After years of working in higher education, I often think of May as an ending of sorts…wrapping up the academic year, seniors graduating, summer plans within sight. 6 years ago around this time, I resigned from the highest-earning position I’ve had to date to explore being a stylist full time. While it took me another 4 years to sort out my entrepreneurial next steps, I did make the leap to commit to MFD Style. But ending my higher ed days was big. Somedays it still is.

I am still sorting out this whole “working for myself” thing. I give an inner keep going pep-talk when I’ve not yet hit my stride, which I’ve read can take about 5 years. I try to keep my eye on my own journey, rather than look around to other stylists who appear to have more…momentum, clients, social media followers…or whatever other measures of success people tend to use for metrics. A slippery slope it is to compare yourself to someone else, especially when you nor they are working with the same variables and conditions.

I had a realization last year when I was taking a pause in my business to do more extended travel. The health of my business is directly related to my own personal health and well-being. When you are at the center of your business model (which may not be the case forever, but for now, it is), it’s vital to recognize the importance of taking care of you on all levels. Emotionally, physically, psychologically, spiritually…and I’ve really worked on this over the last few years. Here’s an example of how I know this to be true for me:

I used to get sick A LOT. My immune system really took a toll in my 30s. It didn’t help that I was primarily around germy college students, but even then, I found myself picking up more than my fair share of colds and viruses. I could basically pinpoint at certain times of the year when I would be down for the count. I used to feel very frustrated when this would happen- cursing myself for having a weak immune system. Definitely reinforcing the belief that I just couldn’t stay healthy when I needed to. May would be the month I would get the double whammy: seasonal allergies + running a high-stress program for 400+ seniors. Hello sickness, my old friend.

While I know there are MANY factors to build health and wellness (better sleep, eating a balanced diet, exercise, socialization, mindfulness, prayer, etc.), I’ve wondered if the forced isolation of Covid actually helped me. Hear me out: I think I needed a reset- time to get my body back into balance. And while it wasn’t easy for any of us to live in isolation or wear masks for extended periods of time, it did bring more balance into my life. My system got a chance to catch up, and I nurtured it with all the right things, mostly deepening my spiritual practice and listening to my intuition. Fast forward 4 years, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been sick (and that includes getting Covid and traveling to Europe!). I remember telling a friend recently that the mental shift about my immune system took a complete 180. Whereas I used to get an immediate “oh no” feeling in my body when I realized I was exposed to a virus, I now feel a resounding “you will be fine.” The confidence in my immune system is almost unrecognizable to me at times.

Building the strength in myself via my immune system is just symptomatic (pardon the pun) of how much stronger I feel about who I am and the business I’m creating. The metrics I follow for success no longer look like what I was taught. It’s not about the numbers, amount of money, productivity generation, or any other traditional measures we hear about from hustle culture.

I now ask: Am I well? And if the answer is yes, then my business is well, too. It’s as simple as that.

No analytics, number of followers, or income levels can possibly reflect that level of success.

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