“There was an old man named Michael Finnegan. He had whiskers on his chin-ne-gan. The wind blew them off and blew them on again. Poor old Michael Finnegan. Begin Again.”
Approximately three years ago, a friend/student of meditation wrote a marketing plan for me in exchange for some coursework. I have just begun to really read and operate on this plan.
In March of last year, I had a baby. In June, I left my position as an SVP/Head of HR for a media agency, and decided to start my own business. Did I also mention that I’d only been married for a year at that time, and also have two step-children?
When I left my job and started to open my practice, I thought “It’s gonna be a piece of cake, Bren. (*snaps fingers*).” Extra points if you know where that quote originates. I laugh at all of this because when I was studying to become a meditation teacher, a man who reads Jyotish (Vedic astrology) told me, it’s going to be several years before you really teach. Your focus is going to be on family. And, I was like, “yeah, yeah, yeah.” But, I made an effort.
Looking back over the past four to five years, I realize how right he was at the time. And, how much I wanted to resist that and believe I could really do it all. Recently, a woman in one of my online mom groups, who had just had a baby, was asking people how they manage to do it all. And, I felt bad. I felt bad because I wanted to respond, we don’t and you’ll need to give up your dream that you can too. That is, unless you have a lot of help – I mean family nearby that want to and can help, a nanny available to you for long hours, etc. Otherwise, you’ll need to understand that in the near term, you’re gonna do it all at about 80%, if you’re lucky. The first year is about survival, in my opinion.
So, there’s that.
I also realized that I needed to shed my skin as an HR exec. I’d done that work for so long that much of my identity was wrapped up in it. It’s still a part of me, but I really believe that we need to let go of the old before we can embrace the new. Last fall, I even said to my mentor in starting my private practice, “You know, it’s been a slow start because if I get really honest with myself, I wanted it to be a slow start.”
Then, there is all that goes into starting a business and getting the word out. Mostly, the getting the word out part. Because, it’s not like Kevin Costner said, “If you build it, they will come.” No. You can build it. But then you’ll probably sit in it. Alone. Thus, finally opening and operating on that marketing plan. I can confidently say at this point, that I know much of what it takes to get the ball rolling on a therapy practice, and how to get the word out there, but I still have a lot to learn and so I will always keep a beginner’s mind.
And, finally, I realized that I missed two key components in what I was offering. I love and believe so strongly in the practice of meditation. I’ve had a consistent daily practice for ten years, and been a teacher for almost five. I’ve tried a lot of things over the years, and if you asked me what the biggest game changer in my life has been, it’s meditation. So why the heck wouldn’t I keep on teaching it? Right.
That other component that was missing was offering coaching. I do believe there is a difference between coaching and counseling and I’ve utilized both myself, and benefited from both. I also have an excellent background in coaching as an HR executive, a coaching certificate as well as certification in Hogan assessments. I wanted to be able to offer that expertise in a format other than psychotherapy.
So, here I am. I began again. I have bandwidth. I have plans. I’m ready.