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#83: The Best Business Experiences Are Also Spiritual Journeys

Key Takeaways

  • Have you ever considered your business to be a spiritual journey?
  • How these spiritual journeys help us find ourselves — and our businesses
  • Why self-awareness is a key factor in success
  • There are many ways we can be rich — and poor
  • Growth comes from risk

Running a business is having a series of conversations with yourself. Who you are, what you're doing, what it means to be in business. I love these mini-spiritual journeys. #business #podcasts #journey 

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All those victories, and times you second-guess yourself? Those are the business experiences that provide you with opportunities to get to know yourself on a deeper level. These mini-spiritual journeys make you a better person, leader, and business owner. 

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Jen McFarland Jen McFarland Consulting Third paddle

About Host Jen McFarland

Jen is a consultant, speaker, author, and host of the successful women in business podcast, Women Conquer Business Podcast. She helps her clients with gratitude-based leadership practices, strategic project planning, and digital marketing. Here are some free business resources to get you started.

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Transcript: The Best Business Experiences Are Also Spiritual Journeys

Show Intro

[music] My name is Jen McFarland. I help business owners like you lead, plan, and execute their projects for maximum impact. Women-led businesses receive less funding yet our businesses are more successful. As consumers, we hold the purse strings. It's time for us to take on the business world. Welcome to Women Conquer Business. [music]

Opening Segment

Hey, guys. It's me, Jen McFarland. It feels like it's been forever since I have recorded a podcast episode by myself. In fact, I'm sitting here, it's just a few before this episode will be released. It is Halloween day and I'm here at the Riveter and there are people dressed in all kinds of costumes.

In fact, we're even thinking we might do footy pajama day every, I don't know, Friday, once a month, or something like that. So we're having a good time here. 

There's a large bucket of candy outside the office that I'm recording in so if you hear some background noise, it's probably somebody grabbing a Milky Way. I hope that you had a fantastic Halloween day. It's not necessarily my favorite holiday but it is a lot of fun.

Business and Spiritual Journeys Have Been on My Mind

I've been thinking about this podcast episode for a long time.

I feel like perhaps I should have written down some notes or had prepared maybe a little bit more. But in some ways, it's just-- I don't know, you're just hearing it as I process through some of it. A lot of times I'll think about what I would like to say in a podcast and maybe I'll jot down some notes. This one is a little bit more challenging, a little bit more different.

Running a Business is Personal

I have slowly come to this realization that, and maybe a lot of you already know it, that starting a business isn't necessarily what I had imagined it would be.

And what I mean by that is, you think that you're starting a business. You're, I don't know, getting your accounting software, maybe getting MailChimp, and all these programs, listening to what all these experts say that you need to do. Maybe taking a few business classes and stuff.

But what running a business has really done for me more than anything is, it's kind of like when I was in Peace Corps, you're out here in the wilderness and you've got minimal help to help you get through everything.

You can reach out to friends and you can pay business coaches who are specialists in one area or another.

But a lot of times, especially if you're a solopreneur, you're just out there learning all on your own.

The biggest lessons are about myself

And I think the biggest lesson, now that I'm about three and a half, four years in, is that I have learned so much about myself.

And the same thing happened when I was in Peace Corps where I feel like I am really excelling in some areas. And then there are other areas where it's like, "Wow, I've just never done this before."

And it doesn't mean I'm not great at it.

But it does mean that there are some things that are a little bit more challenging.

And part of that learning about myself, it's become, I don't know, somewhat of a spiritual journey for me.

I feel like I have these different conversations with myself than I did even a year ago about what I'm thinking about, what it means to be in business, what I am looking for, what I am trying to do, how I am evolving as a person right alongside this business that has been, again, evolving and changing on a constant basis.

I mean, even if the services are the same, maybe how you deliver it is a little bit different or the relationships that you build or the people that you seek out to build relationships with, those are constantly evolving.

The one constant is change; the thing we need most is self-awareness

But one of the most important things I think we can do is practice a little bit of self-awareness around who we are, what it is that we are doing, and how it is that we are changing and growing.

And I think that I am realizing now that I am sleeping way more sometimes than I did when I had my corporate job.

