Confession: I’m a bit of a control freak. For those of you who follow the enneagram model I’m a solid 3 and for those of you who know me have probably seen bits and pieces of that personality come through – sorry about that.
So when, three years ago almost exactly, I walked away from my first, grown up, important job in advertising without much of an idea of how I was going to rake in a solid income I definitely surprised myself.
Two years I spent in a company, that was slowly robbing me of my identity, my joy, and my confidence. I stayed about 20 months too long but when I was done, I was done. About a year before letting go of the corporate world, I had taken up blogging as an escape from the harsh reality of my day-t0-day. This blog was a chance for me to gain a little control in one aspect of my life and create on a platform that didn’t have managers and clients nitpicking and micro-managing my every verb.
It was an easy decision to step away from the role and surprisingly an easier one not to immediately step back into a traditional 9-to-5 job.
Because I’m not much of a risk taker and rather a full-blown planner, I knew I had to have some semblance of a plan but I was *thankfully* also wise enough to know it also takes a bit of faith. And I’m glad I had that faith.
Entrepreneurship is not ever something you can plan. Don’t they say you should plan to fail and that’s about it? With a small plan, one small client, and a blog I had never made a cent off of I walked away from the security of a paycheck and essentially planned to fail.
Of course I learned so much through that one, singular action of putting in my notice at work and stepping away from it all. But the big lessons, the real battles? Those came much later when the adrenaline died, the fear crept in, and the girl with the shaken self-confidence wondered if all this work was making any difference.
If I’m honest, I still climb in and out of those craters of self-doubt from time to time. I still get in my head about self-worth and confidence. As an achiever and a planner, it’s hard to find success in days where I get more “no’s” than “yes’s” or the months where the stats are low and the paychecks are infrequent.
But I’ve seen it time and time again: the big moments are only made possible by the incremental, insignificant, day-to-day decisions.
A fail might not make a success. But three failures might. Or it might take seven. And because we don’t know the big picture those failures might leave us shaky and uncertain. But if we never try we’ll never know what could be.
One of my all-time favorite authors, Erin Loechner, published an essay recently with a quote from William James that I’d like to steal.
“I am done with great things and big things, great institutions and big success, and I am for those tiny, invisible molecular moral forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, yet which if you give them time, will rend the hardest monuments of man’s pride.”
So no matter your mountain or molehill. No matter your personality or pride. Know that it’s ok to find failure (or rather lack of subjective success) around the bends. If you’re able to keep at it, do that.
Find joy in the small moments and reshape your definition of success. I know I will.