And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
When I was younger and studied American business and culture this was my favourite poem by R.Frost – The Road Not Taken. I always wondered , if I ever had to chose the road less travelled? Will I have enough courage to do that? The roads that are not used frequently look scary, univiting and simply have nothing to offer to those who do not have courage to be curious and look beyond what is visible at first sight. I thought that June 2020 is a good timing for some reflection (half year) and my goals assessment, to look at the road I actually have taken.
Looking ahead and not being able to see what is around the corner is scary for many of us. Rightly so, our brain wants to keep us safe and comfortable and avoid unnecessary dangers at all costs. We start creating ‘what if ‘ scenarios rarely seeing anything positive. Our upbringing has a lot to do with that. I was brought up in a relatively safe house. My Mum stayed with me for three years before she returned to her job and I had to go to the Nursery.
However, after that it was pretty much ride into independence for me. Right from the very beginning in the primary school I was going on my own and returning home on my own with a key on my neck. I grew up in the block of flats and I guess it was a community responsibility to look after all the children. There were always at least one or two pair of eyes watching us from the windows while we were playing outside. Anyway, too long to write about everything so fast forward to my university and first job years, I found myself longing for a change and an opportunity to explore other cultures and countries. I loved learning English language (I also had to learn Russian) so that was my natural choice to go to a country were English is native. I badly wanted to go to the USA. I applied for summer camps etc but due to my illness I could not go. Very disappointing indeed.
Year 2019 – Time to take the road not taken
I thought of myself that I actually was always chosing the road not taken. Howver, that it is not entirely true. Some choices although they were big lifestyle changes, somehow felt safe anyway. I came to UK after finishing my MA studies. I gave up well paid job but again I came to my future husband who rented a flat and could support us while I was looking for a job.
Again fast forward almost 15 years which I spent in few places but mainy in the corprate, I truly stood at the front of the road not taken. I never was entrepreneur and never anyone from my family and my closer husband’s family was one. Actually enterprenurs never had good opinion in my country. I always associated enterpreneurship with hard work, no fun and little returns for the first few years. However, I wanted to try and finally made a decision to leave and start my own business.
My journey has started with a little book of great ideas. I believe I started it in 2016 and carried with me everywhere I went. It is full of thoughts, quotes, useful blogs, courses etc. It helped me a lot putting down my thoughts on the paper and not carring them around. I was inspired a lot but not enough to take any actions. Since than I have finished three courses and fourth is in progress to change my career – yeah it takes a lot – time money and stamina to do this – I will not lie.
Lesson number 1 – if you carry any ideas long enough , give them a try – I really should have started long time ago.
I had to have a good understanding and do some inner work of what I really wanted to do in my life. I finished different courses including Social Media Management before I arrived at coaching.
Anyway, 2nd half of 2019 I decided to leave corporate and started to work with my first client in September. After that more clients followed while I was studying and trying to figure out all admin stuff , marketing and sales. I felt overwhelmed. I thought it would be easy. I was organised, I could plan and diligent in implementing actions etc. But wait a minute, I never had to work for me ?? and of course you can be your worst boss ever!
I cried my eyes out , trying to understand how it all works . I was stressed as my savings was getting smaller and smaller and not enough was coming in to cover bills, and running the business. I cut all unnecessary spending including bills. But I was gaining momentum and I loved the creative side of my business combining cooking and coaching, I started running cookery workshops and Supper clubs which I loved. I also got in touch with an outside company which was looking for coaches to join and coach patients in NHS. My first training was in August 2019 . I started coaching for them in May 2020.
Lesson number 2 – at the beginning take other opportunities which may come your way so that you have cash coming in – they may not be exactly what you ultimately want but they can bring you a step closer to your dream and provide so much required financial resources without getting into debt.
2020 – And the COVID-19 struck
Nobody ,ever never would have predicted what happend in March 2020. The world as we know has come to a stop. Did I panic? Not really, as most of my profitable part of the business was online anyway. However fear, insecurities and poor money mindset all kicked in hard and laud. I could not have imagine myself selling or that people would invest in themselves during such times. And that was the hardest part. I already had some resilience but not enough . I generally felt safe but I needed to turn into my coaching tribe for support and love. It was great. Everyone was in the similar situation and struggled with their mindset. We received a lot of support and love.
