There's one thing I've learned about business. It's not about business at all. It's about guts, emotions, tears, joy, ecstasy and heart. At least the solopreneur kind of business.
I haven't met a solopreneur who hasn't had their heart ripped open while creating their business at some point. And I'm no exception. This month has been no exception.
And what do I do when my heart has been ripped open? I stop doing the things that I usually would do in my business. Like write blog posts, focus on marketing, creating new content. Why? I'm not entirely sure! It seems to me that all I really want to do is connect 1 to 1 with real people and listen to their stories and have them listen to mine. Stay small & close to home. And learn as much as I can about this current lesson.
This lesson, this time is tied sweetly together with my two scariest topics. Visibility and money. I'm so scared and intrigued by both, that they've become all muddled together. Almost as though they are one and the same in this moment. At the very least, they're a mirror for each other.
My level of visibility, matching my level of bank account balance, it would seem. And since I'm equally terrified of being "visible" and being broke - you may (or may not) be able to imagine the tricky dance I've been playing of late.
Want to know what happened?
This whole website thing! Wow! It hit me in the gut like nothing else.[Insert: neither turned out like I expected they would] In fact, the last meltdown of this proportion happened the week after graduation in 2006, (while simultaneously experiencing the most significant business growth yet; trust me, juggling school full time, and learning to delegate work was a phenomenal experience -but exhausting) when the dean of my college asked me to teach 2nd year students! Completely flattered & terrified out of my mind I accepted & then on the first day of class had a complete and utter meltdown that haunted me for years.
And now this! An investment in a photo-shoot and a new website that felt like "a bit too much, to soon" bringing me to tears, fits of anger and ultimately a new meltdown. In the midst of possibly one of my biggest successes yet.
That then snowballed into a big colossal health mess (can we add poison oak, migraine and bronchitis onto the list of meltdown symptoms?) - just hours after returning from a "Must have - unplug this girl from the internet - camping break".
How does that happen? That we can show up for others and help them move through something they've potentially struggled with for months or years & simultaneously be curled up in the fetal position praying no one will notice us. Praying no one requests a skype interview because you have poison oak welts on your face & snotty tissues surrounding you. Praying for invisibility.
Or, maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm the only one who melts down at least once every 3 years, believes the entrepreneur dream is for someone else & can't see the "evidence" that's so obvious to everyone else.
The "You've just exploded onto the scene!" "Don't you see how everyone loves you!" The request for advice & help & interviews. When I'm pretty sure I don't even remember how to tie my own shoelaces, let alone help someone put together their own business.
Yet, I show up. I help. And they tell me they see change in their life. It amazes me. And then I remind myself that it has nothing to do with me. It's all them (because it is). I just happened to be in the right place at the right time with a little word or a little energy to help them move past a stuck spot. Of course, this reminder keeps my ego in check so much, that I also don't see my value.
And hence, my bank account takes the hit.
Growing Pains (for me) = scary looking bank balance
I don't have the answers. This is not a "how to" or "Top 5 Tips to Grow without getting mud on your face" blog post. It's simply here to share my experience. To remind you, if you've had a similar fall from grace, that others go through this too. You're certainly not alone. And that I may very well fall off the face of the earth again, as I go through yet another "growth spurt". Possibly over and over again for as long as I'm an entrepreneur (if the past 13 years are any indication of what the future holds, anyway). It's just a guess.
As I'm picking up the pieces, doing cleanup, making apologies for some of the things I did (and didn't do) during this past month, I hope to pick up some clues. Some little nuggets of information I might be able to write to "Future Me" for the inevitable 'next time'. To either get through faster, or maybe even pull out a handy "emergency kit" (of which I have several already, but couldn't find mid-meltdown).
Oh, and to those of you who feel compelled to tell your friends, 'You have to breakdown to breakthrough' while their at the peak of they're meltdown! Bite your tongue. It doesn't help! Unless you've just come over and bundled her up to take her to the spa for the afternoon.
It only serves to add more pressure to the already brewing pressure-cooker!
Little things like this surprising little interaction on a new found blog - that was a beacon of light for me. A reminder that I needed to pull myself back together and not give up.
What's even more delightful is that I later found "towardabudnantlife" is part of a Vulnerable Blog challenge that I'm also part of. Life is full of complex riddles and delightful surprises, isn't it?
Note to self! "When you happen to notice a friend having a meltdown, simply make yourself available listen!"
Yes, she may be going through a growth spurt and it's painfully obvious to you. This is not the time for advice and witty words of wisdom.
Give her space (lots of space) and let her grow on her own time (warts, poison oak itchy welts, snotty kleenex and all)
And you? How can I be the best of friend to you, while you're having that inevitable meltdown? What do you need? Quiet space? Am I completely wrong in thinking most people are like me? Tell me in the comments below. I can handle it (I think)