What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the phrase “taking the leap”? For me, the first thing that comes to mind is someone jumping off of a cliff (and into a safety net of some sort). Well, taking the leap is what I did a year ago. I left my full-time corporate job and delved into private practice full-time. It’s one of the scariest, but most freeing, things I’ve ever done. And in this blog post, I’m going to share five lessons from my first year as a full-time entrepreneur.
1. In order to become who we were meant to be, we have to exercise a little faith. In other words, in order to live BIG, we have to be willing to take risks. After all, there’s risk involved in everything we do. There’s risk involved in going to a backyard BBQ or going to the grocery store during COVID-19, and some things, like having food in the house or meeting up with friends (while taking as many precautions as possible), are worth the risk. Likewise, realizing our dreams is worth the many risks that it takes to get there.
2. Nothing in life is guaranteed. There is no guarantee that you will be living in the same house that you are living in this time next year, and there is no guarantee that you will be at the same job this time next year. When I took the leap into full-time entrepreneurship, I had no idea that roughly 4 months later, there would be a global pandemic and that I would have to shift my practice to being completely online. At first I thought I would be exclusively providing telehealth services for about two weeks, then two weeks turned into two months, and two months turned into almost 8 months. But I’ve adapted (as have so many other therapists), and I am continuing to trust the process while focusing on what I can control.
3. Self-care is not a luxury. It’s a necessity. Imagine living through a pandemic, witnessing a helluva lot of racial injustice and racialized violence, being a Black woman who is also dealing with her own emotions about everything that is going on, and supporting clients who are dealing with the same issues. Yeah, that’s pretty much been my life for the past 8 months. And this is why I’ve taken mental health days and time off to fully embrace joy, intentionally surrounded myself with supportive people who uplift and inspire me, and engaged in activities like hiking, yoga, Zumba, taking bubble baths, reading, and yoni steaming that nourish my soul. If I did not take care of myself, I could not do this work. Point blank. Period.
4. Boundaries are necessary. Setting and maintaining firm, healthy boundaries is an act of self-love. What I’ve learned over the past year is that, in most cases, people will respect the boundaries that you set. And if they don’t respect them, they’re just not your people. I don’t see clients in the late evenings because I want to see my family at some point during the day and because my mind starts to get a little foggy after 7:00 at night when I’ve already seen 7 clients during the day and when my stomach is growling because it’s dinner time (Some days I barely have time to pee in between sessions, let alone grab a snack. I’m getting better about having more time in between sessions, though. Yay!). Setting boundaries is necessary in order for me to have a balanced life. I do not want my business to consume my life because there are so many other aspects of my life that I care about. In order for me to enjoy those other aspects of my life, I have to set limits.
5. Taking my full lunch break is not a suggestion. It’s an order. I carve out an hour for lunch Monday through Thursday (days when I see clients), and for the past few months, I’ve become more intentional about taking my full lunch break. After all, most things are not worth me sacrificing a part of my lunch break for. I refuse to go hungry during the day just to squeeze in an extra client (and if I did that, that client would not be getting the best version of me), make phone calls (That’s what I have an administrative assistant for.), or send some emails (I have time set aside for this.).
In addition to the lessons I mentioned above, my first year as a full-time entrepreneur has reinforced for me that I am/we are/you are worth the risk and that there are so many wonderful things that await us on the other side of our fear and doubt (Yes, I’m a therapist, but I’m also a human being who has fears and doubts sometimes.). What’s important is that we don’t stay stuck in the fear and doubt and that we move forward with courage.
Sending you lots of positive vibes as you conquer your fears and pursue the life of your wildest dreams,