Monday, March 14, 2011


Imagination is your preview of life's coming attractions.--Albert Einstein

I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of creating something out of nothing.

I just spoke at and participated in RISE global week (grassroots, city-wide, peer-led entrepreneur conference) in Austin and was in heaven. I had the same feeling in 2000 when I attended my first International Coaches Federation professional conference with 3,000 coaches from around the world---energized, excited and a sense of coming home. I was with my peeps.

Entrepreneurs are an interesting bunch. Doug Ulman, CEO of LiveStrong said Friday night at the RISE Fast Pitch, “Entrepreneurs see a need, they solve a problem and are driven to serve.” And, I would add, they say “yes” when many say no.

Being an entrepreneur is not everyone’s cup of tea. But, those who take the plunge usually agree: they feel they didn’t have a choice. They ultimately did “that which they MUST do.”

I distinctly remember fighting my inner compass which kept clearly pointing to the path of self-employment back in 1999. I think if I would have foregone this route, I would have combusted or gone crazy. I had to follow my heart and birth what was begging to come forth—regardless of how bumpy the road ahead appeared to be.

My first business was formally launched in 2000 (I was in labor for 2 years before she arrived) and my second in 2007 (which was never meant to be a business; those are usually the best kind) and I also launched a publishing arm (Balanced Living Press) that same year.

It’s mind boggling when you think about creating something out of thin air. Yes, most of us have done our due diligence, established a need, researched the marketplace and synthesized years of related experience before we launch. But starting a business is always a big risk, and ultimately we’re still testing our “recipe,” hoping our hunch, idea, nudge or feeling wasn’t just something we took action on after a late night and too many glasses of wine!

When I asked the 25 women in my RISE session last Thursday morning to share why they started their businesses, I heard: I wanted to more fully express my potential … share my creativity … make a difference in kids lives … communicate my ideas … be in charge of my time … experience more purpose-driven work and … I was tired of giving all my ideas and time away to a company that was getting rich off of me!. Not one person said it was just to make money.

These women, myself included, are what Mark Henricks, author of Not Just a Living: The Complete Guide to Creating a Business That Gives You a Life calls lifestyle entrepreneurs. People who are turning to entrepreneurship to support the life they have always dreamed of.

Looking back now on the last twelve years I see how the seeds I planted have blossomed, grown and are beginning to stand on their own in the garden. They’ve got roots.

If someone would have told me in the nineties (as I slogged through various challenging, often bureaucratic but always intellectually stimulating marketing communications/PR positions) that ten years later, I’d have two businesses, be my own boss, have the option to take Fridays off, work with whomever I wanted, published two books and be working on my third, and be collaborating daily with an amazing team of like-minded women, I would have had a very hard time conceiving that this life was possible.

I just picked up Daphne Rose Kingma’s book The Ten Things to Do When Your Life Falls Apart (New World Library) as research for my new book project on everyday spirituality. It’s a great resource (it just won a prestigious spiritual book award) and I remember Daphne sharing in an interview that the messages in the book were “given to her.”

I so resonate with this. I think this is what we experience as entrepreneurs, as well.

On the outside-in, it may look like authors, artists, musicians and innovators are creating something out of nothing … out of stardust. But, in reality, we’re just making ourselves available and receptive to receive what’s ready to be birthed …what is ours to breathe in and exhale, to share with others.

We just happened to have said “yes”--after we could no longer bear the unrelenting tapping on our shoulder--to giving the idea a voice, a stage, a chance.

A Personal Invitation: Are you self-employed and feel overwhelmed, pulled in too many directions or in extreme need of a day completely devoted to gaining clarity/focus around your business direction? Every quarter I take a one-day retreat to help me stay on track and focused on what matters most. I'm now inviting my friends to join me. Learn more about my 3/25 Small Business Visioning/Planning Retreat.

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The Journey,
a blog about coach/author/entrepreneur Renee Trudeau’s personal journey and living life from the inside out, comes out weekly.

Image: Stardust--a large number of distant stars appearing to the observer as a cloud of dust.

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