10 Things I've learned from 20 years in Business

I've been self-employed as an energy healer + a psychic reader for almost 20 years now. It's been my heart. My passion. My life force. My Truth. I can't imagine myself in any other business. It's perfectly suited for me, but I have gone through so many ups + downs that it would make a sailor seasick. Thankfully, I don't get seasick anymore. I just relax and trust my rhythm. It took me a few years to understand my own rhythm, and I'm here to say that no matter who you are, you've got rhythm. We've all got our own ebb and flow of life energy that plays out in our business when we are self-employed, ESPECIALLY when you are in a heart-guided career.

I remember telling people 20 years ago that holistic health was going to be the wave of the future. Everyone thought I was crazy, but if you look around now, you'll see that the wave has begun. People are waking up to the body-mind-spirit thing all over the planet. They are excavating their gifts and pursuing their dreams of becoming massage therapists and reiki practitioners and intuitive readers and acupuncturists and so much more. People are following their hearts and making miracles happen. And that is a BEAUTIFUL thing.

To reach into your heart and find the gifts that you have to share with the world is an incredible experience. Never will you feel so richly blessed as you feel when you discover the beauty within you. You've got a treasure box of talent inside and when you share it, you'll want to give yourself to it with all of your might. There are a few things that I've learned along the way that I really wish someone would have told me when I was getting started. So, I'm going to share them with all of you aspiring Dream Makers out there, and maybe save some of you from getting seasick yourself.

#1 - do what you love
Find what makes your heart sing and give yourself to it. Play around with things you like until you find what you really love and then create a business from it. Whatever you are passionate about can become a business, you just have to let yourself be creative. I've heard of all of kinds of businesses. I once read for a woman who was opening a gift basket business online. It sounded like a painfully challenging business to me (like there would be at least 1000 other gift basket businesses online, so why bother), but she was so excited about it that her customers got excited too and she was wildly successful. If your heart leaps when you think about it, there's someone else out there that will be interested in it too. So, give yourself freedom to do what makes you the happiest.

#2 - love what you do
There are going to be things about your business that you don't like doing. Paperwork. Billing. Marketing. Promotions. Blogging. Newsletters. Things that make you go "ugh." They may not be your favorite, but they are necessary to running a successful business. Learn to love them. They are giving you the freedom to live your dream. If you can't/won't/don't find a way to love them, then find a partner, employee, contractor or devoted loved one to handle it for you. And then love that person for doing it, because without them your business is going to struggle. 

#3 - work like you don't need the money
People know when they are being "sold" something and they know when they are getting an authentic, heartfelt service delivered. So, give your heart to your service. Give your best to every single customer that you see. In return, they will keep coming back and they will tell their friends about you. Have you ever had a haircut by someone who just loves cutting hair? or a waitress that loves her job? It's so much more satisfying than someone who is just going through the motions. Let your light shine in all that you do. Trust me when I tell you that the world WILL notice.

#4 - but you do need the money
The biggest misconception is that once you are in alignment with your true gifts that you will automatically become in alignment with financial gifts. SO FALSE. You will receive what you believe you are worthy of. You will not get what you THINK you are worth in your head, but what you BELIEVE you are worth in your heart and soul. Belief systems run deep. There will be a great healing and reprogramming process happening when you venture into your new business. The sooner you give yourself to it, the faster you will start getting paid. 

If you have a lot of fear around losing your regular 9-5 paycheck, I'd recommend having a backup income plan. If your fear gets so big that it starts to interfere with your ability to lovingly share your work with the world, it will also prevent you from lovingly collecting your payments. You could experience a really awful snowball/avalanche of unstable income = fear = more unstable income = more fear and on and on. You will be facing so many other fears, the fear of being hungry and homeless is one to try to keep off of your list.

#5 - love like you'll never get hurt
When you are sharing your gifts from your heart, you have to give the best of what you've got to give without the worry of how it will be received. If you spend time filling your heart + mind with worry of what the future will bring, it will keep you from expressing the true gifts in the present. Know that you were born with unique gifts and talents that need to be shared with the world. That is why you've come into this world, to share the best of who you are. You can't do that if you are constantly second guessing yourself and letting other people dictate your dream. It's your dream. Own it. Direct it as you see fit. 

