Bizversary special - 5 hardwon lessons from my first year of Enabling Enterprise

Phwoah, it’s been a year since I took the leap and launched this business!

Blackheath moment

While this is my second foray into entrepreneurship, Enabling Enterprise is the first business I’ve created on my own terms. I’m grateful for so much learnt with co-founders of an earlier venture, but for many reasons we didn’t get our awesome idea off the ground. This time I’ve started up solo, and now am gearing up for bigger collaborations and to build up a team. And I’ve absolutely loved being my boss, with all the learning and growth along the way…

There's been much to reflect upon as I approach this bizversary, with that potent entrepreneurial mix of angst and exhilaration. I’ve been looking back on achievements and challenges overcome, and renewing my strategy and approach for next steps.  So excited about changes a-changing, and will share the new news soon!

Here are five of the things I’ve deeply learned and valued over the last 12 months. There are squillions more things, but these are invaluable getting started and moving forward.

I have to confess too that some of these lessons I’ve learned over and over and oh yes, over again... So I’m sharing to celebrate the wins, amplify accountability, and to support you stars who are also forging a business.

1. Tuning in

I paused. It was practically the first time ever for this achievement-oriented creature. In early 2017 I began wrapping up projects and external responsibilities, and consciously stopped chasing or accepting new ones. I committed to daily meditation without expectation, simply 30min sitting. And I tuned in.

Frankly it was terrifying, as I’ve forever been striving to achieve, learn, run and do things. Busy connecting, making, problem-solving, giving and strategising. Creative and philosophically inclined, I swiftly transmute being into some sort of sublime expression or intellectual endeavour. And a moment slides into the future or the past, rather than presence in the now…

We were ok for survival - I had saved some money and am grateful for much encouragement and support from my partner - but fears kick in at subtler levels. I was quietly scared about closing doors, disappointing others, losing career credibility, and ultimately about being worthless and rejected as a failure. My ace role working with science and maths teacher education across Queensland universities wrapped up, and I purposefully didn’t look to new jobs. After four years of rewarding service, I resigned from my board position with Artback NT. I took a break from my MBA studies based in Melbourne. Quieted the relentless startup ideation and strategising that whirred like windmills in my mind.  It was time to focus inwardly and on our life within our community, here in Northern NSW.

Parenting our toddler (her new self-given name is LIGHTSTORM), life wasn’t quiet or particularly restful. However I was present and disciplined in meditating. And I reconnected with so much potential, purpose and clarity within.

That’s how I realised afresh the power of lean startup and hatched this biz Enabling Enterprise. I simply got started.

In lieu of a zen picture on my meditation cushion, this was an in-between moment for pausing and silliness, feeling all the feels after *shaking it off*, car dancing with Taylor Swift and my 3yo...

In lieu of a zen picture on my meditation cushion, this was an in-between moment for pausing and silliness, feeling all the feels after *shaking it off*, car dancing with Taylor Swift and my 3yo...

I encourage you to give yourself time and space to tune into what fires you up, what you deeply value and may be afraid about, without racing to solutions or actions.

If you are not used to such spaciousness, you can simply start by tuning into your breath right now or taking some time outside in nature. You can find miles of research and champions for the benefits of meditation. Reflect, journal, build clarity and connection within yourself - all so powerful for inspired action when the time is ripe!

2. Reaching out

In life and biz this year, it has been so enriching to learn the value of asking for help, as well as helping others. You’ve heard me shout out gratitude and testimonials countless times, and that #wereallinthistogether!

Entrepreneurial business demands truckloads of personal growth, and it can bring up all sorts of *interesting* challenges and resistance. I relish helping entrepreneurs to clarify their own motivations and needs in the journey, so that they thrive along with the business and those it serves.

Shouting out to all the extraordinary people who have supported, empowered & continue to inspire me! Too many to name here, so I share weekly thanks on social media.

Shouting out to all the extraordinary people who have supported, empowered & continue to inspire me! Too many to name here, so I share weekly thanks on social media.

I also emphasise that we are not alone. Working online, the internet graces us with quick connectivity and support plus all the lolz. And as a female entrepreneur and a parent endlessly learning/unlearning here in regional Australia, mindful of my privileges and responsibilities, I am a huge believer in communities. With our powers combined we can achieve and empower, cultivate and co-create, you name it, far more.

I’ve reached out for all sorts of support - sharing goals, ideas, fears and calling out in those dire moments when tech gremlins smite - and am always glad to be paying other entrepreneurs to help me grow. I work through strategic, systemic and mindset hurdles with trusted experts, allies and friends. Over the next year, I’m keen to invest and outsource more in building Enabling Enterprise.

