There will always be pieces to glue back together
I’ve thought long and hard about writing this blog today. I can think of 20 reasons not to write about what’s going on in my Real Life (it’s personal, it’s sad, it’s not for public consumption etc) and only a few why I should.
But this is MY website and MY blog page and I always intended it to be writing of all kinds, not just work stuff. I’d planned it this way so I would remember that before I was a copywriter, and actually, long before I ran my own business, I was a writer. I AM a writer.
And writers HAVE to write.
And with each word I type, I pick up the pieces of what I’m going through with my family and assemble them into some kind of order. It’s therapy for me, and possibly interesting for you and somewhere in the middle one of us might even learn something.
Earlier this month, my family suffered a huge loss. My mother-in-law passed away quite suddenly. She had a brief, but frightening fight with Covid and sadly didn’t have the strength to get through it.
It’s actually heartbreaking seeing it written down like this, so let’s move along a bit before I change my mind about writing it.
Obviously, my head (and heart) went straight to focussing on my kids, and my husband. Their loss was, is, huge. All attention went to them and helping them with their grief, as well as my own. I shut down to everything else, and that included all things work-related.
There’s no other choice but ‘real life’
Now, normally, no matter what comes my way, I’m one of life’s muddle-through types. When big stuff comes my way, I just get on with things. But this time, I had no desire to muddle along. It was important to honour the passing of someone I truly loved. I needed to be there, wholly and completely for my husband and children.
I needed to grieve.
And in grieving, in giving myself space to think and reflect, I’ve realised a few things about the life I live and the business I’m growing, and I thought I’d share them with you.
Because if you’re like me, then you’re probably busy with all-the-doing stuff. Chances are you haven’t completed many tasks in the ‘just being’ column of the self-care plan you created back in January (and only barely looked at since). And, no matter how much you plan and prepare, things don’t always go smoothly in life.
Big or small, if I can remind you of a few things to help you get ready for those times when life throws challenges at you, then I’m glad to do so.
- Running your business is only ever about picking up the pieces
I don’t know how I missed this, but I genuinely thought there was a place where everything runs smoothly and nothing ever goes wrong.
It’s not like I’ve lived a sheltered life, I know this isn’t the case. Somehow I got all mixed up in this idea and have given myself such a hard time for not being there yet…
But there will always be pieces to pick up, tape back together and shuffle around. Understanding that is so liberating. I no longer have to be ready for everything, or anything. I just need to know where the cellotape is – and know that’s as good as I can do.
- Make time and space for peace
Self-care is not my strong point. I learn this every time something massive happens and struggle to hold onto all the loose ends.
Before now, I saw reflection time as a choice – and I rarely chose it, preferring instead to just keep going with the busy-doing-busy thing.
This time, it wasn’t a choice. It was instinct and necessity that told me to stop. And it was cathartic and peaceful – and most of all respectful. To myself, my family, and the memory of dear Kathy.
I gained so much by being at peace. New ideas flowed (for life and work) and an acceptance came to me, that I can’t be #allthethings and I can’t do #allthethings. And best of all, I don’t want to. I want more peace and more balance from work
- When you overcomplicate your ‘why’
I tell clients to connect to their ‘why’ ALL THE TIME. And honestly, I thought I did. But turns out, my why is way more simple than I ever imagined.
Over the past few weeks, as I held my loved ones tight, I recognised how grateful I was that I actually COULD spend time doing just that. Holding on to people who needed me.
I thanked the 2019 version of me for taking a pretty scary jump into the unknown of self-employment. Back then, I didn’t know about connecting to my purpose, or my why (or much else for that matter). It was just clear to me that I HAD to do it.
My true ‘why’ isn’t about female empowerment, earning a living, or loving my work. These factors are important, but what really drives me is knowing I can be right there, beside my people when they need me most. Without question. Without stress and without having to ask someone else’s permission.
So when things get busy again, when I find myself working later than I wanted, or feel stress creeping in – I can tap back into that very simple why. Even better, I can close my laptop and go and be right there with one of them. Even if it’s just for a quick cuddle.
- You’re in charge of who you bring along with you
When I chose to work with coaches, mentors, and online entrepreneurs I did it for very selfish reasons. I thought they would be cool to work with; that they’d challenge me, help me grow and learn; I knew I’d love chatting with them and collaborating with them on projects big and small.
With time to reflect I know this goes so much deeper. I really care about these women – and they care about me. I’m proud of the clients I work with. I love the work they do and the way they want to change the world, and it’s exciting to be part of that.
I know now, that working out exactly WHO I want to work with is one of the most important decisions I’ve ever made for my business. Life is too short for clients who aren’t the right fit. Life is too short for anything at all that doesn’t fit.
This is just the beginning…
As a family, our grief is still very fresh, and there’s a long road in front of us. If I was younger I’d probably wish for a quicker way through this part. But I now know that making your way through grief takes time – and each footstep is an important part of the process.
We’re taking each day as it comes. And I know that a day of cathartic writing (thank you for being here for me) might not seem like much, but writing this blog is a good step. I’ve poked my head out of the hiding place and by doing so made myself a little stronger.
Appreciate ALL of your supporters
While writing this, I remembered that back before I had followers on Instagram or Facebook, my mother-in-law (and her lovely sister) were the first people who engaged with my posts. They were not my ideal clients but were definitely ideal humans and that’s what’s important.
Kathy was one of my first digital supporters. She will never know how much confidence her double-tap love hearts gave me as a social media novice, a business newbie and a complete noob (as my kids would say) in all aspects of development and growth.
For that, and a myriad of other things (real life, very personal, not to be shared here), I will always be so very grateful to her.