Growing Pains Extraordinaire

by | Jun 21, 2013 | Business, lifestyle entrepreneur | 32 comments

Growth Portable BizThere’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.vulnerable post
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)




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  1. Claudia

    Hey. Really admire your courageous honesty! Now I remember a previous blog of yours that was also like this. Thanks!!!! for not tidying it up.


    • <a href=''><span style="text-transform:capitalize">Loralee Hutton</span></a>

      Oh I wonder which one you’re referring to…. I may need to go back and do a little digging myself. I’ve found re-reading some of my blog entries helpful recently. Maybe I should simply write these for the future version of me 🙂

  2. Nicole Bradford

    Loralee…! I hope I can convey just how clear it is to me that YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES to be visible (because what you have is SO worth being seen by many)…and thus RICH 🙂

    It strikes me that at a time when you were seeking a break you still (clearly with the Universe’s help!) managed to be in a place and time where you made a HUGE difference (to me!!)

    And I SO agree with what Alex said about wondering WHY these kinds of conversations are not more everyday…since the matters of which they are made are ongoing in so many heads…MINE for sure. I think it id fair to say that I have some degree of breakdown every day…several a month….

    Happily I always see that they were absolutely breakthroughs and I am always way better off once I am on the other side of it…AND I long for the day when I feel like I have made significant progress on the visibility/bank account side of things….

    The hardest thing for me is to discern and perform what is the highest ROI item available to me at any given moment.

    When I am on the verge of breakdown, I need someone to give me their undivided attention while I get my head out of me and into an invisible “trash can” from which I can recognize (sometimes need help with this, but not much) retain any gems that happen to have been in there.

    The listener provides a de facto “this is worth listening to” validation that translates to permission, opens the way for authenticity and clarity.


    • <a href=''><span style="text-transform:capitalize">Loralee Hutton</span></a>

      I wish I had more of what you have
      “Happily I always see that they were absolutely breakthroughs and I am always way better off”…. I remember well the day last month when I started crying when I dropped a pen on the floor, and then again when someone asked me if I wanted coffee or water to drink. And the observer in me saying, “Oh dear! this is so not normal. Maybe you’re having a meltdown?” I’m not sure I could handle this every day though… You are very brave.

  3. Adrianne Munkacsy

    Great heartfelt post, Loralee. I love that you share all the thoughts and fears that you have in the midst of your growth. Not many entrepreneurs reveal their feelings—so the rest of us might feel “wrong” or “ungrateful” when self-doubt creeps in because we don’t see a reflection of that in others. Thanks for sharing your story and helping the rest of us feel less alone.

    • <a href=''><span style="text-transform:capitalize">Loralee Hutton</span></a>

      Thanks so much Adrianne. I especially like the reminder about how sometimes we feel wrong or ungrateful. I really have felt guilty for not doing the bit “happy dance” during this time. Writing this post has been quite cathartic for me.

  4. Alex

    Loralee! Love this post! And absolutely love the huge power for the rest of us in sharing your journey in this way. As you know, I had the biggest meltdown of my entrepreneurial life this year. Had to totally withdraw from the world pretty much. I really really hear you. And… It strikes me as odd this sort of conversation is not more normal really, when it seems to me any entrepreneur I’ve ever talked to goes through it. I love that you are bringing this important convo out into the open. Yay for your courage!

    And, I’d like to echo the comments above. You have helped me so incredibly much over the years, I can’t even begin to express it. And I can see a lot of other folks feel the same as I do. 🙂

    • <a href=''><span style="text-transform:capitalize">Loralee Hutton</span></a>

      As have you! You’ve helped me in countless ways!

      And you’re so right. I can’t speak for people running larger businesses, but I would hazard a guess that almost all solopreneurs have gone through something similar in their life. Can’t help wonder if it’s a necessary passageway of some sort.

  5. Alisa Ugalde

    I think you did have a breakthrough after this last breakdown. So glad you’re back in the game. 🙂 ~Alisa

    • <a href=''><span style="text-transform:capitalize">Loralee Hutton</span></a>

      Thanks! So much easier to hear after the fact! xo ~ Loralee

  6. Juliana

    You inspire me to no end! It’s so good to be gotten I don’t have words. Just today I feel the sink or swim pressure (again) and I was thinking of really putting myself out there with an attempt to inspire dancing. One moment I’m completely on fire and the next I think video myself dancing like a fool anywhere and everywhere, deep beneath my covers is calling me to hide away, in pathetic failure. Yeah bumpy road this biz thing is. You’re a beacon of light my dear friend xoxo

    • <a href=''><span style="text-transform:capitalize">Loralee Hutton</span></a>

      Oh Juliana! I hope you have another burst of fire & post those awesome dance videos. I just know you’ll inspire someone else to put out her big scary thing too! Thank you for your sharing your zest for life!