I mean, sometimes you can't sleep because you're working on something and you may work around the clock, but there are other times when you're like, "Whoa, hey. This is a little overwhelming. I've never done this before. I'm going to go take a nap for a minute."

I mean, has anybody ever done that? I know that I have and I know that I did the same thing when I was living in Kazakhstan.

The brain is always processing

And I think that really when you think about the fact that we only use 3% of our brain or something like that, sometimes when we encounter something new as business owners, our brain just can't process it all.

And it's like, kind of shuts it down for a minute.

And it's like they say that many of us, in fact, the vast majority of us, are unable to multitask. Right?

We can't multitask because our brain is like a switchboard and it wants to turn off and turn on. And so when we spend all of our time looking at our phone and then looking at the news and then going back to the task, our brain just starts to swirl.

Right?

And when it gets overwhelmed sometimes it needs rest

Well, I think the same thing is happening sometimes when I get a little bit overwhelmed. And at the same time, I think it's also that I am rapidly growing and changing as a human being right alongside this business.

And it is fun and exciting and sometimes I have to slow down to kind of take it all in. I've really gotten in touch a little bit more with this side that is looking to be inspired and to inspire others.

And who is wanting to help and heal some of the patterns and wounds that have been just repeating itself and manifesting itself whether in the business realm or within my own life.

When you are working on something or I'm working on something and I notice the same pattern over and over again about it either works really well and I want to know why, or it is't working so well and I want to know why.

And more often than not, it is kind of that spiritual side.

It's like I'm on this spiritual journey with myself where I'm heading toward whatever it is that I'm defining as success.

My spiritual journey with success

And one of the things that I've mentioned on previous episodes is that, in my view, success can be defined many ways. 

It does not always have to be defined solely on the basis of money.

I was talking to somebody today, in fact, about a conversation that she was having with her daughter around money. And the woman's daughter said, "I can't have that? Are we poor?"

And the answer is, "No. We just don't have money for that right now." "Oh, so that means we're poor."

And what I said to this person is, "It might be an opportunity for learning to explain that poverty means many things and it's not just about money."

Success isn't just about money

You can be devoid of so much of the richness of life and have all the money in the world.

You can be a really awful person that nobody honestly really wants to be around and have a lot of money. And money can buy you a lot of things.

But it can't really buy you success. It might buy you people who want to be near you because they want some of your money or maybe some of the power that comes from money. But those things aren't just what defines success.

At least not for me.

You can be wealthy and have a lot of money. And you can be wealthy and not have as much money and have a wealth of riches of people around you who are supporting you and helping you be a better human being and helping you be a better business person.

And that is part of what success is all about.

And I think that that is part of my own spiritual journey is evaluating so much of my life.

Because I can tell you when I left my corporate job, it was about how much money am I making, how is this all working out for me, and how can I make more money.

And then how can I leave this job that I have and make more money than I made at this previous job or soon-to-be previous job as I was leaving it?

It's not all about the Benjamins

And I realized that when I left and we were trying to figure out do we have enough money to kind of keep going and looking at everything, that I was literally spending my entire salary on junk to make myself happy enough to make it through to the next paycheck.

And in a lot ways, that money, that salary was wasted because it was really just being spent to help me make it through the next couple of weeks.

And I was working sometimes 80, 90 hours a week and I wasn't happy.

And come to find out that all the money was, basically, going to sustain my life in a job that was no longer a good fit.

I would say that that's not a successful person. I would say that that's not even a rich person.

I would say that at that point, I was pretty poor in many ways in my life. And, in fact, the place where I was the richest was with my family. And, in fact, that was what carried me through to the success of starting a business and then having that business and then still doing it today.

Part of my spiritual journey is redefining success

And that has been part of my spiritual journey as understanding how success works and having the skills around things like self-awareness to realize what my own blind spots are, what areas of me are most beneficial, and what parts are maybe not. I would say that if you have a person who is literally spending their entire paycheck to make it through for another couple of weeks, like I was a few years ago, that might not be the person who should be in charge of your money.

And I've said that before. If you listen to early episodes of the podcast, I mean, I completely own that I am not a money manager. You don't want me to do your accounting, which is really amazing and good that I don't offer accounting services anyway.

Right? But what I'm trying to say is that I have grown to develop a better sense of awareness around what it is that I'm super good at and then where my blind spots are. And those blind spots are the areas that I know I need help.

