From the time I was very young, I’ve always believed that I could do anything I wanted in life. I’m very grateful to my parents for instilling this belief in me. And up until I was 16 years old, it had never occurred to me that not everyone believed the same thing.
At that time, I’d decided to add to my sewing skills and joined a course to learn how to create my own sewing patterns in in an eight week course with a dress maker. All the participants – except for me – were in their 40s and 50s so during our breaks, I wouldn’t say much and listened to the women talk about their lives. I was shocked to hear them talk about all the things they had not achieved and all the unfulfilled dreams.
They had a lot of reasons why they hadn’t done they things they’d dreamed of. It was because they got married, because they had children, because, because, because. As a possibly a little naive 16 year old, I was disturbed, shocked, frustrated and angry.
I wasn’t angry at the women. I was angry at society.
I was not brought up as a feminist, but this incident definitely made me into one. It had me asking many questions.
Why can men realize their dreams? Why does it seem harder for women? Are these excuses or actual reasons? Or is it because society accepts the excuses from women?
Is it harder for women to realize their dreams?
For the first time, I realized that society puts bigger burdens on women than men. It’s expected that women should take care of the children and the home.
On the flip side, there are many women- single women, mothers, divorced mothers – who do follow their dreams. So what’s going on with the women who don’t believe that they can do it? Is it because they’re using excuses?
This has been something I’ve unconsciously wondered for most of my life, but I’ve been thinking more consciously about it since I started my business five years ago. While I didn’t specifically start my business with this in mind, it is in fact, my why.
I’m here to help women realize their dreams. It’s time to stop using excuses.
Imagine your parents told you they couldn’t follow their dreams because of you. That would cut my heart into half. So if you’re doing that right now, be aware and mind your language. Saying that you’re not following your dreams because of your children is not fair. It’s not fair to them. It’s not fair to society.
Hearing those women’s excuses in my sewing class as a 16 year old had a huge impact on me. I decided not to have children. Of course, those women were not the cause of that decision, but those conversations did have a big influence on me. I am now a happy stepmother of two wonderful stepsons and have no regrets. I am on a mission to help you stop using excuses.
It’s All About Priorities
It’s never about time, money, or skills, and it’s also not about whether you live alone or have children or are married. It’s all about priorities.
If you believe in your dream and want to follow your dream, you need to make it a priority. You need to take your dream and yourself seriously.
Imagine a child whose mother or father follows their dream, and lives their dream to the fullest. Wow. How beautiful is that?
Sure, it’s likely that along the way you have to make some compromises. Maybe your child needs to be a little bit longer in daycare. Maybe you need a nanny or a babysitter, but you are a role model for your child. Your child believes that anything is possible because you did it despite the challenges you had.
Challenges can be overcome
As a step mother, I don’t have the full responsibility for my two stepsons but I have some health challenges. I have asthma, allergies and repetitive strain injury. I barely see anything on my right eye because of a cataract that needs to be operated in the future.
If I use these challenges as excuses, I have given myself permission not to follow my dream. And I refuse to believe that I shouldn’t or can’t follow my dream. And neither should you. We all have a passion or many passions that can be turned into profit. It’s your job to do just that.
It is your most important job – to figure out your passion and live that passion. Make that passion your job. Make that passion your business.
So if you have some challenges and you’re using these challenges as excuses, I want you to examine them right now.
There’s just no time
I read a fascinating interview over 20 years ago. It was with an Icelandic CEO of one of the Sony’s companies, who had written a best seller, a fiction novel that had nothing to do with his profession. And I thought to myself, “wow, how did he do that?”
As you can imagine, a CEO of a big company doesn’t have a nine to five job but more like a seven to seven job. So he had woken up earlier in the morning and written for an hour before he went to work. This made me think that anything is possible. Like writing a book for instance, something I really want to do myself, but I have not made it a priority. If you decide to do it and you really make it a priority in your life, you can do it.
When I was a CEO in Iceland working full time, I completed an executive MBA in London at the same time. It helped that I was single but I did these two things at the same time. Not only did I get an amazing degree at the London Business School, I also grew the company I was running and made it more successful.
It’s all about priorities. For the two years I was doing my degree, I met my friends less and spent a little less time with my family but that’s what we commit to when we make something a priority.
You need to make time
If you want to write a book, you need to take the time for it. You’re not going to be writing that book for the rest of your life. It’s the same when you start a business, the hard part is the beginning. It’s the first two years and afterwards it becomes easier.
But in those first two years, you’ve got to make your dream a priority. Otherwise it won’t happen. You can’t spend only an hour or two a day on creating a business and hope that you will make six or seven figures. Anyone who promises you that is lying. That’s not how it works.
There’s not enough money
I didn’t have money when I started my business. I was unemployed and was receiving unemployment benefits. I was supposed to use the time to start my business but I got stuck in overthinking mode and I couldn’t really move forward. I underestimated my own needs for being in a community and getting help. I was alone hoping that things would work out and I’d figure it out on my own. Then the unemployment money ran out.
Do what you need to do
So I got a loan from my parents to finance the start of my business. My husband had a good income so we weren’t going to land on the street but still money was tight.
Money is a limiting factor for most entrepreneurs and still we find a way because we have make it a priority to follow our dreams.
I’m not an expert
None of my clients has ever asked me if I’m a certified coach.
I was a successful CEO for 10 years, starting businesses, turning businesses around, and merging businesses. I have worked as a business consultant and Dale Carnegie trainer. I’ve written business plans and I have an MBA. So I have a track record and education in business, but when you call yourself a business coach, some people might think, “Well, are you really a coach?”
I’m not a certified ICF coach. I don’t need to be because I’ve built a successful seven figure business and helped my clients build their multiple six-figure businesses. And no one in the last five years has ever asked me if I was a certified coach.
Those people who have actually worked with me and had success building their businesses with my advice, they didn’t care. They came to me because they know I can help them.
It’s you they want to work with
People will want to work with you because of your personality, your skill set, your experience, your success stories. They generally don’t care what kind of degrees or background you have. If you’ve been holding back wondering whether you need a certificate or a degree to follow your dream, you probably don’t.
There are so many things in life that we can help people with where we don’t need a degree or a certificate. Actually, my favourite photographer in Iceland never learned photography. He is self taught and he is one of the best photographers I know.
The only way you’re going to find out if someone is a good coach, good photographer, good designer, is to see their work, read testimonials and see their client success stories. You can get there one client at a time. I started by offering free sessions and quickly started charging.
You can do it
It’s not about time, money, or skills. It’s about you. It’s about what you make a priority.
Do you really want to turn your passion into profits? Do you really want to build your dream business? Then you can. Just get started.
Please, please stop using excuses. Excuses are just a way for you to kill your dream. When you stop making excuses and making your dream a priority then you’ll finally make it come true.