I was honest with myself, I was afraid to be seen online.

What would my friends and family say? What would my school friends think? What would my past colleagues and peers think about me?

The truth is, I have had positive feedback from all of these people who I was so worried about. Another truth is that if I hadn’t received positive feedback, my fear was never about them but always about me and my own belief in what I was doing.

What I am doing.

2. Embrace the fear

When you have been honest about the fear, don’t take a step back from it because it is genuine. Please don’t dismiss it, and certainly don’t retreat from it.

Have a dance with it, as Tony Robbins suggests, because whether people love you, hate you or are on the fence about you, you will always draw your tribe to you.

I firmly believe that.

When I went online and started to become more visible, with my own face showing up, nothing about my reality really changed much.

Yes, inside, I was on this magnificent high because I had moved a step forward to my personal goals. Even more incredibly, I started to show up more authentically and more productively for people who I wanted to serve.

Fear is a natural reaction, and it wants to serve you by protecting you and keeping you safe. In my reality, though, it would have held me back, and if I were to think of a ‘worst-case scenario, my fear of showing up online would not have killed me.

I can’t think of anything worse than that.

3. Action – its always about action!

Think of yourself on the very first day of work. For me, it was in a bank.

At my young age of 17, I started working in the autoteller department in a large bank in South Africa. I was entrusted with loads of cash and a duty to replenish these machines daily.

I was scared to leave the relative safety of school. I was scared to work with people I didn’t know. I was scared of many things.

It was absolutely new, and I had no idea about the expectations placed on me directly out of school.

But I learned. I grew into that role and developed skills that were a brilliant foundation for me.

The fear subsided, and I started to enjoy the work, and as I progressed in my corporate career, it was a roller coaster of fear and overcoming fear.

Much the same as my journey into entrepreneurship.

The critical thing to remember about your own progress in your respective careers and your own personal journeys is that it took and takes action to kill that fear monster.

Plain and simply – action.

4. Reinforce your new feeling

The final step, now that you have specified your real fear embraced and had a dance with it and taken action around that fear, stop.

Stop and let that new powerful feeling take over. Remember this moment and how it feels. Never forget this feeling.

Reinforcing your newfound feeling is the momentum that you will need when you are faced with another fear. It is, after all, a cycle of sorts. As you level up, as you take on new challenges, as you step into the unknown, fear will always be there to try to keep you safe.

It’s a natural tendency for us as humans.

For me, I have this massive sense of freedom as I step into pockets of fear and overcome them. It is also never as scary as I thought going into the ring with fear.

A very important aspect of fear to always remember is this:

If you were to sit down with many folks who talk about their fears, I would suggest that it would be common to hear of their fear of rejection, embarrassment, failure, success, disappointment, and the unknown.

Its a beautiful thing because it what makes us all human.

F.E.A.R = False Evidence Appearing Real

F.E.A.R = Find. Embrace. Action. Reinforce

Categories
Online Business Self Development

I Am Stronger Than Anything That My Body Throws At Me

“Hello,” the doctor said, referring to me playfully as the “lady with the interesting pelvis. I got up from the chair and greeted him back. “Hi Doc, how is the new year treating you?”

In 2019, I achieved one of my biggest goals. On two prosthetic hips, I walked the Camino de Santiago, and after a few fits and starts, I walked into Santiago de Compostela’s ancient city. Maybe “walked” is not quite correct. I have a penguin-like gait, so maybe wobble is more accurate.

Today, the 17th February 2021, I was sitting in my orthopaedic’s consulting room to get a check-up on my two prosthetics and some guidance on a strange and excruciating new pain that I had developed in my right leg.

I had just had my first MRI. Seriously, I would never wish that experience on anyone! I know all of you who have no issues with claustrophobia are probably snickering right now. Still, when I was slowly shifted down that tiny tube, it was then that I could imagine what my late brother had felt like when he was undergoing treatment for brain cancer. I only had to do this once. He went every week, for a similar experience of being laid out in a small space with his head covered in a mask, which reminded me of the one Hannibal Lecter wore. I lay feeling overwhelmed in what felt like a very tiny space and put my mind to thinking of better things.

