I’m really struggling…
It’s difficult for me to write those words. As a Type A personality, I’m used to crushing it, succeeding in most things that I do, generally winning.
But the last 18 months have been a little different.
On 19th May 2017 I gave birth for the first time. If I’m honest, the journey was not like I planned it. My daily meditation promised a gentle, painless, joyful birth. Not 42 hours of frustration, extreme pain (baby was posterior ~ ouch) and scary interventions (all of which were on my ‘I DO NOT WANT’ list.)
And so herein lies my first failure. Not in life (I’ve had others), but in this particular run of failures.
Don’t get me wrong, little Winston was absolutely perfect. Perfectly perfect. But the process, not so much. Luckily I had a beautiful Doula with me to ease the transition.
I’d like to say I handled it graciously, but I didn’t really. Inside I beat myself up for having such grandiose expectations and for being so naïve. I mean, pain-free childbirth…with a first born! Who was I kidding?
My second failure was my very unrealistic expectations around running a business while tending to a newborn.
As a type A, I’ve always been able to ‘make things happen’, but I’ve come to realise this has partly been due to an excess of time. Or at least a non-shortage of time.
Beautiful little babies devour your time like nothing else. And so they should. But this leaves a tiny shred of time for you to use on other things…like work and business. And that shred has to compete with other essentials like sleep. Life really is boiled down to the necessities when you become a mother.
Not that I didn’t try. I did. I attempted to work here and there, but if I’m honest, my mind wasn’t really focussed. And so the results didn’t really come.
I stopped writing emails. I stopped checking comments on my blog. I stopped checking my analytics. I got lazy really. Well that’s what my critical self tells myself.
The truth is, it’s hard to be a mother and run a business at the same time. I thought I’d be able to crush it like everything else, but I didn’t. And it’s been a painful process of self-forgiveness. One that I’m still navigating now.
I feel terrible that I let you down. The other day I came accross an old blog post I’d written. There were 20 comments waiting for approval. I wept when I read them. There were beautiful souls with their hearts wide open in those comments. And yet I hadn’t even given their voices time to air. Here are a few of them. Ironically the post was called ‘What to do when you feel like quitting’.
Strangely, these open-hearted comments gave me some kind of hope. And a glimmer of remembrance of why I started this business: to actually help people. And little did I know an old post I wrote years ago was doing that in it’s own little way.
The funny thing was, when I came across that article (‘what to do when you feel like quitting’) I was actually considering quitting. Closing down shop, doing something else for a while. But seeing those comments re-ignited something in me.
I guess for me the journey is one of self –compassion. Learning to love myself when I fail as-well as when I succeed. It’s also the realisation that we are all the same. We all have struggles. We all fight with the voice in our heads day in day out. Sometimes we win, other days we lose. And it doesn’t matter how much ‘work’ we have done on ourselves (because trust me, I’ve done a lot).
If I had to pick one person though, it was Brenee Brown who had the biggest impact on my journey. And it’s 100% because of her that I’m sitting here, tears rolling down my cheeks, being vulnerable with you right now. I’m tired of pretending. I just want to be real.
In her book Tears to Triumph, Marianne Williamson talks about how as a nation we have taken the concept of a business model and applied it to all aspects of our lives; emotions included. And I kind of feel like that’s what I did with my journey to motherhood. My ego had it all mapped out perfectly. It just didn’t work out that way.
Our resistance to feel what we label as ‘negative’ emotions is another thing Marianne talks about in that book. How we avoid feeling sadness, when sadness is a perfectly appropriate response during certain times in our lives. Sadness is a part of being human. It’s not only OK to be sad, it’s a beautiful, sacred time to be treasured. That really resonate with me.
And so as I sit here, trying to be ok with my own sadness, I hope maybe you can be ok with yours too. We can be ok together.
Don’t get me wrong, the last 18 months haven’t been all bad, they have been filled with the most joyful moments of my life for sure…becoming a mother has most definitely cracked my heart open wide and I feel honoured and blessed to have this opportunity. My son lights up my life completely and I know that I chose my him over my business during this time, and I know I won’t regret that.
As the dust has settled I’ve realised two things:
Number one; I didn’t fail at childbirth. It’s just that success sometimes means things not turning out the way you want them to. He was born healthy and that’s enough for it to be a success.
Number two; my perceived failure in business has been a huge ‘motherhood success’ in disguise. The main reason I didn’t achieve the results I wanted over the last 18 months has been because all of my efforts have gone into being a mother. And truthfully, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Of course hindsight is a bringer of clarity and wisdom and if you’d suggested any of these aha’s just 6 months ago, I wouldn’t have been able to see them for what they are. It’s only as I reflect, that things seem to make a little more sense. It makes me think of the speech Steve Jobs gave at Stanford University about connecting the dots. I love that speech. We can only connect the dots of our lives when looking back.
As time marches on, I’m slowly getting more time to get back into things with work. You’ve probably seen I’ve been trying to do more Facebook Lives, and write more to you. I hope you’ll let me back into your life after my absence.
I’m focussing on small things as I get back into it. One of my first things is a short course I’ve been putting together for people on a budget, looking to change careers. I’ll let you know about it when it’s ready.
If you’re open to sharing, I’d love to know what you have struggled with in the past, or are struggling with now? What have you learned from those struggles? Let’s re-connect ???? in the comments below. Maybe if we stick together on this one, we can share the pain and the lessons a little.
Sending you love and light,
Zoe B x
PS – here’s little Winston…cute isn’t he? Bless his ❤️ I love him so much!