    • Taryn Pyle

      Oh I love to dance and would love love love your video. I have a group of women in a local meetup called Worth Her Weight, that are looking for places to go and just dance. We have done belly dancing, next is line dancing. This sounds so inspiring. Please let me know when its up and available!

  7. Taryn Pyle

    Loralee, your writing reaches deep into the heart and soul of things. How I feel on many days as a woman trying to make her way. When I read your story here I see the struggle, the give and take of going it solo, on your own. For me its the “If I fail, I can only point the finger at me”! And that is scary yet so rewarding at the same time as it reminds me that every woman needs someone not looking to point the finger, but rather to lift up. What a lesson! All the years growing a career and many women make the choice to put another woman down in order to rise themselves up. Now here we are trying to build our business and putting ourselves down, fearful that we may fail.

    For me, I do the “walk away”, I can’t write, I am not inspired, and I get engrossed in other “projects”. All in the name of ignoring what is really going on. I have a new rule. I don’t get involved in any more projects, buy any more classes, until I finish the last one I started. I have a lot of those to finish, but its helping me stay focused.

    I have a question for you. When I go back and read your post (I have read it three times) I think WOW, would she change the process? To find yourself in the midst of this, and then on the other side, what would it be like without that “Growth Spurt”?

    • <a href=''><span style="text-transform:capitalize">Loralee Hutton</span></a>

      such a great question Taryn. And I agree! That is why my friends say, “You need to breakdown to breakthrough”. They are right! It is needed. But I don’t want to hear it when I’m in the thick of it, I suppose. Because in the thick I’m not entirely sure that’s what’s happening. In the thick, I’m raw, ragged, experiencing emotions I haven’t looked at for a very long time & maybe, just maybe I need to stay there for a while, before working my way through to “breakthrough”.

      Possibly like a seedling of a big oak tree? It’s tiny & fragile & yet it pushes up through the soil & past the big rocks to reach the sun. It doesn’t have a clue what it’s pushing for, it just pushes. And when it breaks through, it sort of rests for a while, or so it seems, but it’s still growing subtle. Maybe a leaf or two. Or a subtle inch or two at a time. Not as much of a struggle, not as much effort. But still growth. And then once a season, it goes through another transformation… For the rest of it’s life. I suspect we’re like that too. But in the midst (in my opinion) we simply need the energy to get through… it’s not the best time for introspective thinking.

      • Taryn Pyle

        I know what you are saying. Someone close to me struggles with clinical depression and people used to tell her “just smile” or “cheer up” and it used to get her so upset because its just not that easy. I learned and am still learning that sometimes you just have to sit and be there for them. Let them know you are holding space for them. I learned early on for myself that I need to work through it on my own because most of the time people say the wrong thing and it holds me back from my own lesson. So I share a lot less and I pick the people I want know will offer me what I need at the time. I don’t always need a solution, I just need someone to be standing there holding me up as I walk through it. Brene’ Brenke has two really great books about some of this, and she talks in one of the books about women supporting one another and recognizing that we as women have usually ‘been through” what someone else is dealing with and we could be instrumental in giving them the courage and strength to work through it without judgement. I often wonder if that is the way people see it when another woman is telling them what they “should do” or “could do”. Do we on the other end look at the person offering the advice and feel less or incapable because of their well meaning comments? It seems that it makes it worse. I know when I am fumbling with something a comment from a loved one has the potentail to send me spiraling downward and thus accomplishing nothing. I am learning that often times I am in solution mode and need to back up a bit and just listen. I certainly don’t want my “solutions” to keep someone from working through something on their own. BUT, Big but, its a constant learning process because my first reaction is to solve..solve…solve.

  8. Ruth

    Now doesn’t that feel good to get it all out in the open? Yes Loralee, we are all the same. No matter what stage of our journey we find ourselves we all go through fear, self doubt, have major melt downs, wonder what we’re doing, where we’re going, etc, etc!! Success is scary, because with that comes responsibility. People now expect something from you!

    I am not anywhere near the stage you are at in your entrepreneurial journey but I can only imagine that each time a growth spurt happens and you gain more recognition, as your circle of visibility widens, there is a part of the human spirit that just wants to recoil and hide in fetal position (as you so eloquently describe!). Especially when you still have to deal with the upsets of life outside of your business. Seriously!! There’s only so much a girl can juggle!

    And I hear ya that it’s hard to take advice from anyone when in the middle of a melt down. Space and alone time I agree is the only medicine. Thank you so much for sharing, your bravery is appreciated 🙂

    • <a href=''><span style="text-transform:capitalize">Loralee Hutton</span></a>

      Ruth, so well spoken! Especially love, ‘There’s only so much a girl can juggle!” So, so true! Thank you! And I’m off to read your post… looks intriguing.

