This week my book went into the final stage of the editing process. We’re starting to make plans for the big launch happening in Spring next year, and I’m feeling so excited about the ripple effect it’s going to have once it’s out in the world.
Putting what I’ve learned through hosting more than 40 retreats, coaching clients and growing my business into book form is an opportunity to amplify the Aligned Entrepreneurs message like never before, and to awaken even more people to what’s possible when you shift the lens through which you view the world.
Every one of us has unique challenges to face and mindset blocks to work through, but there are some patterns I’ve seen come up again and again for the business owners I work with.
One of those big-picture trends is what I call the Flow Paradox.
In a nutshell, it’s this: The more you push, the harder it gets.
Flow is not you pushing. Flow gently guides you.
Often, the more business owners try to market their business and reach their goals, the less successful they are and the slower growth the see.
It’s a paradox because the idea seems to be completely self-contradictory. After all, I’m not talking here about people who are dumb, or lazy, or ill informed. The business owners I work with are intelligent people. They take time to read up on the latest strategies, they work hard to take action toward their goals, they’re working as hard as they can to see the growth they want. And yet, something’s not working.
Sounds counter-intuitive, right? But I’m betting you’ve experienced this paradox for yourself, at some point on your business journey.
Maybe you reached a point of not caring what the world thought of you any more… and found that suddenly, new clients were drawn to approach you.
Or you “gave up” on a launch that didn’t seem to be working, threw up your hands and said “whatever happens, happens”… and found that you showed up on the first day of retreat to a room filled with exactly the right people.
So why does this “flow paradox” exist, and how do we handle it when it comes up?
The root of the problem comes when those of us naturally gifted in certain areas – like intuition, empathy or connection – absorb the message that these skills are not what it takes to be successful. We might be told, like I was, that “soft skills will never get you anywhere”.
So we start to suppress our innate ability and fit ourselves into someone else’s mold. In doing so, we’re actually holding back our areas of greatest strength, and which will ultimately lead to us reaching our highest potential.
The truth is, the more you try to push down your “soft skills” and try to make your business successful by being “smart”, “business minded” and “results-orientated” – by focused on what you’re doing, rather than how you’re being, the more you are likely to find struggle.
You will find yourself offering what you think people want, instead of what you’re called to do deep in your soul.
You will find yourself working harder, ‘hustling’ more, and growing physically and mentally exhausted.
You will tell yourself sacrifices are necessary: putting aside what you love to do, your downtime, your relationships and your sense of self because you’re working towards something bigger… only you never actually get there.
This flow paradox can halt our entire business. Or, it can show up in subtler ways, on those days when a fear or scarcity mindset creeps up on us. When we decide to stay in front of the laptop for one more hour, or add another component to the schedule we’re planning for our next retreat. The idea that ‘more work is better’ is a seductive one, and it pervades our culture, especially when it comes to being an entrepreneur.
I believe it not only holds back the success that’s possible for us in business, it can actually have a damaging effect on how we show up in the world. It stops us from reaching out to others, depletes us and prevents us showing up as fully as we can. Worst of all, the constant trying and striving for success can easily become a tactic for avoiding the big Truths we need to face up to in our lives.
If you recognize yourself in any of these statements, be gentle. The answer is not to blame, judge, or criticize.
The way out of the flow paradox is to do what feels counter intuitive. Stop pushing, striving, straining to create the abundance you want, and allow what’s ready for you to unfold.
That doesn’t mean you stop doing the work or that life suddenly becomes one long vacation (sorry!). It does mean taking a long hard look at where you’re going against the grain of what feels energising, inspiring and juicy to you – and allowing yourself to fall into “get it done” mode.
Instead of committing to a long list of actions, look inside yourself at what the big things are that are asking for your attention. Often, when we take the time to look within, we find the real answers to getting to the next level have been there all along, waiting for the space to fully emerge.
What core beliefs are ready to be unraveled? What deep seated fears are asking to be blessed and set free?
How can you allow yourself to follow your heart and do the big work that will really transform the clients you work with and the wider community you are a part of?
These questions can be so much more powerful than “what MORE can I do?” See how you can use them to dissolve the flow paradox as it manifests for you today.