The Shadow Work of Running a Business
I recently discovered Elizabeth Rowan, a "business priestess" (love that). She said something on Instagram that has stuck with me:
Entrepreneurship is shadow work.
Those of us in the spiritual space tend to talk about love and light. Good things are coming, and all that! While yes, I am 100% on board with positivity (after all, it's a key ingredient to manifesting, along with gratitude), she's right: entrepreneurship IS shadow work.
Wait, What's Shadow Work?
I've been working on my own spiritual development for over 10 years, so I have to remember that not everyone speaks the language. Shadow work involves diving into the dark corners of your soul. Tackling things you'd rather let lie buried and forgotten.
An example: for me, it's dealing with my control issues. They don't serve me. I don't want them. But it takes real effort to just go with the flow. This is shadow work.
Another example might be if you don't speak up for what you want because you were conditioned to be seen and not heard as a child. You want to be more assertive and speak up, but it takes work.
There's actually a lot of shadow work for entrepreneurs, both new and seasoned.
Shining a Light in the Dark
Starting a business takes guts. It's being okay with risk. Most people are not cut out to exchange the comfort of a steady paycheck for erratic and never guaranteed revenue. Money scarcity comes up a lot. It did for me for far longer than I'd like to admit.
What is money scarcity? It warrants another entire post, but suffice it to say that if you don't believe you can make a lot of money, it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy. For close to a decade of running my marketing business, I just didn't see how it could be possible to break six figures. So guess what? I didn't.
But once I said f*ck that and shifted my thinking about money to one of an abundance mindset, that changed. Every year I make more than the year before. That takes some pretty intense shadow work, but I highly recommend it.
What are other issues? Imposter syndrome is a big one. When we first start out, we may not have much experience. We constantly compare ourselves to other entrepreneuses with more experience and history, and we feel like frauds. It's normal. I've experienced my fair share of imposter syndrome. My solution? Fake it 'til you feel it. Sometimes I have to talk myself up and tell myself that I've got this. That anyone would be super excited to work with me. I don't always believe it...but it always ends up being true.
Let Go of What Doesn't Serve You
This is a phrase you hear a lot in spiritual circles. I also call it burning the dross. If you can remove those habits, those thinking patterns, that are interfering with your happiness, you make room for more good.
I work with Goddesses a lot, and Kali is my go-to girl for letting go of things. When I meditate, I see Her. She simply holds out Her hand for me to give whatever burden, whatever thing no longer serves me, to Her. It's incredibly freeing.
(By the way, I have a really cool free meditation with Kali you can download here.)
Entrepreneurship: Not for the Faint of Heart
If you're considering starting a business, congratulations. It's an amazing journey, and one I love supporting women on. Don't be surprised when these shadows appear, though. And don't be shy about working through them. The sooner you acknowledge what's hard or scary for you, the sooner you remove those blocks and can thrive as an entrepreneuse.