As the end of 2012 looms closer, I’m already slipping into reflection mode about what I’ve done this year for my business. I have accomplished many of my goals, but of course, I could have done a lot more. Ever since I started working for myself, I’ve valued the integration of my work and life. For example, when I downsized my living situation, I was able to focus a lot more on writing vs. consulting because I didn’t have to earn as much money as I did when my expenses were higher. As a result, I chose not to take on any additional long-term consulting clients in 2012. I didn’t want to. And financially, I didn’t have to.
As I begin to think about what I want to experience in 2013, one of the things I’ve been reflecting on is the possibility of moving back to DC sometime next year. When I packed up my apartment in August 2011, I vowed that I would never rent another studio for $1,200 a month. My rent had already gone up the year I moved out of the city and I keep hearing that costs are steadily increasing. So if I wanted to live in DC again, my income would have to go WAY up. I would have to get a full-time job.
Or would I?
This week, I found myself falling into the either/or fallacy. I know because of how I was feeling: stuck and unmotivated. Faced with only two choices that would lead me to my goals, I struggled to find peace with either one. In my mind, I could:
- Either go back to working for someone else full-time and live in DC
- Or keep working for myself but live in a cheaper location
Luckily, I remembered one of the tools that help remind me of who I am and what I want my life to look like: my ideal life narrative. It’s an exercise I do each year as part of my 31 Days to Reset Your Life Challenge.
Rosetta’s Ideal Life Narrative
I am living on the east coast near my family, though I spend much of the year traveling. I have a sunny apartment or house with a gourmet kitchen. Every month, I entertain various groups in my home for networking dinners and fundraising events. I am a highly sought-after speaker for national and international conferences and conventions. I also have my own popular annual event where I bring together women of color from around the world for professional development and personal transformation. I have published several bestselling books and they have been translated in over a dozen languages. I earn a great income doing what I love – empowering people to find their purpose and live out their dreams. I maintain close relationships with my immediate family. I visit my extended family several times a year to celebrate holidays, birthdays and sometimes “just because.” I have a handsome, loving partner who supports me in my goals and allows me to support him in his. I am healthy both physically and mentally. I exercise daily and have a good therapist who helps me continue to grow and thrive. I am a lifelong learner and I invest in my ongoing education by attending seminars and reading at least one book a month. I also take cooking, writing and dance classes to feed my creativity. I meditate every morning and I belong to a faith community that supports me in my journey to love others unconditionally. Every year, I give away at least 10% of my income to charity and I volunteer on a regular basis.
(Wanna learn how to craft your own ideal life narrative? Get this exercise and 30 others when you purchase my personal development program, 31 Days to Reset Your Life: A Practical Guide to Personal Transformation.)
By reminding myself of what my ideal life really looks like, I was inspired to explore a third way.
It IS possible for me to afford living in my desired location (DC) and still work for myself full-time. I realized I’d been thinking in terms of what I’ve already done so far in my first three years of being self-employed, but hadn’t yet mapped out what it would look like to play a bigger game in my business. For instance, I could always take on larger consulting clients (though I prefer not to). I could hire myself out on a contract/part-time basis to a DC consulting firm or nonprofit organization. I could increase my marketing efforts to build a stronger foundation for income generation. And I could even totally change up my business model to offer higher-priced products and services.
Once I opened the to door to possibility, I realized that the scenarios for my business (and lifestyle) are endless.
Life is not an either/or. You never have just two conflicting choices. It’s actually more like a game of pool. You want to be in control of the cue ball, but there are always several options for which pocket the colored ones can go in to.