I was sure I’d do more than this
That was my recurring thought in my 30s as I looked at the way my life was unfolding.
I felt stuck, stifled and oh-so-aware of the passing of time, but I was unsure how to bring about the changes I needed to make to my life. Does that sound familiar?
And I was confused too, because I had done everything “right”. I studied hard, got my degree and a “proper” job, ditching any notions I’d previously had about being a writer or owning my own business. That was something that “other people” did, there’s no way I would be able to do it…
I stuck to the sensible plan, assumed that one day it would all feel right and that everything would fall into place.
But it never really did.
After I had my twin boys, I knew my life wasn’t set up in a way that allowed me to do what mattered to me most - look after my family, build something worthwhile for my children and do something I enjoyed at the same time.
It’s not that becoming a mum changed my priorities, it just gave me a reason to live them.
So I took action. I made a change. I started my own business.
I left my day job in 2016, opened the online doors to my eco-friendly stationery business the same year, did what I now consider to be a self-created apprenticeship in online business (and life as it turned out) for a couple of years before finally finding the path I wanted to be on and starting again in late 2018.
Although that period has turned out to be pivotal to what I’m doing now, I wouldn’t recommend the accidental, haphazard, overwhelming, fear-ridden way I muddled through to anyone.
When I started my business, I had all these horrible feelings and more. I wanted to quit so many times, but something stopped me.
And that was the feeling that I just knew I could do it.
I didn’t know why I felt like that (goodness knows there was no evidence to suggest it!), but I wanted it, for me and my family so it was worth fighting for.
But it was exhausting that it felt like a fight.
Does that resonate with you? If so, I understand and please take heart. If you suspect, even a little bit, that running a business is for you, read on.
Even though, frankly, I felt like a failure, all my personal reasons for leaving my 9-5 and starting on my own were still there. I wanted to live a more integrated life, working hard while having the flexibility to focus, as necessary, on my other responsibilities. I wanted to create a future with more freedom to concentrate on everything important to me – looking after my family, building something worthwhile for my children and doing something I enjoyed at the same time.
I still believed that having my own business was the only way I wanted to achieve that so there was only one thing to do.
Figure it out.
As a writer and journaler, the only way I knew to tackle how I was feeling was to write it down. So I did, and it was through this work that I, without realising it at first, began to get to know myself better. I learned how I react to situations, clarified what I want and don’t want and made inroads into shifting the balance of my life towards what matters to me most.
It's this intentional & focused journaling for personal growth that has helped me take charge of the way I was feeling and develop the mindset and practices that support my business endeavours and lose the ones that fight against them.
I now firmly believe that it’s the inner work to manage how we FEEL that makes what we want to DO possible, and for me the most powerful way to do that is through journaling.
If you’re ready to get what you want for and from your business, intentional & focused journaling to gain clarity, cultivate a strong, effective mindset and take the action you need and want to take is the support you’ve been looking for.
(That’s why I combined my eight years of writing fiction, 20 years working in HR and extensive Personal Development research and exploration to create what I call Success Journaling, a powerful tool for business mindset & personal growth that we’ll sometimes use to support you and your work and help you achieve the personal success, fulfilment and impact you desire)
As a qualified HR specialist with nearly 20 years’ experience, I know and I’ve seen the benefits when people learn, grow and change, not only for themselves. When we achieve our potential, we can give so much more to our family, our work, our relationships and the wider world.
If you have the feeling that turning the spotlight on yourself for a while is selfish or self-indulgent, please let go of it now. It really is a win-win.
In fact, I’d even go further than that.
I believe that trying to achieve our personal vision of success and be happy is the best way we can demonstrate gratitude for the life we’ve been given.
I’m not going to pretend for a second that it’s easy (I’ve shed lots of tears), nor that I’m exactly where I want to be yet or have it all figured out (nope), but I’ve come a long way and will always be a committed student of mindset & personal growth practices. Making these positive changes in my life is definitely up there as one of the better decisions I’ve made! I now consider the business path to be:
Idea => Mindset work => Action => Result
Idea => Crapshoot => WTF => Nightmare
Which I feel is a win in itself ;-), but
It’s also allowed me to gain the clarity and confidence to focus on getting what I want from my business, (such as autonomy over my schedule, freedom to build my business around what matters to me most, the self-assurance to work only on achieving success, fulfilment and impact as I personally define them) and
To approach the action I take towards my other, more tangible, goals with more staying power, energy and ease.
That’s what success means to me.
What does it mean to you? Are you ready to do the inner work to support you in achieving it?
When I left my day job in 2016, I was ready to take control of my career and build my business round my family but, as so often happens, life had other plans.
Around six months into my business, I lost my wonderful dad. He died one night unexpectedly and his passing left a massive hole in our lives. I thought I was doing OK. My practical side kicked into gear. My dad had always been the capable one and I was determined to pick up the mantle. “I’ll do it, that’s no problem,” became my overused phrase. It took me a year to hit a metaphorical wall. All the time I thought I was doing well but, really, I wasn’t. I was trying to make things better for my mum and my children, trying to work on my business, trying to get back to "normal,” but all the time I felt that I was operating from under a pile of bricks. It took me too long, but I finally went to my doctor and got some help by way of anxiety medication. It’s given me the breathing room to start to mainstream healthier practices in my life again, and for me that included a return to writing and journaling, and a renewed understanding of my personal and business purpose.
It’s easy to become jaded and get lost in the day-to-day minutiae, whether it’s work or life in general, but I reckon the only way to extract something positive from a sad life event is not to lose the clarity about what’s important that accompanies it.
To me what’s important is the people around me and how I can positively impact on their lives.
I decided that the best way to show my gratitude for the life I’ve been given is to learn, grow, develop and try to be the best I can be, so that I have the capacity to give more to those around me and, if possible, the wider world.
And I believe my best vehicle for that is a unique, heart-led business, so that’s what I’m building.
I’ve always believed “people are the most important thing” in any business (you don’t – or shouldn’t - spend 20 years in HR and not believe that) and I wanted to combine my knowledge, skills, loves and experience to see what I could create that would be useful to the people with whom my story resonates.
And here we are!
Am I going to tell you that journaling solves everything for me? No, of course not. For example, did journaling help me when Dad died? Honestly, no, not immediately. I couldn’t face what was happening nor how I felt about it, so the last thing I wanted to do was write it down. It was about six months before I mentioned Dad in my journal other than obliquely, but this is common. It’s well documented that journaling best helps us process difficult feelings and events once we have some distance from them.
But, here’s the thing. It’s not all about easing the difficult times. Since I started focusing on writing, both fiction and journaling, I’ve experienced so many positive changes that I now take every opportunity to find out more about how these activities can be used to enhance our daily lives.
I started Elle Turner Creative because I’m on a mission to help us to use entrepreneurship as a vehicle to create a life around what matters to us most, achieve our own personal vision of success and fulfilment and have a positive impact on our world, and I believe we can best achieve all this is by the personal growth we can experience through writing.
If this chimes with you, come and join us in Success Story Journalers, our free private Facebook group. You'll find more than 50 episodes of Notes from the ETC Journal - videos and livestreams on everything business mindset for entrepreneurs to help you approach building your unique, heart-led business with more clarity, confidence, energy, ease and enjoyment so that you can achieve what you want from your business, get what you want for your life and be the business owner you want to be. We'd love to see you there, there’s a virtual seat with your name on it waiting for you!