“I’m just worried that it’s going to be a ton of hard work and financial struggle, with nothing to show for it in the end”, said a client of mine, recently. We were talking about her business, and what it would take to have it be stable and sustainable.
“I get it”, I said. “Entrepreneurship, like relationships, is intense; it’s not for the faint of heart. You have to go all-in on something that not only provides no certainty, but it destroys the illusion of certainty, and you do it all because there’s a bigger mission and vision that’s calling you. This is a big leap we’re taking. It’s scary.”
As we talked, she shared concerns that most people who take the leap of faith to commit to anything – a relationship, parenthood or a business – will face at some point…
What if it doesn’t work out?
What will I do with my life if it doesn’t work out?
What if I can’t handle the pressure?
What if I burn myself out, like I did before?
What if I “arrive” and I’m miserable?
Should I just quit now and do something different?
Maybe there’s something better out there for me?
Who am I to be doing this? Isn’t there someone more qualified?
Am I crazy?
The truth is this: While you’ll always have options, you have to make a choice, and that choice isn’t always easy.
Sure, she could quit on her vision now and climb back into the illusion of certainty. But we both knew that her soul would wither if she made that choice. The problem wasn’t that she lacked vision or the desire to fulfill it, but her fear made it clear that she needed to commit on a deeper level.
Running a business is like being in a relationship, and like any relationship, we start by making a choice to be in it. Wrapped into that choice is a true commitment to creating something extraordinary that’s bigger than ourselves, and a true commitment to show up even in times of struggle.
When we want something extraordinary, whether it’s a business that makes profound impact in the world or a partnership that’s the stuff dreams are made of, we have to be willing to put forth the focus and determination it’ll take to see it soar, while also embracing trust, pleasure and play. Grit and grace.
This is the Artistry of Freedom – the path that partners us with life in the divine dance of existence.
The Artistry of Freedom in Business & Life
The acronym D.E.V.O.T.I.O.N. outlines the eight essential elements that we bring to this dance.
Devotion is not about saying “Till death do us part”, at all costs. Devotion is choosing to be all-in and fully committed to the vision of what you’re creating, along with moment-to-moment nurturance of yourself and the relationships that are important to you. Devotion is the stable foundation for your actions.
Ecstasy is defined as rapturous delight; the frenzy of poetic inspiration; mental transport through the contemplation of divine things. It’s deep presence and the gratitude-infused “Yes” you bring to everything you do, opening up the doors of possibility. Ecstasy is the embrace of creativity, curiosity, beauty and awe. Ecstasy turns your everyday actions into intentional acts of magic.
If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know where to place your next step? Vision is your memory of the future, for both yourself and for the world, and your answer to the questions “how will it feel?” and “what’s my ideal?”. Vision is your North Star and the greater calling that inspires your actions.
Once you have your vision, you need to design a map to help you get there. Once you set off, you’ll find the road has detours – from gridlocked traffic to scenic routes – you never could’ve imagined when you built your map, but you need a map nonetheless. Orchestration is the empowered choice to chart your own path, and the courage to take the first step.
Courage requires trust. Trust that you have what it takes (or will), or if you find that you don’t or that the path is not for you, trust that you’ll find our footing again. Trust is the rational conclusion that you have so much support and will be fine no matter what; it’s the deep knowing in your heart that you are held by a force beyond your will; it’s faith in who you are. Trust is everything, and without it, you have nothing.
Integrity is the deeply honoring “Yes” you bring to everything you do. It is, as my mentor would say, aligning the tongue in your shoe with the tongue in your mouth. Integrity is taking the steps that are true to your vision for yourself and the world. Integrity is living the truth through your actions.
Trust and open-heartedness have a symbiotic relationship. Open-heartedness is the empowering choice to see the beauty everywhere. It’s listening beneath the fear to hear “I love you”; it’s softening in the face of disagreement. To live with an open-heart is to live with joy, patience, respect and humility. Open-heartedness is about finding the gold at the heart of every situation – literally, it’s a heart of gold.
Nurturance is the giving and receiving of tenderness and care. It’s the receiving of money and the tending of our finances. It’s the warmth, care and attention we offer our bodies and ourselves. It’s the nurturing of our relationships, and the willingness to receive nurturance from others. Nurturance is what brings us down to earth when we’re devoted to our vision. Nurturance is the basis for life.
Without the integration of these eight essential elements – Devotion, Ecstasy, Vision, Orchestration, Trust, Integrity, Open-Heartedness, and Nurturance – we will feel either stressed, strained and depleted, or lost, confused and disempowered.
—> Take a moment right now and notice which of these qualities feel weak or missing for you, and what you can do to cultivate those qualities in your heart and life. And share with us in the comments below! I would absolutely love to hear from you.