So the question I have for you is have you taken the time to really think about this journey you're on? 

Maybe on another level, maybe on another plane, in as many different ways that you can so that you can start to look at things a little bit differently, so that you can begin to understand that your journey is not merely about how much money you're making.

Or it's not just about how many clients you have or it may not be about how developed all of these systems are that all the so-called gurus are telling you that you need to have.

Self-awareness will get you so far in life. It's kind of part of that whole emotional intelligence quotient. Right?

The more you know about yourself, the better leader that you are. 

The more you know about yourself, the better leader you are. 

The more that you understand what is going on within you, I think the more you can relate to others. And I'll say that it's a very imperfect agreement that we have with ourselves. i think that we can never absolutely, truly know ourselves.

But I can tell you that when I have my dark nights of the soul-- which if you're in business and you've never had one, you got to make more mistakes because if you haven't had that dark night of the soul where you're asking yourself, "What am I doing? And why did I decide that I needed to do this? And who told me that this was a good idea?"

Growth comes from risk

If you haven't had those moments, God bless you. And also, take more risks.

Set up some goals and take some risks. And then if it doesn't work out, you can have your first dark night of the soul too.

I know, it doesn't sound sexy. It's actually kind of fun when you come out on the other side. And if you're not seeing the success that you want to see, well, you haven't taken enough risk because there's risk and there's reward.

And one of the things that I work with people on is about preparing for those assumptions that go sideways.

So there's even some ways to kind of buffer that out.

Growth is part of your spiritual journey

But my point is you can have those dark nights of the soul, those low moments, and those are your opportunities to course-correct, to change, to look at what it was within you that you could have done better, have gratitude for all of the people around you that helped you even if it didn't work out.

And then pick yourself up and move on.

That's part of the spiritual journey that we're all on here as business owners. Part of that spiritual journey is growth. Playing it safe and not taking risks so that you're always happy and maybe making not as much money as you'd like but it's not so bad. Right?

Kind of that meh, kind of bland place that can happen sometimes.

You're less likely to experience growth if you continue to live in that area. If you continue to live in that place.

Those bad days help with growth

Believe me, I've had some really great days and I've had some okay, we kind of crashed and burned there a little bit kind of days too. I'm grateful for both because they teach me a lot about myself.

They teach me a lot about how I navigate the world. And then that makes me a better service to others. And that's part of my spiritual journey is learning as much as I can about myself and learning as much as I can from all of you, my clients, everybody so that, again, I can be a better service to others, so I can help others better, so that I can also be a better person.

Because to me, again, success is about the richness, the spoils of all things, including money, by the way. I mean, none of us are doing this for free. Right? At least I hope not unless you're a non-profit. And even if you're a non-profit, you need operating capital.

You need money.

So the whole point is we're not in it for free but we can also still have this multi-dimensional approach to success which will help us increase our gratitude. And as we make mistakes, we need to heighten our self-awareness because that's where the true growth is.

I don't know if all this makes sense. I think it does. It makes sense in my mind.

Stay in touch

Please, let me know what you think. 

There's a spot at womenconquerbusiness.com where you can record your comments and send them to me. If you have a question about self-awareness, about leadership, about what a spiritual journey for an entrepreneur could be about, go to womenconquerbusiness.com and, yeah, send me a question.

We'll probably play it on the air. 

Thanks again for listening. [music]

Episode Outro

Hey, ladies, I know you're working so hard to grow your business. A business that aligns with your vision and your values. A business that supports your lifestyle. And I know it's been a bumpy ride sometimes.

I see it all the time. Women overspending on shiny objects and magic pills because they're tired of not seeing results. Business decisions based on short-term gains without a critical eye toward the future. Most heartbreaking of all, women who walk away because it's just too damn hard.

The good news is you're not alone. You have support all around you. If you're ready to take joyful action on your biggest business goals, if you need strategy, accountability, and a path to get you exactly where you want to go, let me know because I'm here to support you as a consultant and strategist.

You can fill out a quick application to work together at jenmcfarland.com/ready. I've opened up just a few spots over the next couple of months for clients who are ready to make a move. It just takes a few minutes at jenmcfarland.com/ready. [music]

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