If you would like to reach out to chat about your ideas or challenges around clarity, strategy or storytelling in business, you can simply line up a time or let me know your queries here.

3. Showing up

Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. It's tough to do that when we're terrified about what people might see or think.

Dr. Brené Brown

Showing up is not just arriving in your workspace and getting things done as planned, though admittedly those are all super helpful. You need to show up in your biz, and we want to know you. 

I know that, you know that, but it can be super awkward right? Look over there, it's Superwoman / Good Year Blimp / my adorable cats / laundry needs doing <insert your fave evasive manoeuvre here>

Showing up has been challenging and super juicy for me. Since tiny I’ve artfully avoided the spotlight, but over more recent years have worked hard to show up and embrace the power of my vulnerability. And I've chosen to give my all for connectivity and growth as an entrepreneur, from the very first shy selfie as I launched my biz, getting profesh photos, shooting videos and interviews, seeking support and sharing my wins/fails, promoting my work and telling my own story. And continuing to show up, even when I feel raw or goof up.

I encourage you to show up and will gladly cheer you on. Beyond all the inspiring things you create and offer, we want to get to know you - to find out about your story, why you do what you do, and to connect with your values and your youness. We are unlikely to buy stuff without this know, like & trust factor. Amidst the countless shiny things online and those pesky algorithms, we are unlikely to notice you (let alone develop KLT) unless you show up with consistency. 

If you shudder at the thought of being seen and heard in all your brilliance, I assure you it gets way easier and betterer with great planning, purpose and practice.

That’s not to say you have to be forever visible or worry about oversharing online. Go back to Point 1 & 2, and gift yourself quality time and support.

Showing up is empowering, expansive and creates real value.

I'd love to connect with your story or blocks you may face with showing up!

4. Live + virtual

Loving live right now.

Yes, absolutely I'm proud of setting up Enabling Enterprise as an online business, and I enjoy working with incredible clients and networks across the globe. I’m so grateful for all the people and groups I’ve grown with, connecting through social media. Thank you!

It's only just the start too. My geeky brain buzzes with delight for cloud collaboration, systemisation, automation and making things easier, and customising nifty online tools for my clients. I daydream of diving further into all the fantabulous tech, innovation, AI and crypto solutions, and that one day Scarlett Johansson will be whispering in my ear while sorting all my emails and writing my first book too... However I am mindful of not chasing #everythingallthetime and tbh that I’m not that kinda genius… At this point in time, navigating the toddler vortex is calling upon much of my quantum creativity and can-do capacity!

Increasingly, I'm also now enjoying connecting, coworking and cocreating with people in real life. Stepping away from this screen to meet eye-to-eye, embrace movement and embodiment, and deliver live programs. It's wonderful to be contributing and playing within my own local community, and enjoying lots more time without social media.

And looking forward, I'm developing fresh opportunities for collaborations, building a team, and for consulting within organisations.

You’ll be the first to hear of new live programs and opportunities to work together soon - exciting times! And I’d love to hear your ideas for collaborations and meeting up forrealz.

5. Audacity

The fear is a good thing. The fear is a compass, if you are not fearing the fear, you’re not making progress. We waste enormous amounts of time and energy trying to make the fear go away.

Seth Godin.

Leaning into the fear, with curiosity and compassion, has been transformative for me this year. To recognise that twinge of nerves, procrastifaffery or gut-turning terror when contemplating something outside my comfort zone. To open up to opportunity and growth.

Facing fear I ask myself, what stories or beliefs are holding me back? What is to be gained and what is at stake? What resourcing do I need to make this happen? If this scary thing is a goer, then what is the first simple step? Take it! 

Onwards and upwards

And the next step next.

I don't actually have to know all the steps before I start, as there are countless emergent possibilities and understandings ahead. Like believing six impossible things before breakfast, as the the Queen recommended to Alice through the Looking Glass, I’m practising audacity each week. 

Take that audacious first step.

It’s amazing how doable each step is, and how expansive it feels to trust and move towards goals that have long felt outrageously bold. 

And yes on this audacious path, the fear and loathing do sneak up again. Then I return to Point 1 & 2, to tune in and reach out for support.

I can’t wait to let you know about the transitions and new chapters ahead… And to support you to inspire and grow in making good great with your business!

Let me know any queries or if you'd like a free chat to explore your next steps…

Here's to you creating, connecting and growing with your inspiring biz!

Kathryn Gray