My Monday morning started with a podcast interviewing Elizabeth Gilbert (author of newly released Big Magic), and Hannah Brencher's weekly newsletter - I encourage you all to start your week off in this order!
Big Magic seems to be the latest craze in the creative word. I'm about halfway through the book, and feel a review at this point would be an injustice to Elizabeth's words, but let me tell you there's something so soothing about listening to her podcast. And Hannah Brencher's book - I've read it and reread it. I suggested you take your lunch break to the book store and grab a copy. Not only is a great read, I love her style of writing and aspire to complete my own masterpiece when the time is right. Also, her weekly newsletter, get on the waiting list, if you're not already. It's the Monday dose of "get moving" you need.
Today it forced me to finish this blog post that's been sitting, waiting for the right kind of attention. It was something about HB's newsletter that resonated deep with my struggle, making my oblivious journey now very transparent.
It all started with:
"Beware: you can (and might) build an entire life out of fear. And that life can look deceivingly beautiful. And no one might ever question it. But a life built out of fear, and not love, is lonely. Gosh, I would do anything to save you from that loneliness."
And ended with:
"She was discontent. Really, she was dead inside. Your life might look really alive on the surface but you know the truth. And you know that if someone just pushed you gently, you would tip over and pour out completely."
And that I was - living a life out of fear. I had a decent job, boyfriend, apartment, freelance work - it was all great, from your perspective. But really I dreaded going to work, and the rest of these things I had were just icons of "success". Up until this point in my life that is all I had strived for. I was to go to college, work my ass off, get a good job, a place of own, etc. But nothing filled me up. Made me happy. I'm not saying I regretted those months, or never reflect on them every now and then, because it was an experience for me to grow from. But damn if I didn't hit that point of discontent where I did spill over, and pour out completely. Seriously, I broke things off with a longtime boyfriend, quit my job and decided to bury myself in freelance work AND invest in a start-up founded with the pennies from under the couch cushions.
Was it the easy choice? Absolutely not. In fact I don't think I've ever been so emotionally unstable in all my life. I cry when I'm overwhelmed. When my computer crashed last week I laid on the floor staring at the ceiling asking myself why. When my back windshield mysteriously got broken the week prior, I hyperventilated when I had to ask my family for monetary help. When a killer partnership showed up on my doorstep, and just as quickly disappeared I indulged in a whole box of Little Debbie. But the scariest of all is when the bills rolled in and I considered giving in to a part-time job instead of investing all of myself in the dream.
"But friends - finish the work you start. Finish the work and finish it strong. The day you ever start to think you are at the center of the work you do -- and that it does not come out of you for others -- is a very sad day."
Then came some long talks over tall glasses of beer, and I am so thankful for the friends that are willing to look me in the eye and lovingly say "get it together". The ones that tell me "I don't want to see your mug at 6 in the morning serving me coffee at Starbucks. I want to be the one envying the view from your office window."
And so after much contemplation I realized I was allowing fear to slip into my bed and disturb my dreams. I was giving in, on something I had already given up so much for. And for what? For icons of emptiness that to everyone else looked alive? Not again. I'm here to serve those in need. I'm here to let inspiration lead. I'm here to finish the work.
So to all those who may still be under the covers, doubting yourself and the choices you've made - it's ok. In the life of a full-fledged entrepreneur you need to reflect, question and grow but please finish the work. HB's one letter on Honesty Hour, made me step back and realize I'm right where I'm suppose to be, and I can only hope this post does the same for you. Be honest with yourself, trust your gut, and take the next step to carry on.