With the advent of a new decade, most people feel the need to do something monumental, to change things up and explore territories unknown- to break ground if you will. When I was planning this post on breaking ground the first person who came to mind was Laura. Originally from Kentucky, she came to sunny South Africa as a missionary and has called 4 countries home in under a decade. I think she is sufficiently experienced in breaking new ground, and I’ll let her share her perspectives on doing just that.
Perspectives: Breaking ground (written by Laura Dyer)
When I think about breaking ground as a business owner, I imagine that picture of the meticulous neighbour who tills up her gardens with precision and carefully plants well-planned seeds in perfect rows with purpose. Her work is art and science mingled, offering results both beautiful and significant. I imagine this is how all of her life and decisions and challenges and victories likely unfold – faithful groundwork, precision planning, purposeful progress, and always a fruitful harvest to validate her efforts in the end.
But when I think about my own freelancing career, it’s a bit less flowerbeds and tidy rows, and a little more earthquakes and tidal waves. Oh, there’s breaking ground, alright…it’s just in a more tectonically temperamental, imminent threat of hot lava, should-we-evacuate-now-or-what sort of way. What I mean is that the ground in front of me feels perpetually broken; my planning seems consistent only in its haphazardness; my progress appears with hurricane-esque predictability; and validation feels almost as far as the next galaxy.
As I have compared my tempestuous career reality to my sunshine-only view of that meticulous neighbour, the only solution I could come up with was that I needed more discipline, more dedication, more determination toward improving myself.
And so, for the past 10 years since I finished university, my never-ending list of goals as a business owner could be summed up fairly simply: “become more like the meticulous neighbour.” More, more, more. Nevermind what I want to do or dream of doing or feel called and compelled toward…I’ll have whatever she’s having.
But in desiring to become more like her…am I not also implying that I want to become less like myself?
And if that’s the case, is that really what I long for in my business journey (or in my life, for that matter)? Is that really even desirable in the long run: to lose myself — all I’ve worked for and overcome — in my silly new year’s obsession of becoming someone else’s best version of a blogger/copywriter/freelancer/business owner?
I want this new decade of my life and career to be different, and I want my 2020 goals to reflect that. So, I have one goal for my blogging/copywriting/freelancing/business owning dreams this year, and it is this:
I will stop taking myself so seriously.
Gilded Garden Gertrude can do what she darn well pleases, and more power to her if she’s actually honouring her true nature. (Spoiler alert: Her soul may be more of a tornado than I’ve ever dreamed of!)
But she and her perfect life and her perfect blog and her perfect info-products and mini-courses and IG stories and and and…none of that is my strive-or-die goal anymore.
Instead, I think it’s time for me to make room in my business for the brooding, quirky, verbose & overly-punctuative writer that I am inside, that I have always been, that I intend to always have with me. I think I need to let her do her thing for awhile; after all, it helps me accept her and value her more. She’s not very neat or pretty, but that doesn’t minimize her beauty or significance. She definitely has some rough edges & she’s gonna need some coaching and correcting along the way, but that’s part of the process for all of us. It’s how we refine the gift we have that only we can give to the world.
Be true to yourself in your business this new year. Plant in your tried-and-true rows, if you want, or scatter seeds into the gaping crevices when the aftershock finally dies down. Regardless, let your life be & bloom the way you were made to. You owe it to yourself and to everyone your gift is meant to serve.
| About the author |
Raised in the slow & quiet hills of Kentucky, Laura has a Master’s in English Education, an honorary doctorate in surviving career transitions, and a new life in Christ (complete with new mercies every morning). She’s made her home in 4 countries over the past 7 years with her patient husband, finding her way from K-12 teaching to non-profit marketing to freelancing. If you like candid, thoughtful writing with a practical twist, you can connect with Laura further at draftedlife.wordpress.com