Opening your heart up, is painful. But so necessary.
By Sarah-Jane Boden
Whenever people ask me why I started SoulProviders, I always smile and say ‘for my sins.’ But we know that’s just posturing, because everyone that knows me knows how much I love being the founder and owner of young, flighty SoulProviders and that running a vibrant ‘couture content marketing’ agency is a dream I have long held. I remember in the good old hippy times doing a moodboard around 2004 visualising the kind of business I wanted to build one day and when I look around me, I know, and am incredibly grateful for the fact that we’ve somehow managed to actualise what seemed to be a mostly blurry, ethereal vision, into a real evolving, growing, exciting organisation. Not without a considerable amount of blood, sweat, tears, sacrifice and wine-fueled evenings, of course. And, let’s be real, growing a small business has not been tear-free either. Running SoulProviders has been and continues to be a roller-coaster ride of emotions, with every week knocking us about with new learnings, new highs and new lows that leave us battered, bruised, patched up and lop-sidedly grinning every Friday afternoon as we wander on home.
The real reason for why I started the business is because I essentially wanted to have a ‘balanced lifestyle’ and importantly, as a new Mom and a ‘creative’, have the freedom to live the life I wanted to live and try to shape the kind of business I would want to work for. I have always been entrepreneurial and I wanted to do content better than I had ever seen it done; and to work with young talent in telling authentic, exciting African stories, online. And of course I had been enthusiastic about digital for a while and really wanted to be more of a future-forward ‘digital native’ as my dear friend Nkuli calls us.
And as we approach three (ahhhsome!) years of our content business, I find that every now and then I have to revisit the inspiring and clean spirit in which we launched SoulProviders, which was, as I so often used to say ‘An Abundance Mentality’. I can’t remember where I learnt about it or read about it, but it was such a powerful notion that a few years ago it became infused in everything that I did or planned to do and I reshaped it to shape my own meanings — which is always easy to talk about in retrospect. But, as with any heyshoowow-ish, lofty aspirations, it’s not always easy to be 100% true to them – hence making sure we always try to ‘revisit abundance’.
An abundance mentality for me starts with the premise that we don’t need a lot of things in life to be happy and that money is just a means to an end, not the end itself. It is rooted in the ideal that as long as we have enough to live on in a comfortable but simple kind of lifestyle, we’re going to be ok. And the most important bit for me, is that an abundance mentality means accepting that there is enough out here for everyone and we should be able toshare with ease — and lastly, if things are not meant to work out for us, we should let them go with glad hearts and open minds (and gritted teeth). It’s also entrenched in the old adage that when we are genuinely good and kind to others, it will come back to us in abundance — and hopefully that karma is a beyatch if not ;0
When do we have to remind ourselves about the Abundance Mentality? When clients break up with us, when our team members leave us, when our network lets us down, when clients are shitty, when we lose a pitch we really wanted to win, when a job you were counting on & had started on the premise of it happening doesn’t come through, when your generosity is abused, when deals you engineer happen without you, when bad debts happen, when clients don’t pay on time, when promises don’t materialise, when another agency gets handed your hard-worked on account, when people use your ideas and don’t acknowledge them, when people have a bad day and take it out on you, or, my biggest realisation in business yet, when the FIT is not right and causes un-necessary drama (next post about FIT, promise.)
How do we do we embrace the abundance mentality? With pragmatism! At hearing the news, or as Joey Greco from Cheaters would purr ‘before the confrontation happens, once you have the facts’, you take them in and slowly digest what has gone down and try to break it up into chronological order and understand what happened. Then, you force yourself into the other parties shoes and try to imagine where they were coming from. Then you say Screw Them and you let the disappointment, the anger, the hurt, run its way through your body — and then you go home. You don’t write an email, a Tweet, a status on FB, you don’t get in your car and drive over to the perps office, you don’t lure them into your office and confront them, you don’t pick up the phone and cry into it; You merely breathe, go home, switch your phone off, have some vino, talk to your support system and the all important rule ‘you sleep on it’. Then you wake up the next day… a brand new dawning beautiful day, and you make a practical plan for how to move on — and then you simply let it go.
And if you struggle with your temper and reactions and this methodology is way too mild and impractical for you — then get in touch to order your very own #WWMD bracelet (What Would Madiba Do ) that you can wear and glare at during those hot and heavy ‘confrontation moments’ till its power shoots out and helps you to try and emulate a smidgen of the grace and dignity of our darling late Madiba.
Channeling Abundance Mentality vibes is not easy and we’re all allowed to err… It takes consistent practice, strength, guts and self-awareness, but as the Entrepreneurial Journey aka School of Hard Knocks has a way of thickening your skin and increasingly protecting your heart as you stumble, crawl and fly along its rocky pathways over the years, so does the practising of the Abundance Mentality slowly bring you closer to letting go a little sooner, a little more quietly and with a whole lot more finesse.
And if that doesn’t work, try screaming into your pillow. ☺