Guest post by Laura Beckingham
Three years ago, I left my corporate job to set up my freelance practice, as a Coach and OD consultant. I was lucky, working straight away, doing some things I love, with a variety of clients; I quickly learned that I know how to create value and meaning for others, driving income whilst doing work that I enjoy, on my terms.
But something else was calling.
I’d known of Danielle Marchant, founder of the ‘Pause Retreats’ for a while; our working lives had brought us to within reach of each other, but we’d never actually met. Then one day a few years ago, we did. Over tea, in Heathrow airport, we had our first proper conversation and Danielle asked me ‘How are you moving from income to business in your work?’ That simple question landed somewhere deep inside of me and it hasn’t left since.
Earlier this year, Danielle spoke to me of her plans to extend the invitation to run the Instant Pause to a group of coaches and asked if I’d like to be involved; my response was a very easy ‘yes’. At the time, I thought I was saying yes to the opportunity to facilitate an interesting and provoking event that people clearly benefit from. Now I know that I was saying yes to a new direction for my work, yes to the beginning of some beautiful partnerships, yes to truly kicking of the growth of my business and yes to exceptional amounts of personal growth.
This ‘yes’ was a significant pivot point, and now, I’m pausing to reflect on the lessons that yes has taught me, and sharing some of these with you:
1. The teacher always needs a teacher
Once we know everything, there’s nothing left to learn. We can learn from everyone, especially those who are leading the way; there is such beauty and reverence in being the novice.
2. True partnership feels free
If the foundations of interdependence and trust are strong, true partnership with others can mean freedom, autonomy and choice.
3. When women trust women, great things happens
The vast majority of women mean other women no harm. In fact we typically offer other women unwavering support and want to make them look good. Women need women in their lives and if we extend and accept trust, we can make magic.
4. Holding nerve reaps rewards
There are so many invitations to back out, run away, not show up, not press send and every one of these is actually an invitation to move forward. This isn’t about us blindly pushing through, but it is about us leaning in to resistance and developing an ability to sit with tension.
5. We don’t know who needs our work until we do our work
When we show up to do ‘our’ work, people will appear. Old friends and colleagues reconnect, strangers pick up the phone; they are waiting for us to do our thing. Once we engage, they’ll show us what’s needed and then we can do more.
6. Broadcasting isn’t the only way to have reach
In a world that’s getting bigger, narrowcasting has a place. People want to get closer, to themselves and to others, we all need things to help us engender intimacy. Volume must enable value, not disable it.
7. Being passive doesn’t grow a business
Developing a business is an active process; it can be slow, people won’t always get us and some people won’t like what we do, but we have to show up. Do our thing. Tell people about what we do. Ask them what they need. Make mistakes, try again.
8. If you take out, pay in
If we ask for support from others, we must offer it. We give to get, go first sometimes and always repay favours.
9. Pay it forward
Doing something for nothing shows others the way. If we trust that everything is connected, then the goodness will find it’s way to where it’s needed.
10. Personalise gratitude
When saying thank you, get personal and specific: ‘When you said that thing, I felt something and I now feel inspired to…’ has much more meaning than ‘your work inspires people’. We can all get better at telling people exactly how they impact us, so they can do more of the great stuff, then we all benefit.
So, I’d like to say thank you…
To my family who sit with the ambiguity of my choices and champion every step I take.
To the Instant Pause facilitation team, for extending trust, being huge fans and showing me what can be done.
And to Danielle, for inviting me to say yes, for showing me how to stay close whilst letting go and for giving me the gift of knowing what it means to pause.
Take care for now, Laura