Last week, as I prepared to launch a new arm to my business, I literally felt like I was standing naked in the middle of a sea of people. Vulnerable. And it made me really uncomfortable! Not only was I facing my fear of failure straight on, and I will be honest, there were moments this past week where fear won, I also felt as though I was completely alone.
For years, in my career and pursuit of climbing the ladder, I had the comfort of doing so in a setting that felt like there was a safety net to always catch me. I was surrounded by an amazing team of people. Now, I feel more like the ‘little engine that could’ chugging along from halfway around the world simply doing the best I can. And while I often joke about ‘the grind’ there are things about the structure and routine that were comforting.
I am certain anyone who has ever put themselves out there – be it an author writing a book, an entrepreneur quitting their job to open a business, moving to a new city to pursue a new life – you have likely felt this exact same way. And this last week, I felt the weight of that.
In removing myself from comfort, it’s forced me to lean on trust and faith. And while there have been a few bumps along the way, there have also been some really amazing milestones that deserved a proper celebration. And this week in particular, I had to remind myself of that.
I remember a few years ago, a girlfriend of mine and I were chatting one night (yes – wine was likely involved). She had opened her own business and was talking about the struggle of creating a routine. She didn’t have the physical space of leaving an office each day, a time stamp for when to shut it all down. When you work from home, it is always there reminding you of one more thing you could potentially check off the ‘to do’ list.
We also laughed about having to do certain tasks that simply aren’t in your wheelhouse when suddenly you go from having a team of people that you work with to being a ‘one woman show.’ (Technology and I have a complicated relationship)
Back then, it was easy for me to listen and help brainstorm some ideas with her on setting boundaries, asking for help where and when she could, and reminding her that nobody expected her to build an empire in a day. Being removed from the emotion of doing it myself, made those conversations and the ability to find solutions easy.
And boy, did I need to step back and remind myself of my own words this week!
I was in the thick of it and it got the better of me.
I was on a call with an editor I work with, discussing a potential project, when she stopped to bluntly inquire about when she would be seeing my book, my life story come across her desk. While I laughed, and was flattered (it is something we have talked about previously), the weight of my loneliness this past week made me feel like a phony.
“A lot of people say they are going to do something, but Jenn, you’re actually doing it. That is inspiring!”
As I sat alone in my office just a few hours earlier, crying over technical difficulties – I certainly didn’t feel very inspiring.
But, that call was exactly what I needed. I knew there was only one thing I could do – I needed to pick myself up and dust off.
Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in that grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat. -Theodore Roosevelt
I realized that even if I fail in any or all my pursuits, both professional and personal, if my actions and being a woman of my word inspires even one person – I have done my part. (Of course, I am hopeful everything I do inspires my children)
But how many of you have been there? In the trenches? Feeling alone?
Moms – I know you get this. I remember those early days of parenting, sleepless nights of simply wanting adult conversation and to use your brain for something other than wiping the backside of a small human. Ladies out there climbing the ladder, feeling misunderstood in your pursuit of an amazing career, I know you get it – I’ve been there. Or what about all the entrepreneurs out there, trying to create something amazing, hoping the next wave you catch is the one you will ride into the sunset. I know you get it!
We’ve all been there. In some aspect of our life or another. We have all felt vulnerable. We have all wondered if we are doing enough.
And if there is one thing that leaving it all behind and now simply trying to find my place in this world has taught me, it’s that we all need to remember that in this lovely little experience called ‘being human’ we all have those moments. We’ve all needed the reminder from time to time “to dust off.”
The important thing to remember is to extend yourself some grace in the process.
Fall, pick yourself up, dust off, and keep going. Surround yourself with amazing people who are there to nudge you along when you are struggling to do that for yourself. And should you find yourself feeling like a sailboat in the middle of the ocean all alone, may the words you need come to you unexpectedly as they did for me this week, just when I needed to hear them.
Cheers to a new week. Keep going – you’ve got this. You’re not alone.