This is a classic dilemma. You have a business or project.
The idea is great. It feels great. You know it should be working.
And yet it’s not.
Something is stuck. It’s not moving. Cue the feeling of swimming against the stream, head banging against the wall and tumbles of hay drifting past as you watch with frustration.
We’ll explore this dilemma through a client of mine – whom we’re going to call Jenny.
Jenny was a bloody awesome woman in her late twenties, she was striking to look at, engaging to listen to, focused, driven, supremely intelligent.
She had gone down the entrepreneurial route and was in the early stages of a building an image consultancy for women in business – who wanted to match their external appearance to their business needs whilst still being themselves. She would teach them make-up techniques that fit their needs and also how to dress and put outfits together etc.
Jenny had all the skills and personality traits needed for this. She was business savvy, an excellent communicator, personable, had impeccable taste in her appearance – whilst not being foreboding – and had even done a course in make-up to brush up her skills and range of knowledge… Her website was awesome and she was clear about what she wanted to offer and to whom.
So what was wrong?
First we checked if the idea was right ‘for her’. Was it something ‘in line’ with her path, purpose, who she was?
Yes. Undoubtedly this was a great idea and all the signs and signals flashed a green for go. Her face lit up when talking about it, she had that ‘radiating’ energy you see in someone whose ‘in their zone’ all around her. If I allowed her to then she could have chatted about ideas and examples and the development of this business for hours (or weeks!). There was total congruence between what she was saying, feeling and her body language.
However, as we spoke I could feel a divide.
The business was a yes.
Her approach was a no.
As I listened I could feel the pushing, the over-trying. Through exercises we discovered that she was trying to make things happen and grow when what was needed was rest.
Both ‘her and her business’ had gone through Phase 1) the initial creation (or birth phase) of ideas and creativity.
Then they had both moved through that exciting growth of Phase 2) where her ideas were becoming real, things were getting implemented, website designed and made live, some client contracts were happening.
She had even gone into Phase 3) the discerning phase, looking at her business model and what she was offering and made some great tweaks.
She was understandably ‘wanting’ to stay in this phase, she was ‘wanting’ to keep this momentum and gain more clients.
However, she and her businesses had entered a new phase. Phase 4, what I call the ‘death phase‘ or in less bizarre terms, resting and letting go.
This one – Phase 4 – is the one that most people don’t understand or don’t allow.
The phases that our society doesn’t understand or acknowledge.
Phases 1 and 2, design, creation and growth are acceptable, understood and promoted.
Phase 3, sitting back, reflecting and refining is often understood, but typically less bothered with.
Phase 4, stopping and letting go is rarely promoted or understood and generally seen as unacceptable (think, you’re letting it slip, your loosing your focus, you’re allowing yourself to fail).
So it was perfectly understandable that Jenny was resisting this too.
The thing is, everything in our world that is living goes through these 4 phases (I’m talking all stuff that changes: people, plants, relationships and businesses!).
- Birth (ideas),
- Growth (creation),
- Pruning (reflection, refining and discernment),
- Death (rest, stopping, letting go).
We can easily see this in nature. We find it harder to apply to our lives.
Back to Jenny and the death phase!
It was amazing to watch, through exercises we first moved herself through these 4 phases.
She quickly realised that her energy was in Phase 4 – wanting rest, wanting to quite literally lie down, sleep, stop… Feeling this she began to light up, you could feel the pressure lifting off her, a sense of relaxation almost wafting around her!
Then we did the same for her business, allowing her business to be seen as a living thing we moved it around the dial of these phases and sure enough, it was also in the same phase.
Even though Jenny had never done anything remotely like this, she got it. Immediately. I watched something go ‘click’ and she said…
…’I get it’, I’m trying to push and grow when right now I just need to stop, allow things to move on their own without my ‘trying’. Allow myself the freedom to relax, have some time out, spend some time chilling out and just enjoy what I’ve created so far without ‘doing’ anything extra.
Then she asked the inevitable next question.
So how long will this last?
Will everything I’ve done fall apart? When can I start getting more hands on again?
The answer is simple – “You’ll feel it.”
What? ! *#~**
Think about this. A time when you’ve had a bloody crazy or hectic few weeks…you crawl into the weekend and do nothing but sleep and lounge around in your PJ’s.
Perhaps if you’re feeling exceptionally adventurous you might make it to the kitchen to make something as challenging as errrr toast. You head back to the sofa, barely even able to concentrate on some crap TV.
You feel like you’ll never get any energy or motivation back to do anything. Thoughts of Monday make you want to cry or run away into a big hole where you can just be left alone and sleep.
Now, sometimes you’ll have had this second experience.
You’ve been flopping around doing f-all (as above) and then you get this urge inside…to go do something…
- Maybe something seemingly small e.g. ‘ah I might just go and shower and dress nicely (ergo not in PJ’s or tracksuit pants),
- Or a little bigger e.g. call friends, head outside,
- Or even bigger e.g. get involved in something, say yes (and want to say yes) to invitations…
You didn’t force it, you didn’t need extraterrestrial super powers to identify it – you just felt like ‘ah’ time to get up, I’m feeling buzzy, ready to go get involved – and so you do and off you go.
What I’m saying – in simple speak – is that the next phase wakes up in you – you only have to follow it.
So why does this only ‘sometimes’? e.g. I sleep all weekend and still require a magic carpet to drag my arse out to meet friends or head to work. Well, most likely these reasons:
- you’re needing more time in this phase (it can range from one minute to a few weeks…or …well potentially years)
- you’re resisting it. This is a biggy. Not to be underestimated. The internal battle is exhausting and prolongs something unnecessarily.
There’s an annoying little quote called “what we resist – persists”.
So the advice here is don’t resist it.
And what happened to Jenny and her awesome business?
Well, she gave herself permission to fully enter the phase of death lol.
She said that the simple realisation of her and her businesses needing a little holiday of stopping and chilling out was profound.
She kicked back and gave herself permission to stop.
Her energy and mind thanked her profusely and then a few weeks later she got this urge to start getting involved once more, new ideas, new energy, things were flowing…
And not long after our session I got an email from her inviting me to a new event where she had gathered a heap of new clients.
She was flying again in phase 2 – creation.
The takeaway for you?
- Check out what phase you are in AND what phase your business / project is in.
- Can you allow yourself to ‘be’ in that phase (instead of forcing one of the others)?
- See how it brings you back into flow…
- See how it allows you and your business to do the natural seasonal thang of birth, growth, pruning, death…and back to birth…
I’d love to hear from you on this.
Which phase are you in now? What effect is it having? Are you stuggling with it or able to go with it?