I was back on Camino. Smelling the fresh crispness of the Spanish countryside. Listening to the beautiful noise of nature. Hearing the stones crushing under my boots. It reminded me of why I have been doing what I have been doing these past months. Setting up my own online business, because being on pilgrimage is now all I want to do.

With this new pain that had crept up, would my dreams be dashed?

Before my two hip replacements, I had two triple osteotomies on each hip in my early twenties. It seems that when I was born, and as I grew, my pelvis hadn’t shifted into a place to give my hips and legs enough support. In my early teens, I developed excruciating leg aches, which led to these two intricate operations needing to be done. There is a more medical explanation for it, but this is the gist of it.

When I came around to have hip replacements, the modified pelvis on the right side was tricky for the skilled surgeon to install the prosthetic, so my right side and leg are slightly prejudiced. If you can imagine a pirate, and how he might have hobbled along on the makeshift peg-leg — that’s me.

The funny thing is that I have absolutely no pain in my hips whatsoever! All four operations that I had changed my life for the better. Nature didn’t stop there with me, though, because I also have degenerative bones in my spine’s base. It is now this that is creating this weird numbness and intense pain in my right calf and foot. Anyway, I now have to see a neurosurgeon.

I am sharing this story because today, I feel more powerful than ever! Aside from the pain that I have, my purpose and my goal is pushing me forward. I am entering a new phase in my online journey, and I have never been more determined to move forward to a place of success. So, to hell with my bones and my history of operations on them, I will not be deterred.

My purpose has been clear to me from the day I sat on that patio while I was on a pilgrimage. It was a day of epiphanies and understanding. Understanding that I had my own values that I needed to start aligning my life with. It was the perfect time to make the changes that I needed to make.

I have an ambitious goal to walk another 25 Camino’s. I am putting this out there because last night I questioned whether this would be possible. I quickly checked my negative thought and reminded myself that:

We are, and have everything that we need; our unchecked thoughts only limit us.

I am reminded of the depth and tenacity of the human spirit of adventurers, trailblazers and explorers, like Renan Ozturk and Mark Inglis. Renan suffered a massive and debilitating accident which could have ended his life. Still, in a short time afterwards, he had rehabilitated himself to summit the technical and challenging climb of Meru. Likewise, Mark Inglis had previously lost both of his legs to frostbite, and against all odds successfully summited Mount Everest. There are many others who despite physical challenges, break barriers towards their own greatness.

Undoubtedly it is a purpose that pushes us forward. Those goals that are clearly set and now burn a hole into your heart, so much so that when you think of going back, it scares you to the core. It’s that what gets you up in the morning; it’s what sets your soul on fire, and gives you courage when you didn’t know that you could even be so brave.

Find your purpose. Embrace it, and don’t be afraid to go after it!

Categories
Online Business Self Development

Five Fabulous Tips For A “Success Mindset”

It is not easy to watch everyone else crushing their goals, and you feel like an absolute failure. I have often wondered why I struggle into things, where I would much rather be feeling supercharged and courageous for my efforts.

When I really get into my own thought process, I often find that I am only harsh on myself. The truth is that I have enjoyed a great deal of success, and the reality is that I will continue doing so. This is a belief of mine, but I have to spend some time reminding myself of this belief on some days.

It’s weird, I know. One thing I have learned is that a mindset is not an entrenched feeling. It is more like a sweeping changing tide which has its ebbs and flows. One day I might be feeling on top of the world, whereas on another, I am struggling to keep focus.

If you are anything like me, you will have your own special techniques to keep your physical energy in synch with your brain. I do these things when I am feeling low on spirit, and so far they have worked to jolt me back into a state of flow.

  1. Reframe Your Mind’s Stories

As an online entrepreneur, I am in an extremely vibrant and competitive space. Others have come before me, and they have made magnificent changes in their lives.

It is quite normal to compare yourself to those online guru’s but mind your brain when it starts using a comparison to dig at your (perceived) lack of success. Rather, use those times when you see other successes to be an inspiration to know that it’s all very possible for you too. And it is!

Remember that your past challenges are building blocks preparing you for your onward trajectory, and are not stumbling blocks for you to be afraid to try things again. Your life experiences all be they completely unrelated to your current path are what have made you who you are.

Embrace these things to get you moving ahead.

