It’s officially been nine months since I quit my job to work for myself and build my coaching business! Yup, I could have birthed a baby in that amount of time, and sometimes it definitely feels like that's exactly what I'm doing. The past nine months have rocked me, shaken me to my core, provided me with some of the highest highs and lowest lows of my life, and I have been learning SO MUCH about myself along the way!
The thing is, when you make a decision like “I’m going to go for broke and do this thing!”, you have no idea what’s going to happen. You can’t predict the road ahead, and you don't know what it's going to feel like when you actually do hit that "oh shit, I'm actually broke" point. You just have to take the plunge, cling to this crazy faith in your ability to navigate challenges and succeed, and keep your heart and mind open to learning, growth, and new opportunities. It's been the biggest lesson in trust and faith I've ever experienced and a big spiritual journey that's completely changing my perception of myself, my place in the world, God's "plan" for my life, and what I'm truly capable of.
It’s a journey for sure. A lifelong journey that never ends. I’m learning so much. The biggest learning curve of my life!
I think it’s easy to glorify the “quit your day job” thing when you have a hobby business or side hustle (or dream of starting one), but I want to be really transparent, authentic, and real about what it takes to actually go pro and be an entrepreneur, what it takes to actually build an online business from the ground up. I want to share everything I’m going through because it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done and to be honest, sometimes it’s so hard I find myself desperately sobbing, feeling like I am tearing apart and being blown open on the inside, seeking something that I can’t tangibly describe.
Something I didn’t expect when I quit my job was how I’d learn so much about myself, and how intense that process would be. I’ve been experiencing a profound and super deep growing awareness, like an awakening I guess. It’s very personal, very spiritual, makes me feel extremely vulnerable and sensitive.
This week has been a little more roller-coastery than normal. (Whatever "normal" means, ha!) I’m getting my groove and motivation back, I’m working out again, I’m actually making progress on the watercolor project that I’ve been trying to manifest for years, I’m reaching a comfortable place in my coaching business. But because I'm heading towards actually ARRIVING at this next level of ownership and leadership instead of just working towards it, I’m also going through some really insane dark deep terrifying moments and having to confront the deepest darkest feelings that are holding me back from blasting through my own limits.
I’ve been working with a life coach for the past couple of months (hi Cady!), which has been amazing. She's (kindly and nicely) forcing me to stop ignoring or blaming myself for having negative feelings so I can accept myself completely. But to accept the dark means to face it...to dive straight into the pit and let it wash over me, proving that the darkness and the Fear is actually nothing to be truly afraid of.
This process is INTENSE, let me tell you. Yesterday I had a full on meltdown...I let The Fear take over for a little bit and allowed myself to hit rock bottom in a desperate pit of despair and self pity. Luckily I know that I can expect moments like this, and I’m not alone and have an entire amazing team of coaches to reach out to, so I humbled myself to ask for help and booked a triage chat with my friend and mentor Chelsea. She helped me see my situation from an outside perspective, and I had this really really weird realization:
I am currently going through a super hard and intense “break-up” with the Old Anna.
Old Anna: The limited, small, insecure, low-confidence/low self worth, dreaming, ego-driven girl I’ve been for the past few years, especially since I left grad school and went through my "Quarter Life Crisis" unemployment phase.
New Anna: Confident, strong, empowered, successful, courageous, full-potential, action taking, dream chasing, building an empire and being seen. Anna Unleashed, v 2.0. AHHHH!
And I think I might be experiencing some symptoms of heartbreak as I let go of the safety and comfort zone of Old Anna? I don’t know...this might be whacko but bear with me as I explore this concept because it kind of makes sense. Anxiety, desperation, fear, off and on malaise and I don’t even care mixed with I care so much I can’t take it, this physical feeling of tension like a big dark rock in the pit of my core.
This has been really overwhelming because I’ve actually never experienced a broken heart before. I know, I know, I’m so sheltered, haha! I didn’t seriously date anyone in high school, and I’ve been with Ben since I was 19.
Deep down I know that everything will be ok. I know I’ll be ready to fully embrace Anna 2.0. But in the moment, I’m just not there yet. She still scares me. Because what happens when you realize your dreams? What comes next?
Haha! I’m laughing at myself. I love that I can smile and laugh at myself.
And all it’s going to take is TIME! I’m not trapped. I’m fine, I’m safe, I am in exactly the right place I need to be...I just need to ride it out.
What a relief!
The biggest lesson I'm learning in this adventure is that when you decide to start your own business, you're going to have to do twice as much work on YOURSELF than you do on the actual business.
