My new business venture has hit some speedbumps. Or, more acurately, I have hit some speed bumps, as I became better aware of what the job truly entails and balance that against what I am willing to do.
I started out thinking, “I know how to grow food. I know how to cook it too. People are hungry for these things right now, and I can share what I know. How satisfying.” I knew that marketing would be my weak link. I knew that I would have to suck it up and embrace Facebook, and maybe even (gulp) Instagram. I knew that I would have to sell myself in a way that was uncomfortable in order to “grow my audience.”
But even though I knew all of those things, I’m afraid I vastly underestimated them. The further I got down in to the marketing hole, the more disgusting it became. I could feel myself getting pulled in too, despite my disgust, because after all— pop-up forms are the new normal, might as well get with the program. Mine some data, discover the pain points, convert some leads, design a sales funnel (yes that is all real marketing lingo.)
I tried for a minute, tried to put my hippie ideals on a shelf and just glean the useful bits. But it didn’t last long. Even if I was willing to sell myself that way, I wouldn’t be any good at it. I wanted to do a job I was qualified for, and marketing sure as fuck is not that. I am way out of my depth. And honestly, I have no desire to learn how to swim.
This puts me at an impasse. Do I give it up? Get out while I still can?
The thing is, I don’t want to. I feel like a stubborn 4 year old, stomping my foot. I finally feel like I have the space and the moment to share myself with the world again, and I want it to work goddamn it.
And so it was that I eventually realized the connection, and realized why I had to write about this here. Although it sounds like I’m talking about small business development, I’m actually talking about mothering. The drama I am living out now is the symmetrical other end of submission.
Years ago, when I shared my life regularly with you here, I wrote a lot about my journey towards releasing my ego for the sake of motherhood. I used to be a badass before I had kids, I got Serious Shit Done, on a regular basis. But in order to be a loving and patient mama, I had to loose my white knucked grip on that vision of myself. Accept myself as the soft, squishy thing under that hard shell of accomplishments.
I feel like I spent the last 10 years trying to beat my ego back down into the hole, and just roll with life, not try to be special because it put too much strain on my family.
Slowly my kids grew and didn’t need me that way anymore, but even after the job eased up I feel like I have spent the last few years foundering. I thought that I had accepted a more humble truth about myself— just your average Jane, go to work, make dinner, help the kids with homework, wash, rinse, repeat. But I’m afraid that what I took for humility may have just been resignation. Defeat. I had forgotten how to expect things of myself.
When I got the idea to teach online, it felt like all the pieces of my life had come together in one triumphal moment. Teaching was a natural culmination of My Work, and it made the rest of my life up till now make sense. The soft, squishy thing of me began to peek out. I began to feel like maybe I still had some hot sauce in me after all.
Because somehow, at some point, you have to balance that quiet submission so necessary to motherhood with the fire of ambition so necessary to being human. You have to yang that yin. Stop being humble and retiring and assert your mother fucking awesomeness on the world.
We did the hard work, we gave ourselves so completely, we submitted when we needed to (or at least made a good effort.) We are mamas, first and foremost, and we always will be. But now we have the space to be something more, something that means something outside of our families. Our time has come to re-emerge, transformed, to take our part in the big wide world.
But this process is not quick, or obvious. In fact I can hardly give it a word so poetic as “transformation.” From the inside, what it looks a lot more like is turmoil, chaos and confusion.
I want to take my place in this world, do something that matters. But fuck if I know how. Asserting my awesomeness on the world is terrifying, and I’m completely out of practice. I feel like I’m on an important quest, blindfolded. Guess I’ll just keep on creeping forward, one toe at a time, trying to figure it out where the hell I’m going.
Only one thing is really clear to me right now. I’m definitely not putting a pop-up form into my sales funnel.