2. Make a List of Achievements

This is such a worthful exercise to do. Once you have your list, please put it in a place where you can see them every day. Focus on these things, because they are positive, and don’t ever forget how you felt when you achieved those things.

I struggle with being visible. In this online world, you have to engage with people because otherwise, you are just a photo on the screen—another photo in the scrolling process.

To help me here, I remind myself of my past life, training groups of people. It was so outside of my comfort zone at the time, but I was committed to the process, and after just doing it, I found myself gaining more and more confidence. The more confidence I gathered, the better I became.

In fact, I found myself loving it too!

3. Identify and Make a List of Your Strengths

Spend some productive time doing this exercise, and you will find that it is not a static list either. As you grow and develop, you find more interesting things about yourself, and eventually, your list increases with your self-development.

If you struggle in this exercise, think about what you are really good at. Even the smallest things can be a catalyst to a complete brainstorm on your strengths.

You might be a great listener. Perhaps you have a knack of communicating in difficult situations. Maybe you are a natural problem-solver. Could you have empathy with others when others don’t? Can you trust completely in a process, or you might be an intrepid adventurer.

4. Always Be In Integrity With Yourself

I love this one. Although often it is the hardest one to achieve.

One of my strengths is my integrity. I say what I mean, and I mean what I say. I don’t always use my words, but when I do, I mean them wholeheartedly.

I try to choose my words wisely in all instances, but one thing I can say is when those words come out, and my actions follow them, they are sincere at that time.

There is seldom a situation when I reflect on it that I think I should have behaved differently. The reason for this is that I act in honesty. I have to admit that I have been in trouble on a few of these occasions.

Being in integrity with yourself is critical to achieving a success mindset. It will have you set out your priorities, your needs and your vision for your future.

It could also have you moving away from people who you might not feel 100% comfortable with. In contrast, gravitating to people who share your goals, your vision of your future success and who will hold you accountable to your goals.

Integrity to yourself is often difficult because it requires hard decisions to be made. However, when you think about it, those who matter won’t mind your decisions here.

5. Be Accountable

For the solo entrepreneur, we often have to have our own little staff meetings with ourselves. This might sound slightly strange, but I have started to implement this, and every morning after visualising my goals, I am in a “staff meeting.”

I must tell you, some of my staff are just terrible!

Since I am the copywriter, the student, the content creator, the money generator if something hasn’t been done from the day before, that particular department gets a dressing down! Haha..being accountable is always going to be something that we strive for, I believe.

If you are honest with yourself and understand that keeping a focus on your diary might be a challenge, finding an accountability partner is an option.

I have written this very thing down for my HR manager to address. (Note to self Robyn!)

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Categories
Online Business Self Development

Four Essential Tips to Better Decision Making

And for getting out of your way!

I don’t know about you, but this new year surely caught me by surprise!

I mean we are already into the last part of January, and when I look back on the month, I have been languishing in indecision. When I wrote down all of the tasks that I needed to finalise when I returned from a short break I took in December, I was filled with such power.

Honestly, I haven’t ticked any of those tasks off my list! Even worse, they are really cool tasks too, so I don’t even have the excuse that they are tedious.

Anyway, so I got myself thinking about why I feel like I am in the doldrums, and I have realised some things I would like to share with you.

If you are having a tough time getting started, then hopefully they will resonate with you, and you too can get a boost into the new year. It’s never too late.

  1. Limit Your Options

At the end of last year, I knew that I needed to make some ground-breaking decisions in my business. The problem was that I just had way too many options open to me.

Now, you might think that keeping options open is a good thing, and in some instances it is. However, when you need to start scaling in a relatively new business, you need to focus on that one thing that will give you some quick wins.

You might want to focus on one social media platform for your advertising for example. Your focus on this one strategy will give you productive time to properly hone your skills and really get to grips with all of that platform’s functions.

There is that old Russian quote which says:

“If you chase two rabbits, both will escape”

2. Time is Money

While I have been sitting around languishing, that time has gone for good. I can never get that back.

Now when I talk about languishing, I am not including that time that I have spent in my own personal pursuits, outside of my business. That is productive downtime, I think you will agree.

I am talking about that time I have spent getting in my own way.

That time where I have been overthinking my next step, and being afraid of taking it because I might not get it all right. It’s that time you spend worrying about things like; where I should be living, and where I should going; and what our future holds for us.

