This book was a year in the writing and three years in the making. Its humble beginnings were in the spiritual awakening that I had in June of 2004, though I did not know, at that time, that that event would be the catalyst for the beginning of this book. From then until now, this book and what you are about to read, has survived and been enriched by the passing of both my parents, the ending of several significant relationships, the selling of my family home, the settling of two estates, three years of change, two years of grief, the starting of two businesses, a career shift, one massive re-write . . . and a partridge in a pear tree.
In short, this book has survived and been made better by the alchemical transformation that has occurred within me. As a result of both inner and outward forces that have come to bear in and on my life, I have been changed. I hope you, too, will be changed when you read about my journey and countless others from Accidental Pren-her™ to entrepreneurial woman.
As you read this book, it is likely that you will laugh, cry, smile, nod, and resonate with the experiences of some of my clients, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances (whose names and other identifying markers have been changed to honor their privacy). You might even feel angry or frustrated with some of them. In most cases, though, your heart will go out to them. You will admire their courage and reach out to support them as they face their fears.
“Mi viaje es tu viaje” are the words I use to describe this book. “Mi viaje es tu viaje” means “My journey is your journey.” This is what you will come to know when you read this book. We are on this journey and in this journey together.
We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
That’s Great! So What Are You Up To Now?
By August of 2004, I was in uncharted waters. Here it was, the start of a new academic year, and the first time since kindergarten that I was not, in one way or another, involved with school. I was neither going to school, getting ready to teach at school, nor involved with students preparing to go back to school. It felt weird not to be doing the familiar things I was so used to doing at this time of year. It also felt very freeing.
For the first time in my life, I wasn’t feeling stressed, pressured, or anxious about the start of a school year. I wasn’t feeling that rush of excitement about going back to school, meeting new students, and greeting old ones, either. For the first time in many years, I hadn’t spent my summer choosing music, writing syllabi, and wondering how many tenors I would have in my choir. Instead, I had spent my time off in a more relaxed and peaceful mode, writing, reading, hanging out with friends, and spending time with my parents. It was a remarkable moment in time for me. It was magical and precious.
Who am I now? Good Question
While sitting at my kitchen table one morning, drinking raspberry tea, I heard the local school bus pull up outside, stopping just long enough for the neighborhood children to pile aboard. With fingers of both hands curled idly around the comforting warmth of my mug and the aroma of sweet raspberries tickling my nose, I paused and listened for the bus to continue on its way. There, in the space between the school bus loading and the next sip of tea, I wondered to myself, “Who am I?” More specifically, “Who am I now?”
Have you ever had that experience? The most profound question arises, seemingly out of nowhere, causing a major life review and leaving you in a suspended state. Contemporary spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle humorously calls that state “the dash between the birth and death dates of our lives.” Yogis reverently refer to this as the pause between the inhalation and exhalation of breath. I call it the place where all possibilities exist.
As the school bus pulled away with its familiar release of air brakes and roaring engine, I waited in anticipation of the answer to my question. I waited, and waited some more. Nothing. (You knew that was coming). So, I asked again, this time aloud, “Who am I?” Silence. More waiting. I took another tack. Instead of who am I, I asked, “Who was I?”
Relief washed over me. Now that was a question the voice inside my head could answer. I was no longer the Director of Choral Activities. Check. I was no longer an employee of the great Commonwealth of Virginia. Check, check. Okay, this is going well, I thought as I took another sip of tea, its heat warming my throat. I no longer work for a university. Check. I no longer have a boss. Yeah! I smiled at that one as I reached for a piece of freshly buttered toast. Keep going. No one was calling the shots for me and no one was expecting anything of me. Hmm. What did that mean? I paused in mid-chew.
It is our choices . . . that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.
— J.K. Rowling
The Hero’s Journey —A Heroine’s Approach
A bootstrap, in the traditional use of the word, is a loop attached to the back or sides of a boot to assist the wearer in pulling it on. The purpose of having bootstraps is to allow the wearer to be entirely self-sufficient, making the boot easier to get into. This works very well for boots. Not always so well when starting up your own business.
