In 2015, I retired my comb (except for the very front of my hair) and began the journey to organic dreadlocks. I’m not sure that I expected much more from this dreadlock journey than a head full of dreads, but I’ve received far more than that. In fact, my dread journey has taught me a lot about life and business.
When an experience teaches us something useful, I think it’s good to share it with our community. That way, everyone benefits from one person’s journey and in doing so, the path becomes richer for all. So, I want to share 5 lessons my dread journey taught me about life and business.
You don’t have to try to manage everything.
There are many different ways to start dreadlocks. Some people want to exert a great deal of control over the process and they might back comb them, palm roll them for hours or use wax to make them look tidy. I wanted to experience the dreadlock journey in a more organic way and while I do some maintenance and I have a few back combed dreads, I largely just let them form with little guidance from me. Having chosen that route, I learned that I needed to step in here and there but usually, if I leave it alone, my hair finds its way. In life and in business, there are times when it is appropriate and even necessary for us to intervene. But there are other times when it is okay to let go and just allow things to unfold. Sometimes, beautiful things happen when allowed to unfurl naturally. Things we might have missed if we put our hands in the mix and tried to make it go the way we thought best at that moment.
Trust the process.
We get in such a hurry. We want it now. Instant gratification. Immediate results. Sometimes it takes time to grow something amazing. Whether in your microbusiness or your personal life, set the intention that you will trust the process and remind yourself to slow down and allow things to progress through the process. If your microbusiness is in its first year, allow it to be small. Trust that this is a normal and needed part of the journey and that as it matures, things will pick up.
Be present in this moment. It is so easy to look up pictures of other people’s dreads at whatever stage mine are in at the time. It is easy to get discouraged if someone else’s dreads look more mature at 6 months than mine look at 6 months, or so forth. I admit, I sometimes peek at the way other people’s dreads looked at the stage mine are in, but it is important to keep it in perspective. If you’re always looking ahead you miss out on the great stuff that’s happening now. Embrace those messy moments when everything seems chaos but things are still good. Find the lesson in the hard times when you can. Feel gratitude for all good things. It’s kind of like when you have small children and you think it is total chaos and you can hardly wait for them to get older so things will calm down. Then, they get older and you realize you long for those old days because, as it turns out, they were some of the best days you’ve ever had. In your life and in your microbusiness, set goals, look ahead but also be present. Fully experience what is going on right now.
There are times when I have to remind myself that I am more than my appearance. Some days, my dreads do not want to cooperate and people probably think I just didn’t have time to comb my hair that day. That’s okay. In your life and in your microbusiness, you will have days when no one seems to read your blog posts. Times when people unfollow you and you wonder why. Situations when people might even email you saying some hurtful things. In all of those times, love yourself. Nurture yourself and know that you can get past it. You can’t control many outside circumstances, but you can do your best to react with self-love, compassion and patience. Tomorrow is a new day.
Your truth inspires the truth in others.
When I first started my dread journey, I worried about what people might think, sometimes. Like, we were looking for a place to rent and I would worry that the property owner might think less of me if they saw my hair. It turned out that, more than once, people seemed to relax and open up when they saw my dreads. It was like that because I was wearing my heart on my sleeve, they were inspired to show up as themselves a little more, as well. I love that. Maybe you think your business idea is too weird or that people will reject you if you start living truer to your values. Maybe you want a tiny house or to rock big, fat dreads or to create a business selling your art. Maybe you want to quit your 6-figure job and work for a fraction of that at something you love. If so, do it! Maybe some people will be negative, but many people will be supportive and inspired to show more of themselves to the world, because they see you doing it. Wouldn’t that feel amazing?
So there you have it. 5 things my dread journey has taught me about life and business. At the time I post this, I am about 8 months into my dreadlock journey.I'm guessing I still have a lot to learn. I hope you found this useful, and if you have dread journey lessons of your own, please comment and share your experience.
2-Minute Takeaway (Journal Prompt): If money and the approval of others were not involved, I would ____________.