This is the Seventh post in our blog series about lessons learned from failures. Please come back the next two Friday’s as we conclude the series. This weeks post comes to us from Susan Tolles.
In the fall of 2009, I was searching for a “new identity” as an over-50 empty-nester who had devoted most of my adult life to raising my children and serving my community. I began searching for resources on the internet for women over 50, hoping to find information that would help me live abundantly while making a difference in the world. However, I couldn’t find what I was looking for, so I decided to make up my own! On February 1, 2010, I launched FlourishOver50.com with absolutely no experience in publishing or web development.
I spent the rest of 2010 working constantly to build my web traffic, with the goal of being on the first page of Google®. I concentrated on generating content, keywords, social media and article marketing to expand my brand, and put in hundreds of hours toward my vision that included advertisers and sponsors for my top-ranked online magazine for women. I was so consumed by comparing myself to my competitors that I lost sight of myself. By December of that year, I was on the first page of Google® but getting there had drained me, and I really didn’t know why I was doing what I was doing.
I took a much-needed break, did some deep soul searching, and realized that I had jumped in to the venture because it was a good idea, not because I had a clear mission or plan for success. I had also been doubting my abilities, believing that I needed to stay in the background of the website and promote other authors instead of letting my own brilliance shine.
Since that time, I have become a Certified Life Purpose Coach®, a professional speaker and author, using my website as a means to reach my goals, not the end. I have expanded beyond Flourish Over 50 and now guide women entrepreneurs to live, lead and succeed with purpose through VIP coaching and programs that I have written. TheFlourishingLife.today is my new platform, and it allows my authentic self to shine. I was also tapped as the new Austin Market Director for the Mentoring Women’s Network, connecting professional women in Central Texas with a nationwide network of women supporting one another through mentoring relationships, training and mastermind groups. If I had not fully embraced my immense value as a coach and a leader, I would still be hiding behind my computer every day, not reaching my full potential.
What are the most important lessons you can take away from my journey?
- Know your purpose, your “why.” Before you start any project, big or small, make sure it aligns with your life’s calling, your natural gifts and your deepest desires. I discovered the extreme value of knowing your life purpose, a new concept to me, when I was searching for the secrets to success at the end of that first year. Understanding my purpose now provides the GPS for my life as I currently live it out “inspiring and empowering women to flourish from the inside out.”
- Believe in yourself. Too often, we let our limiting beliefs sabotage our vision, and instead of reaching our full potential, we settle for mediocrity. Know your strengths and quit comparing yourself to others! You were created with a unique purpose and well-equipped for that purpose before you were born, so you already have what you need for success. Once I fully embraced my innate gifts and vowed to conquer my fear of failure, I soared! I still struggle occasionally with discouragement, but that is a natural part of being an entrepreneur.
- Be willing to change. When something isn’t working out, have the courage to let it go! Don’t be tied to how much time and resources you have invested in a job or a project thinking you must persevere at all costs. Learn from your experience and go forward with a renewed commitment to your purpose, remembering this: “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” ~UCLA Basketball Coach John Wooden
May you live, lead and succeed with purpose and passion!
Susan Tolles is a Certified Life Purpose Coach® whose clients surround the globe. She is a passionate advocate for professional women, teaching them to envision more and reach higher, building a career they love without sacrificing their personal well-being. Please visit Susan at TheFlourishingLife.today and learn more about mentoring at MentoringWomensNetwork.com.