It is all a waste of time, and time is money. Our futures are all made today, so focus on today.

3. Indecision is Your Worst Enemy

I know this, and you know this too.

Jim Rohn once said:

“Indecision is the greatest thief of opportunity”

I got to thinking about indecision, and it takes it’s form as fear. Everyday, whether we are aware of it or not, we are making decisions that move us through our purpose. Fear steps in to distract us from our purpose and it derails our efforts.

It follows then that we must be decisive around what our fears are. We should discover whether they are rational fears that we are having.

I would say emphatically, that they are absolutely irrational fears. Mine certainly are.

4. Never Doubt Your Instinct

While I was rationalising my state of inertia, I realised that my head was overriding my instincts. I know exactly what I need to do, and so you might think that taking action on those things would be naturally easy.

The reality is that even when we have a formula, and we have a system and even have a community to back up those two things, very often we shush our instincts, and get into our heads.

I am not saying that we mustn’t ever check in with what our brains are telling us, but to just be aware not to get stuck in there. I am an introvert, and I get into my head way too often.

My Revised Daily Plan of Action

Needless to say, I have binned my end of 2020 task list in favour of this one below. It is a task list that will stand the test of time, and will be good throughout this year, and all my years following.

To keep it succinct is as follows:

  1. Visualise my goals;
  2. Invest in me;
  3. Incoming producing activity;
  4. Masterminding with other leaders; and
  5. Pay it forward.

What are things on your daily plan of action?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Categories
Home-based Business Pilgrimages Self Development

How My Core Values Helped Me Understand My Purpose

Understanding our purpose, help us towards our personal goals.

If you were to sit down to do an exercise on core values, you might find that the results highlight your past behaviours. It certainly did with me!

The reason’s why you made the decisions you made make more sense now that you have clarified your own intrinsic core values. Likewise, this exercise might also clarify your reason for your trajectory into entrepreneurship.

It is likely not unknown to you, the reason you chose to start a new venture. However, by determining and understanding your values, during this exercise, you will have deep-seated feelings which surface that you never knew existed.

What is Value?

I love reading the meaning behind these words that we so often take for granted. For me, reading their meaning gives the word more power.

When you check the dictionary for “Value”, the words describe that it is a:

“principle or standard of behaviour.”

I love this though —It’s one’s judgment of what is important in life.

At my ripe old age, I did a Core Values Exercise

After reviewing and prioritising an expansive list of Core Values, I systematically formed my own list.

From my own list that I had chosen, I then went on to give those personal values each a winning/losing name tag. They were weighed up against each other.

The result was a list of my seven Core Values.

My top two, I discovered are those that have driven me forward through my expansive career. So too they are what have driven me onto my journey into entrepreneurship.

They have helped me to define my purpose. This purpose is what has for the very first time, identified a set of personal goals.

These goals now entrenched in core values and purpose; I find that I have this burning desire to achieve.

Freedom and Adventure — my top two core values.

Upon reflection

Looking back on the various moves that I made in my corporate and private career, it actually really wasn’t that I was bored. I would get to a point, and decide that I needed to move on because, at the time, I thought that it was just boredom driving me to my next challenge.

Now I understand that it was always because my top core values were consistently driving me. No career that I could ever have gleaned from a traditional mindset would have provided the satisfaction and happiness that I so desperately wanted.

My values of Freedom and Adventure were never met when I was working within another set of guidelines. I had to find and make my own set, to get me to the point of fulfilment, to find my purpose, and to eventually have my soul set on fire.

I was on a pilgrimage, and it hit me like a ton of bricks.

There I was sitting on the patio of an Albergue at the end of my walking day. Looking out over the beauty of the Spanish countryside, I was desperate not to have the journey finish.

It was a bit of a catch 22 because my goal was to get to Santiago De Compostela. At the same time, knowing that when I finished, this journey would end, and I would have to go back to my life.

Did I really have to?

I knew that I needed to make some massive changes if I were to go on living life like a perpetual pilgrim. I didn’t know what to do, but I saw my life flash before me, and it was now or never.

Yes, I know — my life flashing before me is a cliche. It so aptly describes what I experienced though. Here I was facing my 50’s, and I wanted to walk pilgrimage for the rest of my life.

