I Can’t Afford To Mess It Up!

Aug 7, 2015

We’ve been having some ‘get real’ conversations with people in our CEO Summer School and our Fearless Women Leaders group (free to join).

There has been a pattern in many of these conversations around the idea that:

“I know I want to change but there is a lot at stake here… and I can’t afford to mess it up!”

We don’t talk about this as the ‘downside’ of success – being stuck in what we’ve created.

I remember the early start-up days of my business – everything was fresh & new. Yes I wanted to succeed, but because I hadn’t created anything yet I didn’t have much to lose (outside of my time, energy and small financial investments to date).

Now that I’m successful, the landscape has changed – there is a lot more to lose.

I am the sole provider for my family (when I started my business I was still married and had his second income as backup)

I have a team that relies on me for (a sometimes substantial) part of their monthly income.

I have clients who I have committed to for 6 – 12 months at a time.

It costs $30K/month to meet the basic expenses of my business (including paying my own salary, of course!)

(btw A couple of years ago I read the book “Profit First” that showed me how to pay for all my expenses and still walk away with profit in my business.  Honestly, it changed my business and personal life.  You can get 5 chapters of the Profit First book – FREE – here.)

Put simply, any decision I make now in my business impacts everyone – not just me.

The stakes are high – and I can’t afford to mess it up.

The weight of this gets to me at times… and yet I wouldn’t change a thing.

I remember when I got married in 2001 I thought that I had it made. My husband had his own business at the time and I had (subconsciously) planned to ride his coat tails of success… so I wouldn’t have to create my own.

It didn’t work out that way, and over the years I found myself being called (or I should say being pulled kicking and screaming) towards my own success. Slowly but surely my business became the main source of income for our household.

It was this success that allowed me to have the CHOICE to leave an unhappy marriage in 2013. Truth be told I would still likely be suffering silently if I didn’t know I could make it on my own… I wouldn’t have had the courage to leave.    (Truth be known, fear haunts me.  A few years back, I asked one of my mentors how to get rid of doubt (fear, worries etc.).  Check this post out to learn more.)

Yes, there are times I wish it was just me again like the early days. When I wish I had the option to rely on someone else’s income and ‘let it slide’ for a month or two.

Then I give my head a shake and realize that this is what it means to be fearless. To be a powerful woman. To have a choice. To make an impact.

This is what it’s all about. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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  1. Jenny

    I have found myself running to my boyfriends house when things get tough. Thinking, ” eh. If it fails..at least I have this.” That is a sucky way of thinking. I need to cut up the safety net and CHARGE!

  2. Deb Mitchell

    This is incredibly powerful, Tina. I have to say I was surprised to hear you say that you didn’t so much start your biz because you wanted to but rather because you kind of had to (“being pulled kicking and screaming… towards my own success”). It’s frankly a relief to know I’m not the only one who feels that way! I often think that if my husband and I were more comfortable financially, I would never have tried to build a business/career/dream for myself.

    While I’m not in that exact same position you were in your marriage, I did have a time in my life when I looked around me at all my stay-at-home mom friends whose husbands were either leaving them high and dry or who stayed because financially, they had no choice. Despite the fact that my marriage is pretty good (not perfect, mind you – I’m not really the ‘head over heels in love’ type of girl!) I started to feel like a sitting duck.

    While I’m supremely grateful to my husband for being the primary ‘breadwinner’ for our family, it goes against my every grain 1. to be beholden to anyone else for my livelihood and my kids’ well-being and 2. to sit by and watch my husband bear that burden alone when I’m a pretty smart cookie myself. I do feel fortunate that I’ve had the luxury of time to figure out what my business/career/dream really is, but it’s high time I make this thing take off.

    Thank you so much for your wisdom, your inspiration, and your strength. Being AMAZING is your superpower!!!!

    • tinaforsyth

      Thanks for sharing Deb – I agree that it has little to do with circumstance and more to do with bringing the best of who we are at the table. Not all of us have bad marriages or other things we need to deal with, but we certainly do have a choice each day to step up and be who we are meant to be. Even if it is kicking and screaming at times 😉

  3. Donna Cravotta

    Oh Tina… you know I can relate. I have also had to be the super woman in life and business and sometimes the world just gets heavy. But I have learned that it’s OK to just stop and rest, it’s OK to ask for help and let others join in and carry the weight. Being the martyr is lonely and not very rewarding. It takes a village to have a successful business and to raise up children. Keep on keeping on Tina you are a rockstar and an inspiration to many!

    • tinaforsyth

      Such an important point Donna – asking for help is a toughie for me! I’m still learning how to ask for – and receive! – help. There is a part of me that still struggles with that as I think I “should” be able to do it all on my own.

  4. Eric Johnson

    Thank you for sharing. We all need these kinds of reminders. They pick me up.

    How did you break through the constant barrage of doubts, disappointments, setbacks, feelings of unworthiness, guilt, and fear? When and how did/do you overcome that resistance? How to do develop the strength and skill to break free(er)? I run my own law practice. I’ve struggled a long time, enjoyed a brief period of feeling I was on top, but now struggle again. I make a decent living, but I know I am capable of so much more. I work hard, but struggle to feel the success I achieve meets the vision I have of success.

    • tinaforsyth

      Love that you are sharing here Eric! For me it always comes back to my why and being clear on my definition of success. I believe that success runs in cycles – sometimes things are smooth sailing and other times there will be challenges (if business was easy everyone would be doing it right? LOL) I find that when I’m not clear on my why – or worse, if I’m following someone else’s why – then the hard work simply isn’t worth it. When I’m clear on my vision, what I’m creating and why then the hard work feels like it is worth it… even when it’s hard.

      I’m curious, when you say you struggle to meet your vision of success – what is it that success looks like for you?

      • Eric Johnson

        Success looks like 1) being top of mind when people in Utah (it’s a small population, so this isn’t beyond the realms of possibility) think of divorce and family law they think of Utah Family Law, LC (my firm); 2) grossing $500K within 2 years; 3) having the financial and political pull to improve family law in my state.


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