Here are six more lessons coming at me and through me from the School of Life:
What I'm Learning from Self-Employment
1. How to love myself!
You wanna know something really scary? Our capacity for loving others is limited by the love we have for ourselves. What does that mean? It means that you can’t love anyone else until you love yourself. This is pretty painful to admit, and I don’t even have kids yet. I’m in business to share love and joy and inspiration, but I’m limited because I’m so hard on myself, I am battling fear and never feeling good enough...so that's what I'm working on! How to take the concept of "self-love" and self care seriously and not blow it off as something unnecessary or selfish.
2. How to separate myself from the Fear
The Fear is real, it’s paralyzing. It’s intangible and makes no logical sense. I'm afraid of failure, afraid of success, afraid of being seen, afraid of "what comes next," afraid of letting myself and other people down, afraid of not being good enough, of never making money, of feeling broke and desperate and overwhelmed forever, afraid of leaving my comfort zone, of doing the work, of expanding and growing.
But I'm accepting that although the Fear will always be there, it doesn't have to control me. It's separate from who I really am. I can feel it and tell it "thanks but no thanks, I'm going for it anyway!"
3. How to surrender control
My job is to show up, be the best version of myself I can be, and have faith that everything is going to be fine. It's not about how much I can accomplish or produce or achieve, it's about how I can bring my best self to the table everyday and be of service to others.
4. I am already good enough, I already know everything I need to know
I don’t need to learn more or get BETTER, I just need to take action and do the work. I'm addicted to accumulating knowledge, but there's such thing as information overload!
When you’re starting an online business, it’s easy to get swept up in “learning” mode. There are so many podcasts, e-courses, blogs, books, experts out there telling you how you should or shouldn’t run your business and what you NEED to do to be successful. It’s really important to figure out what information you actually need to get started, and to choose your mentors wisely.
The truth is, you don’t need more information. Just trust yourself and do the work.
Create more than you consume.
5. How to simplify and kill the drama queen
I love blowing things out of proportion inside my head, overanalyzing, overthinking, and going down the dangerous dark spiral of mental overwhelm. But taking baby steps, simplifying the process, and trusting in the compound effect is how you'll make your dreams come true. Look around--there are so many people who are less skilled, less talented, and not as smart as you DOING THE EXACT THINGS YOU ARE HOLDING YOURSELF BACK FROM. Get over yourself and just start. Easier said than done, but true nonetheless.
6. I don’t have to be perfect or project positivity all the time
Here comes the Big Thing, the elephant in my room. I'm really proud of myself for reaching the point that I can actually share this publicly:
I am not naturally an outgoing, extroverted, positive, and optimistic person. And that is SO okay.
Yes, I definitely have those qualities and can turn them on….but I’m not that way 100% of the time and I can stop trying to pressure myself to be someone I'm not. I’m emotionally volatile, I am complicated, I am high strung and have “issues” like perfectionism + workaholism + low self esteem that hold me back from accepting myself and loving others. I'm overly critical, jealous of people who have what I want, and I make myself feel small by comparing my life to others. These darker qualities have brought me a lot of inner guilt and shame, and I've tried to ignore them or avoid them. Until now--I'm learning to embrace myself for the good and the bad. I have the power to overcome my weaknesses, but that's not the point, and I don't have to beat myself up about it.
The point is that your biggest weaknesses help define who you are, they're where your story lies, and they will connect you to others.
As a health and fitness coach, there is so much pressure to look like an expert, to be constantly motivated and on top of my game...but that’s not real! Real life is messy, it’s not perfect, it’s full of ups and downs and THAT IS OK. I'm ok. You're ok. We are all ok together. Let's relax and have more fun :)
I want to challenge the “all or nothing” mentality. You don’t have to be perfect or follow a plan perfectly to get results and be happy. Don’t freak out if you have a bad day. Don’t give up if you fall off track. All we can do is accept that we’re not perfect, expect to have bad days, and keep moving forward and trying our best!
I’m not perfect. I let myself down all the time. But I’m learning how to lower my impossible expectations and treat myself with kindness, compassion, and grace
The truth is, if you constantly feel like you need to DO MORE, achieve more, reach some far off goal to be happy….your happiness and success will always remain in the future.
So I’ve decided I don’t want to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and self-critical anymore. I’m saying NO to the perfectionism and relentless pressure.
I’m accepting that I don’t have to have everything figured out and I don’t have to have all the answers. I’m not an expert at anything except learning how to be the best possible version of myself, and accepting my imperfections. I don’t have to always feel on top of my game.
It’s ok to just sit back and process the change, open my mind and my heart to growth and love, let go and surrender and STOP being so dang hard on myself...but also to treat myself gently when I do fall back into old habits.
It's ok give myself time.
p.s. Wanna read the whole crazy story from the beginning?