This post is a two-parter and it is about what I love about being an entrepreneur and what I learned about giving myself permission to create space in my business.
While I make every effort to make this post useful for others it is also completely from the heart, so there’s some vulnerable stuff in here too.
Several weeks ago, a colleague posted a graphic in FB that asked the question: why do you choose to be an entrepreneur? At the time, I was entering the most challenging stage of my business career so far. While I loved the question, I didn’t have time to leave a thoughtful response, but I read other people’s comments and the overwhelming feedback was around flexibility and their ability to set their own schedules.
I remember feeling like, well sheesh, I’m not feeling that at all right now. My dad was sick, I was trying to keep it all together and not let on that things were scary and stressful for me or that I was barely keeping it together. I did not feel freedom and flexibility in that initial moment. I felt like a house of cards teetering and I felt like the little piggie who built his house out of straw all wrapped up into one ball of anxiety. I was super committed to not letting down my clients who were relying on me, but I was really grappling with how to juggle my time, energy and emotional bandwidth.
And then it happened, my father’s prognosis took a sudden turn for the worse and we were forced to respond. My wife/business partner informed our clients and community as a whole that the office would be closed for a few days due to my father’s prognosis. I remember feeling worry and stress for those clients I had meetings scheduled with during the time of the closure. However, within minutes of that single email going out, I received an outpouring of support through text messages and emails. These messages were full of love and warmth and understanding. Our clients and the little community we have created gave me the freedom and flexibility I hadn’t given myself. But more importantly, they gave me comfort and compassion when I needed it the most. I will forever be grateful for the people that reached out, for those that didn’t and just gave me space and for those weirdos that even offered to do my work for me (that actually happened!)
So, what do I love about being an entrepreneur? I love that even though our work is to help other small businesses scale and grow, to work smarter not harder and to be a servant to others, that I have built relationships that go so much deeper than business. We celebrate our clients’ victories with them and help raise them up from challenges or disappointments they may encounter and vice-versa. I love that we have created a true community simply by doing our best work.
My awareness in this experience has been that my feeling of insecurity when it came to my own freedom and flexibility was self imposed. We can create space and freedom as business owners if we want to or need to. It doesn’t mean we cannot deliver on our promises.
Beyond getting the best first hand experience of what I love about being an entrepreneur, I have also gathered some key takeaways from the experience of stepping out of the business on a moments notice.
Stay tuned tomorrow for the conclusion of this tale……