Welcome to this Forge & Flourish Newsletter for people creating an independent doing the work they love in service of people they care about.

Today’s email is a little different. I want to share a deeply personal story and a poignant reminder with you.

Ten days ago, I said goodbye to my beloved dog, Duke who was diagnosed with an aggressive blood cancer at the end of February. Despite our efforts, and Duke looking in great health, it wasn’t to be. Duke developed a sizeable mass on his liver, and the inevitable happened. It all happened so quickly. Just when I thought we had more time, it turned out to be later than I had hoped.

Duke lived a happy, loving, and fun-filled life. He was my shadow and brought immense joy to our lives. His passing reminded me, though, that time waits for no one. It’s a powerful lesson I want to share with you. Duke’s zest for life and unwavering spirit made each moment count, and in many ways, we should strive to do the same.

As solopreneurs and small business owners, we often find ourselves chasing someone else’s definition of success, believing that one day, we’ll finally get to live the life we dream of. The truth is that we need to align our businesses with our values and our vision of a meaningful life right now. Putting off our aspirations for “later” might mean missing out on the life we want.

I had only partly done that, but at least that meant I could focus 100% on Duke and Midge for Duke’s last few weeks, and I will always treasure those moments.

However, they are tinged with regret for all the little moments I put off because I focused on the future, not the now. I could have had a better balance.

I’d like to tie this reflection to a powerful, often overlooked exercise: the eulogy exercise.

Bear with me. It’s important for your business too.

Picture this: someone standing at your funeral, speaking about the life you lived, the values you embodied, and the legacy you left behind. What do you want them to say about you? About your contributions to those you cared for and the difference you made in the world?

Take some time to visualise this moment. Write down what you want to be remembered for and the qualities you wish to be known for. Then, work backwards from there. This exercise helps to clarify what truly matters and reaffirms the direction of your personal and professional life.

Begin to structure your business to reflect your values and support your vision of a life well-lived. Don’t wait for a future milestone to start living authentically. The time to live aligned with your true purpose is now.

Screw the cookie-cutter strategies that make you feel like you’ve been squeezed into a straitjacket. Forget about the so-called gurus selling you just a fraction of the puzzle that created their success. Trust your instincts; craft a strategy that’s right for you. Create a way of doing business that fits you and feels authentic to who you are.

Begin to structure your business in a way that reflects your values and supports your vision of a life well-lived. Don’t wait for a future milestone to start living authentically. The time to live aligned with your true purpose is now.

Though shorter than we had wished, Duke’s life was rich with joy and love. Let’s honour such lives by ensuring we embrace the life we want to live before it’s later than we think.

Until next time, take care,

Louise

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