I had another piece prepped on the foundational importance of a strong brand, but when I sat down at the keyboard I just wasn’t feeling it.
It’s not that I don’t believe in the importance of a strong brand. I believe in that like I believe chocolate should be its own food group.
My problem is that I’m being forced to face some demons and I’m not loving the experience.
It has been one of “those” weeks. Delays on two major projects left my carefully integrated schedule in shambles. Chaperoning a field trip for my daughter’s third grade class (something I’d committed to a month ago) meant losing a whole day of work. Not chaperoning meant letting my daughter down. No way. Earlier this week, I lost a half a day with the lifesaver of a plumber who spent two afternoons sorting out a busted boiler. Just now, my tea bag burst and I broke two nails.
I just want to cry.
Is it too much to ask to be able to manage my business and have a life?
I feel like I’m being punished for taking some time for non-work pursuits. You see, in addition to the scheduled field trip and unscheduled boiler crisis, I was a rebel and took a couple hours to share hot drinks and shop talk with a fellow writer. I also took Tuesday evening to hear Susan Orlean speak about her latest book. Enjoying those things meant sacrificing some working hours. Taking life up on her offers of expanded perspective meant shelving (yet again) my own marketing intentions.
Now I’m paying the price: late hours, rushing through work, endless multi-tasking, and a long list of to-be-done marketing “shoulds.” I’ve backed myself into the corner where I suck at everything – bad mother, bad writer, bad business owner, bad girlfriend, bad me.
Why does it feel like I constantly have to choose between a lifestyle that’s all work and no play (making Jill boring and resentful), and a lifestyle that includes some play, but extracts the cost of that play from my hide (making Jill cranky and dysfunctional)?
I can barely keep up with my deadlines, let alone do the proactive marketing that I prescribe for my clients. Each time I utter the timeworn excuse, “the cobbler’s children have no shoes,” I cringe.
There has to be a better way.
And it dawned on me that what that I’m feeling – this angst, this frustration, this discouraged and downhearted dismay – is the same feeling that plagues other solo business owners just like me. I am not the only one drowning in the sinkhole of guilt and anxiety. I’m certainly not the only one pulling all-nighters or having to choose between my marketing and my life.
… choose between my marketing and my life …
Wow. That kind of says it all.
The thing is, I’ve been working for the last three years on a marketing framework and approach that is all about meshing marketing with life and creating an organic, holistic marketing “groove” that’s custom tailored to each person – working with her strengths and the realities of her life. I think about this work each morning when I get up, while I’m out for my morning walk, and often as I’m falling asleep. I don’t begrudge my ideas their persistent place in my thoughts. I’m energized by them.
And I just realized that I’m not crafting this framework solely to help my customers.
I’m creating this framework to save my own life.
Isn’t it funny when life suddenly smacks you upside the head with a two by four and then palm slaps her own forehead in exasperated relief when she sees you’ve finally gotten it?
The next week is still going to be chaotic and intense as I barrel through some tough deadlines, but I’m more excited (and committed) than ever to carving out the time I need to bring this solution to light. I have three years worth of notes, almost two decades of experience, and a burning desire to find a better way … for me, and for you.
I hope you’ll stick around for the (r)evolution. Thanks for listening to my rant. I feel better now. Hope you do, too.
Care to share what makes you want to cry? Go ahead. Don’t be shy. We’re all friends here.
Image Credit: Alex Proimos