Wednesday was a special day for me. I got to be my beauty therapist's first private client. I met Michaela for the first time four years ago when I visited the day spa where she works. Immediately I noticed she was very passionate about her work and loved what she does. Over time we got to know each other a little better and she told me that one day she'd want to have her own spa.
Days turned into weeks, and weeks into months. Michaela started investigating what starting a business would actually mean. She visited retail units and discovered that the capital investment required would be out of her reach. She talked to potential investors and discovered that the spa wouldn't really be hers if she'd have someone finance it for her.
Perhaps the dream was not possible! The initial disappointment was big. She had hoped there was a way to jump directly from a full-time job to running her own spa.
We all have big dreams. And most big dreams seem unreasonable to achieve, in a short term.
What keeps us from achieving them is our own refusal to travel the journey. We get frustrated because we can't get what we want immediately. And if we make a start things don't normally go the way we imagined. Everything is slow. Progress seems too insignificant. So we give up.
This week we celebrate DrivenWoman's 2nd birthday. Our first event took place in Hyde Park 8th of May 2013. That day we knew (vaguely) what we wanted to create but we had really no idea how to do it and what lied ahead. And we were massively ambitious. Surely everyone would get excited about what we were building and our concept would spread like a wildfire!
A year ago I was massively disappointed. I was frustrated that we weren't able to grow our membership numbers the way we had envisioned in the beginning. Everything seemed to be coming too slow.
But rather than giving up we persevered. Rather than getting stressed out, we accepted the phase we were growing. Perhaps there was a lesson to be learned? Perhaps it was important for us to remain small at the start so that we could build a very solid foundation.
We are now one year wiser and I can clearly see that the phase we have been growing is the right speed. We are not meant to go light speed because we are creating a very passionate community, we are not selling vacuum cleaners!
We are building something remarkable. And often remarkable things take time.
We can now see the vision and the journey ahead of us. This makes me feel very confident. We have altered our perspective from where we are supposed to be, to what is the long term vision and what we want to build.
I have a firm belief in Michaela's journey. After two years she abandoned her initial 'big dream' she has made remarkable progress. It may not seem like much, but giving up one day a week in the day job to start building a private client base is a key milestone. I was her first client, and I know there will be many more. And overtime she will build her business, she will save more money and eventually she will get there. I'll make sure I'll be there to celebrate she gets to her dream.
She will not get there because of some clever financing trick she might discover or being lucky, it will be because she has accepted the small steps she has to take every day to move forward. She has made a decision to put one foot in front of the other, build her dream brick by brick.
All DrivenWoman members are looking to achieve a more rewarding life. They are looking to become more successful both financially and emotionally. Watching their progress every month has taught me a lot. Here's what everyone can learn from the most successful ones.
DrivenWoman's guide to small steps:
1) The faster you accept your starting point, the faster you will get started on your path towards your goal. Many people never cross the 'Start' line because they refuse to be honest to themselves. (Read Jane's guest post from last week, if you haven't yet.)
2) Being attached to your goal and the final outcome can be poisonous. It breeds disappointment, frustration and stress, and can make you loose sight what is really important in life. Your unrealistic expectations can be the only reason you feel you have failed, when in reality you just haven't been patient enough.
3) Always evaluate why your goal is so important to you. Is it because it's something you love doing or something that has to be done to make the universe a better place? Or are you chasing other people's appreciation and external status? If you evaluate what you are doing through the eyes of others ('how does this look in my LinkedIn CV?') and constantly feel you should be performing better in terms of external parameters you may not be doing what you really want.
4) Try to be attached to the progress (the small daily steps!) rather than to the outcome. This is the only way to accept the work and enjoy the journey! By attaching myself to the daily process I have been able to get rid of busyness and stress almost completely.
5) Everything takes much longer than you plan or wish for. Learn to work with the natural flow of what you are building. You can keep pushing but certain things can not be forced. Deepak Chopra suggests that by discovering the natural laws that govern all of creation, and by aligning with these laws, success comes easily and naturally.
6) Share your goals and progress. Surround yourself with like minded people who understand your ambitions and are ready to help. They will cheer you on when you loose hope and think carrying on is pointless. The members who show up to the meetings regularly seem more connected to their goals because they share them with the group every month.
7) Celebrate small victories along the way. Getting your first client may not yet earn you an industry award but it's the most important step you ever take, so remember to appreciate it and be proud of what you have done. Getting excited about small progress increases motivation and boosts self esteem!
8) Help others. People who share their learning and disappointments with the group end up processing any obstacles faster, and thus move forward. Being able to help someone is very satisfying and makes you less self-centred. This in turn helps to reduce stress.
How do you keep yourself motivated towards big goals? Have you experienced disappointment and temptation to give up your dreams? How did you persevere?
To celebrate our 2nd birthday we are announcing a chance to win ONE YEAR FREE DRIVENWOMAN MEMBERSHIP!
Tell us why you should become a DrivenWoman member?
Our key principle is 'proactivity'. We believe we can improve ourselves or find our passion by doing things, actively taking small steps and exploring. Explain what are the small steps you would be focusing on if you were to become a DrivenWoman member? What currently keeps you stationary and what would you like to achieve? Why you need a group of like minded women around you?
Send your reply (maximum length A4 ) to miisa (at) drivenwoman.co.uk by Sunday 17th of May, midnight. If you are chosen we will welcome you to the next DrivenWoman Introduction session on Thursday 21st of May at 6:45 pm in Soho, London.