Every Tuesday night a group of my friends from grad school jump on the phone to talk about what it is we are all up to these days. Even though the topic of the call is loosely “career support” - the call almost always revolves around the start up of new businesses. Tonight’s call focused on the idea of being “all in” as in, “When you start a new business do you go ‘all in’ or do you go ‘part in’ and launch slowly?”
When I left United Way I was convinced that I had to go “all in” with the SheHive. All around me I was hearing messages about only being able to succeed if I jump in with both feet and without a back-up plan. Oh, and I had to be "scared as hell" to boot. In fact, two of the most successful small business owners I know have both shared stories with me about how they just up and quit their jobs one day, went home and declared they were in business for themselves without knowing where the hell their first client was going to come from.
I’ve carried those messages and those stories pretty close to the vest over these past six weeks. And every time I peeked at a want ad or took an interview for a potential job I felt guilt - like I was chickening out. I ought to forging ahead without a back up plan. I ought to be more confident. I ought to be braver. I ought to be all in.
Here’s the thing about ought… it’s some bullshit.
Ought is somebody else’s story looping on the tape playing in my head, drowning out my own story. And it is, most likely, an incomplete story.
It reminds me how, after bariatric surgery, I would read the message boards out there where other women that had the very same surgery as me would report how they took a deep breath one week post-op and magically lost 80 pounds. I would reprimand myself over and over because I would take a deep breath one week post-op and only lose two pounds.
Only two pounds?!
When in my life had I ever lost two pounds simply by existing for one day? I almost missed my chance to celebrate something really fucking extraordinary in my life because I was paying more attention to someone else's story than my own. I eventually unsubscribed from every bariatric message board out there.
And let’s be frank here, my gentle snowflakes, we all know those bariatric bad girls were dirty liars. Their stories were half-truths, if not full-on bullshit. But - but - even if just one or two of them were actually telling the truth, they were the outliers. Outliers with magnificent stories, but outliers none-the-less. And we need to stop comparing ourselves to the outliers with the amazingly magnificent stories.
Our own stories are all going to be magnificent in the end - if we let them be.
The fact of the matter is, I want a back up plan. I want a “bridge job” while I’m building the SheHive. And even with the bridge job, guess what? I’m still all in. The SheHive will still launch. (In fact, it already has - two clients strong now. Woot!) I just won’t have the extra added pressure of complete financial ruin while I get this dream out into the world.
Now, will the story be so extraordinary that they’ll end up making a Hollywood movie about it? No. But guess what, building the SheHive isn’t the story anyway. But what is going to happen there once it launches? Now that - that will be a story for the ages.