Be a Beginner

So often, I want to rush ahead, rather than taking things slow. Do you do this, too?

While I know that good things take time, and that, by going slowly, what we’re working on is more likely to last, I also get sucked in by our “instant gratification” culture, and want to have the results — right now!

Be a Beginner | Life, Unleashed

I have been in business for myself (working from home) since late 2013. So, you might think that I am seeing good success now, four-and-a-half years later (I am still working from home, after all!). But, no. I’m not yet successful — or not according to the generally accepted standards of “success”, anyway.

However, I also have not failed.

These past four years have been full of twists and turns, trying things and rejecting things, then trying something else. I had to learn a few things through the process:

(1) I had to learn how to actually do business, online, as an entrepreneur (learning the techy bits, sales & marketing, and all of the rest). 

(2) I had to discover what does, and does not, work for me — which business model, and which products or services, were the best fit. In other words, what I am good at that also meets others’ needs.

Finally, sometime last year (2017), I was able to get to that “Aha!” point, and know with almost pure certainty what I am meant to be doing, and who I am meant to serve. It has taken a lot of tears, frustration, and journaling, as well as many random coaching sessions with other entrepreneurs. Yet, through it all, I finally feel confident that I am on the path that was meant for me.

But, here’s where it gets tricky.

Now that I have that knowledge of what I’m to do, and who I’m to help — coupled with the fact that I have been at this for four years — I sometimes fall into the trap of expecting everything to just easily work out, from here on forward. I forget that, really, I’m only just beginning in this newfound role.

Because I’ve had so many stops and starts, I don’t feel like a “beginner” any more… I feel like I should be succeeding by now.

Yet, as I was journaling, the other morning, getting all frustrated over the fact that I am having to start my email list over from scratch (among other things), I was reminded that, in this particular business model, I am only just starting out. As such, it’s going to take time — and patience — to build things up to the point where I do have a following, and I do have products to offer.

Right now, as a beginner, I need to go about patiently laying the foundations — creating content, building relationships with people, etc. And as I do these things consistently (which is key), I will see my business continue to grow. For now, however, slow and steady progress is the goal.

{For those who are wondering, my newfound role is as an Infopreneur and healthy living trainer. I create information products that help women design a life that sets them free; and I also train women to remember who they are, and then get their minds & bodies strong & fit for fulfilling their kingdom purposes}.

Not My Kingdom

As an entrepreneur, it’s so easy to get caught up in building your business. There are a million moving pieces and, if you’re on your own, you are the one in charge of juggling all of those pieces, ensuring that you don’t drop any of them!

As a Christian entrepreneur, it’s even trickier, as you also need to be constantly checking your actions against God’s will and plans for your life and business!

Not My Kingdom - Life Unleashed

In recent weeks, I’ve made some changes to the side-gig I had going on — basically, I traded one network marketing company for another, and then regretted my decision. As such, I’m in the process of getting ready to return to the previous company. And, as I’m going all into “planning” mode, again, about how I’ll run things differently, this time, I hear God whisper a question to me: “Are you counting on this MLM to provide for you, financially? Or, are you willing to trust Me to provide for all of your needs?” Ouch.

God is basically warning me to be careful that I’m not trying to build my own kingdom, rather than helping Him to build His.

If I don’t seek God’s direction for my life and business, then yes, I end up building an “empire” dedicated to myself, and looking to take all of the credit. Instead, I need to remember DAILY — even moment-to-moment — that my true purpose for even existing on this planet is to know God, love God, make Him (and His kingdom) known to others, and to bring Him all of the glory!

The beauty lies in the fact that, by following God’s leading, and going with His plans for my business (and my life), things will then turn out far better {Eph.3:20} than I could even imagine, and I will be guaranteed to see “fruit” from my efforts {God promises us in Scripture that, if we follow His will, we will prosper!}

The best way I’ve found to be sure that I am remembering to choose God’s ways over my own, is to journal. I write out my ideas, and then “talk” to God (through the words on the page) about what He has to say on the matter. Sometimes He’ll lead me to expand on the idea, and other times He’ll point out things I hadn’t considered, leading me to realize that perhaps it’s not the best path for me to pursue. And yes, at times I don’t get my answers right away. Sometimes I need several days’ worth of morning journaling sessions — coupled with God’s Spirit “speaking” to me through various sources — before I finally “see” which way God wants me to go.

Regardless, He is faithful. I know that I can trust Him to guide me, and that He will provide grace and correction for those times when I stubbornly go my own way, or just plain forget to seek Him first.