#6 - but you will get hurt
There's bound to be someone who doesn't like what you do. Or feels the need to tell you how you to do things "better." People will offer their opinions about your work, especially when you are questioning your ability to do it. There's something to learn from the feedback of others, but beware of allowing anyone's advice to get  in your head and garble the voice in your heart. There will be days when you feel insecure. Days when you are unsure of yourself and someone will step in to tell you exactly how they THINK you should do things. Take this information as the 2 cents that it is, but listen to your heart above all else. It is YOUR heart that created this pathway and your heart knows it better than anyone else. 

#7 - dance like nobody's watching
Do your work without allowing the judgement or criticism of others to affect you. I once taught a class where two women whispered to each other nonstop throughout the entire 90min workshop. They were making jokes about me and the content I was presenting. Although it made me want to cry, it didn't seem to affect the rest of the class. I realized that I had a decision to make. I could either confront them and risk having awkward emotional tension throughout the rest of the class, or I could continue presenting to other people in the room that actually cared about what I had to say. I chose the latter and the ones who were listening said that it was the best workshop they'd ever seen and they thanked me over + over again. It doesn't matter who's watching, or what they think, you dance your dance. Work your show. Do what you came to do. 

#8 - but they WILL be watching
Haters gonna hate. Ya gotta love 'em for it. As you shine your Light, it brings up emotions for others. That is their healing process. It has nothing to do with you. A friend of mine once told me that she met someone who was telling her about me. This person said, "I don't know her, but I saw Deborah at a fair. She looked really depressed for a spiritual leader. That's not the kind of vibe that a leader should be putting out there." Well, it is totally true that I was falling apart during that event. I had just had my heart broken by someone that I was very much in love with. It was all I could do not to spend my day crying in the bathroom. 

On the flip side, it's completely ridiculous that anyone would think that just because I am in a spiritual business that I will never experience human emotions. Their statement reflects more on their judgement of what they think a spiritual leader should be, than on anything that had to do with me or my work. I had a full load of business that day and shared my gifts with plenty of people, no matter what my "haters" thought of me. And you will need to do the same. People will be watching you all the time. Just get used to it. Some will adore you. Some will abhor you. So what. You're here to shine your gifts, so focus on your shine. And don't let anyone or anything dull that. 

#9 - it's gotta come from the heart if you want it to work
Once you've dug deep into your heart and soul, once you've found what makes you tic, it's like Nike said, "Just Do It." Do it and do it and keep doing it. NO MATTER WHAT. Some people volunteer when they are just getting started. Some deeply discount their prices to begin building a client base. Some people partner up with a more experienced business owner and assist them (so they can learn and earn at the same time). Whatever it takes, just get going! Your dreams won't just build themselves (at least not for most of us). It takes practical application as well. 

CAUTION: The heart takes sudden detours. When we listen to our heart, sometimes we find that our directions are different than they were last week. That's ok. Dreams don't have to be exactly the way we originally envisioned them. You can let your heart take a turn down a new path, as long as you're sure it's your heart that is guiding you (and not your fear). If you listen to your inner voice and you're not sure if it's your heart or your fear talking, trying taking some nice deep breaths right into the center of your heart. Imagine yourself breathing all the way into the core, and exhaling from the core. Do this as often as you can, and your voice will become more clear. Feel free to call on your Angels + Spirit Guides. They want nothing more than for you to fulfill your dreams. Blending heaven and earth is what they are all about. So, ask them for help.

#10 - and if it comes from your heart, it just might work!
Dreams are born every day. Some live. Some die. Some thrive. Building a heart-centered business is probably one of the most emotionally + spiritually gratifying experiences you can ever have. It CAN be just as financially gratifying, or it can NOT (see #4). The keywords are: MIGHT WORK. Just because you are following a dream does not guarantee that you will be financially successful.  When you follow your heart, you are guaranteed a journey rich with personal growth + spiritual awakening. If you blend that up with some business savvy, you can truly live the life of your dreams. Keeping in mind that building dreams takes work. If you're committed to making it happen, it will. If you give up along the way, it won't. It's really that simple.

Dedication to your dream is the foundation of success. Once you follow your heart, just keep following it. Listen every day for all the ways that you can align your life with your vision and realign your vision with your life. Remember that where purpose, passion, patience + persistence intersect, that's where you will find prosperity. Most of all, remember that you can do this. No one can stop you. Not even yourself.

Wishing you all Infinite Success!

Deborah Lighthart