As you may have gathered, a lot of what drives me is something like a hunch, a gut feeling, and a little voice that can no longer be ignored. Another one of these feelings led me to take a smaller, less risky, leap even before I announced my departure from my job: booking a trip to Florida. At the time, I told myself that it would be a reward for having the courage to stick to my decision, but even then I knew there was another purpose for this trip. I just wasn’t sure what it would be.
Ah, Vacation: I just spent the last ten days in sunny Florida and I haven’t seen the inside of one nightclub, haven’t set foot on a beach; haven’t had a glass of whiskey, and I have worn sweatpants and an old sorority t-shirt at least seven out of the ten days. It was perfect.
Overall, this trip was a great “in-between break,” before diving into unknown waters. Between quitting my job, purging stuff in Philly, breaking my lease, moving, and all the other stressors tied to making such a big change, I needed some time to do nothing. I’ve been so conditioned to always be busy that I often become more concerned about doing something than on doing anything meaningful or beneficial. For, of course, if I’m not busy, I must be wasting time. Its funny to think about how much time I spent trying not to waste time…
PB&J-, Pixar film-, and 70-degree weather-filled days made for an awesome and much-needed getaway. I will admit there were moments of anxiety in which I literally had to fight off the urge to work, catch up on emails, and plan ahead. I also won’t pretend that I didn’t do any work. I set aside a few hours specifically for ongoing projects and blogging. For the most part, however, the use of limited time with Becky, my MacBook Air, was primarily spent on Netflix, Hulu, Facebook, and YouTube. Win!
Purpose Revealed: The interesting timing of this trip is what has struck me most. During the time I was away, several people in my life faced some difficult situations: my aunt was told she may have a malignant tumor in her bladder, my brother was faced with one of the toughest challenges of his life, a close friend had her first pregnancy and miscarriage, and another friend found out she was pregnant amidst some financial worries. There was something about being in that exact place at this exact time that provided me with the perspective to see patterns in all of my loved ones’ struggles, along with my own. Since I was visiting one of my best friends- my line (sorority) sister- and her family, my time in Florida provided me with unanticipated family-focused activities which I think created a spirit of openness in me that made the difference.
Admittedly, I wondered (read: worried) if “family time” would mean smiling through insufferable Hannah Montana marathons, bedtime temper tantrums and tea parties. In reality, the actual family moments that took place ended up providing me with nurturing and strengthening that I didn’t even realize I needed. I danced with a 3 year-old, I made lasagna for the first time, I prayed alone and with friends, I cried openly, I brainstormed great ideas with my sister, I bought a ticket to a World Domination Summit (more on that later), I studied with a first-grader- I also helped her learn how to ride a bike, I struggled with my body image, I learned and I grew. This all created an energy and peace about me that enabled me to listen to my loved ones’ cries, to be silent at times, to comfort at others, to make myself vulnerable and ultimately, to go through pain with them. Normally, I’d just try to fix it all. This time was different. This trip awakened something inside me that I didn’t realize was dormant.
So what does this have to do with running a business? I don’t know yet. But I will say this: I feel more equipped than I did two weeks ago. The peace and perspective that allowed me to help loved ones in a new and vulnerable way has surprisingly given me peace and perspective for the entrepreneurial road I am on. This vacation was focused on relaxing, eating, meditating, praying, running, listening, worshiping, talking, writing, reading, and being silent- a first for me.
Two weeks ago, I was pumped. Now, I’m pumped, focused- in a different way- and calm; Feels right.
First lesson on this new road: Follow your gut.