By the 19th century, the phrase "to pull oneself up by the bootstraps" had become an adage, an emblem of the blood-sweat-and-tears spirit that was sweeping across the land. Americans moved westward to stake their claim in vast acres of land and moved even further west during the California Gold Rush of 1849. There was an element of pride inherent in carving out a place for yourself in the New World. This same spirit propelled us into the 20th century. Today, however, with the wide use of global information and communications technology, the bootstrap spirit that thrust us into the 20th century has waned.
Like Avalon, that magical land of Arthurian legend that faded into the mists, so too is bootstrapping fading into myth. Bootstrapping is becoming passé. The term is losing its meaning in the lexicon of today’s LinkedIn or Facebook professional. There is no longer any need to stake a claim in the small business world all by yourself. There are plenty of people to help you out. Plenty of people who are eager to do so. We are here to help each other. We are here to pool resources, brainstorm ideas, and encourage each other on the road to success.
Today’s business professionals and entrepreneurs are not here to reinvent the wheel each and every time they do something new. We’re all here to communicate, share, expand, and move forward together toward better and greater things. Those who think otherwise may as well be stuck in a world of distrust populated with beady-eyed Snidely Whiplash characters. Those who hold close the secrets of their success, telling no one — or charging exorbitant sums of money in order to reveal those secrets — do not understand the world as it is unfolding today.
They do not understand that our society, culture, and world have changed. Today, holding on to secrets is futile. Forcing others to make the same mistakes we’ve made, again and again, is pointless. What lesson is to be learned by doing things the hard way — the old bootstrap way? Instead, I’m here to tell you that the journey to be walked, the adventure to be had, will occur with the help of your friends, guides, and trusted professionals.
Know that you will and must walk parts of this journey alone. Fortunately, however, we will walk the majority of it together. This is the Hero’s Journey. The journey that each one of us takes from Accidental Pren-her to entrepreneurial woman.
Keep walking, though there’s no place to get to. Don’t try to see through the distances. That’s not for human beings. Move within, but don’t move the way fear makes you move.
The Secret to Your Business Success
The Secret to Your Business Success
Each of the people and events you read about in this book has three things in common. You will recognize these three things the minute I say them. You will recognize them in the stories I told and the quotations I shared. Each time your heart was moved and passion stirred, you knew. Every time you found yourself engaged in someone else’s journey, you knew. Whenever you opened to a new concept, thought, or way of looking at things, you knew, on some level, what I’m about to share with you.
As I bring this book to a close, I’d like to remind you of and leave you with three things. They are the secret to your business success. They are the essence of building a business from the inside out. They are the journey. Your business success rests on these three ingredients:
- The importance of knowing who you are.
- The value of accepting yourself as you are.
- The significance of daring to be who you are.
It’s all about you, baby!
Knowing Who You Are
Your Inner Samurai will not let you forget who you are — a unique portion of God’s essence, as contemporary author and speaker Wayne Dyer says. Because of this, your Inner Samurai will never lead you astray, will never steer you wrong, and is with you through thick and thin. And don’t you forget it!
Your Inner Samurai has always been with you, will always be with you, and is your constant partner and trusted advisor. Even if you decide to listen to the chattering voice inside your head instead of your wise inner knower, your Inner Samurai is still there.
In the journey from Accidental Pren-her to entrepreneurial woman, many women are plagued by the question, “But what do I have to offer?” As my good friend, clinical psychologist Susan Olson, puts it so well in her foreword to this book, “I’ve seen women struggle with fears and doubts that have kept them from exploring their potentials and living their dreams.” This is because so many women look outside themselves for the answers to questions that are best answered from within.
It’s one thing to seek outside guidance and advice when writing your business plan, putting together your web site, or learning about the latest recording technology for that podcast you want to do. It’s quite another to seek outside advice on the important inner issue of knowing who you are and what you have to offer to the world.
Knowing who you are and what you have within are paramount to your business success. You have something unique to give the world that is yours and only yours to give. Knowing what that unique thing is (or set of things are) will be what permeates your entire business. From customer relations, to product development, from marketing strategy to how you run your business, this unique factor will be what infuses your entire business success.
PURCHASE NOW FROM