Three months ago a dear friend (who also runs her own solo business) and I were sitting at her dining room table, sharing frustrations that our businesses weren’t growing as fast as we wanted. In conversation, we realized that while we both faced the same challenge, we were responding in almost diametrically opposed ways. After venting about how much I was working and not seeing expected results, I paused to ask what she was doing to grow her business. Her response? “I put intentions out into the Universe, asking for the types of clients I want and the number of clients I need.”
“Wait….what? I mean, I get the power of intention…but what else do you do besides that?” I asked. “Nothing” was her reply. “No marketing, no email newsletter, no Yelp profile?” This didn’t compute with my worker brain.
In that moment I remember saying to myself “well of course she’s having a hard time…she isn’t doing anything!” That she thought she could just sit back and ask the Universe for clients without doing anything else left me feeling pretty incredulous. I mean, shit, maybe I wasn’t seeing the type of growth I wanted but at least I was working!
As if reading my mind, she said “well, what you’re doing isn’t really working for you either, is it?” She had a point. From the outside, it looked like I was putting in a lot of effort but, it didn’t really matter – our businesses were in the same place. Obviously, neither approach was getting us our desired result.
What she shared next fundamentally changed my approach over the following months:
“If what you’re doing now isn’t working, why don’t you try something else? Instead of always ‘doing’ and trying to force things to happen, what if you actually did less and focused instead on ‘being’?
Being present with your clients, the people around you, and only focusing on that which excites you?“
Can I actually let go?
Truthfully, I was super skeptical — she had just shared how she only sends intentions into the Universe and nothing else. I shared that skepticism and she quickly clarified that what she was suggesting, and what she was coming to realize, was that too much of either approach wasn’t good. So for me, it’s wouldn’t be about never doing or taking action, but rather allowing the pendulum to move away from solely “doing” and swing a bit closer toward “being”.
After I left her house, I remember laying in bed that night replaying our conversation. Did I really believe that putting good vibes out into the world could be an effective strategy? Was I ready to ask the sky to make it rain clients? Could I allow myself to not be such a tight-ass who tried to accomplish results through sheer force of will? I couldn’t shake what she had said: “what you’re doing isn’t really working for you either, is it?” I finally got to a point where I thought to myself “what do I have to lose”, and as a fan of meditation and mindfulness, silently committed to put intentions into the universe the next morning, asking for what I wanted more of in my life and work.
To make a long story short, damn near every morning since, I’ve started the day by sending my intentions into the Universe. I ask for: patience to accept where I am is right where I need to be; help to stay present throughout the day; awareness to prioritize people over projects; and, of course, I ask the Universe to send people my way who need my help, and who I can serve.
The Universe Responds
You know what’s really weird? In this time, I’ve doubled the number of clients I usually sign. I’ve spent less time working and doing, and my business has been more successful. People who need financial help have found my name, whether through word of mouth, the internet, or a stroke of luck, and ultimately decided we’ve been the right fit for each other. It’s kind of blown my mind.
Why do I think this is happening? I believe that people (and the Universe) react to what we put out into the world. They pick up what we’re putting down. So while I was working really hard, focusing on tasks and projects, and putting out “my work is more important than connection, balance and patience”, the Universe said “you know, I don’t think you’re ready for more people if that’s where your head’s at.” Once I stepped back and said “alright, I’m ready to also ‘just be’ – be present, be caring, be mindful” she said “sounds good, a bunch of cool-ass people are coming your way.” And yes — that’s how I like to envision the Universe talking.
Now, this doesn’t mean that I am doing zero work, ignoring projects, and not thinking toward the future. That would be the pendulum swinging too far in the other direction. Being without doing isn’t good either, because doing is also important. But the things that I say yes to, I now say yes to because they feel good, excite me, make me feel light instead of heavy. I’m back to writing this newsletter because I want to, not because I feel obligated to. Of course, some days I still feel behind, get caught up with simply checking tasks off a list, and do things because I feel like I have to. Compared to what it used to be though, it’s so much better. And not only is my business doing better, but I’m a more present and happy human as well.
I have a couple things in the works I’m excited to share with you over the coming months. In the meantime, my favorite thing about writing this newsletter is hearing from you, so reply and share what’s going on in your life, what you’re kicking ass at or struggling with, or what you thought of this latest newsletter. These interactions, and the sense of community it brings, means a lot to me and is something I want to continue to develop.
Lastly, if you are in a place with your finances where you want to move the pendulum from thinking toward doing, doing toward thinking, or better yet a balance of both: consider applying to work with me as your financial coach. Together we will create a plan to build financial awareness, intentionality with your money and ultimately a plan for you to do more of what you love in the world.
I completely believe in putting in effort but also asking for what you want. If you do not ask, how do you expect to receive. I am very big on meditation and putting positive vibes in the universe to bring fulfillment in all areas of one’s life. I already sent you an individual comment but I had to comment on this because this is where i am in my time of life:)
Thanks Garrett! I also struggle with working like crazy with the illusion that I’m ‘in control’ of my business progress, when really sometimes I just need to sit back and trust that since I’m ready for new clients, they will come. I just read You are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero, and must admit I had my own reaction to her emphasis on sending-intentions-to-the-universe. However, I also loved the book, laughed out loud (alone) many times, and appreciated that she emphasized patience, generosity, trust, and mindfulness just as much – all of which you mentioned. I’m working on work-life balance AND trust-work balance these days:)