Best selling author Nick Williams started off as the owner of a small business and has now morphed into an inspired entrepreneur. In this article, he reflects on the new paradigm – Doing what you love and being paid for it.
I am fascinated by leadership and what it means today, especially for inspired entrepreneurs. My whole view of leadership and business shifted when I read Tribes by Seth Godin in April 2009.
I write, speak, coach, mentor, create products and programmes, and broadcast, and run a business, but I evolved my job description to include the idea of also being a tribal leader after reading his book.
The lines I loved were, “The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there. People will follow.” Today, anybody with a message can build a following and create their business serving their tribe.
Are you a pro at what you do?
I used to think that an amateur was someone who does their work for love and a professional is someone who does their work for the money. Today, I actually think that it is the other way around. An amateur works for love, but does it on evenings and weekends as a hobby or avocation. The professional loves their work so much that so that they want it at the centre of their life. They feel that call to vocation. Whilst they receive money for doing their work, they do it firstly out of love, but are willing to be paid for it. I was speaking, running workshops and coaching for a long time before I really turned professional.
Being professional is not about being a doctor, lawyer or accountant. As my friend Barbara Winter once said, “Professional doesn’t mean pantyhose!” It is an archetype, a way of being. The creative person as a professional is a spiritual warrior, they follow the artists code, and they serve Heaven, their gods or a higher power. They know they are here for the greater good, to contribute and to unleash their innate potential.
Being a professional is not about whether you earn money, or how much, it is more of a mindset and an attitude towards your work. Primarily it is about commitment to doing your work and acting in the face of fear and resistance.
Here are the five elements of turning professional.
1. You know there is a work you were born to do – you know in your heart that there is something that you are on this planet to do, work that will bring you joy and add to the good of humanity. You know you are here to share your gifts, and it lifts your soul to when you share your gifts. You know that the world won’t cease turning if you don’t do your work, but you also know you were born carrying a promise to make this world better by sharing your gifts and you feel the call to make good on that promise. You know you can even tend towards depression and self-destructive behaviours when you are not doing your work.
2. You understand resistance and its manifold strategies – you understand that the thing you were promised to do on this earth is the thing you will most likely resist and distract yourself from. You know resistance is a repelling force, whose aim is to shove you away from and prevent you from doing your work. As you have the capacity to be inspired, you know you also have the capacity to distract yourself, talk yourself out of great ideas, procrastinate, and generate endless excuses. You know that often you won’t feel like doing your work for some very good, understandable and justifiable reasons. As a professional, you have learned that the more important a project or action is to you and your soul’s evolution, the more likelihood there is that you’ll experience resistance, often on a daily basis.
3. You refuse to let resistance stop you doing your work – an amateur does their work when they feel like it. But you become aware enough to see right through resistance and not to be fazed by it. You know that as you cross the threshold and get into the flow of your work, you are uplifted. So, as a professional, you choose to do your work anyway; you initiate inspiration and act in anticipation of it. As a professional you know that the level of resistance usually corresponds to the level of gift and success on the other side. You are consistently willing to do the thing you have most resistance to doing. You are committed to doing your work and cease to value and treasure your excuses. You know nothing fulfils you as much as doing your work. And when resistance wins, there is always a gravitational pull back to your true work. You also know that when you beat resistance to sit down day after day and do your work, something mysterious starts to happen. A process is set into motion by which, inevitably and infallibly, heaven comes to your aid. Unseen forces enlist in your cause; serendipity reinforces your purpose. Your start to become magnetised.
4. They know there are higher levels of support available to them – although resistance is trying to stop them doing their work, they also know that higher realms of support are available. Whether you believe in angels, a Muse, higher consciousness, God, spirit or simply a greater intelligence, you are not alone in your efforts to bring your work into this world. You are in a divine collaboration and partnership. You have invisible support that is both cheering you on and actively supporting your efforts. You have access to genius. The mystic poet William Blake is quoted as saying, “Eternity is in love with the creations of time.” Inherent in his quite is the idea that there are two realms – the eternal and the time bound. Angels or Muses whisper to us through inspiration from the eternal realm, and our job, should we choose to accept it rather than succumb to resistance, is to bring those whisperings from the eternal realm to the time-bound realm. You are a servants of the greater mystery, you are a midwife, a portal in time, here to act as an agent of the Infinite, to bring into existence that which is not yet, but which will be, through you.
5. You set up your life up to receive money for your work – although they don’t work primarily for pay, they are willing to be paid for their work. It is a subtle but key distinction: don’t work for pay, but do be paid for your work. This is a key part of being professional – not selling out, but getting clever and being entrepreneurial in an inspired way so that you can support yourself and sustain your work. As an professional, you need to develop these two aspects of yourself: the artist that is in touch with the inspiration, beauty, higher realms and the ultimate mystery of the creative process and develops their craft; and the other part of you that then takes that out to the market place to market yourself and generate income. They are two crucial functions. Many artistic people say that would rather have an agent or manager do the second part for them. In reality, most of us have to be our own agent and manager, and charge ourselves out. To be successful, I believe you will need both a tender and receptive heart as well as a well-formed personality that enables you to know your own worth and ask for what you are worth. You face and learn to overcome the greatest fear of all: true success. The greatest success is to live a happy and purposeful life, give your gifts, to follow your heart and to be well rewarded for doing that.
There is a magnificent self-in-potential within you, a plan and destiny for yourself and the answer to why you were put on this planet. But within you are also all manner of dragons and demons trying to stop you fulfilling that potential, that you will need to outfight and outwit to reach your treasure. Turn professional so that you can reach your potential. Resistance hates it when you turn pro. So do it!
If you are not yet clear about the work you were born to do, or want to know how to become an inspired entrepreneur, you can download your free copy of a nine part programme to help you discover it now at: www.inspired-entrepreneur.com