Investing in my Joy
Joy has been a theme that's been coming up for me a lot lately; creating it and finding it, specifically. And I'm finally leaning into the fact that writing is a way for me to invest in my joy.
I felt that I couldn't write because it was frivolous and didn't easily pay the bills. I also felt that I had to keep my writing focused on my business and on my niche, and frankly, I have so much more than that to share. So here I am, starting to let those old stories go, and investing in my joy. Here is the story about how I got here, to this moment:
I love to write. I’m usually the one that EXCEEDS the word limit, rather than needing to put filler in. I’ve always enjoyed it, and it’s something that comes very naturally to me. I thank Sister St. Louis (and all my grade-school teachers, but especially Sister St. Louis) for teaching me how to diagram a sentence like a badass and to know when to appropriately use a colon and a semi-colon. I do break the rules quite often, but always to play a bigger game of creating connection, flow and just being real. Through the years, I’ve gotten compliments on my writing, which has on occasion led to requests for help and it’s always been a deep pleasure to do it.
Yet, I’ve never pursued it. It seemed frivolous to me, as a single parent trying to make ends meet. I didn’t have the time, as the kids and the boss and the laundry and the vacuum all seemed to be calling my name – always. Years went by. I went to my corporate job for twenty years and did all the things I was supposed to do and more. I thought I’d arrive at some corner office with a large paycheck and I’d finally be really, really happy. And then I could be done. Then I could be done being busy. I could be done being stressed. I could be done being tired. I could be done being responsible. In turn, I could then start having fun and living life. However, when I got there, I could then see that I would never be done. And I chose to leave it, because I decided that if I’m never going to be done with something, it better be something (or someone) I love.
I jumped, and I jumped with only a tiny little parachute of retirement savings (which come with big penalties at my age). I hired a coach to help me figure out what that thing that I would love doing was and ultimately decided on becoming a coach. I realized I had unofficially been coaching people for decades and I felt honored when people shared their deepest wishes, their deepest fears and their deepest secrets with me. I enrolled in a year-long coach training program to give me the tools and skills I needed to make sure I made an impact and simultaneously make sure I didn’t crush anyone’s soul in the process.
First, I was going to be a leadership and executive coach, because, well, I knew how to do that. And because everyone told me I’d be great at it. In other words, they suggested I utilize my career experience to start my coaching business. Made sense. I picked up what they were putting down. I created my business: Genesis Business Transformations (can I say, I still do love that name). However, after a year in business, I still didn’t have a single paying client. Honestly, my heart wasn’t in it, and I think everyone else could see that but me.
During an at-home date night of dinner and wine (lots of wine) with Austin, the light bulb went on. Crazy how alcohol can bring so much clarity, isn’t it? I finally realized it wasn’t my professional experience that could make an impact on this world, but rather my personal experience. The shortest version of my story is that I’ve been through just about it all when it comes to romantic relationships. I’ve learned a lot, and applied those learnings to create a really amazing relationship. And while I learned a lot about relationships, I learned even more about me, about loving myself and taking care of myself. I learned that when I leveled up my self-worth, I leveled up my relationships.
Wow, it felt SO good to finally figure it all out. I finally had the answer! My life made perfect sense now. All that I had been through in my personal life was really a gift that could be used to help others. Now I could marry my personal experience, my coach training, and love of supporting people to make an impact on this world. I would coach people on their romantic relationships, which also entailed coaching them on their relationship with him/herself. It would be a “two-fer-one”. Welcome to the world my new baby “For Love of You Coaching”: For the Love of You(rself) and For the Love of You (your partner).
Except that I still had to market and sell…myself. Oh, market and sell were already “hard”, but then add that operative word “myself” and it became the impossible. Let’s just say that while I absolutely believe in and love coaching, marketing and selling are still something I struggle with and while I love working with my clients, running a coaching business still feels hard to me.
During this time of building this business, I’ve also really dug deep into my faith and spirituality. I admit, while I believed in God, I didn’t understand much and I didn’t have a meaningful relationship with her (yes, relating to God as a “her” has been part of my journey, as well as Divine Love, Universe and Source Energy).
