I went to a fantastic women’s networking event this week. Actually, it was kind of a combo situation – a little networking, a lot of inspiration and empowerment, plus snacks. I alllllmost didn’t go, but I just felt it in my gut that I signed up for a reason.
Lesson #1 there, my friend.
Truly, one of the biggest reasons I went to this particular event was to support a friend. We met a couple years ago now, and her business has evolved and elevated so much, I was just super excited for the opportunity to show my support for her in all she’s doing. Networking is not always about collecting business cards or leads.
Lesson #2, wink wink.
OK, but really, the most impactful thing I got out of the evening (outside of this incredible little manchego and honey puff pastry situation, OMG) was learning more about the story behind the story.
The panelists were basically asked to share about their company and their path to where they are today. For these two partners, the path was winding. What started as one thing, ended up as something very different, and there was a lot of struggle in that process. There was straight-up pain too.
What continued to come up as they walked through their challenges, failures, and pivots, and what I took two pages of notes on, were the themes of being truthful with yourself, understanding what you need to be happy, and trusting yourself. When it really came down to it, every decision these women made for themselves personally and professionally, and the ones they made for their business, together, was based on those three things.
Of course, this isn’t something new to me. It’s the basis of my coaching framework, and what I work with all my clients to cultivate. Ultimately, it’s self-awareness that builds self-confidence. I did a lot of nodding, like, YES! THANK YOU!
But what really stood out to me was how unafraid they were to share that this was it. This was the answer. This was the trigger and the foundation for all their success.
Literally, asking the question, “What makes me happy?” led to a better life.
Funny enough, the host of the evening even touched on the fact that it might seem oversimplified to some people, especially those in the middle of the struggle. But as an exceedingly young partner in an award-winning, full-service, national CPA firm, she affirmed that the exact same strategy had led to her success too.
All of the women acknowledged and went into more detail the importance of backing up this intangible gut feel with hard work and knowledge and business plans. But they continued to circle back to truth and trust in yourself as the main source of motivation and progress toward making vision a reality and nurturing more happiness and satisfaction. It got me thinking about how this is true for, well, pretty much everything in life.
I mean, like these women, as a business owner, I’ve had plenty of ups and downs, especially in the last few years. But the direst of the downs came when I was least in touch with myself. The hardest times were all when I was out of touch with what mattered most to me, when I wasn’t clear on my values, when I was listening to and following other people and their truths, and when I wasn’t trusting my gut. The highest of highs happened when I was clear on what I needed, how I wanted to feel, and I was 100% able to trust in my decisions.
But too, as a human, the result is the same. In relationships, the result is the same. In health and fitness, the result is the same.
For instance, if you’re starting with an initial fitness goal of wanting to feel better, you have to understand what that means before you’ll find any level success with it.
Have you been truthful with yourself in what’s happened to get you to a place of not feeling so great? Are you being truthful with yourself in your expectations for what you can do to achieve feeling better? Are you being truthful with yourself in seeing what your life and priorities look like in order to create an appropriate path toward feeling better?
Do you know what you need in order to feel better? But what do you really need? Have you reflected on the connection between feeling better physically and feeling happier? Do those things connect? Is a change in your physical health or routine going to lead to more happiness for you? Can you describe how in detail?
Do you have any self-trust? Do you trust that you can make the choices that feel good and align with the truth you feel inside? Can you trust your decisions, even when they’re different or difficult? Can you trust yourself in your next step, even when you can’t see the rest of the path or the end outcome?
If most, or really even some, of those answers are no, it’s worth exploring how you can move them into yes territory. Honestly, it’s the best – and arguably, the only – way you can uncomplicate things and figure out the how and the plan.
Basically, we’ve been told for most of our lives from myriad sources where we need to start, and usually it’s with something or someone outside ourselves. It’s about some external goal or achievement or milestone. Some amount of money, some societal or cultural definition of happiness or worth, some TV version of happiness. But it doesn’t start there.
It starts with you.
Ahem, Lesson #4.
Think of it this way – all the times you’ve started somewhere else, how has it turned out? More importantly, how has it felt? And how much closer to your truth and happiness has it gotten you in the end?
I get that I’m telling this tale from the other side of this experience. And maybe it sounds a little like, must be nice to just trust your gut and have everything work out. I hear you, I do. That’s not what I’m saying, because that’s not the whole picture of how it happens.
What I’m saying is that you can’t tune out your own messages. You’ve got to learn to listen to yourself, and first. You can gather plenty of knowledge and utilize plenty of methods, but if you do that willy nilly, what’s the point? You still have to understand yourself, your truth, and your needs – again, first.
(Go ask your mentors. Or the people you see as healthy and fit and well-rounded. Or look up the stories of your role models. I’m quite sure you’ll notice a trend, and it won’t be that they were going after someone else’s dreams.)
This isn’t always easy, and I think that’s a big reason why we shrug it off. It takes some self-examination, it takes some extended reflection, it often forces you to look at stuff you’ve been avoiding for quite some time. (One of the partners mentioned she joined a business mastermind, took a personal development course, and read a ton of books as she was going through the process of learning more about her truth.) Ultimately, it’s a learning experience. But isn’t that exactly what life is?
That’s lesson #5, love.
Point is, stay open to learning, most of all about yourself. Prioritize that before amassing all the information about all the other things. Know before do. It’ll always be the path that’ll take you farther and make you happier in the end.
This shit is really hard. Harder to figure out on your own, weirdly enough – especially when it comes to fitness and wellness. I’m going to make it waaaaay easier with an upcoming group coaching program, Fitness Unraveled, starting in April. Sign up for the waitlist here to be notified first about all the details.