Today is a pretty special day for me. My little business is three years old today. I’ve shared each anniversary, but if I’m honest, I’ve never truly celebrated one. Today is different. Today I do celebrate.
I celebrate the fact that despite self-doubt, fear, moments of genuine anxiety and the occasional financial scare, that I am still here. Merely existing isn’t enough, but on my two previous anniversaries, that’s all it ever really felt like. There was a relief that I was still trading, but not much more than that.
The real cause for celebration today is that I now know exactly where I add the most value. In other words, I finally know that I’m building the right business. I know where I add value and I know that what I do matters. I’m finally a man with a plan, because not only do I have crystal clear clarity on what I’m working towards today, I also now have a plan for the future. I know how I’m going to grow this business.
I’ve always been brutally honest about my adventures in business, some have called that refreshing, while others have criticised me for sharing too much personal stuff. But, to look forward, sometimes you need to look back. This entire adventure started with me hitting rock bottom.
Being diagnosed with a mental health issue was a complete game changer for me. I went through the worst moments of my life and I felt completely worthless. But, as I’ve shared before the real cause of my illness was my inability to open up to anyone. That’s why there are no secrets with me. And, it’s why I am as open about my mental health as I am. It’s a way for me to ensure I never go back to that place.
August 2014 was unquestionably my low point. But today, February 16th, 2018, you meet a Kev who is experiencing a real high point. I know there will continue to be challenging times ahead, but I feel mentally strong enough to handle them. Anxiety will continue to be an almost constant companion. Sometimes he protects me and sometimes, yeah, he can be a bit of an ‘asshat’. Here’s the thing though, he doesn’t define me and he doesn’t limit me.
There’s a genuine joy in the work I’m doing and who I’m doing it for right now. The theory of working more deeply with fewer clients is now, for me at least, a fact. This realisation alone has changed the dynamic of the business and my life. There’s a lot less to be anxious about when you’re looking to work with four or five clients than when you face the prospect of finding hundreds.
I’m far from the finished article. I have lots of hard work ahead of me and yes, I still need more business. There’s no complacency on my part.
As I allow myself the time to celebrate I want to acknowledge the part that all of my clients have played. Every single time a client has said yes to a proposal and agreed to work with me, it’s fuelled me. Whether big or small, every single sale has acted as validation and has helped build my confidence. The faith and confidence that they’ve shown in me has got me to this stage.
I also want to say a massive thanks to the posse of Facebook friends and wonderful humans that have shown an interest in my adventure so far. Each and every comment, like or acknowledgement has helped me so much.
The last thank you goes to the most important people in my life, my family. Team Anderson / Lyall / Laing your support at every turn has been amazing. From financial support to hugs when I’ve needed them the most, it will never be forgotten.
And of course, the Anderson boys and their amazing mum, Gill. You’ve all put up with a lot over the last three years. I haven’t always been the little ray of sunshine that most people see. I’ve had bouts of grumpiness fuelled by an uncertain future that you’ve borne the brunt of. And, ironically, that has happened because of a fear of letting you all down.
It’s fitting that I’ve taken time off to celebrate my 3rd year anniversary with the family, because, as important as the business is, it all counts for nothing if I don’t have the time to enjoy with the people I love the most.
3 years down… a hell of a lot more to go.
PS – the Kev illustration is courtesy of the incredibly talented Cari. Check out her portfolio at http://www.cari-erica-watterton.com/
I'm a storyteller, case study specialist and the founder of The Story Edge. I want more people to tell more stories. I write stories, teach people to do the same and generally encourage people to use storytelling in their business.