Lately, life has seemed overwhelming. I’ve been getting bogged down by all the elements of running my own business—and everything has felt like a fight. Fighting to land a job (quoting and negotiating jobs), fighting for payment (misunderstandings and miscommunications), and fighting to keep up with all the paperwork and administrative tasks (expense reports, invoicing, etc.). So behind in the paperwork. Tired. Tired of staying up late to work. Tired of budgeting every few days living a life of fluctuating income. Tired of feeling guilty for not spending enough time with friends. Tired of saying the same things over and over, “I’m trying to build a life with MORE time for you all.” Just tired. Tired to the point of frequent tears while sinking face-first into the largest square of my studio apartment’s carpeted floor.
Why do I share these things with you? Because they are REAL. Building a business is no joke. It takes perseverance. Dedication. Resilience.
It also takes VISION.
One of those times laying face-first on the floor crying out to God in exhaustion, He transported me above myself, showing me another perspective. As I lay there, I saw in my mind’s eye the larger picture. I liken it to film, where the camera pans over an entire town, then focusing on the street, house, and room. In this case, I was panning out. And what I was seeing was GOOD. Real good.
After a few years of not writing, I had the formatted draft of a book I had cowritten sitting on my table, one that allowed me to write humor, a genre I’d always secretly wanted to break into; I was starting to land the clients I’d always wanted—authors and pub houses (most of my time was now spent editing books and helping people find agents and publishers—everything books—love love love); people were accepting my recently increased rate without question (five years in the biz equaled time to raise that rate!); and I was finally starting to write for myself again, with a project in the works and a group that kept me accountable. On the personal front, I had a few true friends I talked to on a regular basis, individuals who had been with me through this whole crazy journey and who loved me the way that I was, even on the crazy days when my hot-blooded Yankee Italian came out; my family and I were growing closer and talking about things with openness and love instead of sweeping things under the rug; I now had FaceTime, which meant more opportunities to chat with the nephews… Just a lot of good things. More I could list, but you get the picture.
But all these good things, these GREAT things had been clouded by too-limited vision.
This experience taught me that whenever I am feeling overwhelmed, I need to mentally pan upward and see things from a broader perspective.
In my case, the feelings of exhaustion and overwhelm, the more frequent bouts of tears are NOT signs of failure or impending doom. They’re signs of GROWTH.
And I realized that I need some help with larger vision. I have survived in this business and have fought my way through the brambles to get to this point of working with dream clients and doing things I love—I like to call myself a renegade—but I’m tired of fighting every day. And I’m realizing I don’t have to. With a little help from a business mentor and other experts such as my friend Melissa Perkins Capps who runs an organization business, I’m going to learn how to think larger and how to streamline all those tasks that are cluttering my attention away from the dream clients and projects. I’m going to get help with creating systems for the everyday aspects of running a business. I’m going to get help with accounting and finances. I’m going to build a team of helpers. Not be afraid to ask for help. Help is not a bad thing. Asking for encouragement is not a bad thing.
It doesn’t mean you’re weak; it just means you’re human.
It also means you’re growing.
It’s a good thing.
I reached out to my Facebook community the other day, admitting I was tired, that running my business was feeling like a fight, and I needed some encouragement. When the encouragement started rolling in, I ended up having to go to the café bathroom because the tears started flowing. I hadn’t realized how hungry I was for someone to tell me I was doing well, to just keep going, that they believed in me. I didn’t want to quit. I just needed some encouragement.
I’m so thankful for the support I have in my life. So thankful for the God I have in my life. So thankful for this gift of vision and where it is leading.
When life is getting you down, try it. Pan away from the moment, from the issue at hand, and see the larger picture. Are things really all bad? You may be surprised at what you see.