“Whether you turn to the right or the left,
your ears will hear a voice behind you saying,
‘This is the way; walk in it’.” {Isaiah 30:21}

 

Sneak Peek: Into My Journal (01/02/2017)

Once again, I’m sharing a snippet from my own journal, in order to show you how you can get clarity through writing, and how God can use your journal to teach you things.

Sneak Peek Into My Journal | Life, Unleashed

This entry is from July 20, 2016:

…That makes me wonder if my whole blogging premise is worth it? But, I know that it is not me who will change people’s minds. In fact, it’s like God and I are tag-teaming! All I can do is write about my own beliefs, experiences, and perspectives. Then God can step into the lives of my readers, and help open their minds to what He wants them to see.

My job is not to be successful, or to change people’s lives. My ONLY JOB is to be faithful and obedient to God, and to write. He will do the rest.

(FYI: nothing was changed… this is what I’d written in my journal. Though, I had to omit the first part of my entry, as it’s too personal)

Remembering My Source When I Need Direction

If anyone ever told you that choosing self-employment was easy… they lied! I will say one thing, though: It is definitely character-building!

Remembering My Source | Life, Unleashed

For many, many years, now, I’ve had the deep desire to be an Entrepreneur — to be my own boss, make my own rules, set my own schedule. My grandpas — both on my mom’s side, and on my dad’s side — were entrepreneurs; a couple of my uncles are, too; and so is my sister. So I like to say that Entrepreneurship is “in my blood”.

In 2013, I finally got the opportunity to pursue this dream of self-employment. And, while my business model has transitioned several times since then, it has all been a part of the learning process.

One thing that has become clearer to me, though, is that God designed me to be an Entrepreneur. I see this because of how everything has ended up working out to allow me to continue pursuing this path — even despite the times when it looked like things wouldn’t work out. If God didn’t intend for me to be self-employed, I would have been thwarted at every turn, and would be back out working for someone else, right now.

I think one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned, so far, through this journey — and it’s something I’m STILL learning, really — is how important it is for me to seek God’s guidance and direction for each move I make with my business.

For example, just yesterday I set out to work on my “ideal customer”, and I created a survey to help me with this. Then I shared that survey in several of my Facebook groups. But I ended up getting some pretty harsh feedback from those in my groups, and it got to me… it had me in tears (even though I know they meant well).

As I sat and processed this, God seemed to whisper to me, asking, “Why are you turning to those secular groups for direction, instead of coming to Me?” It was a gentle reminder that I had gotten caught up — yet again — in seeking answers from the “world”, and I’d forgotten to FIRST go to my Source {God}.

Not surprisingly, as soon as I asked God to give me His opinion on it all, peace washed over me. The stress I’d felt, minutes before, melted away. And I started seeing better questions I could ask of myself, which helped to calm & refocus me.

So, let me just encourage you, today: If you are self-employed, don’t forget to put God first in your business. Go to Him, first, for direction. I know it’s easy to forget to do this. But the more we practice, the better we’ll get at making it automatic (and, God is gracious enough to offer us reminders when we do forget!)

“You will keep in perfect peace
    all who trust in You,
    all whose thoughts are fixed on You!”
~ Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)

On Being Real

I’ve played the game. I’ve attempted to do all of the things that others say are “best practices” (do this, not that), and I’ve carefully organized my information, and only shown what (supposedly) needs to be shown.

On Being Real | Life, UnleashedAnd I was miserable.

I was dizzy from all of the conflicting advice. One site said to do it this way, while another said that that way is wrong, and I should do it the opposite way. No one could seem to agree.

My gut led me here … to radical authenticity, regardless of what “they” say.

People can always sense when you’re putting on a “mask”, or pretending, or trying to be someone you’re not. And they tend to walk away from that — they are repelled by it.

When you let go of others’ expectations and let the real you shine through, people gravitate toward you. They, perhaps, don’t yet let their own real selves show through, so they are therefore drawn to those who have the courage –the audacity!– to take that risk. To be free!

It is, too — it’s completely liberating to stop pretending, and to just be you. Faking it takes far too much energy. I’d rather be genuine and attract those people who like me as I am, than be the “proper” lady who attracts other stuffy, fake people.

When you choose to be real, you free yourself to be of more help to other people. You’re no longer constantly concerned with keeping up appearances, and can just serve other people, meeting them where they’re at.


I believe this world would be a much better place — and a lot more fun! — if everyone would just give up the act, and be truly themselves.