My business stole from me

by | Jul 31, 2011 | Business | 6 comments

A reflection on a point in time 2 years ago ~ by Loralee Hutton


I had a dream. I had a new idea. And my current business couldn’t stand on its own two legs without me there, so I could fly my big new dream. And I hate it for this. I resented it, where once love had been. It was a chain around my neck, where once freedom lived.

It choked the life out of me, the dream out of me, and left me there like a willful child, spent after a terrible tantrum.

I began to hate it.

And it hated me back.

The dream shoved in a closet now, tattered. New ones emerged, started, tossed. The old confidence lost. The dreaming spirit dashed. Had the entrepreneur left? Had the soul of the company wilted like the fresh flowers that once stood in the office entrance every week?

The files and folders once lovingly organized, sorted, filed and groomed, now strewn on every desktop. Mail unopened, emails printed and scattered. Remnants of dreams and ideas like accidental shoe-prints left on wet cement.

Where had the dreamer gone? Was it she who was chained to the everyday task of running a responsible business now? The very one that was meant to set her free? The one she lovingly tended so she would have freedom to create anew as this one matured?

Where had the planning gone wrong? Was it too soon? Was she too stupid, smart, not sexy or funny enough? Not wise enough or educated?

Maybe there wasn’t enough money. Maybe the boom and bust was to much. Or maybe she didn’t really care enough in the first place. Maybe her passion lay elsewhere. Her purpose. But that sounds like bullsh*t to me.

Maybe it was bad investments, coaching, the wrong seminars, following the wrong “guru”. More bullsh*t.

The real truth is in the smallness. The faster she grew the more scared she felt of being exposed, seen by the masses, the magazine articles, the media, top google rankings, the stalkers, the haters, all these things she set in place to help grow the company now terrified her.

The dream and the reality are the same, yet feared somehow. She’s no better than another, and yet as good as another. The level of “guru” status uncomfortable to the skin, the touch, the body – all senses.

And so she shrinks.

Smaller and smaller until no one remembers her name.

And does she feel comfortable now? Somedays yes, and terribly sad. She misses the ones who were along side her.

The ones who kept growing and expanding, filling their lives with purpose and life. The retreat is what it is. Maybe even healthy. But it leaves self-doubt in her mind that she’s not good enough to try again. That she’ll slip and fall, the rug will slip out from under her while walking down the red carpet in those decadent new shoes everyone is drooling over. And that when she looks up from the carpet, she’ll see them laughing at her.

What a fool, they’ll say. “Why did she try again? Why doesn’t she just get a job!”

My business stole from me. It stole my ability to remember who I am. To see I’m just like you. To reach out and ask for help when I’ve fallen. To only look to my true friends, not the ones who laugh when I’ve fallen. To remember to breathe… always. And remind myself I’m not broken. I’m a piece of work in progress like everyone else. I just chose to do it a little more publicly than the rest.

Will I always remember from this point forward? Probably not. Will you remind me? Unlikely, as you’ll be living your own life, in your own drama or dream. And I’ll find my way back again. Maybe faster, maybe not. And when I do I’ll be different again. Parts of me, but slightly altered. Not better, simply changed. Like the rose planted near the house. The roots are the same, but each season it grows a new direction new buds, new flowers. That’s me… broken, trimmed, cut down for the winter, trying to grow again in a somewhat cold spring. ~~~~~Does my reflection bring up anything in you? Is there a story you want to share too? You can write here, or send me a private email. I’m here to listen.

Respectfully yours,

~ Loralee

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  1. Laura Gates

    Thanks for so honestly sharing your story. I have been in the corporate world, came out and started my own business in 1994, lost my passion for it and closed it and joined the company I’m with now in 2000. And though I truly love the work and my small team are all friends, I am again feeling the pull to be on my own. It helps to remember how challenging it can be, both to be grateful for what I do have in my team, and remember the challenge of being on my own. Finding the balance is the key for me. And I am glad you are here with all of us slugging it out!

  2. Sammi

    I came over to see what was going on in your blog – I had no idea this was the post.
    Last night I talked to my dearest friend for over an hour about how I don’t know how long I will be in this dip – and if my kids and I can withstand it.
    There is an exciting energetic camaraderie about being an entrepreneur, but also an isolating, even ostracizing element that we rarely talk about. It stresses people out (including the entrepreneur) and sometimes friends and family get hostile about it which makes me question myself way too much.
    I am truly sorry this was a truth for you but I am glad to know it was 3 years ago. It gives me hope and a sense of belonging to know I am part of a team of strong capable and creative women.
    Thank you Loralee.

  3. Laurie Rosenfeld

    Loralee, thanks for sharing your story. This line really spoke to me: “The real truth is in the smallness. The faster she grew the more scared she felt of being exposed.” It reminds me of the Marianne Williamson quote: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? …” It seems you have captured the twin fears of being small and inadequate, as well as being powerful and really seen.

    I am a new entrepreneur, having being on my own less than 2 years. After a career working in large organizations and the corporate world, one thing that has struck me is how vulnerable it is to be your own brand and represent yourself. So thanks for this post. I can tell that I will be facing a lot more ups and downs along the way and appreciate knowing it’s part of the process. 🙂

    • admin

      I love this quote too. And around the same time I was going through this pain, I made a video to remind myself of it. It’s over here

      Laurie, I love your willingness to take on this adventure, even if there are some scary things you may end up facing. It’s really all worth it. ~ Loralee

  4. Kathleen

    Thank you, Loralee, for speaking to the great challenge I face in this very moment: To be or not to be.

    ahhhhhhh…. breaks my heart, really. For you. For me. For all of us who struggle with this shadowy fear of growth and exposure. It disguises itself in so many insidious ways, problems, the relentless effort. And mostly by convincing us that the fear is not suppose to be a part of it all. I have been holding fast to the gurus who tell me… Fear IS the compass point. Resistance points the way. All I have is my faith in them and other wise teachers. As well as the first business I created 17 years ago and how I felt then. Sheer terror.

    We need to hold fast to the mast of ourselves… which in essence IS what I am attempting to craft my business as… mySelf. Stay with it as we would ourselves. And work with the shadows that arise. Just be sure to have the support that really seeeeeeeeeeeeees you/me and supports us here.

    To be or not to be… that really is the question.

    • admin

      I wrote this after an agonizing time 3 years ago. I had built this awesome team of staff, and was just getting ready to launch a new big idea (complimentary to my line of work, but it would take me away from my business at least 50% of the time, especially during launch) and just as the web development team & marketing company I’d hired was waiting for me to say “go” (literally days away from the star), a series of event happened (some personal, mostly business related) that left me basically paralyzed. Initially I said it was only on hold – but I wasn’t able to pick myself up again. I was embarrassed that I hadn’t been able to get this multi-million dollar business off the ground – primarily because I was back to “doing” the work in my main company – And I wrapped up all the failures within the company & said they were my own -took them on as though it was a reflection of my own self worth. Too bad I wasn’t also remembering to also see the reflection of the good I was doing too.

      It’s taken a lot of time to move from this deep painful place to one of detachment, appreciation – and moving back towards loving that business who brought me from where I was 10 years ago, to where I am today.

      I agree – where the fear resides is our greatest opportunity. And I’m so grateful to have surrounded myself with amazing people to go through this next phase with.

      And yes… embrace the shadows! ~ Love it!