28
Jan 2019

May the bridges you burn light the way… a story of burning things to the ground.

I’m sitting in a circle of my closest sisters in the sacred container of the 13 Moon Mystery School. We’ve called on the Queen of Death, a divine feminine archetype who asks us to let what is no longer serving us die away.

Letting things go is not my strong suit. I’m wired for safety and following the rules (most of us are), but my life path has called me to be in excruciating alignment with my soul and I’ve had no choice but to listen over the years.

But what I am being asked of now is a tough pill to swallow.

When I am in Temple, messages come to me like an ocean wave, dousing me all at once in sweeping, sometimes scary truth.  Images, symbols, words and demands flood my system without a nod to time and space. 

What I see first is a form of pie chart, the majority of which, let’s say 80%, is energetically and visually heavy, sludgey, like walking through mud. The Goddess points to this majority section and says “This is how much energy you are spending running your business.” She points to a tiny sliver and says “This is how much energy you have left to do the actual work you were put here to do, and this tiny sliver is the energy you have left for yourself and your family.”

It hurt.

It hurt to realized that the parts of my life I love the most, I was giving the least of my energy.  Now here’s the thing with energy: it has nothing to do with time.   I am actually spending a lot of time with my kids and husband. I am spending a lot of time teaching and holding space.  But the truth was I spending so much unaligned energy just trying to get women in my programs that by the time they got there, I was so tired.

My work in the world is in alignment, but the way I was running my business was not in alignment with who I currently am, and it was creating a ripple effect of exhaustion, anxiety and pressure that was spilling over into the things I loved.

This who I currently am part is important.  In many ways, the business I created was in alignment with who I used to be.  It helped me play big, focus on writing, and most importantly, my team was with me through 3 pregnancies and maternity leave when I needed a lot of support.  I did the best I knew how at the time. And, I am different now.  I am changing, and the way I do business needed to change too.  

However, beyond the support and logistics, I had also picked up on various “rules”, trends and strategies of running an online business.  I’ve seen friends and women I look up to, adopt and try certain things that have created immense wealth.  

I created launch funnels, sales videos, facebook ads and hundreds of emails in order to be the loudest and shiniest priestess on the block.  In order to do this, I had to hire a pretty large team.  A team that had to be managed, orchestrated and paid a lot of money.

So although the marketing was “working” from a gross revenue perspective, I was keeping a small percentage of the money, but most importantly, the way I was marketing and running my business left me with very little energy.

I spent many weeks trying to pull apart why this was true, and sometimes you can’t find a logical answer.  The best way I can explain it is that when I sit quietly at my altar and I tune into my actual work in the world through Whole Woman and my work at Hawthorn Farm, it feels simple and sweet yet impactful.  When I tune into the day to day of getting women to show up for my work, it felt complicated, rigid and heavy.

I was doing business the way I was “supposed” to.  I was doing business the way other successful entrepreneurs were doing it, and it’s probably working for them, but it just wasn’t working for me anymore.

I don’t want to be a marketer.  I don’t want to be an entrepreneur or a business woman.  I want to be on my path and share it with others.  I want to create safe circles in Whole Woman and at Hawthorn Farm for women to discover what it means for them to be in alignment.

There’s a story that’s told in the online business world that we have to spend 80% of our time marketing and 20% doing our actual work.  Maybe that’s true, but I want to see if it has to be true for me.

So here are the changes I made:

I released 75% of my team. It was hard. I felt like I was going to throw up when I dialed their numbers.  I was risking relationships and mutual respect and my desire to uplift and support people.  I loved each of them, and they were all very good at their jobs.  Someone else would be thrilled with my setup, but it wasn’t working for me.  In the end, everyone understood and relationships remained intact.

I’m doing way more myself in the spirit of spontaneity and saving money.  It used to be that when I sent out an email like this one, my project manager would put all the tasks into our management system, I’d write it, my editor would edit it, my tech support would put it in my email system and on the website and my customer care specialist would post it to social media.  One email, 5 people.  This meant I was beholden to 4 people’s availability and time, which meant I couldn’t be spontaneous or write from a place of inspiration all the time.  Not to mention one email was costing me an arm and a leg in team cost.

So today I woke up with a need to write to you, so I’m sitting in my living room at 5:30 am while my children are sleeping.  I will set it up in my email system myself and post to my website and then to social media.  There will be typos and missed words and we will all survive because I feel SO MUCH FREEDOM in this moment, in this small act of change.

I won’t be doing a traditional “launch” for a while. This means I won’t be busting down your door when I open the doors to Whole Woman again or have a Moon Circle.  I’ll send you a few reminders, but you’ll have to pay attention and take it upon yourself to remember to sign up if you desire to be there.

