A month ago I quit my corporate job to become an entrepreneur.
4 years ago I started something out of a craving to connect with other women. I missed my sassy, fun, intelligent women friends - we had all got so busy creating and managing our lives that we didn’t have the time or energy to connect beyond the occasional happy hour. I needed the fizz of a group of women sharing stuff they loved, talking through challenges and helping each other out. I wanted ideas for how to get myself back on track. I couldn’t find it, so I started it and called it Passion Collective.
I did this as a hobby for several years. And then, after much reflection, I decided to go for it. “Do it full time”. “Take the leap”… whatever you want to call it.
When I tell people this, they look at me with a mixture of shock, awe, confusion, mild discomfort, or boredom (let’s face it, it’s the headline of a thousand start up blogs…). And trust me, I feel all of those emotions on a daily basis. Sometimes all at once. Often with a mild hot flush and an intense feeling of wanting to run as fast possible in circles while jibber-jabbering at the top of my voice.
For me though, this isn’t really about “being an entrepreneur”, or “launching a side hustle”. This is about creating a new way of living for myself, and for my family.
I have wrestled with this idea for some years now. I am painfully aware of my privileged status (OOOHHHH my life as a comfortably-off white professional woman with healthy family and roof over her head isn’t GOOD ENOUGH. I want to change it …waaahh!”) and have also thought about the 20+ years I have spent building my career and life to where it is today. Wanting to change that because I feel I want something more/different/more meaningful has made me feel at times guilty, scared and at times, a fake. Why not just get on with it? Will it put too much pressure on my already supportive husband? And FFS, isn’t “creating a new life” putting the pressure on - just a little? I mean, couldn’t this just be something I do in the background, for a bit, so that just in case it fails no-one will notice…….??
But in October, something changed. My Dad passed away, with me and my brother at his side.
And I have to tell you, it really does put the whole career/life shit-show into perspective.
What ARE we really doing with our talents? Are we helping people? Are we happy? Are we creating happiness for others? How are we spending our time each day? Is it all worth it?
All the cliches come flooding to you in that moment. And nothing else matters.
In the weeks and months that have followed since Dad died, a few things became increasingly evident.
Yes, community really is everything.
Half of the people at Dad’s funeral were friends he had built on his own, over 20 years. I knew none of them. They were his people. They loved him and were there for him.
The people who count accept you for who you are.
Everyone has their quirks. Those with creative talents are often eccentric and different to others. Those who love you - even if just on a professional basis - will accept you. If they don’t, LEAVE THEM TRAILING IN YOUR WAKE. DO NOT LOOK BACK. Absolutely no exceptions.
Everyone is unique and not using your talents is a brutal waste of energy.
When that light faded from Dad’s eyes so did his character, his roaring laugh, his determination, his independence (aka infuriating stubbornness), his bizarro sense of humor, his witty and articulate writing. I could go on if my heart wasn’t breaking as it is…. the fact is - you are YOU. What are you doing to do with all that energy?
If your body and brain are constantly exhausted, your heart is trying to tell you something.
We professional women try to do it all. Much of that burden has been placed on us. Much of it we put on ourselves for oh-so-many-reasons. Loving your family and loving your job/friends/house often isn’t enough to make YOU feel energized and lit up. We’re still doing too much. Life is not meant to be rushed through and tolerated. We deserve to feel good. We deserve to enjoy life.
So - I’ve decided that if I have started along this journey in building a community for women - where I am striving to create a space to be vulnerable, to share, to support each other, to create success together - then I need to do the same.
I am scared. I am excited. I am overwhelmed. I am buzzing. I am motivated to help make a difference to women who are trying to figure out how to be as happy as they can be. I am nervous to ask for help. I am dreading the inevitable rejections. I am hopeful. And I am determined.
What I am not is ashamed. What I am not is pretending to be something or someone I am not. And that is worth everything.
I don’t know if this will “work” and I really don’t know how to do this, but I do know I will try. I also know I have women around me who will help me figure it out. Strong women who are stronger for lifting others up.
I hope you will follow along with me as I write these posts. Maybe some of them will resonate. Maybe some of them won’t. I’m going to write anyway…some days I may write quickly, some may be more considered. I want to share this journey with you and I will embrace your ideas, thoughts, challenges and questions along the way.