This past week was packed full of tasks requiring intellectual and emotional energy. From Monday through Wednesday, I assisted coworkers at my job on an urgent initiative. Then in my off hours, I coached two clients and prepared to attend a retreat nearby. I support entrepreneurs as they clarify their vision, strategy, and tactics. And I do so from a just few steps ahead. My business is not mature enough for me to leap into full-time entrepreneurship. I hoped the retreat would realign my values and that I could return to my coaching work with renewed vigor.
The past two years have been a period of accelerated growth in my personal and professional life. I have scoured my inner world, seeking my unique abilities, and made valuable discoveries. As a result, I can use more of my complete self in my work. I have wisdom that benefits those a few steps behind me, but my confidence in coaching others is sometimes tentative. Overcoming fifty years of self-doubt, fear of rejection, and a general sense of unworthiness is not quick or easy. I once thought leadership was for other people. Now, despite these doubts, I am leading.
Others Will Question Your Credentials
My inner battle set me up for some uncomfortable moments during the retreat. I was unprepared when my friend Vincent asked, “So why should people trust you to coach them?” I responded emotionally. Not rationally.
You also will confront questions about your qualifications as you step out in new ways. Will you be defensive? I hope not. But well-meaning questions can dig up buried feelings of unworthiness, and what spills from your soul may be surprising.
You Will Be Tempted to Give Up
I was exhausted, my defenses were down, and my anger flared when I answered Vincent. I felt misunderstood. But the retreat was a safe place. Vincent and my other friends were gracious, and we worked through the conflict together. In retrospect, I am grateful for this moment. Because for my career, it was pivotal. My feelings were strong enough that I could have quit believing in my calling to be a coach. I could have surrendered my vision. But I chose not to give to self-doubt and to stand up for who I am becoming—to persevere.
“Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.”
― Newt Gingrich
I am not yet a rock-star entrepreneur, but I have a background that allows me to see where others can push past their obstacles and start believing in themselves. My career began in the family carpentry business. I was a poor carpenter, but it taught me the value of creativity and hard work. Then, collecting garbage for a year taught me that unsexy work can be enjoyable and financially rewarding, especially with a good team. I followed my interests by pursuing music single-mindedly for a few years and looking for ways to build a business around it. Through that process, I learned the importance of fans. The lack of them meant invisibility and negative cash flow.
When my early efforts at building an enterprise did not get off the ground, I managed a retail store, completed a degree in design, and launched a freelance agency that fed my family for seven years. After a crushing loss due to the 2009 recession, I left my urge toward entrepreneurship behind.
Stay in Touch with Why You Started
For the next ten years, I worked in the corporate world as a software engineer. My tenure includes a Fortune 500 company, small businesses, and startups. This experience sharpened my critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Every choice I made in my career was a logical progression. The roles used my strengths and I grew professionally. I should have been happy. All the standard career advice said I would be. But in the end, my work left me feeling empty.
The word unfulfilled puts it mildly.
I was far from wealthy, but I was well-compensated for my work. I felt foolish for my ingratitude toward the obvious blessings God had given me over the previous twenty years. I needed relief, but I didn’t see a way out.
What happened next may show you the way in a similar situation. My mental health, energy, and vision began to rebound by connecting with others and discovering how I could help them.
There Are Others Like You
Perhaps you feel like I did a few years ago. If you do, you are not alone. There is hope. Life may have locked you in a work situation that depletes you. Perhaps no one around you understands why your privileged life feels so empty. If so, seek out others who can understand your pain. Connection is the first step toward a more purposeful life. Finding friends who help you identify your purpose will allow you to start moving forward. When you begin to make a meaningful mark in life, you will bring new energy and joy into your work.
Intentional living in any area of your life will leak into all other domains. If you remain in your job, what once depleted you may take on a new life, and the heaviness may lift.
Do you, like me, feel drawn toward entrepreneurship? If so, start learning more about it. I recommend enrolling in the Total Life Freedom School created by my friend Vincent. There is no better place to begin.
If you feel lost in life, please grab a copy of Intentional Living by John Maxwell. Devour it, and let me know how it changes your thinking.
“Every Monday is like a mini New Year, giving you the chance to start fresh with a clean slate. That‘s why the weekly emails are a blessing. You can choose to complain and hate Mondays, or you can be among the select few who embrace a new, fresh start. Today with Purpose provides a pep talk, wise principles, and a vision that can help you see that life and work are meaningful. I encourage everyone to read it and start their week off right with a vision and principles that don‘t conform to the world, but instead seek to serve others and better yourself!”
A Writer and Coach Finds Simple, Actionable Advice
“I truly enjoy receiving Harvey‘s email messages. They are easy-to-read, but packed with helpful and encouraging information. I created a separate email folder to store them just so I can refer back to them more easily. His topics are very timely and seem to address issues I am currently experiencing, like self-doubt and problems completing what I start, or they address topics that can help me personally and professionally, such as ways to provide more impact at work. I like to keep Harvey‘s messages because they provide simple, actionable steps to implement, but can lead to a significant return. Referring to the messages weeks later provides good accountability to ensure I‘m following the advice.”
“Spending a few minutes reading a message from Harvey has become something that truly has been meaningful, thoughtful, and encouraging.”
— A Local Business and Ministry Leader.
A Coach and Author Sees a Message of Hope
“The value I find from Harvey‘s messages is an acknowledgment that many people feel dissatisfied, even with seemingly successful lives. His writing is such a reflection of him. Not a ‘get happy quick’ message but a message of empathy, compassion, and hope. He walks in his readers‘ shoes towards more purpose and impact. It is not quick and easy. But very possible.”
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