I have a feeling I’m going to receive some rant-filled emails from this.
Oh well. When has that stopped me in the past?
I’ve sat down to write a similar blog post at least fourteen times in the past couple of years, but I knew some of you wouldn’t want to hear it.
Because this is the kind of truth that people reaaaaaaally try to avoid.
Well, the time has come where I can’t shut my own self up anymore.
I tried duck taping my hands together but I got distracted when the UPS deliveryman dropped off the best robe of all time that I ordered from Target.
It’s knee-length, has weight but isn’t suffocating, has two deep pockets, and is the kinda soft that happens after you wash a t-shirt a hundred times. Plus, it sort of looks like you’re wearing a cute hooded cardigan instead of a robe.
But, we’re getting off topic. Back to today’s reason why I’m frustrated with humanity.
First, you need a bit of backstory.
In the months before I started my business, I moved from NYC to Virginia, got married and adopted a pregnant dog that had seven puppies…the day before our wedding.
Throughout the past seven years of running my business, I’ve dealt with a very serious parental illness and two very serious in-law illnesses that all included hospital stays and surgeries.
Three family members have passed away.
About five years ago, I began to battle for my life.
My body was attacking itself and no specialist could help me. Over the past five years I’ve spent months bedridden. I’ve been to the hospital more times than I can count.
Fifty percent of the time, if I roll up my sleeves, my arms are covered in bruises from IV sticks. I’m receiving a treatment that’s literally keeping me alive. Without it, my lifespan would be another 10 years if I were lucky. This treatment gives me debilitating migraines, along with flu-like symptoms, so it’s not all magenta glitter and jelly donuts.
And, as if that wasn’t enough, I’m currently going through a major personal issue that isn’t up for discussion because it’s…well, personal. But, what I can say about it is that it’s testing me mentally more than anything in the past ever has.
The only reason I took on the persona of Debbie Downer and listed all of these life-altering things is because these are the types of reasons people give me ALL THE TIME for “putting their businesses on hold.”
Along with some others:
- I just had a baby.
- My kids are young and I’m going to wait until they go to school.
- I just don’t have enough time.
- My brother died.
- I’m getting a divorce.
- I got a new day job and it’s taking up more time than I expected.
- My dad just got diagnosed with cancer.
Every time someone says that she’s putting her business on hold for one of these reasons, I just don’t get it.
And, I don’t mean on hold for maternity leave for two months or to grieve and spend time with family for a month. I’m not Voldemort.
I mean ON HOLD without a specific return date planned.
Now, before you call me a heartless wanker, let’s think this through.
When you either have something wonderful happen to you (like getting married or having a baby) or when your world is rocked (like when you get sick or experience a loss), why would the first thing you let go of be your passion?
If knitting or writing fiction or life coaching were the thing that lights a fire under you every day, why would you drop it like it meant nothing?
I’m probably going to get backlash from moms.
“You don’t know what it’s like. You don’t have kids.”
You’re absolutely right. I don’t. My health has kept me from being able to have children.
But I’ve got some arguments for you.
First, there are amazing moms who are crushing it in the business world. So, it doesn’t have to be one or the other. You don’t have to be a crap mom to be passionate about your work.
Second, does it inspire your kids when they see you happy, engaged and alive with energy? Or, is it better for them to be the reason you gave up on your dreams, seeing you lose pieces of yourself over time? (Oh yeah…I can already see the hate mail…A non-mom daring to have an opinion about moms?!? Are you already imagining me with devil horns?)
It inspired me to see my mom passionate, constantly working on side projects. I’m so glad she didn’t give that up, because I don’t think I would’ve had the courage to leave my day job when I did if I hadn’t seen the way my mom navigated running her own side businesses without the internet back in the 80s and 90s. I knew that if she could do it without the internet, I could absolutely do it with it.
She’s like superwoman to me. I’m lucky that I grew up with a mom who spent quality time with me and made time for her own creativity.
I’m NOT saying every mom needs to run a business. Entrepreneurship isn’t for everybody.
I’m saying that I don’t think it does anyone any good to give up on or “pause” your dreams. What message does that send?
I get slowing down.
You have a baby and you have to limit your working hours.
Your mom gets diagnosed with terminal cancer and you want to spend every moment you can with her so you have to work around when she’s resting and getting treatments.
You start developing weird health issues that your doctors can’t diagnose so you have to rest more and work less.
But, people, life is so very short.
Please take a moment before you decide to put YOUR DREAMS on pause even for six months or a year to remind yourself how short life is and that you have no idea how much time you have here on Earth.
Putting your dreams on pause is like spitting in your passion’s face. Like giving the bird to your creativity.
In the last seven years, I’ve experienced loss, devastating health issues, personal problems that leave me confused and frightened.
But, I’ve never pressed the pause button. Never.
Over that time I’ve missed less than ten weekly emails—probably more like five. And, those all occurred because I was hospital sick or at a funeral.
My business gives me something to focus on when everything else is crashing to the ground. My business allows me to be there for family members when they get sick. My business gives me a creative outlet when that’s exactly what I need.
If your business doesn’t do the same for you, maybe you’re in the wrong business.