It keeps me up at night, the excitement, the preparation and anticipation of it all! I’ve done this twice already, in the process of my third and already planning the fourth. Yet I have no children, only the four legged variety, but I have birthed a business and it’s a very similar ride.
This topic came up as I was speaking to one of my coaching clients. She asked me for any tips, stories or inspiration that might be insightful as she is nearing the one year anniversary of building her business. It’s been more of an emotional rollercoaster than she anticipated. And though I’ve never given physical birth, I’ve spoken to enough friends, mothers, female entrepreneurs, parents and business owners of every variety to understand that having a baby and starting a business are VERY similar. You’re the one responsible for giving life, creating existence, nurturing the seed of an idea into this world and keeping it alive. This is a little synopsis of what we covered in our conversation.
She is a mother of two young children, so I asked her to recall her journey into parenthood. Was it a dream that had been planted in your heart and mind long before you actually got pregnant? For some, it happens quickly and others it’s years and years of trying, infertility, doctors’ visits and emotional ups and downs before the nine month timer ever starts ticking. But this is stage one. It involves talking, dreaming, maybe a little research but no action has been taken. Everything remains theory until you step into the ring.
Stage two, we’re pregnant! Uh oh, sh*t just got real and a new level of adulting and responsibility has just been put on the table. Risk has entered the game, failure is a possibility and all the things you didn’t know that you didn’t know are now revealing themselves. There is a beautiful combination of excitement, fear, worry, hope, joy, insecurity, ego and bravery that cycles as you realize you’re to be a card carrying member of this new club. Who knew all these considerations could bounce around your head at light speed, and this is just the beginning. Soon this thing you’re growing hijacks your body and natural daily rhythms. Sleep cycles are off, sickness enters in, meals happen at weird times. What’s happening to me, you ask? Yet, you’re committed to the process and hanging on by dear life every day, to do what only you can be responsible for accomplishing.
It’s delivery day and from what I’ve heard, it’s called labor for a reason! Even with the best drugs or having a C-section that doesn’t equate to an easy or simple process. There is poking and prodding, people stepping in with the best of intentions and you’re vehemently uncertain if you want their help! Your expectation of the situation is DRASTICALLY different than this experience you’re living and let’s just say you’re hitting the crazy zone on the emotions meter. Just when you want to give up and throw in the towel, here is this beautiful being (…cue the music) and the ultimate perfection of your craft makes its introduction to the world!
You’ve reached a milestone; people are congratulating you left and right! Balloons, cigars, cake and gifts! Yes, it’s certainly an accomplishment and a moment of immense pride! And when all that goes away, real life sets in HARD. The destination you were focused on so intently speaks up to say, “You thought the hard part was over? Honey, the voyage has only just begun.”
And does the hard part last forever? The short answer is “no”. Every business is different. The day when momentum takes hold and you’re no longer responsible for pushing the boulder up the hill is not a day you can mark on the calendar with anticipation. However, it is a real live breathing organism and you can instinctually feel when you’re there then can pause for a breath. The machine is working, systems are in place and you’ve had enough reality with this entity that it pretty well matches your expectations. And that, my friends is when the stress is lessened.
But it’s not over; the forecast is not roses and sunshine for all the remaining days. You’ll go through this cycle again and again with differing levels of intensity during times of crisis or intense growth. But congratulations, you’re living the life of a business owner and it can be incredibly rewarding, possibly even addicting and watch out, you might want to do it again!
After this little exchange with my client, she saw the “in my first year of business mind games” through fresh eyes. Her demeanor softened and she admitted, in the first year of parenthood there were often days she just wanted to run away. Though you’d never dream of actually running away, just acknowledging the feeling and hearing someone else say “me too”, made it possible to find some energy at the bottom of the barrel and do it again the next day. Time is a teacher that we just can’t speed up. Be patient, do the next right thing and if necessary, call on someone to help you keep your head in the game. It is worth it!
I’d love to hear your story, your struggle and your victory!
And, if you need some guidance through this mental cycle of being in business, I’d be more than happy to help! Just reach out to schedule your complimentary session.