I have been hiding.
You may have noticed a pattern with me this year.
I am either on or I am off. I am either pushing or I am hiding.
I only recently discovered the term hiding in a context that touched my core like nothing has in a very long time.
From that moment, something has shifted from deep within.
Let’s rewind to the middle of June, only six weeks ago.
My business was blooming, I felt in complete alignment with the direction I was heading and I was creating content that I was so proud of. I was working hard, but not to the point of overwhelm. I felt in flow.
But, there was still a little niggle that something was missing.
Then my three kids all got sick with a nasty virus all in the same week. They had a tickly cough that would present itself as we all tried to go to sleep. It continued on for the week, making for a week of practically no sleep for me. As the sole carer for my children 90% of the time and no family support, it meant I was the one who did absolutely everything. I was exhausted both physically and emotionally.
I had to put my business on hold, it was time for me to show up for my children.
It was no surprise that I then got the same virus and was knocked out in bed for a week with high temps and flu like symptoms. I haven’t been this sick since I had the chicken pox when I was 20. I was having all sorts of crazy temperature induced dreams. It all started messing with my head.
There was a small reprieve when I had my sister and my three gorgeous nieces come stay for a few nights in the first week of the school holidays. I was still not feeling great, but this precious time is rare, so I enjoyed every moment. Of course, the business was put on hold as I enjoyed being present with my family. I often struggle to blend the two.
My sister left on the Saturday and then on Sunday I came down with Gastro for a week. My body was obviously not ready for me to get back into my life just yet.
As you can imagine this began to feel frustrating. My inner critic was starting to have a party and I was ready to throw it all in and go find a job. I was looking outwards for answers, clutching at straws as to why life felt so hard once again.
So I sat on my hands, as I beautiful Business Mentor Angela suggested. I slowly began to re-enter my life feeling well again.
My kids started back at school and we were all grateful for routine to return. I began to work on my business again. I took on one project and enjoyed the creativity it ignited. But, I was still struggling to get back into Social Media or engaging with my community.
I then had my Mum & Step Dad visit and stay with us for four days. It was lovely, but again another reason (excuse) to hide from my business.
But something still felt amiss with me. Something had shifted and I couldn’t put my finger on it.
Thankfully the timing was perfect….it was time to travel to my Mastermind Business Retreat which was last week. I have been part of one of Angela Raspass’ Your Next Chapter Circle’s since February 2016. There are five of us including Angela and we get together twice a year for a Retreat. Unfortunately this year it has only been once and it is a highlight in my year.
It was hosted in a gorgeous farm stay in Mittagong, Southern Highlands in NSW. This was the ideal location for me as I could drive up and visit my family beforehand. I left early last Monday morning taking nine hours to arrive at my Mum’s place. It was quite weird really because she had left my place the day before. I was also blessed to spend some quality time with my younger sister and her family. My niece is three months old and my cheeky nephew is eighteen months old. I had so much fun playing with the firetruck and police car over and over, enjoying the simplicity of life through the eyes of a toddler, bliss. It was also lovely for me to spend time one on one with my little sister and her husband. A rare opportunity that will always be treasured.
So it was time for to reconnect with my business. I arrived at the house a couple of hours before the others. I went back to the basics and tried to align myself with my vision. But, it wasn’t happening.
Why were all these questions and self-doubts coming up once again?
We had the most wonderful couple of days together. We shared beautiful conversations, laughs, meals, celebrations, heartache, tears and inspiration. We were present for each other and ourselves, completely immersing ourselves into the experience both from a strategy and personal development stand point.
The theme for the Retreat was ‘Realign & Reinvigorate’. I certainly felt elements of both of these words rest inside me, but I still had so many unanswered questions and I was feeling quite frustrated with myself.
Why can’t I make my business a success?
Why can’t I decide on the direction I wish to go in?
Why can’t I consistently work in my business?
Why can’t I get back into Social Media?
Why am I hiding from the world again?
Enough already! Haven’t I learnt all the lessons I need to this year? I am ready and willing to make a go of this business. What is stopping me!
Then somewhere along the Hume Highway, I listened to a podcast that struck such a deep chord with me that I was crying, laughing and most of all saying to myself, this is me!
I stumbled onto this podcast by accident, but of course I know it was divine intervention. Angela suggested we listen to a particular podcast interview while we were at the Retreat and I loved this interview, but the one that spoke to me was a more recent interview.
So what I came to discover through this podcast with Heather Dominick and further information regarding this topic is;
I am a Highly Sensitive Entrepreneur® (HSE).
Heather herself was struggling with many of the same questions that are like a broken record in my mind. She had a thriving coaching practice, but was burnt out and knew there had to be a better way. In her quest, she discovered some life changing research by Dr. Elaine Aron, the founding researcher on highly sensitives.
Through this research she discovered only 20% of the population is born highly sensitive.
As a highly sensitive you:
- Are aware of subtleties in your environment.
- Are effected by other people’s moods.
- Are easily overwhelmed by things like bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or loud noises.
You are also:
- Deeply moved by the arts or music.
- Try hard to avoid making mistakes or forgetting things.
- Try to please the people around you.
For the remainder of the drive home I could not shake this feeling that I was a HSE®. You see I have always known deep down that this was the case, but in my mind it was something I was ashamed of and at times thought of as weak. I even realised that I only use the word Retreat with some and would often say I was going to a Business Conference. More shame.
This may seem strange to some of you reading this that know me well, others may resonate with what I am saying and some might even think I am crazy. But I can no longer hide in the shadows of my fear if I want to create the life I dream of.
As soon as I walked in the door early Friday evening I took the HSE Quiz.
If you are intrigued you too can take it for yourself here.
It was no surprise that I got Uber Sensitive. Instead of feeling shame I felt a massive sense of relief. It was like I had finally found my place in this world.
It doesn’t mean I am shy and an introvert and in most cases I am the opposite of this. I am confident to run networking groups, stand up and do a presentation in front of a large group or walk into a room of strangers. But I do need quiet time to recharge after these types of events.
You see sharing my feelings with the world and being completely honest and authentic with you is not something that comes easily to me. Perfectionism often prevents me from sharing, procrastination will stop me from moving forward and fear at times can cripple me.
But through this understanding of what it means to be a HSE® I have come to know myself at a much deeper level than ever before, even in this short time frame. I am now shining a light on my shadows and acknowledging my strengths and how I can best manage them. This will then help me serve myself and those in my business in a way that I haven’t been able to in the past.
So what does this mean now. I am not totally sure as yet. All I know is that I am taking ONE NEXT STEP forward in my life and business and I am not worried about figuring it all out.
In the past I would be overwhelmed by having to have it all mapped out and in the end do nothing at all.
But on the last day of my retreat I drew a line in the sand (or dirt in my case). At the exact moment I couldn’t quite articulate what this actually meant for me in my business, but all I knew was the significance in the action. Today it is crystal clear why I had to do this.
If you are interested in learning more about Heather and her HSE® Movement, then I encourage you to take a listen to the podcast that opened my heart to more possibilities than I could have ever imagined.
Thank you for giving me this space to share my heart & soul with you.