A brief history of my Big Leap into what’s next
(Originally published May, 2017)
I have been, as I know many others have (maybe including you!) struggling with the divisiveness in our country, and around the world. And I’ve been wondering what I can actually do to make any real difference at all; and in particular, something that’s NOT about taking sides, but instead about bringing people back together.
Because isn’t that, when it really comes down to it, the real, fundamental issue here? The blame and the hate – the misunderstanding and the seeming refusal to TRY anymore?
This has weighed heavily on me – very, very heavily.
Now, rewind a bit further to back in late September…
After communicating with you in fits and starts over the year, in late September I released my new updated Spark Archetypes™ model. This was a completely revised and revamped, “2.0” version of my original Wise Woman Archetypes™ model created a couple years prior.
In addition to sending it out to YOU, I also launched it on my Facebook page – my business page. But if you know anything about how FB works, you’ll understand that, after having kind of ignored that page for a long while, FB wasn’t particularly motivated to show those posts to anyone at all, and so I got nothing from that.
HOWEVER… I also went ahead and released the “Discover Your Spark Archetype™” Quiz to my personal FB friends.
Now, it’s important to note that I’m one of those people who has always kept business and personal very separate; the only people who are my “Friends” are actual, real-life friends, and my family. In total? Like 150 people.
But here’s what happened…
(And this is super important – maybe the most important point to keep in mind throughout the next parts of the story because this is where a GIGANTIC Life & Business Lesson comes in…)
That ONE post to my friends and family – which I made public after people asked to share it – was the most engagement, praise, excitement, and interest I’ve EVER RECEIVED from anything I have put out there related to my business. EVER.
And, it wasn’t like every one of my 150 Facebook friends took the quiz and shared it – a good number of them did, but not nearly all of them. What a few did do, though, was to SHARE it.
And that brought in enough people to almost double – maybe 1.5x – my mailing list.
But I didn’t really care about that – what I cared about, what felt SO GOOD, was that people loved it, and they were talking about it.
Well, after a few days of that fun and excitement, I … pushed it to the back burner. I stopped talking about it, and so did everyone else.
Why, if I got such a great response on the Archetypes, did I put it on the back burner?
(Is this yet another one of those “fear of success” lessons?)
No, it isn’t.
I put the Archetypes (mostly) away because for the past several years, and even more so for the last year and a half, I’ve spent all of my time, a tremendous amount of energy, AND an enormous amount of money to become a better and better BUSINESS Coach/Consultant/Strategist.
That’s my focus – that’s my business, my LIVELIHOOD! – helping other people grow businesses.
After all, the Spark Archetypes™ model is just a tool – and really, it’s a personal, or relationship development tool at that.
And MY business – my livelihood – is business development… right?
Well, let’s come back to the last couple months, since right about the start of the new year…
A funny thing began to happen. (Well, in fact, it hasn’t been so funny going through it!)
For years I’ve been doing just fine in terms of bringing in new clients. I’ve had periods of GREAT success (more work than I could handle) and of course low periods, just like everyone else.
But all in all, I’ve known how to bring on new clients; I had been doing it for years, and doing well.
That is, until the first of the year, when the no’s and the non-responses began to noticeably out-number the yes‘s, or even the “great! let’s chat about it”s.
At first, I didn’t think much of it – this is just a weird time, the election, the new year, blah blah blah. It’s all fine, I’ll just keep plugging away, reaching out, talking to people, etc.
I put my foot on the gas: hustled more, pushed harder, reached further into my contacts list, got some new (“high quality”) referrals.
Yet, more no’s, more non-responses.
And then, on the first of February, I got pneumonia, and was pretty much out of commission for the first 9-10 days of the month.
(Timing has never been my strong suit.) I could barely sustain, never mind grow, the business this point.
And nevertheless, I persisted!! (Like the strong, proud woman of Massachusetts that I am – thank you Senator Warren!)
When I felt even a little bit better, I began looking for all kinds of new projects, partnerships, subcontracting arrangements… leaning into my background in Education, Operations Management, Travel… my weird and wonderful smorgasbord of work experience before going into business for myself.
Anything that I knew that I could do really, really well; anywhere I knew that I could add value, I went for it. I asked. I had conversations.
And… nothing. Nothing except more no’s, more non-responses.
Hmmmmm… is the universe trying to tell me something?
Now, I want to come back to one of the things I said at the beginning of this story…
For the last several months, including this time since the beginning of January that I will now name, “The Great Refusal,” I have been struggling with what can I really do personally and through my business – something will really make an impact.