It was one of two things:

  1. I was either having a mid-life crisis; or
  2. I had the most incredible epiphany.

I chose — having an epiphany.

Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

Yes, there might be a risk. Yes, there will be failures. Yes, there will be times when you want to pack it all in and go back to a comfort zone, you know.

Sometimes you have to trust and have faith in yourself to go for it.

Life is short, and when I looked forward at my life, I knew that the pilgrimages I wanted to do needed every bit of time for me to do them.

During my revelation, I was excited and frightened all at the same time. I knew that I needed to change my mindset completely. I had always thought that I was never afraid of anything, but in fact, I realised that I was afraid of most things.

A change in mindset was necessary.

I only understood my core values and how they drove me after I had made all these decisions that would have a huge impact on my life.

Once I made this discovery, I didn’t feel weird to the world. I always believed that the way I had set up my life was because I was unnatural from other people.

It turns out that it wasn’t weird or unnatural. It was just different.

This freedom and adventure thing was my inner driver. It was leading me to everything important to me. Important to how I lived my life.

This was my first change of mindset. I wasn’t weird.

An evolving mindset is necessary.

Arriving home from my pilgrimage, and having made this decision to be on a pilgrimage for the rest of my life (I laugh at myself when I write this — I can’t help it) I had to come up with a new strategy.

After much searching, within my soul too, the digital world was my answer to this problem of time that I had. It would free up how I spent my day. It would allow me to be location independent.

I envisioned sitting back on that patio at the Albergue, working on my laptop. It was the laptop lifestyle that I needed. My office in my backpack while I am on a pilgrimage.

Maybe I could turn this hobby into a career? My love of the pilgrimage, because it is so life-changing, could help me realise my dreams. The bonus is that it could also help others realise their dreams too.

But the pitfalls of how our minds work to protect us, to keep us safe and secure were a constant reminder of how much change I needed to make. They are still a reminder; the truth be told.

You see, setting up an online business is as easy as pie. There are so many tools and applications that are now available to an online entrepreneur. You can have a website up and going in a few days. A few hours if you are completely focused!

There are so many resources available to us all. The digital world is growing; it isn’t new. So there are no new pioneers out there now, only people who are learning from others.

The critical lesson for me was that while I needed all the skills, which I could learn as I go along, my mindset needed to be constantly and persistently developing and growing towards these new very lofty personal goals of mine.

My core values now drive me.

Looking back on my journey to this point, the last year has been the most rewarding for me. At the same time, it has been the most frightening too.

I have constantly had to check myself for my fears that pop every time I have to make a decision. That is every second of the day.

As I am writing this, I am fearful that I am not going to make it to my next goal. Almost simultaneously, I recheck that thought and get it into line.

It is an ever-changing scenery. One day the wins elevate me to heights that I love. It is on those days; the goals that I have pinned above my laptop are within my reach. The losses, I feel even more deeply because these core values slip away from me.

The valleys, where most of my work is done, need to be managed too—the highs, the lows, the valleys — an emotional roller coaster that needs round-the-clock examination.

Are these fears rational? What do I do now? What is holding me back? What’s my next step? How do I achieve this next goal?

My core values might lead me to disaster. They might lead me to an ultimate metamorphosis, and where I am living completely aligned with my core values and goals. Although I am there, it is a changing landscape, and an evolving mindset helps to navigate that landscape.

This is the life of an online entrepreneur. This is the life of someone who has Freedom and Adventure as her core values.

I wouldn’t give it up for a thing!

Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels

Categories
Self Development

Is Freelancing a good career choice for an Introvert?

Since I love word definitions, I am going to start this off by looking at what “Freelance” means, according to Dictionary.com:

So, by implication, all online business owners are essentially freelancers. 

We write content, probably every day, content that we draft to entice our customers towards a profitable and mutually beneficial relationship. 

We also sell our work and services. 

Generally speaking, we have no “stable” or regular salary income to rely on, when you consider that a monthly salary is not necessarily promised to us.

How about the definition of an introvert?

True! 

Since I am an introvert, I can relate to all the words in that definition.

So, how do the lives of freelancers and introverts mesh together? 

As we all know, starting in any profession, whether it be freelancing or any career path, it does require some form of networking. 

