Is it because I am turning 40 next year? Or that I am preparing to be a mother to a teenage daughter! Either reason I think writing to my younger self is going to be a useful exercise for me.
So here goes…
It’s weird looking at this picture of my 22 year old self. At this point, I’d been in business for a year. Just purchased a house and was just about to meet my husband to be. I’d also bought my first horse, that I was responsible for (away from my parents). It felt quite rosy. But I had no idea how much I had to learn!
I would say to her:
You were right to trust your instincts to make horses a business, it won’t be easy and you will make mistakes along the way. Just don’t give up.
You will make it your living and it will enable you to reach the goals you really want. Even if you come close to loosing your house due to the unpredictable cash flow of freelancing.
You will work out the difference between those goals which are material. And those which are life-affirming. It will turn out that some of your material goals are not your real goals after all. Because you discover you are not prepared to sacrifice the things you hold dearer.
Its ok not to want a high flying job in London, like your friends. You will never be able to be passionate about it. Don’t compare, grow your equestrian business. Go out and get more clients. Create a business that will work around a life you enjoy in the countryside, with no commute.
Don’t ever think your business has failed when you take a part-time role in a PR firm. Working with other PR professional’s will add value to your own equestrian clients. They will benefit from extra reach into new sectors, and you will widen your own knowledge. Especially as this thing called social media is emerging onto the scene.
Be brave when you come across a job at British Equestrian Federation. You were not looking for it, just researching sponsorship opportunities for a client. But the chance to work on a project linked to the 2012 Olympics is just the next challenge you need.
When you get the job don’t let anyone intimidate you. Your life experience and professional skills are perfect for this role.
After 6 years here you will grow new angles to add your toolkit. You will be in a position to support equestrian businesses on a whole new level.
Our journeys shapes who we become don’t they?
How has your life experiences shaped your business? It all starts from taking a risk not to follow the norm. Would it have been easier to follow my peers into a corporate job?
If you were to write your journey down, would you do anything different? What would you want your younger self or own child to learn from you?
Here are the 7 tips I would tell my teenage self:
1) Trust your instincts
If we tune in, we actually always know what is right for us. We just need to silence our minds. When you notice your head is in a spin take a walk or a ride and find a space to meditate. The answer will come.
Make sure you take action on this divine intervention quickly. Share your revelation with the person in question or act on your decision to do something. The longer you wait your mind will talk your way out of it.
2) Move on from mistakes
We all make mistakes! One of my very early ones was a spelling mistake in some copy (already printed) that was sent to HRH Prince Philip. The palace picked up on my mistake.
I’ve never made a spelling mistake in printed copy again! I had to pay for the reprint and lost all profit on that job. But it did not stop me, I carried on and rectified the project and put it right. This is all you can do when you make a mistake. It all comes down to how you handle mistakes. This says more about your character and ethics than those you display when you are winning.
3) Don’t worry about what others say or do
When people put you down, or ignore you it is more of a reflection on how they feel about themselves. There is only one person with the unique view point on life that you have right now. Find your unique voice and express it. This is the only way to stand out and be successful.
It may cause people to act negatively towards you. But if they were asked why they did it. And if they were honest with themselves. They would admit it triggered an insecurity in themselves. Copying what others do, or doing something for the sake of pleasing others will never lead to success.
4) Keep life simple
Don’t get caught up with politics or gossip, they are an epic waste of brain space. Stick to a routine that works for you, it sounds boring but if you have one it can free up so much thinking/worrying space. You can use journaling as a way of removing thoughts from your head too. Just put your worries down on paper by asking yourself questions about how you feel.
But physical clutter is suffocating, stop buying stuff and hoarding stuff. Only have what you need and use or think is beautiful. This saves money but also time in looking after all your belongings. You need physical space around you to grow, just like a plant that’s is pot bound cannot grow.
5) Things happen for a reason
The best things in my life have come out of misfortune! They have changed the course of my life, allowed me to be places and meet people I would have never met otherwise. One example of this is a client who ended my contract. They were becoming a pain in the rear – a lot of hard work for very little financial return. I was going to have to address this.
So when they ended, I was quite surprised due to the value I had put into the project. Miffed as I was, the next week I was able to go to another event instead of working for that client. At this event, I landed the biggest opportunity in my business to date.
6) Lifelong learning
School is important as it gives you a framework. But the real learning starts from the moment you leave formal education. Always be open to learning new things, and listen to what other people say and think. It does not matter I you don’t agree with them – you can learn a lot from different perspectives.
Take time to reflect how you can join up your knowledge. This is where the power is in positioning your business. What skills have you got that can help others on their journey? What value can you transfer to them from your experiences? How can you present this to others to teach them in a way that does not overwhelm them?
7) Get help
Surround yourself with positive supporters who can help you become the person you want to be. But don’t be scared to pay for help (or let’s position it better by saying investing in help). This applies to all areas of your life. From seeking counselling after a bereavement. To instructing an advisor to reduce your business rate.
After I lost a family member it did not realise I was in a deep depression. I spent a long time not even realising the feelings I had were connected to the death. Until it was pointed out to me by a counsellor.
Trying to handle big issues on your own is overwhelming. Once you start working with a professional, you will kick yourself for not starting sooner.
I hope I’ve shared a few ideas to help you or even perhaps encouraged you to write a letter to yourself. Even if it’s not in a public forum, getting your journey and all its twists and turns out of your head is cathartic.