It’s been awhile since I wrote my last blog and a lot has happened, everywhere. I hope these words find you well and peaceful.
I mentioned in my last blog about my fears around having to reduce anyone on my team due to the financial impact of COVID on the American Cancer Society. Well, I am happy to write that they were not impacted. However, I was. I learned a few weeks ago that my position was eliminated.
My first reaction was relief, as each member of my team still had their position, reporting to two different managers. My second reaction was, “you’re splitting my team?” My third reaction was “why me?” My fourth reaction was, “now I get to work on SheTaxi!”
It’s no secret that I have struggled with working on SheTaxi while working full-time. I wish I could go 16 hours a day but, I don’t have it in me. Perhaps some of that is due to age? Or it could be that I figured out I don’t want to burn myself out, after having done so previously. Regardless, this year (glorious 2020), I have really been itching to focus on just the business and getting it rocking and rolling.
Losing your job, especially a job you like, is tough. Losing a job working with people you like is especially tough. Our team joked that we were all going through the “grieving process”…denial, anger, sadness, joy, etc. And, each of us were/are at different stages.
Friday was my last day with the American Cancer Society. Since the announcement of my departure, my heart has been heavy, as I truly love my team and feel an emptiness knowing that we won’t be integrated in each other’s days. I also feel a loss around the wonderful volunteers and coworkers I have had the pleasure of working with the past few years. And, naturally, as a cancer survivor, I am in full alignment with the mission and will miss the work supporting the fight on cancer.
But…here’s the deal. When I started to let people know I was leaving, literally each person said, “what can I do to help you?” Or, “I have no doubt you are going to be just fine”, or “now’s your time for SheTaxi”. I felt so much support – it was awesome!
I think back to 10 years ago when I started to work on SheTaxi. I was very driven to get the business going and had a great team of writers and interns working with me. However, I was very much “going at it” alone. It was my “ship to sail” and I carried all of the weight to do so. I thought if I didn’t have my “game face” on each day, I would be viewed as weak. At the time, I equated vulnerability as weakness.
I recently shared my “old” business plan with a friend/colleague who has now become my unofficial business coach/mentor (one of the great peeps I have gotten to know through my job). He told me how impressed he was by the original business plan and acknowledged how much work I had put into it. Then he asked, “so what happened, you just couldn’t raise the capital?”
Honestly, what happened was I was tired of doing the fight by myself. I was so burned out. I felt a tremendous amount of pressure (self-induced), doubted myself and didn’t have much support from my inner-circle. I couldn’t do it anymore – I was completely exhausted. It’s hard to be alone on an island, when you need fellow inhabitants to support you as you build.
I am convinced that then wasn’t “my time”. I am also convinced that now is “my time”. The circle of support I have around SheTaxi is TREMENDOUS. (I get teary eyed just thinking about it.) As someone who doesn’t like to ask for help, I am now taking it when it is offered, hugging it and not letting it go. I need it – starting a business is hard.
Which brings me to last Friday, I had my team over for the “final farewell” and it was the best day ever! The love and support they gave me is/was truly amazing. Most of my life, I have resisted being supported and loved like this. I’ve always been more comfortable giving love and support than receiving it. I like it this way much better.
As you can see from this blog, I am having a hard time referring to my team in past tense. It became crystal clear that things had changed when I went to finish a few things up on my laptop Friday night and the manager portal said to me, “you have no direct reports”. It took me off guard, like a “punch to the gut”. But, my heart was so warmed from the day, I thought, well, it was like my graduation celebration with them being here. So time to move forward, cherish the time we had together and build new experiences together.
Love is such a wonderful thing. Caring and non-judgmental support is such a wonderful thing. Being vulnerable and open to love, is such a wonderful thing. Today’s my first day unemployed and I am looking forward to what’s to come.
When you open your heart and be vulnerable, life is experienced very differently. The past few years I seemed to be “getting that” more. Rather than living with a “constant game” face on and trying to remain unexposed, it has become so much easier to live authentically. It takes much less energy to just be, rather than being what you think you “should be”. Authentic living, I highly recommend it.
Today’s my official first, full-time day at SheTaxi. I am literally giddy with excitement. I know it will be a rollercoaster journey, but most importantly, as long as I remain true to myself, it will all work out.
Take good care of YOU! Onward…