I was recently interviewed over on the She Percolates podcast by the awesome Jen and Danielle (you can listen to the episode here) and one of the questions they asked me was about the best non-financial investment I’ve made in my business so far.
I loved this question - so often we think that it’s financial investments that make all of the difference, but I’m a big believer that it’s the parts of ourselves that we invest into our journey that can make the biggest difference along the way.
Ever since I’ve been thinking about non-financial investments and the ones I’m glad I’ve made into my creative career and business so far. I want to share them with you today in the hopes they can be a jumping off point for you to explore the best non-financial investments you can make in your journey too.
You know what they say - patience is a virtue. I also think often about this quote from Auguste Rodin - “patience is also a form of action”. Being patient, trusting the process, and being in this journey for the long haul has kept me focused and on track even when instant gratification or results weren’t coming my way. For me, my patience has been rooted in trust - trust in my ability to make things happen, trust in my ability to handle whatever issues and obstacles may come my way, and trust in the fact that creative business is a marathon not a sprint.
It takes a whole lot of courage to carve our your own creative career path - I’ve seen it in myself, my creative friends, and my coaching clients too. Being brave in this journey so far is something I’m so proud of - though I have to give a whole lot of thanks to Brene Brown and especially her book Daring Greatly; I often tell my clients that without reading that book I’m not sure whether I would have been able to push past fear when I was first getting started.
3. Hard work
I’m over glorifying the hustle or being “busy” as a business owner, but I know for sure that I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t have worked damn hard along the way - and I know I won’t be able to move forward without a whole lot of hard work too. Starting my own business pushed me to see what I was truly capable of, and challenged me to ask more of myself than I had done in the past. These days I’m all about working smarter, not harder, but I’m so glad that I invested a whole lot of hard work into my business so far as it’s proven to me that I’m capable of making things happen along the way.
Grit is defined as “courage and resolve; strength of character”. For me, grit has meant being able to push forward, even without any guarantees of outcomes or success, and holding steady in the face of any obstacles or road blocks that I’ve faced along the way. Grit is accepting the fact that there are so many things wildly out of my control, but that I know I’m capable of handling whatever comes my way. Grit has helped me to not let the fear of the unknown paralyse me, and it’s helped me to move forward every time something tough in this journey has threatened to stop me in my tracks.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that if we’re constantly go-go-go, we’ll miss out on all the key lessons our journey teaches us along the way. Taking the time to reflect - on how I’m feeling, on what’s working, and where my curiosity is directing me next - has helped me to stay intentional and focused along the way. Especially as a coach, being able to reflect on what I’m learning from each client and being able to dig deeper mentally into the work we do together has been essential in my work.
For my first year in business, I hardly invested any rest time and by the last few months of the year I was struggling in ways I didn’t prepare for or expect. These days, rest is now an essential for me and I value it as much as I do hard work and grit. Being brave enough to trust in what I’ve built so far to give me space to step back sometimes, and value my own wellbeing enough to prioritise it along the way has enabled me to be the best, most focused version of myself in my work and my life. I’m no longer afraid of rest - I no longer fear that putting my needs before my business will cause my work to fall apart - I now understand that they go hand in hand.
Nobody makes things happen alone. We may be the ones digging deep and doing the work, but it’s our support system, our community, and our creative connections who add more depth and meaning to this journey along the way. I’m so glad I’ve invested my time and energy into making meaningful connections along the way in this journey so far - from new creative friends, to clients who have since become close friends, and clients who I have learned from in ways I never expected.
In recent months I have really learned the truly value of making space as a creative - space for rest, space to explore, space to grow, space to create. Having space in my schedule each week just to exist and to use that time to create, or switch off, or spend time with the bigger picture of my work, or explore interests outside of my business has allowed me to thrive in ways that a jam-packed schedule never allowed me to.
What about you? What non-financial investments are you glad you’ve made in your creative journey so far?
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