I have always been a big believer in educating myself and personal development. Whether it’s reading a book, going to a workshop, or hiring a coach, I have been willing to commit my time and money to my own growth.
For many things, reading a book has been enough. For instance, Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” helped me become the liberated creative that I am, always confident in my ability to engage in creative projects. Tony Robbins’ “Money: Master the Game” gave me a template for building wealth the slow-and-steady way, through saving money and investing in low-cost index funds. Dr. Fung’s “The Complete Guide to Fasting book on Fasting” helped me start Intermittent Fasting, which I used to lose and keep off 30 pounds. Hal Higdon’s “Marathon” helped me train for my first marathon, which I ran solo.
In other areas, especially when it comes to career success, I have turned to workshops and even hired numerous business mentors. They were well meaning and in some cases really helped me.* Overall, however, I was a square peg trying to fit myself into a round whole. I burnt myself out trying to follow other people’s advice. My approach to getting mentoring had these fundamental flaws:
- I thought I needed help from someone else who “knew better than I did.”
- I thought the process of being successful had to be big and scary and hard.
- I overestimated what I needed to be happy, assuming I required “huge success.”
I learned the hard way to correct my misguided notions. The biggest lesson I have taken from these experiences is to trust my own guidance. Others do not know better than I what I need. Secondly, the process did not have to be big and scary. While I strived for the big scary things I thought I needed, I found financial success in more manageable actions like teaching piano, and doing local music gigs. These mellower, “low-hanging fruit” were a better match. After getting married, I realized I was quite content settling down to a relatively simple life of teaching and creativity, with plenty of room for self-reflection. I realized I didn’t need the big dreams I assumed would make me happy.
By learning to trust myself and go for what feels good for me I am happier. Now I give myself space to discover my alignment in all areas of life.
*The greatest help I got financially-speaking from a business coach was help in creating my piano teaching business. Incidentally, I never sought out that specific help, it just so happened that this person taught people how to establish music teaching businesses. I benefitted from it.