Recently, I was listening to a podcast about failure. The discussion was about how as we get older failure becomes more unacceptable. Like, there is some subtle suggestion that whatever we try we must succeed at. And yet as kids grow up, we expect there to be times of trial and error, taking a chance and failing.
For children, failure is normal, often it’s encouraged. We encourage our kids to try new things, experiment with different skills, put their hand to various activities, hobbies, interests and ideas, simply to see what takes hold and if any spark is generated.
Somewhere between our childhood years and leaving home, we lose our appetite for risk, for daring to dream and for trying things out.
I decided a long time ago that I was prepared to try things and to fail. Because without the jumping from the ledge we have no idea if we are able to fly. Sounds cliche, and it is, but it’s also true.
Which leads me to now.
I’m no longer running my coaching business, Wide Open, in a full-time capacity. Instead, I’ve taken a job in Training & Development with a large NGO in Adelaide – and absolutely loving it!
I wrote about this in some detail in this blog post in January if you’re interested because it gives some further context.
Quoting from that post:
“It’s been a really strange kind of year. Why? Because I’ve ended up in a place I did not anticipate January 1, 2017.
Am I content with where I’m at? Yes, absolutely. And therein lies something profound.
You see I set all sorts of goals using a specific goal setting course that set me back a few hundred bucks! I set all sorts of ambitions and goals that I intended to achieve for 2017. And yet, I achieved none of them. Yep, NONE of them.
But here’s what I’ve re-discovered to be true: life with God is better than the pursuit of any goal I set. I can say that because where I’ve ended up at the end of 2017 is much better than my goals could have predicted and hoped for. And where I am I didn’t dream or imagined, but it’s exactly where I need to be.
And it’s great.
I ended up doing so many things in the business that I hated. I started saying yes to ‘opportunities’ simply because they were paying the bills. And as a Dad, that is bloody important, but as a business owner, it’s never a good idea to substitute a dollar for something you don’t love.”
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Letting Wide Open go was hard and easy.
Hard, because it signalled the loss of a dream, a knock to my confidence and left me with many unanswered questions.
Easy, because I don’t have to worry about where the next paycheck is coming from, build an audience and go through the stress of not being where I wanted to be.
To be honest, I never anticipated that I would be back ‘working for the man’, but now that I am, I’m really enjoying it.
Frankly, I actually began to hate my business. I was smothering it, and the extra work I needed to do to keep my business operational was becoming a burden I didn’t want to carry. The 1-1 coaching itself is amazing (and I still love it), I simply didn’t have enough clients coming through the door to keep me and my family afloat, and I didn’t want to – or have the energy – to try selling different products, creating various options and other attempts to keep the wheels turning.
Side note: probably 9 months before I actually started my current job I was out walking, talking with God as I normally do. Somewhere between the desire to continue my business and the reality that it wasn’t working, I felt God nudge me by saying ‘Trav, let it go, this is not what I have for you’. This sense was filled with grace and no skerrick of shame or guilt. It was like a father speaking to his son with a gentle, ‘let’s go in a different direction’. I tell you this because some people think I’m brave for trying the business, giving it a crack etc. But truth be told, I felt anything but brave, more stubborn to be honest!
I continue to coach clients one-on-one on weekends and after hours which is a real treat. I love sitting down with people and helping them sort through life, gain clarity and move into a life of freedom. In reality, this is exactly what I set out to do some two years ago before I got sidetracked into marketing, spreadsheets and other non-essential work that drained me more than it fired me up.
So, beyond coaching people one-on-one, I’m happy to let the other gear die. I’ve stripped the website back to simply 1-1 coaching and it feels right.
I do have a few other ideas which, at the moment are simply that: ideas.
Changing tack with Wide Open has been really refining for my heart. I’ve stripped back the non-essential things in my life which has created space for important memories to be made: spending more time with family, resting in silence more, going to bed on time, finding joy in the little things, investing in health and wellness, writing in my journal by hand and other activities I’ve let slide.
I’ve learnt many lessons and I’d do many things differently if I was to run a business again. And who knows, maybe that’ll happen at some stage.
I’m really thankful for where I’ve ended up and the journey I’m on. I’ve learnt so many things about myself, what’s most important and the critical components required to make a dream a reality. I wouldn’t change anything because of the way I’ve grown and been able to delve deeper into what really matters.
The path ahead might be uncertain but it’s filled with open space, fresh air and the clarity of mind to choose what I truly want to do.