Likewise, if you are changing your career, you will read all the good advice columns and articles that to grow your business, you need the help and support of others.

I’ve read numerous recommendations that to be successful as a freelancer, attending networking events and joining community groups are the best ways to support your new venture.

As an introvert (and entrepreneur) myself, even now, the words: networking, groups, community groups, sharing, sales —  literally send me into a panic. My heart skips a beat, even just reading them. 

Freelancers will also naturally be in a position where they need to self-promote themselves and their services. 

For an introvert, the idea of self-promotion is likened to having to drink poison, or perhaps rubbing chillies in their eyes!

All of this, however, does not mean that an introvert cannot be a freelancer and ultimately be in control of their own destiny. 

But you, if you are an introvert, should probably consider the following few questions before you set off to hand in your notice to your employer and into the wonderful wide world of freedom. 

(As an introvert, I use “freedom” often to settle myself and boost my confidence: Come on Robyn, I will whisper to myself, this is all about living your life with freedom and adventure)

We introverts do what we have to do!

Can you manage the unpredictable and also a certain amount of risk?

A corporate environment and your regular day-to-day tasks do present the structure that often introverts need to have around them. 

Having a situation where your day is unpredictable and uncertain might cause some discomfort for the introvert.

Granted, many introverts have “risk for breakfast”. They relish in the unpredictability of an unstructured day and love the thought of being their own boss. 

However, you should still be aware that forming a structure around your own business of freelancing will settle you into a goal-orientated way of mind. Critical for success as a freelancer, in my opinion.

Likewise, setting off on your own path of freelancing, or entrepreneurship risk is an aspect that you will need to manage daily. 

It is risk around your adverts not working, your time being spent on unproductive tasks, your capital being risked with decisions or ideas that don’t bear fruit.

This unpredictability and risk are mitigated when you network with others. Undoubtedly, this has been part and parcel of my success to this point. 

Nevertheless, I have had to accept unpredictability, risk and ways to manage those things, all the while, still managing my introverted tendencies.

Think about how you feel about these things. 

Your first reaction will be your compass, and if it unpleasantly sets your heart racing, don’t be resigning your job. 

Not yet, anyway.

Are you flexible to change and moving in a different direction if you need to?

Some introverts are not “fly by your pants” kind of people. 

Some need a firm structure and knowing what is coming tomorrow is a requirement for their inner soul to thrive.

Change is something you need to embrace wholeheartedly. You will need to make decisions quickly and generally make those decisions on your own. 

Being comfortable enough to change your direction when something in your freelancing career isn’t working. Being flexible around your developing business is the name of the game.

So, be mindful on how limber you can be to changing deadlines, insistent clients, and the different ebbs and flows that will be your own business. 

Are you willing to ask for and accept help, and then take action on that help?

I often wonder if it is just me, or a general trait of an introvert that help is difficult to ask for? Maybe this trait is not only an introverts trait?

I was once told that perhaps I don’t know the questions to ask. When I thought about it, that isn’t an aspect of being an introvert, but probably just a result of not knowing the subject matter as well as I should have.

One thing I have learned, and I learned very quickly, that moving into a career where I needed to learn skills, I still needed to put my hand up when I wasn’t sure on something. 

You can learn new skills, and come to grips with the practice of, for example, setting up a website, but the intricacies, if you are not trained in it, still need to be ironed out.

So asking for help and being comfortable to do it when you need it, is paramount. 

That is not the final step in asking for help, though.

Once you have asked for help and have received it, you have to take action on it. This action is often met with fear. I am sure both introverts and extraverts will resonate with fear being a huge stumbling block in having to take action.

The crux here is that inactivity in a corporate career is not likely to derail you completely. Inertia, when you are freelancing and plotting your own course as it where will lead to nothing. 

Nothing for a freelancer, is just that, nothing. No clients. No salary. 

You, as a brand!

What!? For the introvert, this is most likely going to be the biggest challenge. 

Me, a brand! That requires me to “put myself out there.”

I know when I was faced with this particular question, I felt such a sense of loss. You see, I have massive goals in place. I knew that if I didn’t overcome this, I would be setting my goals and values aside.

These goals need me to be freed up from traditional work life. You know, that work that has some of us going to an office between 9 to 5. The work-life of not having the flexibility of time off or having only a certain amount of time off. 

