Therapy is most often associated with something we seek in our toughest times. But my return to therapy happened when I was feeling incredibly energized. My online teaching job had reached an all-time high; my travel writing was now income producing, and I was looking into affiliate and network marketing to monetize my blog’s Instagram. I was generally feeling on top of the world, working out the occasional anxiety through spiritual practices and exercise. I felt the happiest I have ever been! Because of my previous positive experience with therapy, I was confident that even if nothing was really wrong in my life, this was going to be an important investment during my first year as an online entrepreneur.
I returned to my friend and psychologist Diana Beltran, who specializes in grief counseling and emotional management. I first met Diana while working at a pre-school in Mexico City last year, and when I truly needed help with my flight phobia, she delivered the best therapy sessions to empower me. According to Diana, taking care of our mind is a fundamental component in a person’s well-being. She says, “It is not an exaggeration to affirm that how we experience our lives depends on what’s in our minds. Going to therapy does not always mean there is a deficiency in our days. We do not need to have a ‘problem’ to start therapy.” Therapy can be a “compass” that allows us to “make clear decisions, and get to know ourselves better,” she says. We can go to therapy because we want to “give the best version of ourselves,” which is exactly what I want to do for my business.
Learning how to create multiple online income sources has been 50% personal development work and 50% logistics: marketing strategies, paperwork, financial investments, product sale, coaching calls, taxes, and social media management. While my heart was leaping with joy with this venture, my mind was busy worrying about my friends’ opinions. I was no longer looking to return to a regular teaching job. I was also confident that the network marketing company I chose to partner with was an excellent fit for me, as its products are in alignment with my passion for eco-friendly self-care and nutrition. Still, I was terrified my successful friends (most of them already working dream jobs) would frown upon these decisions.
In therapy, I discovered the root of this negative self-talk. With that understanding of myself, I was able to have open conversations with the people I care for most, and get past my paralyzing thoughts. A couple of days later, my network marketing business was officially and successfully launched.
When launching a business, it is easy to obsess with work. According to Diana, a common entrepreneurial pitfall is “[losing] the person you were before you started a business.” So the first step was setting work boundaries. I selected specific times to be on my phone for work, and times to be on my phone for fun. Since I now work on social media, it is so easy to spend hours scrolling down my feed. But with specific time boundaries, being on my phone has a clear purpose which can either be recreational or work-related. The important thing is that I know the difference. Creating a relaxing nighttime routine has also allowed me to train my mind to unplug from business before bed, spending more quality time with my boyfriend, and resulting in a peaceful sleep.
Once I had set clear boundaries, it was time to get a good grasp of my mission statement, not only as a business but as an individual. Diana enlightened my perspective with this example: “There is a water bottle on the table. I can grab it and hit you with it. Or I can grab it to drink water from it. The tools we have are never really an issue…It is how we use them that makes a difference. You can choose how you use your business.” This simple image allowed me to understand why I do what I do: online teaching, writing, network and affiliate marketing. All these businesses have an end-goal bigger than something like just making more money. “See why you are going where you are going,” Diana says. “The goal cannot be to make more money. Think further into what the money your business brings is really for.” With this bird’s view of my intentions and motivations, it was easier to make decisions based on a bigger why.
During one of our sessions, she set some Play-Do on the table and asked me to mold an object that represents my personal life, something that represents my work life, and something that represents my relationships. As I finished my three little figurines, she had me write down immediate goals for each aspect. On a piece of paper divided in 3 sections, I wrote down goals for my personal life, my career, and my relationships. I have a 6-month deadline for these goals, and each time I accomplish one, I can color part of a mandala that sits in her office just for me. What I like most is that I can choose how much of the mandala I color in, depending on how significant I consider the goal accomplished. This method got me focused on the present and the immediate future, leaving behind negativity from my past that might have been affecting the way I was handling my business.
I am excited to continue exploring ways to optimize my life, and to becoming my ideal CEO. The truth is that we are all CEO’s of our lives, and the personal decisions we make will also impact our businesses. Even if I reach the level of success I am aiming for, setbacks are bound to happen on a professional and personal level. What would life be like without a few plot twists to keep us on our toes? In order to better handle and manage any future waves of anxiety, financial challenges, or growth struggles, going to therapy now rather than later is important to “have a better relationship with the self and others.” The money you invest in therapy now will pay off how you manage your business today and tomorrow. Remember the water bottle example? It is not the business itself, but how you use it that matters. And wouldn’t you want to make sure you are in the best emotional state when you are making important business decisions later? I’d say, ABSOLUTELY.
Also by Vanessa: Vegan Pabellon Criollo (Venezuelan Shredded “Meat” Dish)
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