This weekend marks the unofficial end of summer. Labor Day – dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. Four months left to make that impact I’ve been cultivating in my coaching business since January 1st and leave my mark on this year.
When I think about particular take-aways from the past eight months, one of the most striking is the number of women colleagues who worked with me to grow my business, even as they worked to build their own.
I feel all lovey and squishy inside knowing they were the ones who helped me to fold in all the different experiential metaphors that are my life into marketing language that my “just right” people can understand. They helped me create the WELCOME sign and the road map so my clients can find me.
And don’t get me started on how they managed to get me to embrace my adventurous soul in a way that’s enabled me to draw this exquisite, yet craggy picture (maybe it’s more of a topographical map) of how someone like me can grow my coaching business, one step at a time.
Just like climbing. Breathe. Step. Rest. Hydrate. Breathe. Step. Rest. Hydrate. The mountaineering/business-or-bust mantra.
The journey of building my business reminds me of the time I signed up for a mountaineering trip that challenged many of the assumptions I held about myself: can’t do anything by myself, am too afraid to push physical limits, haven’t got the expertise or chops for this kind of gig, am incapable physically, etc.
Am I losing you with the mountaineering metaphor? Too masculine? I hope not, because sometimes we women are hesitant to embrace our “masculine” energy, but it’s that raw, powerful, surefooted-in-the-midst-of-scrambling-up-the-scree-stepping that serves us so well if we let it.
I don’t see it as masculine or feminine, but more like yin and yang – the balance of opposites – and knowing when to use which type of energy is a vital tool to carry in our back pocket or handbag (or backpack, if you prefer) when we’re building a business.
This mountaineering trip was a two-week expedition to Tanzania, Africa where I spent a week of that climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro – all 19,341 feet of it. I was 41 at the time.
To say that I was a neophyte at climbing is an understatement of mega proportions, but I was compelled to go despite all of the assumptions I mentioned earlier (and more), and at the end of that glorious, awe-inspiring, ass-kicking experience I had transformed.
You name it, I transformed it (or it transformed me is more accurate).
That’s the year “Evelyn” was born, and I rather like the delusional notion that I’m only 22 now instead of really in my early 60s, and despite the fact that I would never want to negate the birth of each of my children (or grandchildren) by that statement, in the truly esoteric realm of “being born,” that was my raw, naked, heart-pumping delivery into the world.
In addition to the obvious similarities between climbing a mountain and building a coaching business, there is my big “Why” – the reason I’m doing this work in the first place.
To bottom line it: oh, how over-the-moon I would have been to have had someone like me be my she-Sherpa guide while on my journey! FYI – That’s not a vain attempt to pat myself on the back and glow giddy over my wonderfulness.
My “Why” is about helping other midlife women traverse the mountains, the hills, and even the easy-does-it open fields that make up their complicated, multi-faceted lives in concert with someone who’s been there.
It’s about them not having to navigate alone the unknown terrain when they’re tired, vulnerable and drifting without a map. Because of course they can do it, these mighty warrior women, but the point is why do it alone when there is so much more to gain from working with someone who gets it?
There’s something to be said for the buddy system – whether it’s a guide who leads you up the mountain, or a coach who mentors you in a one-on-one program, or other business women who form a safety net around you as you build a business.
And I need a net, since the goals I’ve set for my itty bitty biz are lofty! And when I reach that metaphorical 19,341 foot-high business summit, I don’t expect to be alone. I’m expecting to see a few of my women colleagues of the soul planting their flags right alongside me.