Gentle Lessons That Have Changed Me as a Solopreneur
After 4 years in business, these are the ones that stand out
On March 3rd, 2018, I launched my coaching business with a good deal of trepidation. As I look back at 4 years of running my business, there is so much that has happened that I don’t know where to begin. Not all of it can be captured in an article, but suffice to say that it’s been an incredible journey filled with absolute highs and depressing lows.
However, today, when I write this piece, I am in what can best be described as a stable boat, gently floating in a lake. There are no tidal waves; nor are there any whirlpools. Instead, there’s a steady stillness of being that has become an integral part of my life and my business.
Today, I will focus on just four significant changes that have manifested in my life and my work and brought me to this place of gentle comfort.
Health, Movement, and Wellness
The first is health. I don’t think I ever paid any conscious attention to my health or physical wellbeing until late 2019. At this point in time, I was already 41 years old. But it was only in May 2020, after the first lockdown began that things truly began to change. Once I started cooking with genuine love and care, I started reading packaging labels, trying out healthier recipes, and thinking about what I was putting into my body. From there, it’s been an evolutionary process when it came to good sleep, lesser technology, more movement, and an embracing of time abundance in so many ways.
Today, movement is a very core part of my day, whether that’s mindful movement around the home or conscious movement in terms of walking or swimming regularly. Sleep too has made its place very firmly in my life as I have slowly disengaged from technology and social media over the last year or so.
Family, Relationships, and Joy
The second thing of significance to happen was spending more time with my teenage daughter in the midst of a global pandemic. Honestly, this wasn’t all roses and rainbows. It was really tough on kids her age to come to terms with the idea of a lockdown coupled with two whole years of online education. There was so much to unpack and re-evaluate in terms of our relationship and it gave me a whole new perspective on what she was going through, while simultaneously making me realize that life is so much more than a successful business.
At this time, I started spending more time with her and lesser time on my work. Consciously, I began to say no to a number of demands on my time, and when people asked why I replied saying that I wanted to be emotionally available for my daughter during this phase. More than a few people laughed, saying, “I thought she was the one preparing for exams; not you!” In response, I smiled but didn’t clarify any further.
To be frank, I cherish being absolutely available for her when she returns after a taxing exam and lets her hair down. She’s always been a talkative child and while that had reduced a great deal once she entered adolescence, she’s slowly found her way back to it in the past year. It’s only because I was available for her to unload her thoughts and at some level, she seemed to intuitively know this.
This connection naturally spilled over into other areas of my life — relationships with dear friends, catching up with close family, and staying in touch with people I hold especially dear. None of this would have been possible if it weren’t for a global pandemic.
Coaching, Connection & Community
Then, the third thing that appeared to make a significant impact on my business was a revaluation of my coaching model. I’ve always loved teaching and there’s no getting away from the absolute joy that comes from being in a space where I can share what I know with people who truly want to learn.
However, between the focus on my health and the time spent with my daughter, I felt a slight twinge of stress whenever I thought of my client calendar. While I loved connecting with clients, I always felt that there was something missing — something deeper that could be more beautiful in this area of coaching. That’s when the idea for the Intentional Growth Community was born — a short, bookended membership with limited members (no more than 10 people) spanning 8 weeks.
We’re about 6 weeks into the first cohort of the membership and I can tell you this — I have found my true calling as a coach. The idea of deeply connecting with participants who show up twice every week has its own level of intimacy and companionship. Connection through coaching was the third powerful lesson that manifested in this period.
This will also mean that after June of 2022, I will slowly scale back and eventually withdraw from one-on-one coaching. Most coaches do this due to a paucity of time or an overly-full calendar, but my reasons are much simpler. I just want to be able to stay with my clients over a longer period of time and be closely invested in their learning and growth. I can do that far more effectively through the membership community than my one-on-one coaching sessions.
An abundance of Time, Creativity, and Intention
When you make time for what matters in your life, time expands to fill those pockets of your day that you thought were otherwise filled with things to do.
Finally, the fourth pillar (and probably the most important one of all) was my embracing of time affluence. In May 2021, when I launched my podcast — Intentional and Creative Affluence — I had no idea that in a few short months that would become the name of my website as well. Additionally, it would come to encapsulate everything I held dear — work, life, health, family and abundance.
From a person who chased every productivity hack out there and also wrote a bunch of posts with time-saving tips, I took a 180 -degree turn. Now, I started telling people the simple truth — you have time. In fact, you have enough time to do the things that your heart, mind, and body really want to do.
The really incredible manifestation of this truth occurs when you realize exactly how you’re investing your one, beautiful precious life and then visualize what you’d rather be doing. And so it began. Instead of binge-watching a series on TV, I started reading books every day. Spending 3 hours on social media was replaced with slow-cooking recipes in my kitchen. Frenzied content creation was supplanted with languid swimming sessions and hour-long walks every evening.
This is just the beginning. I know there is a lot more awaiting me as the weeks, months and years ahead unfold. It is my deepest intention to always stay open to those experiences and gently keep adding those lessons to my repertoire.
If you’ve been watching any part of my journey or been along for the ride, I’d like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to you for being here. Because a journey is always made sweeter when it’s shared with the ones who care.
Originally published at https://shailajav.com on March 2, 2022.
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