Specifically, because I think this is the most important thing we can do, I’ve wanted to find a way to start bringing people back together into understanding, civil discourse, and compassion.
Well, it finally dawned on me what I can do. In fact, I’ve already done it; or, well, I STARTED to do it…
The Spark Archetypes™ that I launched back in September? Remember those? (She asks herself more than anyone…)
In fact, I had designed the model EXACTLY for this purpose: creating more understanding, having greater compassion for one another, building better, happier relationships; and therefore, happier individuals. A better US.
But, remember… MY business, my livelihood, is BUSINESS development… right?
After months of hitting brick wall after brick wall, I had to admit…
This. Isn’t. Working.
Me being a BUSINESS consultant, coach, strategist? It’s just not working anymore.
I can no longer keep hitting these brick walls and using my logical, rational mind to “figure it out;” or call on all my training, my skills, my push-through, my endurance (“I’ll just endure until…” – until WHEN, exactly?)
My mind, my HEAD is getting me nowhere.
Where’s the HEART in all of this?
Well, the answer to that question lies in what HAS worked, and what DOES work – and that is me helping people, teaching people, guiding people.
It’s in me helping people see the best version of themselves; teaching them to see the best in OTHER people, and to learn to communicate better, have better relationships, create happier lives and homes, build stronger communities… and y’know, elevate human consciousness! 😀
In fact, that’s what I’ve been doing all along.
Have I successfully helped business owners build better businesses? Yes. And… not always as directly as that sounds.
I’ve actually lost count of the number of success stories that were, in fact, business owners making the decision to close up shop and pursue something else (another business or otherwise;) something that made them much, MUCH happier.
Which brings me to this…
Besides “what has worked,” do you know where else the HEART is?
It’s in what makes us happy; what brings us joy; what feels easy and light and exciting and affirming and fulfilling.
Strange, isn’t it, that, after all those clients who actually made the brave decision to STOP doing what didn’t light them up, I never took that as a sign to look at my own business? To look at what was or wasn’t making ME happy…?
So, where is the heart for ME?
It’s in the Spark Archetypes™, of course!
The thing that I put away half a year ago because… because… ?
Well, because I thought that, after EVERYTHING I had invested – all the time, energy, money, training – this should work! BUSINESS consulting was what I built my entire business around.
What I couldn’t see then (and by “then,” I mean only a couple months ago) was that the only person creating the story of what my business “should” look like; the only person holding on with white knuckles to this idea that my business has to look any certain way at all… was ME.
The Archetypes WORKED. The Archetypes WILL work as the thing around which an entirely new business is built.
The Spark Archetypes™ model works not only because I had the best response I’ve ever had to anything I put out in 6 years of business; it works because that experience was gratifying, fulfilling, exciting, and heart-swelling.
It works because it makes me happy.
There it is.
I guess I don’t need to point it out to you, but… there it is. There’s the gigantic life and business lesson.
We all do this, many times over throughout our lifetimes: staying in, putting up with, hanging on to SOMETHING that just isn’t working because we think we have to.
After all, just LOOK at all the time, money and energy I’ve put in!
After all, this is my livelihood!
After all, this is my LIFE (or someone else’s life) we’re talking about here!
How could I possibly leave that, stop that, end that, close the door on that?!?
Well, you leave it, stop it or end it exactly because this is your life we’re talking about. It’s your LIFE.
If you, like me and SO many others, have been struggling to find a way to make a meaningful impact in our increasingly divided and divisive world…
I can teach you to make a difference by starting right where you are every day: in your work, in your workplace, in your home, and in your community.
Wherever you spend time with other people, THAT’S where you can start to have better conversations, be the one who creates tolerance for opposing viewpoints, be the one who helps OTHER people understand one another, have more civilized, peaceful interactions and discourse… create HAPPIER places to be wherever you are.
Because by doing that – at home, at work, in your PTA meetings, wherever you are – the ripple effects begin.
And they spread further into your community, your online networks, your friend groups, your friends’ relationships and workplaces and communities, and their networks… you see where I’m going with this?
The Spark Archetypes™ are the very beginning. I’ve got plenty of tools in my toolbox, and I’m going to use all of them to teach you how to make a difference, make an impact, make a meaningful contribution RIGHT where you are.
And together, we’re going to change the world. (Seriously.)
My mission is simply this:
radically transform the personal development world to not just include, but fully integrate the collective – us – ALL of us. This is social justice meets raising human consciousness.
Yes, it’s huge.
Yes, it’s essential.
Yes, I’m all in.