I look at the date, and I can’t believe my eyes. How is it almost August? How have I not blogged in one month? A first for Dear Debt. I don’t know exactly where all the time went, but it was spent working, a lot.
I remember feverishly working all fourth of July weekend to meet my deadlines. The downside of being your own boss is that holidays no longer matter, especially if you want the money to keep rolling in (but I also find it a great time to work as my inbox is quiet).
Shortly thereafter, I went to Chicago for a work trip. For a period of four days, I had anywhere between one and five hours of sleep. While I was there for event work, the writing work didn’t stop and I was trying to manage everything in a clumsy juggling act, hoping to not drop the ball.
Because I’m no longer 21, but rather 31, this extreme lack of sleep and overwork seriously took a toll on my mental and physical health. I felt wrecked.
I am finally feeling recovered two weeks later, but I’m in my busy season writing a lot, preparing for events at FinCon and acting as project manager for the Road to Financial Wellness. Oh, and I’m looking at my final edits for my book.
Holy cow! When I step outside of myself for a moment, I can hardly believe all that has happened. This little old blog of mine has led to a rewarding writing and event planning career. Winning best debt blog at the Plutus awards led to a book contract.
In my wildest dreams, I would have never thought any of this would happen. But as I celebrate my two-year quitiversary, I realize that having all of your dreams come true is so much different in your head than it is in reality.
In your dreams, you imagine all of the good stuff, without any thought to the bad. In reality, having your dreams come true is much sweeter — but also ten times tougher than you think it will be.
Over the past few months, I’ve felt some major business growing pains. I’ve become intimately aware of my own scarcity mindset issues, even though I’m debt free now.
One of the main things I planned on doing once I became debt free was to slow down. I have to say that hasn’t happened at all.
I’m busier than ever and I’m doing it alone. I’m doing it alone mostly because I’m a control freak. Even though I’ve managed people in a former nonprofit job, having people help me with administrative duties still feels so weird.
As the projects roll in, I keep saying “yes”. As a freelancer, you never know if it will be feast or famine, so I always take work when it comes my way. But I’ve realized that in my fear of missing out on work, I’ve taken on too much. For me, it’s so hard to know when is too much until you are in it and trying not to have a panic attack, while you are in a mad rush to finish projects.
In an ideal world, I want to find that Goldilocks balance of work — find what is just right. But it’s hard.
Through this bout of overwork and workaholism, I’ve neglected my blog, my relationship, and my health. I’ve pushed myself to the edge and have been scared to death looking down.
I received some honest advice from friends in Chicago, giving me a nudge to “Diva Up” and really own my dreams and not let them control me. Be the boss of my own business and not be bossed around. And sometimes that means letting go, being honest with what I can and can’t do and prioritize my needs over others.
It’s tough for me — just a few years ago, I was making $12 per hour and on food stamps. Letting go of my past and accepting my present, while dreaming of my future, has been confusing and tough.
I don’t want to turn down work because I never want to go back to where I used to be…struggling to find work is one of the most humiliating, awful things to experience. It makes you question everything you’ve worked hard for and, in this culture, can make you feel worthless.
Having all of my dreams come true is something I’ll never take for granted. It has pushed my boundaries and taught me so much about myself.
Currently, though, I’m going through some growing pains and trying to figure it all out and manage it all.
I keep thinking of the quote “Don’t be so busy making a living that you forget to make a life”. I think in a lot of ways I’ve failed at that. Part of it is that I still feel “new” at this even with two years under my belt…but also the two years have proved to me that I haven’t failed and my dreams came true, not my nightmares.
So for all you dreamers and doers, know that your life can change for the better and that all of your dreams can come true. Just realize that your dreams coming true probably won’t be like you imagined and that it requires an insane amount of hard work…but it’s important to stand your ground and enjoy your life or else what is the point?
I’m realizing you can create a business that leads to freedom or you can create a business that leaves you feeling trapped. I’m working more on the freedom part — which means taking some difficult next steps, letting go of perfectionism, practicing saying “no” and getting back in touch with who I am outside of work.
In the end, I realize how freaking lucky I am and I am so grateful…and I can’t wait to make things even better, so I can take care of myself…which in the end will be better for my business anyway.