This is not me right now. I currently have bed head, pajamas on, and a sling around my right arm. I’m dictating this into my phone and I am in so.much.pain. Apparently rollerskating with a group of nine-year-olds was not the best idea.
I have been in a heavy season full of growth and never quite connecting all the dots properly for a long while now. And while I have always been an optimistic glass is half-full person, this year I started thinking that my glass had a hole in it. I’ve experienced burn out and my laser focus has at times wavered for the first time in my life. I’m hyper driven, the physical embodiment of grit, and love what I do, but hustling too hard can damper that. People can be disappointing, things don’t always go as planned, when the challenges are great and they keep presenting themselves, when the mountains keep appearing, it can accumulate. Needless to say, I’ve been stuck.
Recently though, I have been regaining my clarity. I can see glimmers of the future emerging and it looks peaceful and sweet. Then I broke my wrist in two places! Here I am at the bottom of another mountain and in some moments, the challenge of that feels really frustrating. I’m tired of steep terrain, I’m tired of things being hard. I just want to sit, kingly on the top of one of these mountains, just to take in the view. Maybe that’s why my arm got broken.
A friend suggested that perhaps this time in my life is trying to teach me patience. Touché. And it’s true, this is where I am, no amount of wishing or doing can change that, and yes, it’s messy, and it hurts, but if I pause to look out my window I can see that the leaves are a beautiful vivid orange and that only occurs in this particular season. As is true in nature, I can count on another season being ushered in behind this one but right now I’m going to pause, right where I’m at, and see the beauty around me. How about you? What challenges are you looking to overcome these days? Let’s be encouragers to each other as we each navigate our own sometimes (okay oftentimes) messy paths towards who knows where. After all it’s about the journey not the destination, right? -Michelle
Have you ever read the 5 Love Languages book? Whether you are in a committed relationship or not, the ideas presented in the book are ones that I come back to over and over. The book is rooted in Christianity but applies to anyone. The premise of the book’s philosophy is that there are five love languages and most people have a couple that they identify with most, they are: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch.
The idea is that each of us possess a few of these as our dominant “language” and that most often our partners language is different than ours. The book tells us that we should seek to frame our expressions of love in the way that our partners will most intuitively receive and recognize and likewise we should be aware of our own languages and needs. So for instance, if your top love languages were acts of service & physical touch, all the red roses in the world may not register to you as the expressions of love that you need. You (though grateful) will probably still feel lacking in those other more dominant needs. As a parent, it’s also interesting to think of this idea and how you communicate with your child. It’s also interesting to think of it as an entrepreneur.
My primary love languages are words of affirmation & quality time, with words of affirmation being the most dominant. Though I don’t feel like I go around fishing for compliments, I do in reality need a lot of words of acknowledgement that I am recognized and seen, to feel whole. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I need to hear grand affirmative statements (though those are amazing – ha!), instead, simple recognition’s and thank-you’s and “hey, good job” go a REALLY long way for me. So when things get tough and I feel like I am pouring my whole self into things and don’t get that in return, business wise, it knocks me off balance. As an intensely introverted entrepreneur who feels like I am constantly “putting myself out there”, my ego can sometimes be especially fragile, as I’m sure are the egos of most other entrepreneurs who face tough decision making and intense output daily. This is why it is especially important to seek out those around you who will lift you up when you need it and have a network of friends, supporters and encouragers behind and around you.
At it’s best, entrepreneurship is the most fulfilling thing, being able to follow your passions, skills and effort toward change and a world that you would like to put your stamp on. At it’s worst it can be a harrowing struggle of doubt and faith. I liken entrepreneurship in some ways to being an explorer in a jungle; you are in the middle of a new land, you have a vision and a plan, you know in your gut that promise lies just ahead on the other side, you are frantically cutting down tall plants with a machete, not really able to see the path ahead, but trusting, and listening to your inner compass and intuition, that it exists. The key I think in some ways, is not stopping and looking around you or you will begin to realize that you are in the middle of a jungle, in a potentially scary place with low visibility and unknown threats lurking around each corner. You begin to think “Will I ever get there? What If I am wrong?” And then sometimes, sometimes, you look behind you and realize that you have forged a new path but now you’ve even got some people following you which can be both inspiring and terrifying. That’s when the real panic starts to hit in, “what if” you think “I am leading these people astray – what if all of this path forging has no value or purpose?”
Clearly, this line of reasoning shows that I could use a mentor and maybe even a therapist. 😉 Most paths have already been trod by someone before, and I, or other entrepreneurs, shouldn’t have to seek out the totally unknown on my own own. This is valid, I should seek out that wisdom from other more seasoned entrepreneurs, but, as that introverted entrepreneur who feels like I am expending every bit of my energy in seeking and cutting and forging, I oftentimes don’t feel like I have any additional energy to expend on anything else business-wise. I know a lot of other entrepreneurs at this stage of business feel the same way.
So what is the short-term solution? It is in knowing what my primary love languages are and how they relate to me as an entrepreneur and because mine is “words of affirmation”, asking to receive the encouragement I need from those around me when it feels especially lacking. It is also in giving back to those around me: my employees, my network of encouragers, my customers, in the ways that they need and actively thinking about that too. Likewise, if you haven’t yet, think about yourself, and just as importantly, those in your life: your friends and those you admire too, especially the entrepreneurs, in the “Love Languages” perspective. How can you give them what they need so that they can feel validated and continue down the path that they are forging? Do they inspire you? How can you inspire them back? How can you be an encourager to someone who encourages you often in small ways that you might take for granted? What can you give back to them to enrich their lives too?
My friend Amber always has the best makeup and beauty tips. She is the go-to among our girlfriends for new products & tricks we had no idea existed before but now we cant live without. Here are three such things:
1. The nail polish Penny Talk by essie . I met up with Amber and some friends for a quick afternoon get together and she was wearing this nail polish. It’s perfectly shimmery but still almost a neutral. I picked it up and it doesn’t disappoint.
2. Lanolin (aka nipple cream) as lip balm. I use Lansinoh brand. I know, I know, it seems weird, but trust me here. I was skeptical when Amber suggested it as well but now I use it too and there is no looking back. It makes a lot of sense if you think about it. And for purists, its only ingredient is wool fat, with no added ingredients or chemicals.
3. The oil cleansing method for washing your face at night. Have you heard of this? I hadn’t until Amber mentioned it. Another thing I was skeptical of, it is a technique that involves rubbing oil into your face and then wiping it off instead of face wash. Crazy, right? But it works amazingly. My husband, a scientist/chemist type said oil attracts oil like a magnet so that’s why it works. I had really clear skin in high school and then as soon as I hit my twenties I developed really bad acne that I still battle and have the scars to show for it. I tried everything and nothing helped. Oil cleansing has been hands-down a miracle for my skin.
What are some of your tried and true or new favorite beauty tips?