Recently I did a classic coaching exercise related to my business. The question was, "What advice would you give your Self from five years ago?" I realized in doing this exercise how far I've come — I've built a 6-figure business that requires very little of my time and has almost no overhead. I also saw how many mistakes I made and how much I suffered needlessly.
In case it's helpful to you, I thought I would share the advice I wish I would have had five years ago:
1) "I've never done anything for a million pounds I wouldn't do for free." — Ricky Gervais. Never do anything for money, even if it's wrapped up in pretty wrapping paper that says, "But I'm purposeful!" It dims your soul.
2) Do what you truly want to do, not what you think will make you money. Follow your heart. Sing. Make films. Perform. Help others. You're going to go through some tough times anyway building a business, so you might as well build one that makes your soul dance. If you don't believe you can do it, look around. Others have done it; so can you. I promise.
3) Focus on leveraging your time. If you can't leverage your time so you can do the things you love, you might as well get a job. Your business needs to serve you, not the other way around.
4) Never do anything that drains you for longer than is absolutely necessary.
5) Always remember, you get to choose. Do not EVER remain in a situation thinking you don't have a choice. Make conscious choices about your marketing, your offerings, how you spend your day, what projects you pursue. That includes relationships, paths, and everything else you do in your life.
6) If it feels heavy, get out. Don't worry about how much time you've invested. You're on the wrong track.
7) Stop pretending you're afraid. It's just an act. You could just as easily pretend you're brave. What's the big deal, really?
8) Writers write. Singers sing. Creators create. You get the picture.
9) Set intentions, not goals. Write out what you want, then say it out loud. Declare it as if it is a given you will have it. Always specify that you want it to be fun and easy. Ask that it come together in a way that leaves you in awe and wonder and delight. Otherwise, you will bring the thing into your reality, but it might not be fun, and it might be really, really hard or add a lot of stress to your life. After you set your intentions, do your spiritual work next. Clear out what's blocking that stuff from coming into your life. Use this thing called Access Consciousness to do that, or find another modality. Keep focused on your intention and clearing out what's holding you back and going into the energy of wonder and awe and delight and soon you'll see miracles popping up in your business and your life.
10) Each morning, start your day having fun, writing and creating. Then do something gratitude related. Only then start down your to-do list. Spend the best part of your day doing what you enjoy.
11) Make plenty of social plans. Being an entrepreneur can feel isolating. Too much solitude isn't good for a person.
12) Give your attention, time and energy to people and places who inspire you. Read their writing. Watch them. Interact with them, be in their physical spaces. People like Stephanie St. Claire and Danielle LaPorte and Robert Downey, Jr. Places like bookstores and beautiful boutiques and The Old Town School of Folk Music.
13) Beware of false (business) prophets. They are everywhere, they are charlatans and they are very skilled at taking your time, money and power.
14) Check your state of being frequently — the feeling inside — especially before starting a new project, but also during your work day. Are you in Waiting, Striving, Wanting or Having? If you're not in Having, work on your state of being before taking any action.
15) "Your dream was divinely designed to be easy." — Beth A. Grant. (Remember to take your own advice.) Every possibility is available to you. Never take action that doesn't feel divinely inspired. If you don't feel inspired, go do something fun that fills you up, until the inspiration comes, even if you need income, and even if you need it badly. Trust me on that. Otherwise you'll just be wasting your time and energy.
16) Get rid of everything in your home that doesn't add beauty to your life, home or body. It's just taking up space. Beautiful surroundings and self-expressive clothing feed your soul.
17) Put your well-being above all else. Self-care is number one.
18) "Don't die with your music inside of you." –Wayne Dyer. Make self-expression your top priority, and then bring those expressions into the physical world. This is the footprint you will leave on the world for having been born.
19) Get your financial act together. NOW. If you are in business, you are a CFO. Go learn how to be that, and stop pretending you're not capable of it. That's just a bunch of bullshit. You are capable of becoming proficient, even if you're not capable of being an expert. I have an idea. Reach out to Debbie Rosenfelt of CFO Made Easy, and let her guide you on this.
20) Listen to music for at least an hour every day, especially Blues Traveler, Neko Case and Abba.
22) You've never believed in working hard on Friday afternoons, so don't. Leave Friday afternoons free. Play. Shop. Chat with friends. Get a manicure. Read a magazine under the covers. Dream. Sing. Dance. Read a novel. This is the reward for owning your own business.
23) Always be yourself completely in every area of your business; in every area of your life. Before every choice, ask yourself, "Does this allow me to be myself?" A good place to start is by identifying your marketing archetype. (This is the Archetype Alignment Grid you're going to invent, and it's going ot help tens of thousands of entrepreneurs be themselves, too. Just remember to take your own advice.).
24) Pay attention to the signs. If something pops up twice, take notice. The divine is saying, "Yoooo hooooooo, I'm trying to make things easy by giving you this signpost." Three times is the divine hitting you over the head with a tons of bricks. If you ignore it the third time, don't complain when you have to clean up the enormous mess you've created.
25) Check out this thing called Access Consciousness. It's free to learn, it's empowering, it's self-applied, and it's going to change EVERYTHING, but don't wait five years. Do. It. Now. It's going to make everything awe-inspiringly easy and it's going to heal all of your emotional trauma, quicker than you ever imagined.
26) You're going to have more ideas than one person can bring into the world in a lifetime. Keep them all in one place. Then, get out of creator mode and evaluate which ones bring you closer to your vision, and which ones are just really good ideas. Take your time deciding, but make a clear decision: which one do I work on next, and which ones can wait?
27) Take the entire weekend off. Shut off your computer. Get outside the house. Go do something fun. Do not think of work, but just enjoy life.
28) Have way, way more fun. Lighten up, and stop taking things so seriously.
29) Never do anything that makes you shrink inside. If you're not expanding or you're hiding yourself, it's not right for you.
Now it's your turn. I'll bet you have some great advice for your five-years-ago self. I'd love to hear it! Feel free to comment below and let us know what you wish you knew way back when.
Beth A. Grant is a writer, speaker, marketing strategist and thought leader who helps you be yourself in business, in love, in life. She blogs at www.truthandconsciousness.com