Lesson number 3 – make sure you have your tribe you can turn to, who will hold space for you and hold you accountable
How I have survived the first weeks in lockdown? It was not easy. First of all, I have a wonderful family who believes in me and understands. They see me healthy and happy and in far more better shape than I used to be and we all love it. Yes we may not afford a lot of things but in COVID-19 times, does it matter? We had no holidays plans to cancel or any other tickets and booking arrangements to postpone and sort out. We focused on our home, growing veggies, walking and riding the bike. We have one SPA voucher which we hope to use later this year.
I have realised that living simpler life is pleasurable, less stressful and can be fun! Focusing on expriences and not possessions made me really happy and focused on my dream.
In my business I focused on serving my current and new clients, growing my audience, regular blogging, regular lives and supporting my group. I focused on essential oils as well and found it really fun, fullfilling and massively useful in times of stress and anxiety. I grew my team a bit and managed to do few webinars. I have done my first podcast and also started coaching for NHS (I collaborate with Swedish Start Up company – Liva Healthcare) which will bring me regular income. I also continued networking as much as I could but found it overwhelming with loads of zoom calls all day. Now my time is limited as I coach more but still try to do regular meetings at least 2 times a week. I also managed to partner with the clinic where I wanted to see clients face to face before COVID-19. They organised online webinars and are willing to promote Therapists and consultants working for them. I am going to organise workshops there and see clients face to face when they are fully open.Check them out here – Surrey and Hampshire Wellbeing Clinic.
Lesson number 4 – know your goals and targets. Understand money in and out, but give yourself compassion and do not put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Ask for help!
Below I share few activites which helped me a lot to stay focused and stay in my lane.
- Morning routine – although not always perfect, I managed to meditate, journal and reflect with gratefulness on everything which happend for me; I connected with my WHY again, listened to good podcasts and practiced what I preach;
- Stayed active – I tuned into my body and what it really wanted. Physical activity can be very good for mental health but it does not have to be long distance running. I found early morning walks incredibly nourishing for me and my soul. Knowing that I have done something for myself in the morning really brought me a lot of joy and I felt relaxed. I am now back to running.
- Mental resilience- I practiced a lot of resilience. I ditched the comparison . Some coaches got a lot of even high paying clients and I could not get any. Comparison is a road to hell. Never ever compare yourself to anyone and do not assume that you know about somebody’s life based on his/her pictures on social media. Easy written than done , I know.
- Celebrate every small step – this is tough as we see only the things we have not done . Small progress does not count for us but it is vital for our brain to register and for us to feel good. I celebrated everything no matter how small even the fact that I ate healthy and went for 10 min walk instead of 40 min.
- I kept my spending to minium and had some savings as well as other sources of income. I did my tax return very quickly and got some money back which helped me a lot.
- I kept my WHY visible and in my mind all the time. I kept my energy high although sometimes I just wanted to give up and hide. I know that I am on a right path and do not regret my decision. The climb is not over yet and I need to enjoy it.
These are key things and it is not over yet but I think that I am defenitly in far more better place than I expected in March. I am calm, happy, healthy and grateful. I know that I am exactly where I should be. In January I told myself that I want to help 2020 people this year. They do not have to be my paying clients only. I am very hopeful that I will reach my target.
I have a bucket list of things I want to achieve. This includes social media and usuall business stuff but above all I want to grow as an exceptional and transformational coach who inspires others to take action to better and healthier life for themselves and their families. I realise now that without inner work, myself as I coach do not show up fully present for my clients. I show up preoccupied with my life. I am currently reading the book by Marilena Minucci on Quantum Coaching – great perspective needed for new coaches.
I am not here to drag anyone into coaching. Even in NHS patients have choice to be or not to be on a program. It is not forced on them. You need to be ready to take it in and put the work in. Coaching opens up the doors for you, you thought were closed or were not even there.
It is up to you to get curious about the Road Not Taken.
I offer free discovery sessions. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Jump on Board now.