Victoria Brouhard: Launching A Dream
Published on December 23, 2009
In honor of Launching a Dream month here at Dirty Footprints Studio, Victoria Brouhard is kindly sharing her journey of launching her dream. She is such an amazing chica, a soulful blogger, and a person with a big heart that wants to help you launch your dream as well!
Hi Victoria! Thank you so much for being here at Dirty Footprints Studio to share your story about launching your dream. For those Lovelies that are meeting you for the first time could you please introduce yourself.
Hi there! My name is Victoria Brouhard and I’m a scuba instructor turned IT professional turned life coach – how’s that for a strange mix?
The ridiculously short version of the story is that after years and years of really dreading going to work every day (yes, even when I was teaching scuba diving in the Caribbean), I decided I had to figure out a way to change that. I did lots of reading and journaling, and working with coaches, and eventually I said, “Screw it, I’m going to train as a life coach and if I decide I don’t want to make it a business, that’s okay.”
I completed my coach training about three years ago, but when I went to launch my practice at that time, I completely freaked out.
I spent the next couple of years figuring out why that happened, and what to do about it. I launched my website in August and now it’s been almost two months since I quit my job to focus on my business full-time.
How did you know it was the right time to quit your “regular job” and leap into your dream full time?
When I had worked through my fears enough to launch my business, I got a really good response. By that point, I had dropped back to four days a week at my job, and my intention was to keep the job while growing my business until I was replacing the majority of my income via coaching. What I realized pretty quickly, though, was that I simply wasn’t going to be able to do both successfully. Beyond my job responsibilities, I was only able to manage keeping my existing clients happy. There was no additional growth happening.
I’d done a lot of inner work to get comfortable with the fact that I really did want to do this, and to get clear that deep down I really do believe I can do it.
It’s not a choice that’s for everybody. What it comes down to is understanding how much risk you can handle. What amount and what kind of support do you need in place in order to move ahead without losing sleep every night?
What type of support and/or resources did you find helpful in making this transition?
I have a great support network of like-minded friends and mentors who I went to for business advice but also for virtual hugs and empathy when things were hard. And “like-minded” is the operative phrase, because some great advice I got early on was to limit who I shared my plans with. Sharing with the wrong person can lead to a lot of second-guessing and discouragement, which I learned the hard way.
I also committed to investing in myself and my business, to make sure I got help in the areas that needed it. For example, I paid for professional copywriting for my website, because I was spinning my wheels when I tried to do it myself.
And I worked heavily with other coaches, who really helped me to connect with my heart to know what was the right next step for me. Otherwise, it becomes too easy to wait for the “perfect” time to move ahead.
What type of support and/or resources do you find helpful now that you are working on getting your business fully up and running full time?
Mostly it’s the same support and resources that were helpful for launching – friends, mentors, coaches and other professional service people.
I think really it’s about making sure all (or as many as possible) of my needs are met. That includes business learning, self-care, continuing to engage compassionately with my fears and resistance, and generally giving myself what I need so that I don’t turn into a quivering blob on the floor.
I’m also seeing how different tasks associated with my business affect me differently. When I have to do things that I don’t enjoy or that are a struggle for me, I feel drained, which means there’s recovery time involved. But when I’m spending time on the things I do best and love doing – like helping clients or writing for my blog – I feel energized and that helps carry me through the day. I no longer see it as a luxury to hire someone to help with the tasks that leave me feeling burned out.
How has this transition changed your Creative Juicy Life on other levels other than just work?
It’s barely been two months since I quit, but already I’ve noticed that I’m starting to schedule my time differently. For example, I can go for a walk outside while it’s still light out, or run errands when there’s no traffic.
I’m also noticing that work is more integrated into my life, so I don’t feel so much like I’m split in two. When I was working at the job, I really felt like I needed to hide a lot of who I am, and there were also things I couldn’t say on my blog. That sense of having two different lives is starting to disappear.
My work feels more and more like it’s an extension of who I am, rather than just a set of skills I use for a designated purpose.
Now that you are actually living your dream, what pleasant surprises have you discovered about being self-employed?
The sense of freedom from having control over my schedule is even better than I imagined.
And I no longer suffer from Sunday Night Syndrome, which I used to get so badly that it would actually start on Saturday morning or even Friday night. Talk about putting a damper on the weekend.
What surprise challenges have you encountered so far as well?
My body reacted to the transition a lot more strongly than I thought it would. I was sick or dead-tired for over a month after quitting. I had heard that would probably happen, and even though I believed it, I still wound up fighting against it. So it’s been hard to establish new routines while I work around some of the physical fall-out.
I’m starting to see glimmers of new routines forming now, but it feels like I’m having to learn how to manage my time all over again. It’s a work in process, for sure.
How can you as a coach help others on their Creative Juicy Life journey?
This is a great question, and I’m always amazed by how much it varies from person to person, and even from session to session. I don’t follow a cookie-cutter formula – I make sure I’m meeting the client where ever they are, and go from there.
Sometimes I’m simply confirming that they aren’t crazy to want what they want, nor are they crazy to be afraid of getting it. I think people really underestimate the importance of acknowledging (and receiving acknowledgment of) how difficult this launching-your-dream stuff can be.
Sometimes I’m helping them get really clear on what support systems they need so they can move ahead while showing themselves compassion. Pushing through the fear really isn’t the answer. I tried that method, and nearly walked away from being a coach completely, because I thought if I really wanted to do this, I’d be doing it already.
Sometimes we brainstorm ideas and create manageable project plans so that it’s easy to keep making progress without becoming overwhelmed by all the steps involved.
In some ways, a lot of what I do for people is to offer a safe environment where they can look at their dreams and how to launch them with someone who’s been there and really gets why it’s important and why it’s scary.
Where and how can the readers of Dirty Footprints Studio reach you?
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your Creative Juicy journey with us. Big hugs!! Peace & Love.
Hugs to you, too, Connie! Thanks so much for inviting me. I love your work and can’t wait to hear more about your big dream as it unfolds.