I recently stumbled across a photo of me (a proper printed one – remember the days when we used to do that?!) from 18 years ago – it’s 2002, the day I started my language business and I’m proudly grinning at the camera. Two months later I was pregnant and every day since I’ve juggled growing and nurturing my business with growing and nurturing my children: no mean feat as any parent entrepreneur can tell you!
Then out of the blue just a few days after finding this picture, my son Sacha sent me another photo – this time of him, holding the signage from the VICI premises we moved out of last year, which he had recovered from the Arcade and kept for me as a souvenir.
Putting these two photos side by side gave me a huge jolt of realisation at the sheer scope of the journey I’ve been on in the intervening period.
But I also realised that each of these pictures encapsulated a huge leap of faith that I had taken.
The first massive milestone was deciding to quit my job when I knew nobody in the UK, walking away from the security of paid employment and launching my own business with all of the risks which that entails.
The second, nearly 2 decades later, represents the huge financial commitment of moving to new, more moderns premises with better facilities – after 10 years at Arcade House I knew we needed somewhere which better reflected the amazing services we provide and could give our clients and coaches the experience they deserve.
In both situations, I trusted my gut and took the leap. I felt the fear… and did it anyway.
Why does the significance of this really resonate with me, especially now?
Well, I meet a lot of people who say to me they’ve lost business as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Their bottom line has suffered. They’re worried about the future. There is so much fear and uncertainty, and they don’t know where to turn.
So, they pull their heads in and hunker down. It seems like the safest choice, like the most sensible thing to do, right? Consolidate, avoid anything new, minimise risk and hope that the storm will pass.
But I’ve noticed that this thought process tends to be underpinned by negative thought patterns: anxiety, lack of clarity about what to do next and lack of self-confidence.
In business, you’ll always need to make a jump at some point and now is no different. In fact, the more I look around the more I realise that many of those that are currently thriving have recently taken a leap of faith, even though it felt like everything around them was crumbling, and the decision has paid off.
Looking at these photos made me happy because it made me appreciate how far I’ve come – and looking back at everything you’ve achieved is important because it helps feed your next step forward.
Sometimes trusting your instincts in the moment can yield more value than all the planning in the world and having the self-confidence to trust your gut is essential. Yes, be clear in your head about where you want to go – but recognize that sometimes you just have to go with the flow. We all have self-doubt, but you must keep moving, keep up the momentum, keep doing what you know is right.
And remember that one of the realities about succeeding in business is that a total aversion to risk is not your friend – even at the moment.