Being overly independent (a lesson from my divorce)

It’s been 8 years since my divorce.

I remember that one of my biggest fears during that time was:
“Can I make it on my own as a business owner?”

I started my business in 1999 and got married in 2001. While I was married my business contributed to our household income AND we still relied quite a bit on my (ex) husbands salary as well. If I was having a rough month in the business it didn’t really matter that much “Oh well, we have my husband’s income so we are good.” 

Up to the point of my divorce, I never had to rely solely on my business to support my family. To pay the bills. To take care of me and the girls.

And keeping it real – that was the scariest part of my divorce. Would my business be able to support us? Or will I have to go find a job? (Would I have to put on pantyhose and go to an office! GASP! 😉

I am proud to say that 8 years later – my business has been the sole provider for my family. Our sole source of income.

So… Have I ‘made it on my own’ as a business owner? Yes and no.

One of my biggest lessons in the past 8 years has been learning how to ask for – and receive – support.

And let me tell you, this does NOT come easily to me! I am a very independent woman by nature. There’s a part of me that hates asking for help…  my beliefs of “I should be able to do it myself” or “I don’t want to be a burden on someone else” are pretty deeply ingrained.

But it became pretty obvious post-divorce that there was no way I could do it myself. Be a mom to 2 young girls (they were only 5 & 7 when we split) AND run a business? Phew! I’m tired thinking about it even now.

  • I had to learn how to ask for more support in my business – to stop trying to do it all and let my team take on more responsibility (which they were happy to do!)
  • I had to learn how to ask for more support as a mom – to help drive the kids to school, pick them up, stay with them when I would travel or when they were driving me nutty and I needed a break
  • I had to learn how to ask for more support for ME – to be there when things were tough, to lend a hand, to be a sounding board for my problems

Strangely enough… the key to ‘succeeding on my own’ was realizing that I couldn’t do it all on my own.

I’m curious – how easy is it for you to ask for help?

Is it something that comes naturally? Or are you like me and really struggle to ask for help?

PS – This is a poem I wrote a few years ago that is so reflective of this journey. It was part of an exercise where I was writing to my ideal client, but in reality I was writing it for me. Perhaps it will strike a chord with you.

I see you powerful woman. You move mountains. You make shit happen.

I also see the burden you carry. The one you believe is yours to carry alone.

You’ve proven yourself capable. You can do it. You’ve done it. You’ve earned it.

It’s time now for you to let go. To receive. To open yourself up to what your soul is aching for.

To be seen – not for what you do but for who you are. For your heart and not just your hustle.

You are being called, and now is the time.

All you need to do is ask.

Befriending your fear (part 2)

In my last article we talked about how fear isn’t something to fear (haha). Rather, its a normal part of the growth process and is often a strong indicator that we are on the right track.

When we befriend our fear – instead of resist it – then our fear can actually become an ally.

The first step to befriending fear is to get to know it. To sit down and have an imaginary coffee date with our fear.

Here’s one of my favorite journaling exercises to work with fear.

First, write down a goal that you want to achieve that isn’t moving forward. A goal that feels stuck.

Ask yourself the following questions.

  • What would be at risk if I were to really go after this goal? (relationships, sense of self, habits, income, security)
    Risk is a natural part of the growth process and often acts as a trigger to bring up fear. 
  • What are some fears that are active for me around this goal?
    A few examples are fear of failure, fear of not being good enough, fear of being seen/visible, fear of not being liked. 
  • Where else does this fear show up in my life? What behaviors does this fear cause me to take? (or not take?)
    Get real with yourself about how this fear impacts your behavior. 
  • What aspect of my personal power is this fear calling out in me? (courage, authenticity, setting clear boundaries)
    Our fears will reflect the very things that we are being called to own in ourselves. 

A funny thing happens when we dig deeper and get to know our fear. It loses it’s power over us.

It shifts from being ‘the enemy’ to a trusted guide whose company we may not always enjoy, but who we know is here to serve a purpose.

I’m curious, what journaling questions or exercises do you like to do around fear? Hit reply and let me know.