One part of my life I’ve really been struggling with is this idea that in order to have all the things that I want, I have to work really, really hard. It’s gonna cost me blood, sweat and tears. My old story was that I just had to work as hard as possible in hopes that I earn enough good grace for God to grant me a raise, a promotion and now in my business, clients.
I’d heard from enough people that it doesn’t have to be that way; that there is a different way, an easier way, and it sounded amazing. I really didn’t love my old story about how it had to go, and was ready to create a new one. So I started searching. I started reading, learning, meditating, and connecting with God in a way I’ve never done before.
Just a couple weeks ago, I had a realization during a meditation that probably has changed my life (I’ll keep you posted if it really has). As foundation, here is what I believe: I believe that God is in me and is living an experience through me and really wants to have an amazing experience here on this earth. I also believe that God ultimately is my supply of EVERYTHING (still practicing embodying that belief at my soul level; it’s currently working its way from my head down to my heart…guessing it’s somewhere around my throat chakra at the present moment). Here’s how my mind got blown: If God is in me, and God is the source of everything, everything I will ever want or need is already inside of me! Which means, if it’s already inside of me, I don’t have to go outside of me to earn it! I just get to RELEASE it! In other words, since God is in me, and God is all things worthy, then I'm worthy. I was really struggling with how to let go of the having to earn my worthiness. I really just wanted to buy into the possibility that I was worthy because I am.
Back to releasing. I get to release LOVE! I get to release: BELIEF IN OTHERS, WISDOM, INSPIRATION, CONVICTION, ENCOURGAGEMENT, PERSPECTIVE, INCLUSION, GENEROSITY, EXPERIENCE, CURIOSITY (as examples; the list is endless). In other words, I get to release that who I am at my core and with that release, will come for me all that I desire, because God is my supply of everything.
Let me just say, it's totally fine with me if you're not aligning with me here; this really isn't about my specific beliefs or yours, as it is about sharing my bigger experience. That said, please stay with me. . .I promise to tie all this together.
So all this time, all these years, writing has been tucked away in the back of my mind. I haven’t shredded it yet; it’s in a tiny folder way in the back. And then last week the idea of joy started showing up powerfully in almost all of my conversations. We talked about investing in our joy, not just financially, but also energetically and emotionally. We talked about how when we experience joy, life just seems easier and more fun and that we can CHOOSE to live joyfully; we don’t have to earn it or wait for it.
And then I attended a workshop at the end of the week. To conclude the workshop, there was a powerful visualization exercise. It went something like this for me:
Q: If you had all the abundance in your life that you desired, what would you do?
A: Reading, writing, speaking and connecting with people.
Q: What do you feel your core purpose is?
A: To empower others not to settle
Q: You only have 5 years to live. What will give my life meaning?
A: To give people hope. To empower them to live a life they desire.
Q: You only have one day of your life left. What is the legacy you have left?
A: That everyone can have access to a fulfilling life. That no one has to settle for less than what they want and that it doesn’t have to be hard to get it. I want everyone to know that THEY MATTER.
So there’s all that. And then yesterday a new friend of mine said to me over Voxer, totally out of the blue, after I shared some things from my heart, “Allison, you have a book in you.” And then this morning, in yet another conversation with God, was this “idea’ that I really could just write. I didn't have to wait for anything. I could just start. Right now. I could share my stories, my experiences, and all the lessons I’ve learned along the way. I could let go of trying to get it right, or having to do it a certain way. I could embrace the thing that brings me joy, rather than pushing it away because it would be “JUST TOO EASY” for me.
The sharing of the writing creates the opportunity to RELEASE inspiration, wisdom, perspective, connection, energy that moves people to make a change, encouragement that they, too, can live the life that they deep down desire and most importantly, I can release LOVE.
So here I am, writing. I have no idea If anyone will read this. It doesn’t matter. The doing of it has brought me joy. It felt easy. For the first time in a long time, I lost track of time while doing something.
I don’t know exactly where this will go. I don’t know how long writing will bring me joy. But I do know that I’m doing it, and it is bringing me joy in this moment.