This is a story of a weekend that isn’t turning out as planned. I’m sharing it with you as I see it as a metaphor for running a heart-centered business. I was planning to go out of town tomorrow, a trip that I had been looking forward to for a couple of months. Today, I was expecting to be frantically searching through my wardrobe, packing, and dropping my foster dog off for temporary care for a trip. I was kind of dreading today, actually, b/c I knew I would be stressed and trying to tie up too many loose ends.
Two nights ago, I received a message indicating that the trip had to be canceled. I was angry–so last minute!–and sad–months of careful discernment about the opportunity, deliberation, and, more recently, preparation. Being a fairly close to the vest gal, I hadn’t really allowed myself to get excited about the opportunity until the past few weeks, and didn’t share it outside of my closest family and colleagues until right before the trip. So the let down from “hey I’m finally excited” to “man this sucks” quickly led to “hey you should have known better than to think this would work.”
In my flurry of sadness-fueled anger, I could have easily popped off and allowed those emotions to fuel a reaction. Instead, I practiced what I preach and vented to a few folks, allowing myself to let go of the anger and move into plain old sad. I don’t do sad well. I think I’ve been conditioned, like many of us, to “look on the bright side” or to “muscle through and make it work.” Neither of those would really help me in this scenario, so I stayed in sad. Within twenty-four hours, my sad, having fully been heard, had run it’s course and I was able to see some light shining at the end of the tunnel–and it dawned on me that this is just a temporary pause in my journey. I’m convinced that had I not given voice to sad, I would still be feeling its weight pulling me down on the edges, or I would have journeyed into other uncomfortable emotions.
I share this because today we have an extra day of the year that we only get every 4 years. A day that I expected to fill with frenetic energy. Instead the day stretches out before me with zero obligations. Truly an extra day with ironic timing.
Running your business is like this. The emotional rollercoaster is real. Starting up you may be full of excitement and creative energy to get started. Then you learn all the things you didn’t know you didn’t know and the overwhelm can sink you. You devise a plan out of overwhelm and realize that just like others in the field, you can learn all the things you need to learn if you are patient with yourself and find the right support. Then you reach and grow in a new direction, and struggle as not all works out in the ways you expect and in the timeline you expect. And guess what? It’s ok. That indomitable strength within you will carry you as you stay in that discomfort and sit with it while it resolves. It may not be your timeline, but if you do the hard things and make yourself vulnerable, feeling all the feelings that arise, the rewards will come in the timing that is perfect for you.
When you are your business as a solopreneur, the business ups and downs often become personal. While we often have great illusions of control, there are so many factors in running a business that are bigger than us. When the unexpected presents or life is not on our timeline, we can choose to feel the feels, honor them until they resolve, and then keep moving. Often these pauses are the times when we can actually get stuff done.
I’ll be doing the things I hadn’t planned to do this weekend–enjoying a brunch with friends that I was sad I’d have to miss, and buckling down on planning out the next month in my business (which I couldn’t “see” with the weight of this trip in front of my eyes). Today I took one of my teens out for driving lessons and went up into a remote area with bison and beautiful mountain views. I took myself to an exercise class and then for a casual stroll through a favorite store where I found a perfect for me necklace. I took extra time to set my table pretty for a family dinner tonight.
Seventy-two full hours to do whatever serves me well right now. Perhaps a gift from the universe in an unlikely package.
Have a beautiful February 29 and I’ll see you in March!