I was listening to a story recently on NPR about the rise of freelance and contract employment. The story was looking at the challenges of being a freelancer in a segment of the workforce that is growing rapidly. It’s projected that within a decade, freelancers and contractors will make up 50% of the workforce.

In this story, one woman was quoted as follows: “Being a freelancer, you really have to be on top of your emotional and mental health….the expectations of you are much higher than if you were an employee.”

She said this in describing the stress of being a freelancer. In her short segment, she painted a bleak picture of how this type of work comes with a cost: the requirement that one be on top of one’s emotional and mental health, in order to manage the stress of this life.

Of course, I hear this as a good thing. I think I literally clapped my hands and whooped out loud when she said it. “That’s the UPSIDE!” I shouted at the radio.

So what if going out on your own — starting your business as a freelancer or contractor or entrepreneur — is really the pathway to the self-knowledge you need in order to thrive? Self-employment is risky. And taking a risk is a crash course in finding out what you’re made of. It’s “You U.” Isn’t that a good thing?

Three years ago, when I decided to trade the security of employer-based work for the risk of entrepreneurship, I started out as a freelance marketing and communications consultant. Building my business and increasing my risk tolerance went hand-in-hand. Learning how to manage my emotional and mental health became crucial to my being able to stay in the game, and go from marketing work, which was an immediate service I could provide, to coaching and business-building, which was how I really wanted to serve. Every time I felt like I might crumble, I thought about the alternative — returning to full-time employment — and knew that that wasn’t for me. The only way forward was by doubling down on my inner work, so I could press further to grow the business and income I wanted.

Recently, I realized that these parallel outcomes were equally important to me when I made the decision to go in this direction. I was equally committed to my self-growth, and healing whatever was in the way of me reaching my highest potential, as I was to building a successful business and creating a new financial paradigm for myself.

This is why I work with people now both in personal growth — life coaching and spiritual mentoring — and business coaching. Growing a business takes risk tolerance and deliberate, focused action. These pieces are unavailable to us if we don’t do the inner work to see and dismantle old patterns, outdated beliefs, fear, and limited thinking.

Building a business is one of the best ways to hone your mental health. To be successful, to keep expanding, you have to keep going inward and cleaning out the sludge. You have to learn resilience, flexibility, resourcefulness, planning, execution…at greater and greater levels. There is always something else to learn, a new way to confront yourself to grow. The outcome of all that work is extremely practical: a successful, expanding business, and even more importantly, the ability to live and create anything you want in this world.

Ready to challenge yourself, do your inner work, and grow your business? Join my six-month program + tribe where we slay resistance, learn how to deal with doubt and comparisonitis, and map the exact course to get you where you want to go. Get started today!