My goals just will not be achieved with me living out the rest of my days in this particular structure.

I am overcoming this aspect by taking baby steps. Easing myself into the process. Every day, it becomes easier and easier.

It goes without saying that when you start to promote yourself as a brand, you should go to people who already know you. Your friends, your family are going to be your best boost into the world of freelance. 

Those you know best, and who know you in return, will be your most trusted companions on your journey. 

Likewise, with acquaintances and colleagues where you have previously established a respectful relationship, they too could pass on the word about your new-found venture. 

Once you are going, it really does become so much easier.

Conclusion

Freelancing can be the best job for an introvert. 

For me, I enjoy working independently, and the truth is told; I love not having to manage unsettling interactions at meetings, for example. Having to manage the aspect of attending a year-end function! For me, this was always just a step too far.

As with anything new, you have to be willing to learn, be willing to listen, and be helped and most of all be consistent in the pursuit of your goals. 

Even for the most introverted introvert, if you are showing up daily, you will gain confidence, and before you know it, you will be a freelancer. 

An introverted freelancer, who doesn’t have to go to year-end functions! 

Awesome!

Categories
Home-based Business Self Development

My dream was clear, but I was just too afraid to admit it.

I was sitting on the floor of the living room in my grandparents house. Looking up at my grandfather, I couldn’t help but think how different he was to my father.

He was telling a story of how he and my grandmother had travelled the world. How he had spent, on his own, some time on an island just off the coast of South Africa. I think it might have been Mauritius.

I remember him telling the story of how he and his sisters acted out parts of Shakespeare’s plays. He had always chosen to be the rogue. I am the proud owner of his Complete Works of Shakespeare and their notes that they made, in preparation for their performances always make me smile.

To me, my gramps was a great adventurer. A storyteller. A man with a sense of freedom about him.

It was around this time, that I realised that I shared a dream with him. I wanted to see the world. I wanted to live my life on my own terms. I wanted to join the circus, or the navy, or become a vagabond even.

I also realised that life or my idea of life, didn’t match up with my dreams. I thought of my father and how stable and stoic he was, and that I would in all likelihood be expected to live a life aligned with a more traditional approach.

When I left high school, I was given an ultimatum by my father. I believe at the time, he was doing what he knew best for me.

He gave me two options:

The first was going to a secretarial school. I imagine being his first daughter born in the early seventies, that he didn’t hold out much hope for me other than becoming a wife and mother.

The second option was getting myself a general job.

Let me be very clear. That being a wife and mother are two of the most important jobs in the world. My mother was the best wife and mother. I didn’t just love her deeply (I still do) but I respected her too. So, if I went down this path, I would have had enormous shoes to fill.

It just wasn’t for me. My mother knew that very well

Also, being a secretary is in my opinion, a job focused on being in the service of others. Supporting a person or people and assisting them in their endeavours is very noble work.

It just wasn’t for me.

With either of those two options, my aspirations of going to University were dashed. I was more sports inclined at high school, so when I received a university entrance I was overjoyed at knowing that my hard work, academically, had borne some fruit.

Taking up the second option, I set off to work. I remember so clearly the first paycheck that I received. It was like freedom had been handed to me on a plate!

I will admit though, had I received a formal higher education, perhaps that would have increased my earning potential at the time. Nevertheless I felt like I was calling the shots.

The truth though, was that I had some pretty lofty dreams. I kept them so far hidden from myself that the freedom I thought I had, wasn’t freedom at all. It was simply finding a comfort zone and a traditional way of life that allowed me to go with the flow.

This might all sound like a bit of a sorry story. In contrast and when I think back now, my father really did me the biggest favour.

It is not until recently that I have rediscovered those dreams, and am now fiercely in pursuit of them. Without having had option two given to me, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

I have enjoyed an incredibly successful career. It is undeniable to me that although it was a very traditional way of life, a 9 to 5, I gleaned such joy from all of my endeavours.

At one point, I was able to do some traveling. I can never underestimate the growth that I had experienced collaborating with some very clever and competent people. I never turned down an opportunity to learn and I loved stepping up to positions that allowed me to develop my own sense of value.

