Have you read the book yet? Seen the movie?
Whatever you do, don't skip reading Eat, Pray, Love in favor of watching the movie or you'll miss all the rich storytelling the book has to offer.
Elizabeth Gilbert’s famed book is one that many women entrepreneurs can relate to. Some will enjoy her playful prose with its mix of intelligence, charm and wit. Others will resonate with the honest and transparent way she talks about the good, the bad, and the ugly that led her to and through her yearlong journey.
So what does it have to do with being an entrepreneur? You might be surprised.
First and foremost, this memoir about Gilbert's yearlong travels to three continents underscores just how much a woman's inner journey affects her outer-life journey. For the woman entrepreneur, it is also her inner journey that makes her entrepreneurial journey worth taking, and ultimately determines the success or failure of her business.
Here are five quotes from Eat, Pray, Love to sustain you along your entrepreneurial journey:
1. "Stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be."
That's a tough one for many women in general, especially women entrepreneurs. Because women are such community and consensus builders focused on the good of the whole, we often lack the backbone to just stand up and tell it like it is.
In fact, that's the main theme of Gilbert's book: Tell the truth. Tell the truth about who you are and what's important to you. Tell it to yourself and to those around you. And when you do, you'll find you've developed the backbone you need to complete your entrepreneurial journey.
2. "I am stronger than Depression and braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me."
This quotation is part of a much longer one that both calmed and strengthened Gilbert when she was at her point of greatest despair. Alone and crying out for the first time to God, what she heard in response from deep within herself was this: She was never alone, eternally loved, and always protected.
As women entrepreneurs, haven't we all been there? Alone. Crying out in the dark. Looking more for a connection than for answers. Whether that calm, all-knowing voice actually comes from God or from within, it is good to keep in mind that we are not alone. Together, we are stronger than we ever realized, with a deep reservoir of energy.
3. "'Tis better to live your own life imperfectly than to imitate someone else's life perfectly."
This quotation from the Bhagavad Gita is a powerful mantra for women entrepreneurs. Shades of what society once considered women should be—perfect daughters, wives, and mothers—still color our world today. Yet, times have changed. No longer is the right of passage for modern women one of age (from girlhood to womanhood); it is one of thought.
As a woman entrepreneur, you already have a strongly developed thought form of wanting to live life on your own terms. You already have independence, wealth and wanting to make a difference in the world as your driving forces. This quotation reminds us that the perfection of the entrepreneurial journey is in its imperfection.
4. " I am a better person when I have less on my plate."
What Eat, Pray, Love exhorts you to do is fill up our body, mind and soul with smiles. "Smile from your liver" with what is pleasing to you. From an energetic perspective, that which we focus upon is added upon. It may sound cliché to say, "Let go, let God." However, you must find a way to let go of the little irritations that occur throughout your day and move quickly past that which annoys you to a more pleasing thought form.
5. "You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That's the only thing you should be trying to control."
The first time I read this, I laughed out loud! How true! Show me a woman entrepreneur who doesn't want to be in control of her life, and I'll show you a woman whose business is foundering.
The key, though, is to select what thoughts to think. “…select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day.” I like how easy this quotation makes it sound. After all, controlling someone else's thoughts is not easy. It’s not even possible! However, controlling your own can be done, can only be done by you, and is well worth the effort.
Eat, Pray, Love is not the first book of its kind nor will it be the last. However, its popularity means that it struck a universal chord of recognition with many readers. As a woman entrepreneur, this book is a timely reminder to you about how important your inner journey is to your entrepreneurial journey. If you want to run a successful business, first learn to control your own mind. Let these five quotations from Eat, Pray, Love remind you to select your own thoughts each day, to smile both inside and out, and to stay strong along your entrepreneurial journey.
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Dr. Susan L. Reid is a business coach and consultant for entrepreneurial women starting businesses. She is the award-winning author of “Discovering Your Inner Samurai: The Entrepreneurial Woman’s Journey to Business Success,” and has a free chapter PDF of her most popular chapter: “Doing What You Love: Multiple Streams of Passion” for those who want see how persistence, patience and practice can really pay off.