  9. Rhonda

    Well my dearest, I’ve watched you through this and stayed up late nights looking forward to our chats and I think you’ve handled everything like a rock star. I hope it never came across as me brushing aside what you’ve been going through when I would make the comment that you were experiencing growth. Actually it was an honor to witness it as I have always felt that it was the shift of you coming into your own. You’ve been my inspiration, my sister in pain, the light at the end of my day as I would look so forward to connecting with you. You are simply amazing and I am always available to support in any way I can. I thank you for being so tolerant of me in my pain fog when I wasn’t all together. And mostly thank you for the outrageous joy and fun that I have had in this most recent adventure of the 14 day group. You have made all the difference. I love you.

    • <a href=''><span style="text-transform:capitalize">Loralee Hutton</span></a>

      I’ve never felt that way with anything you’ve said Rhonda! You’ve been a rock! xoxo ~ Loralee

  10. Andrea

    Oh, Loralee! I just want to wrap my arms around you and give you a big hug! This is such a thoughtful and vulnerable post.

    You are absolutely not alone! I tend to hideout when I get overwhelmed and just sort if disconnect for awhile so I don’t have any big tips or anything. And I’m certainly not going to say you have to breakdown to breakthrough, but I will say that we all somehow manage to get through, don’t we?

    You are such a gem! Always so giving and so encouraging to others. Remember to be that for yourself – and let us know if you need reminding. We, your people, adore you! Xoxox

    • <a href=''><span style="text-transform:capitalize">Loralee Hutton</span></a>

      Andrea, thank you so much! You’re right. We do manage. And what a great reminder to be there for myself when I need my own encouraging. Thank you! xo ~ Loralee

  11. Christa

    Thanks for sharing your story Loralee. As much as it sucks to hear that someone else is struggling, it sure does help to hear when someone else is in the same boat, doesn’t it?! I’ve had many a meltdown since I’ve tried to get a business up and running! (my poor mother & husband!) Soo many successful women go through the same thing though – It’s just a matter of not giving up. We got this!

    • <a href=''><span style="text-transform:capitalize">Loralee Hutton</span></a>

      Such wise words Christa! And I agree. I can’t stand knowing someone else is suffering / struggling. But knowing it eventually ends, does make it easier. We do have this! you’re so right!

  12. Trezlie Brooks

    Well I am not a big fan of tough love… I think years of being subject to that leads a person to isolation…

    I believe a subtle approach is nice… sometimes a thump on the head if one is confident where they are… but today you are talking about vulnerability and you just never know if that aura of confidence is a security blanket.

    We need to learn that it is necessary to take care of oneself and reach out for help. (I too am trying to learn this lesson…)

    We are entrepreneurs, we will get back up, brush off and tackle the world again… but sometimes we don’t treat ourselves with the love and kindness that we demand ourselves treat others with. I would hope to have (be) that one person & send a message of generosity and support.

    And sometimes I truly believe it is the universe telling you have been burning the candle at both ends and it is time to rest.

    I know I am just appreciating my journey now with an open heart. The money still sucks , but when the time is right everything will all come together. I know this for you too Loralee! You are too generous of a spirit to go unrewarded. Big hugs

    • <a href=''><span style="text-transform:capitalize">Loralee Hutton</span></a>

      Yes, yes Trezlie. Please don’t burn the candle at both ends. We need you & the work you’re doing to help other artists. And I’ve felt your generosity & support during this past month. It meant a lot. Not sure if you knew that! Thank you!

  13. <a href=''></a>

    I have a melt down at LEAST once a month. I am doing too much, I am not doing enough, I don’t have a clue as to what I am doing etc…..But it is people like you that reminds each of us what our worth is and that what we are doing is REALLY what we should be doing in the first place. You are awesome and you spread that around to everyone you touch!!

    • <a href=''><span style="text-transform:capitalize">Loralee Hutton</span></a>

      Kim, you know you can’t say this stuff without me crying, right? I so appreciate you and the work you do!

  14. Trish Townsend

    Oh, sweetie, you are so not alone. I meltdown, wonder if I’m cut out for this, and question if I do anything for people at all. I can tell you you’ve moved me forward when I would have stood still, but I think mostly it involves acknowledging to yourself that saying “yes, I am special and have a talent for helping people do things they may not have done without me” is a good thing! You rock, don’t be ashamed to tell the world!

    • <a href=''><span style="text-transform:capitalize">Loralee Hutton</span></a>

      ooh.. where are those tissues when I need them. Thank you Taryn

  15. Lidys

    LORALEE I can relate so well to your post. I love the fact that you are sharing a part of you, business person Loralee, that we don’t usually see ‘business bloggers’ sharing; the real vulnerable you.

    hang in there as it is getting better.

    • <a href=''><span style="text-transform:capitalize">Loralee Hutton</span></a>

      thank you! I know it will get better (my brain knows it anyway) but it’s crazy slow.

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