Last week my business partner and I had a difficult conversation that left us both relieved and, amazingly, our friendship stronger than ever. What started out as a discussion about finances and the sales pipeline ended in the realization of something I had been avoiding for many months.
My heart just wasn’t in it anymore.
After five years of working to build a brand and a client base, both of which were seeing more success of late, I needed to let go. I knew the feeling well, having once spent nine years in a job that just wasn’t me.
Perhaps you’ve been there too.
At first you think you are happy.
After all, you are achieving great things— living your dream— and getting what you wanted. You convince yourself this is just a slight case of temporary malaise, casting a momentary shadow on an otherwise sunny day. It is no different from a cloud that passes in front of the sun only to be blown away as soon as you take notice of it.
A few sleepless nights aren’t cause for a job change, after all.
You remind yourself of every victory and give yourself pep talks every day, putting in longer and longer hours while dreaming of— Dare I say it?
…Having a life outside of work.
GASP! (Yes- some people actually DO that!)
Soon the sleepless nights are accompanied by an all-around, well… roundness! By that I mean the dreaded weight gain that society tells me I should fear as a middle-aged woman.
I don’t own a scale, but the telltale sign for me is the daily selection of buffet-friendly dresses exclusively, as the tailored pieces make their way to the back of the closet and I test out the stretch in those yoga pants I love so much.
You know. The house and car get messy and fatigue sets in so that you are way too tired to do much about it during the week; weekends start to resemble two solid days of KP duty more than a time for relaxation.
Instead of personal matters and big, exciting ideas your journal entries become rambling missives of fretting over various aspects of the business. At 3:00 AM the molehills look like mountains you will never climb and the rational thoughts that return in the morning are still a little haunted by the evening’s strife, even if you can't quite put your finger on what feels "off." You put on concealer for the dark eye circles, a little extra lipstick, and a brave face as you head out the door.
After all, you knew this would be hard and you’re no quitter!
It is especially hard to consider a change when you founded the company yourself and named it in honor of your late mother.
Yet last week, that is exactly what I did. When the words came out of my mouth they surprised me— not that I had actually openly expressed signs of burnout, but that I felt so relieved! It was on the table. I was actually truly ready to begin a new chapter and my dear friend and partner agreed that our collaborations could take a different direction.
It was time to let go of Gly Solutions.
I am okay with ending it because I have learned so much and met so many neat people.
I am okay with it because doing so opens up so many opportunities I wouldn’t have considered otherwise.
I am okay with it because I am excited and happy to design the next chapter of my work-life.
Today I find myself at peace and strangely unafraid as I rework my long-term strategic plan and consider the swift approach of the days when my nest will be empty, hugging my youngest son as if he were about vanish into thin air instead of a college dorm.
People say they are sorry it didn’t work out. They offer kind-hearted condolences.
But if this is failure, I must be doing it wrong.
This doesn’t feel like losing. I am walking away on my own terms with new strategies and opportunities at every turn, smiling as I notice— perhaps for the first time— just how open and abundant the world is.
In 2009 I buried my mother and today, on her birthday, I can say that I have finally laid her to rest. Gly Solutions was a great ride. I learned so much and the achievements were no small matter, but it’s time to move on. Perhaps the best way to say it is with a movie quote.
I have slept soundly since the decision was made, relishing my quest for the next opportunity the way a skier will dive into a mogul field on a snowy day, not knowing exactly what lies ahead, only that it will be “steep & deep” and a heck of a lot of fun.
I have checked the map and know there will be a warm fireplace, friends, and hot chocolate at the end— no matter which line I follow.
Now it’s time to point the skis down the mountain and enjoy the ride.
Image: Glyvelle Hailey Henderson, age 15
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