I’m feeling all sorts of out-of-whack lately, probably because my mood YESTERDAY matches the weather TODAY. When I got off work yesterday I literally wanted to put on some oversized pants, throw my hair up, take my makeup off and… curl in a ball. Anticlimactic, right? But I’m a wife and a mom and my people need me to be a fully-functioning adult. Adulting is hard sometimes, ya feel me?
These types of blog posts fully remove me and toss me far away from my comfort zone. If you know me personally, you might likely describe me as an optimist, a jokester, and overall, I generally try my best to find the positive. Sure, I struggle. If I’m being honest, more days than not feel downright hard and if life is a balancing act, I may as well add professional juggler to the list of hats I wear. The people-pleaser in me ends each day with feeling like I didn’t do enough, despite not having a break in the day long enough to pee, and I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m human.
I spent my first year of this business being more of an optimist than a realist. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always be an optimist to a fault. But, I was so optimistic about everything, reaching all my goals at once, and just hustling like I was in a race against life, that I was doing more and taking on more than one can truly handle. It wasn’t until my first year-in-review business planning that I was able to see that this was more harmful than good, and while I had come so far, some things aren’t meant to be an overnight success. I came to a place where I was finding the most encouragement from people being raw and genuine, and being willing to share just as much (if not more) of their learning experiences as their successes. I was tired of only seeing people’s ‘highlight reels’ and starting to feel like I was failing at it all because my journey in this business looked quite a bit messier in comparison. And it’s no coincidence this blog platform was born right at the same general timeframe as this mental breakthrough moment. So, here’s to the 1,000th pledge of being honest, sharing my struggles, and hoping that it’s an encouragement to someone else. It’s easy to share the highs and the successes and to make everything seem as though it’s a homerun, but that does very little for others on their own path to whatever they’ve been called to do.
I’m sharing this because I feel the need to accept fault, be honest, genuine, and to encourage. Not to shame anyone, make someone feel like they’ve been blasted, or anything other than share my heart and my learning experiences. You may scroll my social media accounts from time to time and think I’ve just got it all together. Refer back to paragraphs 1-3… I don’t. And I’m thankful I don’t because it’s a breath of fresh air to come to the realization every now and again that I’m not perfect. Whew, pressure off. But hear me out when I say I never stop trying to be a better me, a better business owner, today than I was yesterday.
I recently received a message on one of my social media accounts from a potential client asking for information on my sessions. It is my goal to always respond within 24 hours, and 99% of the time I don’t even wait half that long. I’ve had e-mails get shoved in spam, my website web forms did this a lot when I first launched my site and I didn’t even think about it being a possibility until it happened, and then there are times where life was exceptionally crazy and I just straight up missed the 24-hour mark. Though few and far between, it does happen. And in this particular instance, I read the e-mail in the middle of a night time feeding with my son and I fell back asleep, with full intention of checking my calendar when I got to work the next day. And I forgot. Do I hate that I forgot? Absolutely. This a business and customer service is important. But I was reminded, (ER, no.. slapped in the face, heart-sank-to-my-stomach, notified in a follow up e-mail at the 48-hour mark) that I was sure to ruin my business with my non-responsiveness.
Remember when I admitted I was a people-pleaser? This about killed me. In the moment, I had about 200 responses come to mind. But the one that ultimately won came from an odd and unlikely place, given the circumstances, of thankfulness. I wanted to let her know how she made me feel and that if she only knew my heart she’d know I didn’t intentionally ignore her, I just made a mistake. But she didn’t care about that, and it wasn’t worth it. I’m a business owner, and the only thing I needed to do was apologize.
See, sometimes it takes falling flat on your face, being metaphorically gut-punched, sick to your stomach type of “failure” to learn and to be better because of it. Do I want to learn all of my lessons this way? Absolutely not. It sucked. The way the conversation evolved shattered me, knocked me to a low for the day, made me angry, made me question if this business is even for me (crazy, right?!). Nothing I said, no matter how kind or how apologetic, or how relatable I was to the fact that she’s obviously going through something much bigger than my 24-hour late response even mattered. It made me feel like a complete and total failure, though an honest mistake, and in that moment I disregarded all of the things that I do well and let myself focus on this one detail so much so that I questioned everything. CRAZY.
At the end of the day I learned two things: People will always expect more out of you than you’re able to give at times, and priorities matter. I am a wife and a mom before I am anything else, and I am human. I take full responsibility for being a day late on my response, don’t mistake that, but I should’ve shown myself a lot more grace. And second, it’s one more way I learned (the hard way) to serve my clients better. I went home last night and I set an auto-reply on my e-mail. I packed it full of as much content as possible in order to provide my potential clients with as much information on the FAQs I receive daily, and provided resources in the meantime within seconds of e-mailing me. I poured my heart and soul into this e-mail and read it back to myself 400 times to make certain that people would feel cared for and like their time is precious, because it is. And while not a fool proof way to avoid my own human mistakes, it’s a step in the right direction. If I implement nothing new as a result of this situation, I’m doing myself and my clients a huge disservice. I’m not able to look back on the past few years of my business and feel success without seeing all the MANY challenges I’ve overcome, all the times I fell flat on my face first, and that’s the way it should be.
If you’re starting your business and you’re deep into the grunt stage, I see you. If you’re a tired mom that feels like you’re so spent that you’re failing in more ways than one, I see you. If you’re a people-pleaser, and you’re on the receiving end of a nasty e-mail, I see you. And if you’re giving your best and juggling so much and you’ve made a mistake and it kind of feels like the end of the world, I see you, too. And it’s not, I promise. I want to tell you to show yourself grace, you’re human. You can only get up again tomorrow and try again. We’re all just trying to reach our own dreams, and as long as you keep trying, you’re still in this and you haven’t failed.
If you made all the way to the end of this, you deserve cookies. I promise to always celebrate your successes with you, but to always be relatable in the struggles, too. You can do it. You are doing it, and you’re doing a wonderful job at it.
Thanks for following along on this little dream of mine.