Two days ago I was hit with some news that is creating massive change in our business. I am a small business owner, so let’s be real here, change in my business, creates change in my LIFE. My business and my life are interconnected. It is what happens. Our Office Manager, of six years, is leaving us and his last day is in two weeks. I’m happy for his new opportunity. Okay, okay, I will be happy for him later…I’m still trying to catch my breath. This isn’t about him though. This is about the Growing Pains of business. Of life.
Being brave means I’m going to show you the behind the scenes…the real deal.
In doing this leadership thing for a while I have excelled at moving through challenges as gracefully as possible. I am solution oriented. I don’t like to sit in the mess and cry about it. I like to get things done and make shit happen. It jazzes me up. It’s who I am and who I’ve become as a leader.
Then I learned the power of ‘being’ to balance out the ‘doing’. I gave myself permission to feel more, be more and do less. It’s not that I actually DID less…it’s that I put less value on how much I do and saw an increase in the value of ‘being’. I became more creative, powerful, centered, connected, happy. My goals shifted to how I wanted show up in the world and became less driven by how many transactions I could close in a year. I started to enjoy being enough just as I am. I don’t have to strive so hard to be better, have more, do more.
So now I’ve taken this blow and this is what I notice. There are a shit ton of feelings on the table, all of these Growing Pains. It’s like the buffet of all times; fear, sadness, hurt, panic, uncertainty, courage, strength, confidence, calm, encouragement, anticipation, trust. And quite frankly, I’m feeing bloated. So many contradicting feelings.
There will be positive change in the growth that happens next for our business. We expanded our space a couple of months ago, now we will be welcoming two new members to our family in the next couple of weeks/months and creating new structure. Growth is good. But growth doesn’t always mean bigger; bigger isn’t better (that post is here).
Yes, the opportunity is exciting, but it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. The pain in Growing Pains hurts. It just does. We are losing a beloved family member. Small businesses are family. Losing a family member brings up sadness and grief. I have felt it like a ton of bricks these past few days.
In the hours after I got the news, I walked and took deep breaths. I called my trusted people and I gave it to God. Two hours earlier, I had offered advice to a boss lady friend about the hiring/firing process. I typed, “It’s going to be okay. You are awesome and it’ll all work out.” I pulled that message up and I read it to myself a couple of times. I had written that message to her, but really, I wrote that message for me. I would need it later. As I read my own words I felt connected to something bigger. I was supported and I would be fine. I felt the strong sense of trust that things were happening the way they are supposed to.
My first post to the world, on Facebook, was an announcement that we are hiring – yay! The positive spin was on. I shined a light on this great new opportunity.
And then my eyes welled with tears…again. Because this sucks. Because I’m going to miss him. Because I loved our family the way it was. But you didn’t see that did you?
So that is the real deal, y’all. I’ve got my brave face on for the world. That’s what we’re taught to do. Leaders show up to lead. Yet, I am tender too. This kind of leadership is more than being an optimistic, business warrior. It’s about being human. True leadership isn’t faking it until you make it. I have found the courage to admit and actually allow myself to feel the sadness too. What is different is that I’m not shaming myself for feeling sad and hurt. I’m not trying to talk myself out of the painful part of this transition.
Why would I want to feel the sadness when I can choose happiness?
For me, being happy is when I can feel all the feelings. The yucky feelings are just feelings. They don’t define me. They pass by. They teach me things. They show me compassion, love and tenderness. They make me a whole person.
I want that.
I want to be a whole person.
And I can, when I embrace the Growing Pains and all the feelings.
Growth is too yummy of an experience so if that means it comes with pain…sign me up.