The hardest time of the yearDec 08, 2023
I want to be really vulnerable here, in the hopes that this message is something you need to hear right now.
Being an entrepreneur/small business owner for almost 13 years now, I've been through my fair share of ups and downs. This week was one of those hard downs.
Has my daughter been the sickest she's ever been this week? Yes.
Did I have to have my heart jumped back into sinus rhythm on Wednesday? Yes.
But do I keep going? YES.
(Don't worry- she's improving and I'm feeling ok too!)
This is not meant to gaslight myself or anyone else. I'm not here to tell you to push through horrible things. But I'm reminding you that you can overcome more than you think you can. You can be nicer to yourself than you might think you can. That thing you want-- you can still have it, in spite of these times when things are really hard.
The easy thing to do is give in to the thoughts of bad things. I am human and will absolutely spiral and decide that everything is awful. I'm the first (and only one) to bury myself in the idea of giving up. I often blame myself and truly, that's not fair.
Starting a business puts you in the most vulnerable state. You're putting yourself out there. You're getting mixed messages all over the place. You just want it to be easy, simple, straightforward.
This week reminded me so hard that owning a business is just not easy, simple or straightforward. Honestly, it never will be.
"You have to be willing to seek. And you have to be willing to be frank in your music, and frank in your choices." - Pharrell Williams
Putting yourself, your art, your vision out into the world, especially as a business that gets validation from the cha-chings and social admiration… It's exhausting.
In these weeks where it's hard, I remember stories of other people who have gone through ups and downs. One of those stories is about Maggie Rogers.
Maggie Rogers is a musical artist and during her time as a student at New York University, Pharrell Williams, one of the world's most acclaimed producers/artists, came to her class to critique songs. Having been a college visual artist myself, I know that critiques were the most stressful part of classes.
When the teacher asked her if the song was finished she replied “I'm just trying to make as much as possible, so it's good for now. It probably needs a few more hours of mixing and mastering.”
(I want to jump in here with-- this was not her first song. She had been a musician since age 7, did a high school program at renowned Berklee College of Music and interned with a famous music journalist. In no way was this her first shot at songwriting/producing. She had been making music for years.)
The video of the two of them listening to her song “Alaska” will give you chills.
She said the song wasn't finished.
Pharrell said he had zero, zero notes. That's unheard of in any critique situation.
He said, “You're doing your own thing. It's singular. It's like when the Wu-Tang Clan came out no one could really judge it, you either liked it or you didn't, but you couldn't compare it to anything else. And that is such a special quality, and all of us possess that ability but, you have to be willing to seek. And you have to be willing to be frank in your music, and frank in your choices.”
What you are doing with your boutique is singular. You possess the special ability to create a life that compares to nothing else.
The virality that was created from that one song, that one critique video, put her on the large scale music map. She went on to get a record deal with Capitol Records and if you read her Wiki page, it lists all the things she's done.
Listen to her lyrics and you'll find the real story. It wasn't as incredible as we'd like to assume. On her follow up album she wrote a song about it called “Light On.” Here's the first two verses:
Would you believe me now
If I told you I got caught up in a wave?
Almost gave it away
Would you hear me out
If I told you I was terrified for days?
Thought I was gonna break
Oh, I couldn't stop it
Tried to slow it all down
Crying in the bathroom
Had to figure it out
With everyone around me saying
"You must be so happy now"
These lyrics hit me hard every time. From the outside things can look so good. Behind the scenes, it can feel lonely and terrifying.
Then, the chorus soothes me…
Oh, if you keep reachin' out
Then I'll keep comin' back
And I am findin' out
There's just no other way
That I'm still dancin'
At the end of the day
And if you leave the light on
Then I'll leave the light on
The light is still on. Even in the darkness, the hard parts, the rough patches. Someone is still leaving the light on for me.
- My husband, doubling down on parent duty.
- My mom, taking me to the city for the heart procedure.
- Ariane, my amazing friend and co-coach, checking in on me and running coaching calls.
- My family and friends, checking in via texts and FaceTimes.
- My mother-in-law, sending over food for us to heat up.
- Every single client who has emailed, messaged and showed up on calls to share their struggles and successes.
The light is on. It's left on for me, and I'll leave it on for you.
I'm sure I'm writing this to you because in the Jewish faith it's Hanukkah, and while I'm a non-Jewish person myself, I love recognizing acts of faith.
“The act of kindling the menorah embodies themes of hope, perseverance and the triumph of light over darkness. As the candles are lit, families gather around, reciting blessings and singing traditional songs to celebrate the miracle of Hanukkah and reaffirm their commitment to their faith.”
Do you have faith in yourself right now? In your business?
Yes? GREAT. I'm standing here with you.
No? It's ok. I'm still here standing with you.
Owning a business is a spiritual practice. You're making art. You're putting your heart and soul into it.
You are doing it.
I'm doing it too.
- Did I teach that Million Dollar Masterclass with an irregular heart rhythm? Yep.
- Did I enjoy every second of it? YES.
- Have I missed emails this week? Yes.
- Am I behind on some projects? Totally.
- Do I have pangs of worry that I'll go out of sinus rhythm again? Yes, thank you ptsd.
- But am I being nice to myself about it all? YES, I'm trying. :)
And can you feel me now
That I'm vulnerable in oh-so many ways?
Oh, and I'll never change
Being vulnerable is the best way to be authentic. To tell the real story of your business journey. So I'm sharing my story with you today.
I'm leaving the light on for myself, and I'm leaving it on for you too.