My Business Was Generating Over 6 Figures a Month, But I Walked Away: 'It Was Dangerous to Lead Other People Down the Path I Was On'
I decided to listen to my gut even though I'd lose money in the short term.
With my head in my hands, surrounded by my team, I can remember uttering the words over and over again, "If I knew what to do, I would fix it." Inside, I wondered where I was leading my clients.
The team I had built was losing faith in its leader, and I was lost, feeling helpless and utterly confused. I knew that I had the ability, but the drive was gone, and as an entrepreneur, that was demoralizing.
I had spent years building up my coaching company, which helped personal trainers grow their fitness businesses. It grew to a million-dollar business in just 18 months, allowing me to move from England and live my dream life in California while I helped a lot of people transform their lives. I've always loved helping people.
But after a lot of personal growth, something just didn't feel right. The tension had been building over time, and it created friction, ultimately impacting my mission because I'd lost my drive.
I was up against an incredibly difficult and gut-wrenching decision. Do I continue to try to get the company moving again, or do I let it go? This was a battle that I was going back and forth on until I was asked a question that changed everything: "What does your heart want?"
I had never thought about my decision making in this way before. There was a little voice that had been screaming at me, but I'd been ignoring it.
I knew what I needed to do, and it included moving out of the 1.5-acre property in Carmel Valley, California and letting go of my sports cars. I was ready for a new life, one built on a solid foundation of self-love and soul-driven decisions, not what my ego wanted — now I knew the difference. While the company I was running was making great money, the financial reward wasn't enough.
The 'Rubber Band Effect' of business alignment
When you're both running a business and growing personally, it's important to understand that your business can start to feel, just off. As we evolve and our beliefs change, as well as our values and attitude, what felt good feels strange becuase we're now living in a different headspace. If we fail to make changes that align with our heart and soul, it's like we're stretching a rubber band, and the tension just gets unbearable until it finally breaks.
To be brutally honest, many of the personal trainers I was working with weren't resonating with my messaging. It's understandable. The industry is heavily focused on physical appearance, and we see this all over Instagram with more and more people sucked into looking a certain way, believing that promotes a healthy self. I had started to move beyond this, and while some of my clients gravitated towards inner work and topics like meditation, most did not: They thought it was "weird" and "woo woo," just as I once had.
My marketing, which centered on building six-figure businesses, also started to feel off, and that's when I wondered where I was actually leading people. I had built up a material life, and quite simply, I started to feel that it was dangerous to lead other people down the path I was on. I was a leader, but I no longer wanted to lead like that.
So I had a choice. I could either bring the business into alignment with who I was or move on. While I loved helping many of the clients, I was exhausted with the overall alignment of the business, and my mind wasn't in the right place. I decided to call it a day.
The emotional rollercoaster after a big decision
While I knew what I needed to do, the decision wasn't easy because I feared judgment from others. I had no idea what was next, but I had worked on myself enough to trust and surrender, and I had people around me who supported my next chapter. I know that many of the people on my team were relieved that I decided to give up my material life because they saw what I could not — and it involved a lot of overspending and bad decision making based on my compulsive behavior and desire to look "rich."
For two years after my awakening, it was a rough journey toward discovering who I was again. So much of my identity had been built on material success and a certain type of messaging, and I was now finding my way and recalibrating myself as an entrepreneur. To say that I was all over the place would be an understatement.
However, in March 2020, I reached a turning point, and things started to click into place. I developed a new signature program that aligned with my new self, and the energy and focus came back. The clients I started to attract "got it," and the results were at another level because I was truly passionate about the work.
The mental money trap
On my journey, I needed to let go of my unhealthy attachment to money and the obsession with how much I made. My decision to let go of a business that was generating over six figures per month wasn't easy, but it allowed me to move on to something that was more aligned with what my soul and spirit wanted. I took a big financial hit, downscaling my entire life, and there was so much freedom in that.
As soon as I realized that people liked me for me and not for what I had, I was able to accept my reality and feel better. When the industry you're in is full of awards and recognition for financial numbers reached, it messes with your head because you're basing your success on extrinsic motivation versus internal fulfillment.
In summary, if you follow your heart, it may be painful and confusing in the short term, but in the long term, you will be much happier because your business aligns with your deepest values.
The struggle between the ego (the false self) and the heart is a battle that every entrepreneur will face on the paths to personal development and professional growth. But, if you have people to support you who truly care, ask you challenging questions and guide you back to yourself to find answers, you will be on fire again.
This was by far the biggest business decision of my career so far, and looking back, it was extremely tough. But it was the most important decision for my overall happiness. I'm building at my own pace, not constantly comparing myself to others, and to me, that is true freedom.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor