5 Emotional and Spiritual Lessons From Failing at a Metaphysical Business
A Tale of Two Jobs
Almost a year ago, I was picking out the paint colors for a small office a friend and I leased for running a part-time spiritual business that we hoped would be more. Yesterday, I turned in the keys to the place.
I felt numb as I sat through the rush hour traffic to and from the studio, a necessary evil; once I am inside my apartment after my full-time work, I don't go back out. I enjoy and consider precious the time I spend on the couch, cat on my lap, binge-watching Downton Abbey or Outlander. Sometimes I get a wild hair and even turn my phone off. Other nights, I enjoy going for a run and doing my upper arm routine, again while completely ignoring my phone.
Don't get me wrong - I love my phone. I love playing games on it. I enjoy texting (some) people. I don't mind talking on the phone if a certain level of comfort and friendship has been reached. But after a full day of work, I don't feel like thinking about appointment requests or how to promote my services on social media. I don't want to think about things I should do, things I am supposed to do, things I must do to succeed. I already have enough responsibilities.
For a long time, I couldn't admit this to myself. I couldn't admit that I didn't want to run a business. It felt cool to say I did, and I appreciated the opportunity, but that was about it. I couldn't turn the talk or the appreciation into anything long-lasting, helpful, or fully functional.
If you're stuck on the fence, not sure whether you should take the leap, read this first.
Using My Channel for Income Was a Double-Edged Sword
I am clairsentient, meaning I can pick up on feelings and intentions of others, even if they are thousands of miles away or I have never met them. I have also been trained in a few different energy healing modalities. Of course, my most logical path forward seemed to be offering my talents and knowledge in exchange for money. I thought I enjoyed giving readings and using Reiki to help people - I do enjoy it - it's just not something I want to offer 24/7. I don't have a passion for it.
Unfortunately, to make a significant income with it as I had intended to do, without charging exorbitant rates, it would have meant that I had to keep my channel available for people much of the time.
I didn't have a waitlist of clients, by any means, but I noticed an interesting phenomenon: I could go for weeks without a single booking request, but the moment I got sick or decided to go on vacation, visit family, or just do something fun for a day, one would come in. It would usually be from a person who wanted a same-day service or was opposed to waiting for a few days.
I am not one to grudgingly agree to give a reading or Reiki session when I am not feeling it, because I know it wouldn't be the same as agreeing to it when I feel good and willing to tap into someone else's energy. As a result, I lost a lot of potential clients. A lot of people were after a fast fix. Given the surplus of people who do this work, that wasn't hard for them to find.
When I was feeling up to it, I enjoyed using my gifts to help people. But it's something I can't do when I don't want to do it. I wouldn't say it's because I'm unhappy or "still healing myself." It's just not how I want to use my gifts. And that's okay - if you're good at painting but don't want to do art as your primary source of income, it doesn't mean you have anything against art or are unhappy. It just means... well, you don't want to do art as your primary source of income.
My Reason for Getting Started Was FOMO
Since I'm not sure what all the online slang dictionaries are saying these days, FOMO is Fear Of Missing Out, definitely not anything vulgar. (Heavens!)
These days, it seems like everyone and their grandmother has their own business that is broadcast loudly over Instagram and Facebook.
Sometimes, I'd wake up in the morning and pull up the page of my favorite Tarot reader or spiritual coach at that time, looking for some wisdom, some cosmic reason why my life felt so empty and meaningless. In the background of my thoughts, as I watched other people doing what they seemed to love as their main work, I felt increasingly discouraged and like I was the only loser that still worked at a day job. I didn't want to admit that I felt like a loser because I worked for someone else, but I really did. It didn't matter, then, that I was making decent money and had good insurance. I felt like it was very un-cool and un-spiritual to be in the corporate world. When I felt that way, it was hard for me to appreciate what I had.
I saw people leading their own spiritual retreats at some beautiful, tropical island. I saw them writing their own columns in well-known magazines. I saw them post readings to their Facebook page and receive a plethora of comments talking about how great they were at what they did.
I felt like my own, small accomplishments were nothing compared to these feats.
I still worry that I'll never get to travel the world, attend a retreat, or feel like what I do is meaningful and appreciated in a significant sense. But I've realized that fear cannot be the motivator behind anything I do, if I want to touch people's hearts and make a positive difference. And I do want those things.
It's Okay to Not Love What You Do
I work an IT Help Desk. Every day, I provide support to clients who are having trouble with their system, or who need advice on the best way to go about an online transaction. While some of these people are truly fun to work with, and it feels nice to help them, I wouldn't say I love it. I don't wake up and feel excited to get out of bed. I drag my feet a lot of mornings.
