Monday, May 30, 2011

A Conversation w/ Beth Nicholls of Do What You Love

I'd like to share a conversation I had with Beth Nicholls, of Do What You Love

Much like The Desha Show, Beth is interested in sharing stories of people doing what they love, and she's featured my story here

She offers an ecourse on the subject, and just finished what looked like an incredible retreat in England (one, I would have loved to attend!). Take a moment to read this inspiring interview with someone whom I admire, and I think you will, too.

Desha: Beth, your business and blog is about helping and inspiring people to do what they love. Are YOU doing what you love? What inspires YOU?

Beth: Yes! I am definitely doing what I love right now, and looking back over my journey to here, I have made many choices along the way to do what I loved doing at that particular time. We grow and change, and I don’t think we have to have one ‘thing’ throughout our lives. We may have a particular talent or calling, but I think the way that manifests itself in our lives can and should change as we grow up and expand our horizons.

I truly believe that the world would be a better place if more people were doing what they loved, and I feel very passionate about helping others find their own passions and reorganize their lives to allow them to make that a priority. Right now that means running retreats and online courses to give people the thinking space to focus on themselves, connect with like minded people and get tools and inspiration to help them make what can sometimes be difficult decisions. But it’s worth it, because magic really happens when we follow our dreams.

Desha: On your website, you describe how you were busy in life, but read a book by Kelly Rae Roberts called Taking Flight and felt you needed to meet her. You bought a ticket to San Jose, CA and went to an art retreat that changed your life. Can you talk about your life at that time, and how that experience led you to where you are today? What gave you the courage to take that first step?

Beth: At the time I was running my own consulting business, helping clients run their businesses in a more responsible way. I was working on some very high profile and glamorous projects, and was really enjoying the challenges presented. In my case it wasn’t that I disliked what I was doing at all, but I felt that something was missing. I didn’t know what that was until I read Kelly Rae’s book and it felt like she was speaking to me. Suddenly everything made sense. I had been burying my creativity, pushing it aside every time it came to visit when I was ‘too busy’ doing something else. All of a sudden I knew what I had to do, and it felt like all my wild and crazy adventures in the years leading up to this moment had been exactly the preparation I needed.

Desha: As a career counselor, I find that many people simply don’t know what they want to do. You can’t very well do what you love, if you’re not sure what that is, right? For myself, there are many things I love, and sometimes it’s hard to manage all of the wild possibilities. Was this ever a problem for you?

Beth: I know exactly what you mean, and this is something we go into in depth in my e-course ‘Do What You Love’. I have many passions too – not just creating, writing and photography but also travel, connecting with people, food, learning… I don’t think it is about choosing one at the expense of all the others. For me the key was understanding where they intersect, and working out how to capitalize on my unique experiences and shift things around in my life so that my passions generated income to allow me to do what I love, every day.

Desha: Once you decided what you wanted to do, how did you negotiate 
that lag time between the dream and the actualization of that dream? For example, some people acknowledge they have a dream. They quit their job and go for it. Others plan and slowly embark. Others never do anything. How did you, or do you, manage this time between the dream and attainment of the dream?

Beth: I am a funny combination of dreaming big and taking action. Once I have something in my head that I know I want to do, I begin. That is the most important thing. I develop a very clear vision of what I am aiming to do, and then break it down into the smallest details and work out what I need to do in what order to make it happen. 

I am also very realistic – you need time and money to get a business off the ground, but probably less of both than you think. You can usually find enough of both if you really put your mind to it – but it is vital to work out what ‘enough’ really means for what you are trying to do. I also got myself a mentor, who gave me a fresh perspective, constructive advice and helped steer me towards my goal.

Desha: Many people are scared to start a creative business. Even without a down economy, we tend to think of the “starving artist” complex. Did you have any fear around doing what you love and money? Would you mind sharing how you managed the initial start up costs?

Beth: I had a lot of fear around money! I was moving away from very well-paid consulting work to step into a world that was very new to me (although felt very familiar at the same time). But I have learnt over many years that nothing good happens without taking some kind of a risk – it’s all a question of the kind of risk you take, and how you manage your fear. 

One of the most powerful ways of dealing with fear is to arm yourself with information – how much do I really need to get by in the beginning? What are the real start up costs? And the real biggie - how much am I prepared to lose?

Being really honest and open with yourself in the beginning is so important. I was also really committed to financing the whole start up myself – I didn’t want the extra pressure of external loans, although for some business models these are vital. I was fortunate enough to be able to invest in my new company with funds from my existing business, so all the risk was my own – which is the ultimate test of whether you really believe in your idea!

Desha: Can you share your ultimate dream with me? What do you hope, visualize or intend for yourself in the future?

Beth: In terms of creative business dreams, long term I would like to own a beautiful purpose-built venue to hold retreats and host artists-in-residence. Shorter term I have many other dreams – including running a retreat in my beloved Japan, and writing a book to help more people do what they love. Let’s see what happens…

The Summer session of the Do What You Love e-course begins on June 6. It is a powerful online adventure to help you identify your passion and take steps towards doing what you love, for life. For more information or to register click here.

Do What You Love

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