by Marta Hobbs, founder and teacher of SoulCare and author of “Unraveling: A Woman’s Search for Freedom and the Journey of Coming Home“
I was 25 when I started a Caribbean online travel company with my husband. Less than a decade later, I was the Founder and COO of a billion-dollar business with over 500 employees and multiple offices located throughout the United States. I was also a mother of two young children. We ran the company for fifteen years until we sold and retired – all before I turned 40.
The ride was fast, exciting, extremely rewarding and thankfully, highly successful. That doesn’t mean there weren’t many ups and downs and painful lessons learned along the journey. It was also stressful, hectic and chaotic. It took a lot of hard work, all our time, most of our energy along with a somewhat delusional belief that we could do anything if we put our minds to it. And a solid, steady trust in that belief.
What do I know now that I wish I knew twenty years ago?
It’s not financial strategies or return on investment advice. It’s not some brilliant marketing strategy and slick, glossy presentations to potential clients. It’s not anything to do with knowing my marketplace, studying the competition and the ability to change direction and adapt as an organization. It is not brilliant exit strategy, company org charts, a sound growth plan, efficient spend or a well-projected balanced budget. It is not knowing your product well, who your core client base is, where to find them and how to talk to them. It’s not even a beautiful, user-friendly and technologically advanced website. Yes, all of those are important. But it was all common sense to me – it came naturally as the business grew. What nobody talked to me about was investing in myself as a leader – that my overall personal well-being was directly reflected in the overall well-being of my business.
“How the leader goes – so does the company.
How the leader’s heart goes – so goes the leader.”
Three things I wish I knew two decades ago that I would like to share with you:
1. “You are not your job.” Your job is an extension of who you are.
Find yourself first, love yourself well and learn how to stay connected to your heart no matter what the external circumstances might be. Your business and your work are an overflow of the love, creativity and passion that is your spirit, your soul. Find it within you and know who you are at your core – then allow your job or your company to be the way you get to express it. Your identity is not what you do – it is who you are. A strong sense of identity and self-awareness is crucial to your success. Stay rooted in that.
2. “Slow down and be present.”
Stop multitasking. Take a breath. Stop running. Stop filling your schedule and constantly doing things. You miss life this way. If you are always on the run to the next appointment or the next big task – you are never present to the beauty of life and the love of the people around you. Nobody died and said, “I wish I attended more meetings.” Many have uttered “I wish I spent more time with family and loved ones” as they took their last breath. Be present where you are as often as possible. Practice this. Life is about the dance between DOING and BEING. Find your prefect balance. It will allow you to keep your health and wellbeing, maintain the quality of your relationships, and to enjoy your success rather than chase the next goal or target.
3. “Stop looking for validation outside of yourself. Find it within.”
If it comes from other people, your balance sheets, sales, followers, promotions at work, invitations to parties, how big your house is, how nice your car is or compliments from others – it will never be enough and it will never last. Look for it within. Give it to yourself. Find love for yourself, find acceptance for yourself, show up to life “already full” rather than looking for external things to fill up the “empty” within you. If you can feel valuable by yourself, to yourself and with yourself – it will pour out into everything else that you do. It all starts within. This is the only lasting way. Everything else is fleeting and leaves you wanting more which leads to endlessly chasing goals and pushing your employees too hard and ends in burnout. Come to your business healed, whole and worthy and then lead. See those qualities in others. Show them how to find them within themselves.
If you have a good business idea and are passionate about it – go for it. No dream is too big, and no desire is too much. You deserve it all and should absolutely pursue it. Life is what you make it, and I believe we all deserve extraordinary experiences – it is up to us to create them! Surround yourself with solid mentors and, above all, lead from your heart and a deep understanding of who you are at your core. Lead with love. I’m rooting for you!
Marta Hobbs is founder and teacher of SoulCare – a spiritual practice to slow down the body, quiet the mind and reconnect with the soul. Marta now guides others toward healing, self-discovery and living a heart-centered and soul-led life. She is author of “Unraveling: A Woman’s Search for Freedom and the Journey of Coming Home“.