When I thought someday my reading and Reiki business would be my main source of income, I didn't feel excited to do those things either. I love writing, but I also don't look forward to getting out of bed and doing that. I don't look forward to getting out of bed, period. I'm not depressed, but maybe I was a cat in a past life.
I don't think people who love their business or their job(s) are faking it. I think it is possible to love what one does for a living, and I hope I can feel that way too someday. But I'm not there yet, and I realized that I needed to accept that and stop trying to force feeling enthusiastic and driven. I had to stop feeling like something was wrong with me because all I wanted to do on a Saturday morning was drink coffee and read a novel.
I used to think, "My job must be draining me. I don't want to do anything or see anyone in my free time." Maybe it's true to some degree that I feel tired after working, some days. But I think I also had to accept that I am an introverted person who really likes books and being alone and free to think my own thoughts. I actually do have a lot of energy, but maybe I have not been directing it or nurturing it in the best ways.
I don't love what I do, and starting a business doing something I'm good at and occasionally enjoy did not change that or provide an escape from that.
I Can Help People Without a Business
Because I am sensitive and enjoy helping people, I often find that they can easily open up emotionally to me. I have had e-mails from people going through very serious situations - for instance, the severe illness of a loved one - telling me about how an article of mine really hit home for them and made them feel better. And of course, while the types of problems I solve at my job are not my favorite, it is another way I can be of assistance. I like to think I can make people's jobs easier or take away a little of the stress and pressure they're facing.
Sometimes we can help people when we don't even realize it. We can unknowingly be the conduit of synchronicity for another person. An example of being on the receiving end of this was when I recently went for an eye exam, and the doctor was talking about contact lenses and how they become less permeable to oxygen through repeated use over time. He was saying something about he couldn't know about my eyes' oxygen requirements because I am "special and unique in every way," and this reflected a statement from someone else that I had been pondering. That this particular phrase came up in something completely unrelated provided one of these beautiful moments for me. I believe some of us do this for others - all the time - but we can't know it if they don't tell us this. I certainly did not tell my eye doctor about my experience, for fear of seeming crazy or inappropriate.
I used to dislike when people would say I could help someone in an everyday, ordinary or mundane situation. That didn't seem like what I wanted to do. It didn't instill me with a sense of purpose. But maybe I was using how helpful I felt as a way to validate my existence, or I was getting too much of my sense of self from what I do from a living, how useful I am to other people.
If we can stop pressuring ourselves to be useful and do good things, I feel like these will happen more by default. You can set and hold the intention of helping someone every day, but it's important to be open to how this occurs.
There are many ways of contributing to humanity and the world. Be honest with yourself about which ones appeal to you and fit into your lifestyle.
It's Okay to Enjoy Your Routine and Relax
I used to think it was bad to have a routine, or for life to feel vapid occasionally.
However, I've seen the extreme opposite of that, too. I've seen people glued to their phones, who can never take a day off. I've seen people who can never say "no." I've seen people on hectic travel schedules for work, who hardly ever get a moment to themselves.
It made me feel like I was supposed to have a "thing" I did in my free time. I was supposed to have some sort of obligation, something to stay "on" for in my off hours. I was supposed to have something I loved so much that I would forego sleep for it. I was supposed to have something that would keep me from wanting to watch TV, that would make me want to work late into the evening.
I didn't want to be one of those people who came home, ate dinner, and watched TV until bedtime. For a while, I fought that tooth and nail. And I was miserable.
Now, I don't fight it that I am a couch-dwelling, Netflix lover - most nights, anyway.
I come home, I eat, I watch TV until around 9, and then I brush my teeth and wash my face (my mom always called them my "evening ablutions"). I write about my day until my mind is completely empty of thoughts, and then I go to sleep.
The side-effects of this include: having enough clarity of thought to journal regularly, being able to read whole books more often, feeling less scattered energetically, understanding exactly what is wrong when I feel "off," and having more energy and intention to put into my work.
Some of us simply function and feel better when we have routines. It can be good to have a comfort zone and understand the limits of it. It can be good to slowly introduce things that expand that zone, but we shouldn't feel constantly like we're supposed to be something other than what we are. That feeling has gotten me into a lot of situations that I would not have otherwise chosen.
Be Honest With Yourself
It is my hope that sharing my own experience has helped you identify your why, if you are thinking about starting a business. If the why has anything to do with fear or feeling inadequate, I would suggest facing those feelings before acting.
I know I had good intentions about what I was trying to do, but I don't feel like I was coming from the right heart or head space. I didn't feel like who I was or what I wanted was good enough, so I tried to be someone else.
Questions & Answers
© 2019 Holley Hyler