Entrepreneurship, Fear and Big Magic
As my new adventure of 💯 percent of embarking in entrepreneurship began mid-March, I can't help but reflect on my journey this past month and how it continues to amaze me just how everything works out when you least expect it. Fear is gripping and it is a reality that most people have in any role. We are often told that we must conquer our fears. I am learning to embrace it.
Reality of Entrepreneurship
In case you missed it, the life of an entrepreneur is not an easy one. It's also not this glamorous thing that you see in a picture perfect Instagram post captioned - #blessed. Don't get me wrong, living a laptop life has its perks, and I get to call myself "boss," work on Main Street U.S.A. at Disneyland Resort, or on the shores of a beach. Yes, I also am guilty of those hashtags because those are the days that I get to share positivity surrounding my life. I choose to spread that, not all the gunk I weed through to get to that place. In all honesty, while it is a huge blessing, there are many times (especially at the beginning and sprinkled throughout) when this life is just scary as hell. To further clarify, I'm talking about fear and vulnerability. In my case, I am the product and my creative & technical skills and expertise are for sale. Putting yourself out there is not easy, even for a people-lover like me!
When you're a service provider for others, it's a whole different level of crazy. Focusing on what I do as a brand strategist and consultant, this shit is exhausting. BUT I LOVE IT. Why? I get to literally pour my heart into every client and brand. I am building relationships whilst seeing others thrive in their respective business industries, and I am my own boss. I can say no, I can say hell yeah! I get to have middle of the day dates with my hubby & business partner, I can see my kids at their awards ceremonies and be a “smother” by volunteering as chaperone for my kids’ field trips! :) For me, the positives totally outweigh the negatives. The hope and excitement for what I do trumps the risk and fear. Not saying the negatives don't loom once in a while, but I just can't give it too much thought or power in my mind.
Entrepreneurship Keeps Finding Me
Honestly, I'm not sure why I keep coming back to this place of having to start fresh. I'm a person with dreams, goals and plans - always. They don't always work out, but they keep me going. I'm a futuristic thinker. If I could count how many times I've recently been asked by well-meaning people, “what are you going to do?!” Or “do you think you can make enough?” when someone finds out I was laid off, I'd honestly have a nice nest egg for our family.
What people don't realize when they ask these questions, mostly because they are scared shitless for me, is that they are not exactly encouraging me. What people don't realize is that I am already my worst critic and am extremely hard on myself. Typically, you won't see me voicing my fears and acting like I have no idea what I am doing. I've always just done what I needed to do, and figured it out along the way. I try to give myself grace to make mistakes, because - life is a learning experience. It will never be perfect. Once I am in the zone, I just go. I can't spend precious time wondering if I can make it, when I could be taking action to JUST DO THE DAMN THING. However, the pitfall to that, is I overwork myself to get it done, don't take time for myself, or “roll down the window and turn up the music,” when it comes to my personal life (if you haven't seen NBC's This is Us, you're missing out). Sure, I have fun with my family and, I am amazing when it comes to helping other people find their magic, but I can get so caught up with taking on the burden of moving things forward I am criticizing myself along the journey.
So, why is it so hard for me to accept growing pains and not be so hard on myself?
Absolutely no clue.
I am getting better, but nowhere near where I would like to be. Personal growth helps, like reading stories of others' journeys, failures and successes. Making sure that I am giving myself room to keep growing and make sure that I am spreading my knowledge and magic to help others along the way, too. It helps to see the mess sometimes. Even in its raw form, chaos and mess can be somewhat beautiful. I'm learning more to not be afraid of my mess. Enter in the main purpose for this post, sharing one of my favorite reads:
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
If at first sight of the title one might assume that Big Magic is a frilly book for "typical creatives," but think again. Liz Gilbert is honest and raw. She reminds us that we are all creatives, whether we think so, or not, and irrespective of our work industry. She talks a lot about fear at the beginning, and that's when the light bulb went on in my head.
I used to think that I needed to be fearless.
I would take the entire world of my family and others on my shoulders. I needed to be strong for everyone, offering solutions and helping wherever I can. What I didn't realize, is that is not necessary. I can care and give guidance without slowly killing myself in the process. I also learned that I cannot be responsible for everyone's life choices. I also thought being fearless was required for success. Most people wouldn't see my fear when I'd embark on a new endeavor; I was pretty good at faking it until I made it. The only problem is that I felt like I never quite make it with most things. I make huge strides towards success in a lot of things. But I started to feel overwhelmed with never being good at just one thing. Society standards involve us all finding what we want to be when we grow up. What if I wanted to be a bunch of things? Why can't I do it all?
My entire life I've been pushed in a direction to shove myself into box and I just don't fit, and it has nothing to do with my obsession with gluten free cupcakes and donuts. When my overnight success of initial entrepreneurship didn't happen, I lost courage. I went back to the status quo and started to get comfortable.
"Creative living is a path for the brave... when courage dies, creativity dies with it." - Liz Gilbert
All of that to say is this: I've been reminded that we'd be crazy without fear. We shouldn't be hindered to move forward in life because we are scared; fear should be our companion on this journey. It keeps us safe to a certain degree, but we can't allow it to stop us from taking necessary risks for our happiness and success.
My hope, wish and prayer for each of my clients is that they do not let fear hinder them from making progress. Know that when we work together, we are in the trenches together.
The journey is about progress, not perfection.
Thanks for hearing my heart.