The hard lessons of 2014

The wound is the place where the Light enters you.

~ Rumi

This year has been a year of trials and tribulations. This wasn’t something I had anticipated, but I’m not sure whether one can anticipate such things.

I felt these challenges were thrust upon me, coming left of field, yet it was me who brought them upon myself.

Clearly, challenges serve a purpose ­– to learn lessons and crack open another layer, letting more light to enter within. In this way, 2014 was a year of self-discovery.

My first major trial for the year was to finish and launch my ebook, which I did in early February.

The product itself is merely a tip of the iceberg. What lay beneath was not only a lot of hard work, but also self-created anguish around marketing and launching the book. To be honest, that took the joy out of the accomplishment – having to hustle (ugh!) using cookie-cutter online selling techniques. You either enjoy that stuff or you don’t. I learnt that I don’t – it killed my mojo.

Eventually, I grasped that I’m not an entrepreneur – nor do I want to be – and that I don’t need to go down that path even if I do create something to sell. It’s the creating that I enjoy – and the pressure of launching, for me, just roadblocks everything.

I’d rather make sales through people who genuinely want to support me, trust and enjoy my work, and value my integrity – rather than enticing them to buy something. For me, business has to align with my core values.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. There were a few painful months in between.

About a month after my book launched, I turned 40. I didn’t handle that very well either. I lost my sense of self-assurance that I had in my thirties. I began to question everything. I can’t ‘blame’ one specific thing, but the many things that were going on in my head – and how I projected them into life.

Mostly, though, it had to do with The Mindful Foodie – that is, how to earn money from it, and me trapping my identity within it. I’d mistakenly looked outward for the answers. What I saw was extremism in the ‘real food’ scene, and the narcissism of personal branding through social media. My gut kept twisting in a knot – it knew that I didn’t want to be a part of this. I had to shut off the noise.

What eventuated was learning a very hard lesson:

How much I earn or ‘playing it big’ is not tied up with my self-worth.  

But observing others online can easily delude you into this.

After coming to many realisations – about business and life – I finally began to add the colour back to my life and trust my gut. For I had been hiding.

I didn’t get out of my funk by myself. I had some help. Massive thanks to Alexandra Franzen, whose newsletters and posts on love, life and business made me feel ok for what I wanted – to do business my way, with integrity; as well as to my reiki sessions with the beautiful and gentle Katie Wong, who helped me realise that writing is what feeds me – literally and figuratively. Finally, it was my trip to Sri Lanka that put the pieces together.

Sometimes we have to go through painful situations to become more aware of who we are. And I now feel that I’m ending 2014 and beginning 2015 on a much solid foundation of trust – of self and of life.

All in all, a very successful year.

13 thoughts on “The hard lessons of 2014

  1. Susan says:

    It’s hard to make it through those difficult times, but it is definitely worth doing. I went through a period of multiple difficult years to where I am now. One of the things I really appreciate about you is that you insist on maintaining your integrity and being conscious of what you do. You have helped me a lot with mindfulness, too. Thank you for being you. (And I’m looking forward to a brief return visit to Sri Lanka in 2016.)

  2. kathryn elliott says:

    Oh Lesh, I’m so glad you wrote this.

    I mean I’m not glad you’ve been through a difficult year, but that you’ve learnt lessons; come out of it feeling better about the life you’re living AND that you’ve written about it here.

    2014 has been a difficult one for me as well, with health problems and coming to terms with a new life, which is quite different from my old life. But of course, change is not necessarily bad. It can be difficult, scary, frustrating and at times you just want to stamp your foot and say “make it all go away”.

    Buuut good stuff can come out of it.

    As someone who is pondering exactly what to do about work and how to make an income, given the limitations imposed by health, I’m also glad you’ve written this. I’ve been wondering if the “hustle”, as you call it and the selling techniques I object to on other websites, are the only way to make a buck.

    So your post is a timely reminder about the value of being content with your work – the contents, ethics and direction.

    Some wise words to feed into my pondering. Thank you m’dear.

    • Lesh Karan says:

      Hello Kathryn, I hope 2015 gives you the answers you’re searching for…it may be unexpected, for life is like that, but we have to let go of control and trust, don’t we? Hard to live by, but something I often need to remind myself of. All the best, my lovely. Lesh xx

  3. Ana says:

    A beautiful post This has been a very challenging year for me personally too. Sometimes these challenges are indeed quite out of left field. In fact the major one, a family sadness, left me feeling like I’d been hit by a bus.

    As the year ends, it is good to reflect on the unexpected strengths I discovered, the kindness of others, and the need which I always resist of sometimes letting myself be vulnerable.

  4. Conor Neill says:

    I found your blog searching for a recipe for lentils… and then stayed and read a few more posts. You share food and ideas in an inspiring way.

    I find a similar challenge to what I read in this current post – the difficult balance between doing something that you love to do, and making money from it. If I don’t like doing something, it is easy to ask for money – if I love it, I find it hard to ask for money… strange things human beings 😉

    • Lesh Karan says:

      We weren’t all made to be entrepreneurs..turning something you love into a business is certainly not for everyone, so I discovered! Yes, we are strange, indeed, but learning more about ourselves (and not just going with the crowd) is one of Life’s key challenges…and joys 🙂

  5. Amy Landry says:

    I love your openess and honesty Lesh – it provides us all a sense of relief no doubt.

    I can only hope I’m living with integrity and as beautiful as you are when I hit 40. You’re doing amazing!

    Have you read The Big Leap? I’m sure you probably have. I just finished it, and a couple of things you wrote reminded me of the whole Upper Limit idea. It’s been a simple and yet exceptionally profound read for me. Changing my behaviour and my life, one day at a time! XX

  6. Jay Fleming says:

    Fantastic work Lesh !
    I find your approach and journey extremely refreshing. We are also in the process of de-cluttering, not only things, but also time. Given that, ‘the true worth of anything is the amount of life we are willing to exchange for it’ it puts the time-thief that is social media in perspective. Good on you for lancing the boil of social media. Physics tells us that something can’t move in to occupy a space while something else is occupying that space. Room has to be created by evicting poor or non-paying tenants. What we allow will continue.

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