According to an article in the Huffington Post, “Maintaining a small business causes twice as much stress as maintaining a healthy relationship with a spouse or partner, nearly three times as much stress as raising children, and more than four times as much stress as managing personal finances.”
Nicole Lewis-Keeber, a psychotherapist and money mindset coach, believes that a big part of the problem could be the dysfunctional, unhealthy relationship that unconsciously develops between the business owner and their business – and she speaks from personal experience.
“My business tried to kill me!” Lewis-Keeber says. “I remember the day – it was 5 a.m. on a cold winter morning – when I realized that I loved my business but my business did not love me back. In fact, I truly did feel like my business hated me and wanted me gone!”
Nicole Lewis-Keeber has worked in the behavioral health field since 1997, holding a masters degree in social work with a clinical license. She says that many personal relationship problems, such as a lack of commitment, fear, manipulation or abuse, can also manifest in the unique relationship that a business owner has with their business. This helps explain why many business owners and entrepreneurs experience stress, burnout, and lack of joy.
Drawing upon her extensive education and clinical experience, Lewis-Keeber helps business owners overcome these mental barriers so they can create a business they love – and one that loves them back. For the first time, she reveals the process she used to cure her own love-hate relationship with her business, and offers these practical steps for anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation.
First, personify the business. “I tapped into the identification and the soul of my business,” Lewis-Keeber says. “I began to imagine my business as if it was an entity, an energy source, a partner in creation to communicate with.” This creates the psychological and emotional distance owners need to think clearly and to interact with their business objectively.
Next, clarify expectations. Treating a business as a person helps owners become more clear about what they expect. “Write down a list of all the things you want from your business, including its attributes and character, as well as how you want to relate to it,” Lewis-Keeber suggests. For example, the owner might write down, “I want you to make me feel connected and nurtured, and I want our relationship to be fun, not so serious.”
Then, establish the ground rules. As with any relationship, Lewis-Keeber recommends that business owners establish good borders and healthy boundaries between their business and their personal life, which helps them to get really clear about the quality and nature of the partnership between them and their enterprise.
Finally, seal the relationship. As an extra twist in the creative writing exercise, Lewis-Keeber suggests that business owners write a love letter to their business. “We all have imagined what our perfect partner or soulmate would look like: how we would feel with them, and how our future would manifest with them as our partner,” she says. “You can use the same process as a foundation for thinking about your business as your soul mate.”
For Lewis-Keeber, the results of this exercise have led to dramatic positive changes, both in her own business, and in the businesses of the clients she works with. “I am now thrilled to tell you that I am in a hot, heavy, loving relationship with my business!” she says. “I love my business and it loves me. I nurture it and speak of it lovingly and when I do, it responds in kind.”
As a money mindset coach, Lewis-Keeber enjoys working through these issues with a growing clientele. “Coaching is a natural progression for me and a branch in my own pathway that I am passionate about. I love helping people break through the mental and emotional blocks to their success.”
To learn more about Nicole Lewis-Keeber and her breakthrough coaching programs, visit Nicole.Lewis-Keeber.com.