I had to make a decision recently: to take a regular 40 hours a week job that would be a nice job and provide a lot more stability than I have had in recent years but not a ton of money...OR...stick with my two part-time jobs and keep working on my business.
But one of my part-time jobs - a seasonal sales gig that draws on my interpersonal communication skills - did not deliver the follow-up gig that they and I had hoped. So I went looking for another part-time job...and stumbled across an offer for a FULL-time job. Uh-oh. Decision time!
Taking the job meant I would not be able to continue teaching kids at The School of Rock. This meant I would not be able to give extraordinary amounts of time to building my business during daytime hours! How, I asked myself, could I "back off" of my total commitment to building my business??? I was smart enough to put this conundrum in front of a team of fellow entrepreneurs. (I jettisoned my pride in favor of support and input years ago, and it has been a most rewarding thing to have done! And this was no exception: I got a lot of answers.)
Someone I don't know said to me that she has reinvented her business more times than she can say, due to things like this. Well, that was helpful, but didn't quite get me to acceptance. And then someone I do know and have great respect for - the founder and CEO of Party Sitters LLC, Nicole Willis - said to me that she thought the stability would be a good thing, that it would actually support my entrepreneurial efforts, and that this entrepreneurship thing is a marathon, not a sprint.
Oh, what a blow to my impatient and fearful ego!
Oh, what a massive gift to my recovering Good Girl's blind spot!
What I came to see is that until now I have lived the masculinized approach to my business: go balls to the wall, go all out, put the pedal to the metal, and MAKE. IT. HAPPEN! The Good Girl takes the masculinized attitude of SUCCESS and lives up to that craziness that doesn’t serve men either, truth be told.
You know the messages: Keep your eye on the prize. Go for the goal. Never give up. Try, try again. Make it work.
Now, I dislike statements like that. They are statements that carry no caveats; statements that are full of marvelous words that can be interpreted in as many ways as there are humans on the planet. So, where someone else may hear “Never give up” as "Be certain not to let problems stop you from your efforts", I hear “Do nothing else but this, at all, ever, until you succeed.” To my brain, it has always been a command to put nothing else in the arena but the business. Nothing at all. Not even certain aspects of my own life, in some respects.
So when Nicci gave me the magic words, I thought, “Holy Gawd! I’ve been sacrificing my entire life to efforts that I want to make, without letting other aspects of my entire life scoot up to the table!”
And that ... is enough ... of that!
So I took the full-time job. I opted for security – a steady pay check and insurance. A holy grail for many. Particularly for women over 50, of which I am one.
And I took the other woman's advice too. I am now working on producing a number of workshops that can very comfortably be done on weekends, and I will still offer my coaching efforts in the evenings, not panicked about money or security.
Leaving the either/or mentality for this/and: PRICELESS.
And one day, not far from now, I will leave the full-time job for my business, and I will do so in a way that is far more feminized than the "make it work" approach to success, because it is about PROCESS as SUCCESS, rather than the "finish line" (whatever that is) as success.
Was this "impatience" on my part, to want to give as much time as possible to my business, and not allow myself the support to do it comfortably? Or was it the Good Girl messages keeping me running with the masculine part of a fuller masculine-plus-feminine equation? The latter, no doubt at all.
This is one absolutely critical un-Good Girl step into letting myself relax and take life more organically, and to accept a healing that has been a long time in coming.
Where does the Good Girl hide? Anywhere. Absolutely anywhere. And most specifically anywhere she adheres to those approaches, attitudes and assumptions that make me feel that I am not successful already, just by virtue of letting myself be.
What can I do if I won't let myself be as wholly me as possible? Not much.
What can I do if I go for the Process-As-Success feminized model of having quality of life in how I approach my goals? Anything. And most importantly my worth will not be in my "success" or "failure", but in the beauty and unfoldment of my days and my newly relaxed and even more care-filled efforts.
I get to "win" now, and now, and now, and now, and always now.
That is a good trade for putting my non-existent balls to any wall I can think of.
Women's Leadership Coach and Speaker Lori is the author of Call Center Crazy and The Human Solution: Human Solutions to Every "Unsolvable" Business Problem,
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