I learned an exceptional work ethic. I learned skills that I still use today on my own entrepreneurial journey. Everyone that I met in my previous career has had a positive impact on me in some way.

My old way of life, my 9 to 5, has set me up in the best way. It has given me the strength of self-belief and tenacity to now fervently pursue my dreams. While I had a fear of admitting my dreams so long ago, I now have them written all over my wall above my desk.

I can imagine having a discussion with my father about my own hopes and dreams way back when. Since they were (and are) so far from a traditional approach, he would likely have scoffed at them. Ok, maybe not scoffed, but he would have thought them ridiculous.

Similarly, though, it makes me think what hopes and dreams he might have had. I wonder if he too had them buried so deeply away that he was afraid to admit them.

The point is that when you accept your past and everything it taught you and admit your dreams – as crazy as those dreams might be, you are eventually able to pinpoint your purpose. Your “why”

My deep-seated values of freedom and adventure were nurtured by my grandfathers stories. They fanned the flames of what was already there.

My traditional career pursuits, despite being wonderful experiences never quite met those values. Some areas of my life and career, leading to where I am now, I might have glimpsed a sense of freedom and adventure, but deep inside I knew that there was a much bigger picture.

Every day now, I visualise and meditate on my goals. These goals are all aligned in achieving my top values of freedom and adventure.

Freedom and adventure look quite different from day-to-day. I might decide on working from a different location, or I might decide to work evenings instead of the mornings. I might even decide to swim or walk longer on certain days.

The fundamental characteristic though is that my day revolves around my freedom to choose how I spend that day. I admit that my dreams are all about freedom and adventure.

It was all that I ever really wanted.

Photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels

Categories
Self Development

It’s not personal, it’s just business

How many times did you hear that in the Godfather series? It becomes very personal though, when the tables are turned, so it leaves me with one question. Can you separate the “personal” from your business?

Investing in my dreams

For me, my journey into entrepreneurship is VERY personal. I arrived at this point in my life, with gusto to live with purpose and to bring my dreams to fruition. It was to put my passion into my daily life and align my beliefs and values with my career, and to hopefully inspire others to find this wonderful place too. It wasn’t a slight decision that I made to try this venture out. I am invested. It’s completely personal to me.

Is an attack on your business, an attack on you?

While we are creating our own wonderful place, there are obviously going to be people who simply don’t share our ideas. The superpower that all entrepreneurs have to have then, is to be able to deflect attacks and nay-sayers and not take these comments and actions personally.

The bare truth of it is that not all people are going to like us, or our product or services. That is just how it is. Instead of being disheartened by this, we should be using this an opportunity to grow and learn and to redefine our reactions to these negative instances. It is after all, not a personal attack on you. It is what you have to accept in business.

Disappointment leading to lack of action

A friend called me out on seeing things too simply. There were harsh words used and my original comment was seen as “offensive”. If you have been in a situation where your belief is called into question, you will understand that we can react in two ways. We are either lashing out in defense or we are pausing to assess their point of reference.

Either way, there is always a painful tinge of disappointment that creeps in. I mean, we are personally invested, it’s our beliefs that push us forward to create what we think is an amazing venture.

It is then, what we do with that disappointment that is most important. It can stunt us and prevent us from taking further action, or it can propel us forward, hopefully with a lesson learned.

Can we separate personal from the business then?

Undoubtedly we are emotionally connected to our businesses. It is then about rising above those nay-sayers and what we see as personal attacks and moving forward despite the disappointment we are feeling.

It is about taking those negative feelings that come out of those comments and realigning ourselves with our purpose and the reason why we even set out on this journey. It is remembering that there are going to be hills and valleys along the journey, but it is on the in-between days when our most productive work is accomplished.

Pilgrimage and Entrepreneurship

I often think of my pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in the same way as I see my journey into entrepreneurship. There were horrible hills and on the way up, it was dreadful. The summit was the prize and looking down on my accomplishment, I was filled with hope for the journey forward. The downhills were often just as bad as the way up, but it was on those days across flat terrain, that I made the most progress.

It’s always personal. It is a personal journey but it doesn’t have to be personalized. It is being immune and remembering that in the words of Don Miguel Ruiz, the author of The Four Agreements about not taking anything personally:

“Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dreams. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

Photo by Uriel Marques from Pexels