I won’t be paying for facebook ads or other advertising, so I’ll probably ask you to invite your friends if you know someone who would love to join us.

Certain rules like I need to send a blog post every week and post to social media every day I’m no longer going to follow.

I know none of this may seem like a big deal to you, but that’s a perfect example of how we are all different. What was the hardest, most painful decision for me to make, may be a piece of cake for you.  It’s because the way we are operating in our life isn’t just a set of actions, it’s also a set of beliefs. Tied up in this “big online business” model were beliefs like…

  • My worth is based on how much money I make and how quickly I’m growing
  • I’m supposed to be a great manager
  • Being successful means I have a lot of women in my programs
  • Doing the mundane everyday tasks of running a business are a waste of my time

By changing the way I run my company, I was letting go of a lot of attachments and my identity.  I came to terms with the potential that I may lose followers, may not grow as quickly as I originally dreamed, may not get a huge book deal or be in magazines (feels icky to say that I did want those things, but that’s the truth).

What I am gaining is the knowing that I will stand with my truth and trust her even though many parts of me are screaming.  I am prioritizing alignment over common practices, “shoulds” and the rules.

It’s been a few weeks of having very little support in the business and doing a lot of it by myself, and I have to say that I am so insanely happy.  I feel more creative and I have so much more space to greet life with what it throws me instead of being on a rigid schedule.  This whole thing could blow up in my face, but for now I am trusting that by showing up for my highest truth that there will be gains in many different forms, even if they are lessons masquerading as challenges.

Under this waning moon who is losing light every day asking us to shed, what bridges do you need to burn?  I’m not talking about decluttering your dining room table or not planning your friends birthday (though you should do those things too) but what is the BIG RELEASE you’ve been scared to let go of for so long? The one that you can’t imagine actually doing?  Burning that bridge will light the way to an epic, aligned, joyful, free life.

All my love,
Sarah

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  • Laurel

    This made me cry and was just what I needed to hear today. I love this SO much. Thank you for having the courage and commitment to your soul to burn bridges. Scary stuff! You didn’t just light your path in the act, you’re helping to light mine (and others) too. Keep being the bad-ass soul aligned sister you are. xo

    • Thank you, Laurel! I appreciate your words and encourage you to burn all the bridges you need to. Love, Sarah

    • Heather

      This is SO healthy, wise, and vulnerable. Thank you for being real.

  • person

    Sarah, I LOVE this. This is one of my favorite things you have ever written.

  • oh my Goodness- you are speaking directly to me.
    I’ve become so disenchanted with that ‘go big’ model, it was eating at my soul.

    There was no time to read favour it’s books, meditate or just stare at a wall if I wanted.

    Thank goodness you are brave enough to say what many must be feeling and return to a deeper soul connection.
    Best read of the day.

    • Hi Denise, thank you so much for these kind words! I know you can come back to a place of enchantment anytime you choose. Love, Sarah

  • I think you are ON it. Beautiful job. Courageous, beautiful, beautiful job. I actually run my business this lean way too and it’s TOTALLY working for my creative spirit, and spontaneous downloads for how to connect with my audience. I struggled with feeling like I SHOULD want a large team, but I honesty don’t. It’s just not going to give me the emotional freedom to be wholly ME. Love you and thank you for sharing! Cheering you on!

    • Hi Paith, thank you so much for this support! I am cheering you on as you do what’s right for you. Love, Sarah

  • Erin

    Incredibly moving. Thank you

  • Jessica

    Dear Sarah,

    I have not known about you for so long, since I am from Sweden but a few months ago when I found your website I totally got blown away:) I am myself a business executive coach student and I am just starting my journey as a small business owner.(I still have my full time job as HR manager) and I just have to say you are so inspiring and honest and you make me want to do better every day. Thank you for a great blog and website. Thank you for being you./Jessica

    • Hi Jessica, this is so sweet of you to say! I am so glad you found me too, and wish you nothing but happiness. Love, Sarah

  • Sylvia

    I never comment on articles or blogs, but feel compelled to. You were mentioned to me in a course I took by Amy Porterfield, because she was talking about everyone having their own style. I have not stopped following you for a year, you probably are the only person, online I random (clearly not so random!) I follow. I am about to launch a business, and how you propose to run yours is what I want for mine..after is that not why I don’t want to chase the ‘corporate’ model for my worth.

    You have done what is right for you and it will come through. You don’t need a random stranger to tell you so.

    I say, well done for passing the message on to all the women/people looking to launch a business or create their own lifestyle. It helps.

    • Hi Sylvia, thanks for your support! I’m so glad my words are helping and I wish you the best in your new business. With love, Sarah

Sarah Jenks

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