It’s the 4th anniversary of Bravetart this month and I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’ve learned in the past 4 years. It’s such a precarious time in any business and I’ve been reflecting on just how brave I’ve had to be to get here. Of course, there was also a lot of excitement and celebration, but I think the overarching feeling I’ve had has been one of awe.
I’m not a stranger to success, I know how good it feels. I can find plenty of examples of things I’ve been successful at but somehow the achievement of 4 years of offering Bravetart Coaching is different, I’ve learned so much and so I thought I’d share with you my 4 bravest lessons:
Ask anyone in my family and they’ll confirm I have a history of being stubborn, independent, strong-willed, determined, committed and responsible. It was rare for me to ask for help and for a long time I had the view that if I wanted it done properly, I had to do it myself. So, when I first heard that networking was something I really “had” to do to promote my business, a wee bit of me died inside. Now I’m not going to lie, it was like kissing frogs – uncomfortable, a bit creepy, and tiresome – but eventually I found groups where I was with like-minded business owners who were facing the same challenges as me. I got so much out of those groups in terms of my confidence around branding and my message and it began to feel good sharing with others what I was doing. I remain a strong advocate of networking, and I think it’s really important that you find a group where you feel slightly out of your comfort zone, so you can begin your journey of growing into your brave pants!
After a year or so, I began to realise that whilst networking was great, I was still having to wear this façade of I’m super brave, I know exactly what I’m doing, I know my profit and loss from my balance sheet, and I’m all over my marketing strategy. Whilst I’m all for a positive mindset, not enough of it was real for me. There was so much I didn’t know yet. So, I went looking for more.
The connection I needed was a place I could show up and be vulnerable, be honest about my challenges, ask for help (gulp), and breathe. I got lucky here because I remembered connecting with a woman at a networking event who deeply impressed me and also, in a few carefully chosen words, helped me see that there was more out there. I joined what I can best describe as a business development membership group and suddenly I felt like I was a real business owner. I was learning new skills at a stellar rate and when it was hard, I was able to share and get support to see me through it. It was a combination of training, accountability, mentorship and coaching. It resonated so strongly with me that after a year of attending, I quickly snapped up the opportunity to run the group and now I get to be part of the support network helping other businesses thrive. And then, of course, I had to find an equally brilliant membership for my own development. I’m not exaggerating when I say this new group, was a gift, landing at exactly the time I needed it. Again, offering something different, something more aligned to where I want to get to, stretching me and getting me ready for my next level-up.
But that’s not all. At the foundation of all of this, there was a network of incredible human beings. My personal friends I can enjoy spending time with and switch off from my business, my coaching friends who understand the challenges we face in our profession, my coaches (all very different from each other and supporting me in different ways) and my mentors.
In short, Bravetart would not be where it is today were it not for the incredible network of people, I’ve connected with over the 4 years. If you’re one of them, then thank you, I’m incredibly grateful that you are sharing my journey with me.
I have to resist staying off my soapbox here as it’s becoming more and more apparent to me that the profession of coaching is in great need of professional protection.
When I began my journey to become a coach, I truly believed that this was something new and exciting that would help me fill the vacant hours of my day. So, you can imagine the slightly disappointing feeling of being told, very lovingly, that actually, you’ve been doing it all your life anyway. I think this is true for many intuitive coaches. They have a natural aptitude for it. They have a deep desire to help people but also to see their clients thrive independently and realise their potential. A true coach doesn’t want to work with a client forever, they absolutely want to not be needed one day, one of the greatest gifts is being able to watch a client break through their own barriers and fly all by themselves.
It’s hard though, sometimes, to reflect internally that coaching also fulfils a need in you to be needed. It’s my belief that some coaches foster dependency with their clients because of this need. I know this would have been me had it not been for the high standard of my training and my commitment to keep learning and developing as a coach. I’m continually developing my coaching skills, benefitting from powerful supervision, and I’ve mentioned already, the coaches and mentors who are teaching me how to hone my skills even more. The work is never done, it’s a good job I love learning so much!
You might also ask my family about my all-in attitude to doing things. They’ll tell you about how I give 200% to the things I take on. They’ll also tell you that I will drop anything else that doesn’t align with whatever has my attention. So, finding balance has been a really tough lesson to learn.
I’m desperately keen to go all-in with Bravetart, to offer online courses and programs and memberships and the pressure to do all of that is everywhere. I’m like a racehorse at the gate, frothing at the mouth and kicking up dust. If I let the gate open, I know that my family will feel the things I drop very acutely. If I charge off onto the track, I know I will miss important milestones. If I commit every ounce of my focus to the hurdles ahead, I will lose sight of the richness of my environment and the people I share it with will become no more than blurry spectators.
So, for the past 2 years, my intention for my business has been to work towards being more balanced. It’s really hard to keep that gate closed, every now and again I let myself go out on a practice run, but I believe that working towards having more balance (it’s not something you ever actually achieve, it’s more a place you aspire to get closer to) will mean I can sustain both my business, my family, and my own personal needs.
Well, it would be a bit odd if this didn’t feature in the last 4 years, right?!
I want to bust a myth right here. Bravery is not something you do. You can’t switch it on and off. And telling someone to be brave (in my humble opinion) is like telling them to breathe. I get the intention but on a logical level, if you stop breathing, bad things start to happen to you, your brain can’t function for one! The same is true with being brave. It’s something that simply happens when you are taking a risk, trying something new, trusting someone, believing in yourself. If you’re living a life of purpose, then you are being brave every single moment of every day, it’s just part of the journey.
Over the past 4 years, the name Bravetart has reminded me that it’s not picking when to be brave, it’s being brave all of the time, everywhere, for everyone but especially for yourself. In other words, being a complete tart about where your bravery shows up!
What’s become really clear to me is that I might take this for granted somewhat. I think for many years I always assumed, everyone did the being brave thing and that they knew they were being brave, that they understood its power and that they could call on it whenever they needed it. I’ve realised that this is not the case for many business owners. They find trying to turn on being brave exhausting, pretending to be brave when they are paralysed by fear, wearing brave armour when they feel wounded or weak inside. They try to create bravery, not realising, it’s been living inside them all along.
My Bravetart journey has been to find ways I can help purpose-driven people to acknowledge, embrace, and engage their inner bravery to achieve the amazing things they have envisioned for their future. I feel brave enough to tell you, I’m really good at that.
So that’s how I’m celebrating 4 years and a lifetime of being Bravetart with a mission to help purpose-driven business owners to become brave, bold, brilliant and beautiful and inevitably, change the world for the better too. Let’s be honest, the change is coming anyway, so we may as well be ready for it.