For the past several months, I’ve had more and more inquiries from people about how to run a small business, how to fill events, where to look for clients, or how to get people to enroll in classes.
It’s funny, because one of my immediate thoughts is….you’re asking ME?
(Picture Robert Dinero saying ‘You talkin’ to me?!’)
Because some things I do are really “successful” as in a workshop with 100+ people enrolled, or an introductory talk somewhere for a whole business organization….
….while other events have very few people signing up and I’ll reschedule them and then suddenly it’s full.
I don’t exactly feel like an expert small business practitioner who knows what works and what doesn’t, if success means many people enrolling in what I’m offering.
This next weekend on my calendar I’ve had my event upcoming that I’ve taught before….only with much more updated material and several new exercises….Horrible Food Wonderful Food.
Because I just taught my Year of Inquiry weekend, or because I’ve been writing so much, I have done very little to promote or talk about Horrible Food Wonderful Food.
And there are only three people registered.
So if you thought I was packing the house with workshop attendees, it’s not true for this one!
These kinds of experiences used to make me imagine different options: I could worry, fret, push harder, regroup, drop the price, beg people to attend.
I could also inquire, deeply.
This inquiry can be done on ANYTHING you think you need more of. Whether clients, participants, money, weight-loss, recognition, attention, support, health, a partner, sex, success of any kind.
I need more.
The wonderful thing is, when I’ve done The Work on this sensation of “needing” something, the freedom to not need at all is magnificent.
And it never has meant that I don’t continue onward and forward, tweaking my business message, learning more about marketing and connecting with the right audience, or being successful in whatever way I’m dreaming of.
Just because you do The Work on needing to change your relationship with food and eating, for example, doesn’t mean that you will conclude that you do NOT need to change a single thing, ever, around food and eating.
If you are upset about weighing a lot you may really feel in your heart that you would feel more physically comfortable at a lighter weight.
That is what is true for you.
So you keep going with understanding your own mind and your own behavior. You watch yourself and see what is happening when you want to eat a lot, or eat when you aren’t hungry, or eat things that make you feel sick later.
What I have found is that being able to identify what I am actually thinking that creates a stressful reaction inside is like finding a golden treasure.
So here I have a weekend workshop apparently scheduled where I support people in examining their stressful relationship with food.
A time to look at food and the “problem” moments.
So now….I have my own “problem” moment. Not with food, but with people not signing up to attend the workshop in the first place.
I can do some investigation on this situation, and find out what I’m really thinking and believing.
Let’s see what happens.
Here we go:
I can see that I do not need customers, or participants. I do not need this workshop to happen this coming weekend. I’m earning enough money. I’m working every day. My business continues to reach the highest levels ever, after a few years now of being in operation. I’m making a difference.
Many people with eating issues can see that they don’t need the food they are craving, or eating, or bingeing on. They can also see that they don’t need to diet.
Yet they recognize that something is calling to them for assistance, for care, for attention.
What could it be?
I get to ask the same questions.
What’s going on with me and not filling this particular workshop? What are the stressful thoughts about it, that I haven’t looked at yet?
- I’m communicating about this workshop poorly
- This means I have more to learn–I’m not Miss Expert Workshop Filler
- I can’t guarantee results for people who DO take the workshop—like weight loss, ending all obsessions and cravings, or eliminating binges forever
- I can’t entirely explain why I am so free from any food troubles, when I once was a complete wreck
- I might not be able to help everyone
Wow. As I look at all the thoughts that spill out when I just let them flow, I can see there are some stressful ideas.
I can’t guarantee transformation in the relationship with food and eating for people who are suffering, but I WANT to.
Is that true?
Yes! Isn’t that the point for people who take any programs, workshops or do sessions with me?
Can I absolutely KNOW that it’s true that guarantees are best? Or that I need to help people?
Even with the teachers I admire very deeply, there are some people who find great transformation and some who feel “meh”.
Sometimes there are lightbulbs that go off with a huge flash, other times it’s little tiny awareness moments.
How do I react when I believe I’m doing something wrong, I need to get a message across, I’m not communicating well, I wish I could fill that workshop, I can’t guarantee results, or I might not be able to help everyone?
Like giving up, or renewing effort in a determined way. Push hard, or draw back. Energy goes either out or in. Pushing. Pulling. It’s stressy.
Who would I be without these kinds of thoughts?
I would continue to love this journey of having a peace beyond anything I could have ever imagined when it comes to food, eating, weight, body image, and being in this body at this size.
But if it’s not for me to share or “teach” this particular weekend, then that’s OK too.
Without these thoughts, I relax instantly. I feel a surge of how fun all this is. I think about working with people individually who are signed up, connecting with them, focusing on them entirely to see what’s underneath their particular story.
This may be more effective for each one of them, who knows.
Without the thoughts that things should go differently than they are in this instance, I start to get excited.
Energy flows in towards me. Instead of me pushing or pulling at the situation.
I feel more creative. I see advantages for no workshop. Maybe there is something else even better that I’ll be doing.
I turn my thoughts around and sit with them, allowing them all to be:
- I’m communicating about this workshop richly, in ways that are worth riches to myself, to others
- This means I have more to learn–I’m not Miss Expert Workshop Filler, oh goodie!
- I can guarantee results for myself teaching my own “life” workshop—like weight loss, ending all obsessions and cravings, or eliminating binges forever…wow, yes
- I can’t entirely explain why I am so free from any food troubles, when I once was a complete wreck….and that’s good news, it shows I don’t have to know EVERYTHING
- I might not be able to help myself, so I can ask others
As I sit with these, I realize that I haven’t communicated well to myself about everything inside when it comes to this Horrible Food Wonderful Food workshop.
I discover how I am learning through this process, and have so much unfolding before me when it comes to filling workshops. I am taking classes, talking with experts, in some fantastic mastermind groups, and my business life is blending with my spiritual life in ways I never could have dreamed before.
The people who sign up to work with me are serving ME. They are incredible, their questions are perfect, their concerns are so valuable.
I can feel how very well this present moment is. Whether sitting in a room full of people investigating their relationship to food, or sitting in a room alone, on a couch.
“The mind’s job is to do everything it possibly can to hold a stressful belief in place. Because when that belief is held in place, an identity is established. The Work is a way to break that spell. And I don’t say that it WILL break that spell. But if a person really wants to know the truth, a lot can be done to shift that identity, and then reality, totally.” ~ Byron Katie
If I can be of service to you in your journey with food and eating, breaking that spell of craving or obsessing, or ending your plans for the next diet, then write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who knows if I can or not.
All I know is, if I can have the entry into freedom that I have had, then so can you.
It is possible for everyone, now.
If other people can fill workshops with many, then so can I, and so can you (if that’s what you want).
And here’s the funny thing. There is no workshop necessary and no workshop that needs to be filled, unless there is.
“Stop thinking of achievement of any kind. You are complete here and now, you need absolutely nothing.” ~ Nisargadatta
OK then. I hear the tap tap of fingers on laptop. And laughter bubbling up. The fun of waiting to see what happens. However it goes is fabulous.
P.S. It hardly needs to be repeated at this point, but just in case–if you’re interested in spending this coming Friday evening with me, all day Saturday and all day Sunday (10 am – 5 pm both days), to deeply investigate what the heck is going on in this horrible wonderful food situation, contact me. My number is 206-650-1230. I’m here to help.