As I type the entire eastern seaboard is covered in snow. It actually has some new name I’ve never heard before – snow bomb cyclone – something like that. I couldn’t even follow my meteorologists last night when they tried explaining it all. It’s a massive winter storm complete with snow, wind, and frigid temps that spans from northern FL up the coast to ME.
Tons of schools were closed for two days straight (on the heels of two weeks’ holiday vacation) with lots of businesses following suit. Not all though and I had several friends venting on Facebook today, less about having to show up to work, and more about the stress that these days cause.
It’s the stress that comes when life goes off the rails and we don’t have support. Or we can’t even fathom the idea of asking for help. Especially when we are purposeful ambitious business owners.
I know this well.
About 4 years ago snow snow fell on the region in early December and pretty much didn’t stop coming until March. It halted everything for days and weeks at a time. I was still running my arts agency then, recouping from a sudden surgery, and frantically planning/saving my conference experience that loomed ahead this month. My child was in Kindergarten at the time and he hadn’t had a full week of school since early December. I would no sooner get started on phone calls and I’d be interrupted.
My support system then was weak — no after care, no nearby friends yet for playdates, no swapping schedules with my husband (who also ran a small business). My mom was still working full time too. Worst of all, I wallowed in a sea of comparison and not enough. Surely my colleagues had amazing partners who helped out so they could diligently work! Surely they managed to do all the things and make everything work despite the snow!
I remember looking up in early March and seeing a list of to-dos going back to December and realizing, through tears, that here was no way to catch up. As a solo entrepreneur, I had no choice but to cut losses. And that cut into profits. Cue more feelings of inadequacy.
Years later my circumstances have changed and I’m a lot wiser now and have a better handle on things, particularly how I view these types of days. Here are some tips for the other business owners, as well as the frustrated person and parent out there:
- Remember to breathe. If possible, take 5, make a cup of tea or coffee, or go for a short walk, get away from the crazy to clear your head a bit.
- Let it out. Holler, mutter, cry, whatever you need to do to release the frustration.
- Remember that you are not alone — be it as a parent or one running a business. Say it a few times out loud. We’ve all had these moments, particularly the feelings of frustration, of falling behind, and the feelings of not being enough, not being able to do enough and be enough to our kids, families and businesses at the same time.
- Make a list of your support system. Who can you call? Whether it’s to vent, to ask for a favor (watching your child for a bit), or something else?
- Prioritize. You can’t do it all yet you can likely do some things, the important things. What are they?
- Consider some PT help be it a nanny or mother’s helper for a small child or a student intern to help with a project.
- Think and get really clear on what you need. For example, I found that if I couldn’t get a full day of work in that a solid 4 hours was enough for me to get through the priorities and put out any fires. ASK for what you need. Ask God, the universe, the support system.
- Remember that this too WILL pass.
I can’t promise you that all this relieves or fixes everything. Maybe it gets you through the moment though and arms you with some tools or a process to handle the next snow day. More than the tools and trial and error, it was time and coaching that brought me into a better mindset about days and moments like this. Time that brought peace and brought me to a place of acceptance, patience, and being present.
My heart goes out to the frustrated parents, the single parents, and the solo entrepreneurs who are fighting to hold it together on bad weather days, dealing with less than understanding bosses/employers, or when any sudden thing occurs that sends our plans off the rails. May you realize you are enough. May you find the right support and community you need. May you have the courage to ask for that support and whatever else you need.
Chrissie DiAngelus is the President & Founder of Art & Connections, a company that launches inspired, purpose-driven women creatives into higher levels of leadership and success. She blends business strategy, arts and a desire to serve into her offerings. Learn more about the company and about Chrissie. Interested in exploring how to work together? Contact Chrissie today.