Long Time, Lionheart

Well then. It’s been what feels like a ridiculously long amount of time since I’ve spilled my heart out on my keyboard, and so much has changed I even have a new keyboard to do it on. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, gone is my trusty (and almost 7 year old) Macbook Air with a faded and ill placed Soul Cycle sticker on the cover. Now, thanks to my darling husband and a lovely Apple employee named Nathan, I’ve got myself a brand new MacBook Pro – this thing is quite a machine, which I feel like is a statement only balding men should say when they walk past a corvette, but here we are.

What’s weird about life at 26 is that a month can bring ground shifting, earth tilting change. Maybe that’s how life is at every age (but I’m a millennial remember?) so selfishly I’m convinced it’s a vortex of warp speed time – party of one. Kidding. Kind of. Last we left off, I’d left my wonderfully stable job to chase a creative, full life (read: starting my very own slice of the digital space, a full service creative agency) and it’s been something like 85 days since? Full transparency, that number both totally scares the shit out of me and absolutely delights me. In so many ways, 85 days have flown by in a endless stream of content calendars, full inboxes, and an even fuller heart. The growth I’ve seen in myself, my business and my own skillset alone has been truly mind blowing. I will forever (and ever) be grateful for these clients. I have often in conversation referred to them as my life changing clients because really and truly, the pride and joy I take in crafting their story has shaped me as a business owner and writer. They’ve set the bar. Not to mention, they’re the first ones who said: “yes.” They saw value in the work that I do, and at the end of the day that’s everything. They’re business owners and brands, they’re multifaceted, insanely talented, brilliant, and they’re mine. I can’t help but love them so fully because we’ve entered a partnership – they are sharing their heart with me, and in turn, mine with them. Is it normal to love clients this much? Don’t tell me, I’m good with it. Ha.

In 85 days, I have learned more about my relationship with my husband than I had expected, read: he’s a saint, and I knew I was lucky before but now, that gratitude has reached a whole new level. My dear sweet KC has gone above and beyond in every single aspect. From the moment we decided I was going to pursue this professionally (and full time) he has been Lionheart Social’s CFO, CTO, investor, partner, and legal counsel. He’s worn so many hats and a permanent smile, for those two things alone I will forever be grateful for this man. He heard my dream as a whisper, and pushed me until I knew – without a shadow of a doubt – that I could shout this dream from rooftop to rooftop, all damn day. I don’t consider myself an emotional person and yet, sitting here even thinking about putting into words everything Keevin has taken on to make this business of mine a possibility, I could cry like a little babby. All over the computer he just bought me, so you know, I’ll stop here. I’ll simply say this: If I didn’t know before that marrying this man and promising to go through the rest of my life with him by my side was the best decision I’ve ever made, I know it now. I’ve learned that when you take on something so dear to your heart but monumental in size, the team you keep around you has to get it. They have to see the vision, understand the sacrifices, and trust the process. Needless to say, the gratitude I feel for my family, my husband, and my ride or die best friends has nearly tripled in these past three months. If you’re reading this: T H A N K Y O U. Forever and ever endlessly grateful.

In other ways, 85 days have brought me moments of panic – that kind that punches you in the gut and leaves you weepy, wondering over a cup of coffee if you made the dumbest mistake of your days by thinking you could do this. What’s this, exactly? Work for myself in the creative sphere – representing and managing brands that I believe in online: a career path that allows me to write my heart out while still thinking analytically and holistically. I love it. I really, really love it and yet some nights I find myself asking my husband if he thinks I can do it, while WebMDing the symptoms of a heart attack at 26. Kidding. Kind of. Without fail, he’ll insist that I am doing it. Well, shit. He’s right. I mean, of course he’s right (he usually is but don’t let tell him because he’ll let that get to his head) and yet I can’t help but have these milliseconds where I feel like a total fraud. I think it’s called imposter syndrome. No, don’t worry, not another bizarre WebMD find – this is an actual thing you can google, and chances are if you do you’ll realize you have it too. I’m serious! Because the minute I opened up about feeling this type of way, I was blown away by the friends and family that responded with “Oh well yeah!” What. Major what. I had been plagued with fleeting moments of feeling like I wasn’t (insert adjective here: talented enough, experienced enough, ready enough) to take all of this on, despite knowing deep down that couldn’t be further from the truth!

Turns out, even the most successful people that I idolize have their own moments of WTF WTF WTF WTF WTF. Internally and hopefully with a good amount of grace, but still, those moments are happening. I think those moments come when you put into the universe that you’re ready for this – whatever this may be – and you know you are, you’re more than ready, and yet when it all comes at you – usually all at once because hello life, have we met? –  you can’t help but feel like a total fraud. If I got inside my own head, I found myself second guessing myself but when I shut out all of the noise from my ‘inner critic’ I was blown away by the work I could do. If I forced my anxiety to take a back seat, I found myself wide eyed at the metrics and lingo coming out of my mouth – verbiage that I knew, that I was beyond comfortable with and yet, if I caved into those moments of panic, Because if you felt anything but 100000 percent ready, did that mean you weren’t prepared? Could you not do this? This is your show now…how are you getting paid, what about contracts, what about an accountant, what about your site, their site, your blog, an LLC? What about taxes? What about the neighbor’s rage-filled screaming baby that breaks through every call you take? What about a printer? You don’t have a PRINTER?! I’d planned for this, I knew this and yet suddenly I found myself juggling a full work load of clients, writing, social strategy, the works. I had a handful of clients who were trusting me with their professional baby, so to be speak, and I’d in turn given them my word I’d share my soul with them – with my writing. Admittedly, thankfully, blissfully, wonderfully…the clients came fast. I couldn’t believe it and yet, it felt like they had been there all along – hanging in my peripheral vision, waiting until I was ready to do the work I was meant to be doing. I know that sounds crazy, but I can’t explain it any other way. I had been so focused on setting myself up – my office, my website, my pitch – it hadn’t really occurred to me that the work would find me, first. So it did. Before I considered myself ‘ready’ to take on all of the complexities that comes with owning a business, working from home, being your own boss! So, I got to work. Writing, writing, learning, more writing, more learning. I dove in. I knew it was do or die time for me, I couldn’t falter because if I did – even long enough to test out some desk chairs – I might convince myself that ‘all of this’ wasn’t right for me. Why? That sounds crazy, you say? Hello! I’m anxious! I’m a worrier. I will admit, at times my anxiety has made decisions for me. I’ve avoided doing things that force me to sit in any state of discomfort for too long, and when I made this decision I knew that was a demon I’d have to face head on. So I did and do daily, and some days face it better than others but the simple fact that I refuse to let myself squirm out of any situation that makes me uncomfortable is big for me. And every day, in doing this, I’ve faced something that in some way makes me feel a little ‘squirmy.’ Had I really thought it worked like that? That the work would wait until I placed the very last pen in my perfectly curated glass holder, atop my spacious (and organized) desk, beside my chic (and ergonomically sound) chair, in my sound proof little office? God, no. Life doesn’t wait, the work (thankfully!) doesn’t wait, and the doing is daily.  Because everyone can talk the talk, right?  Lord knows I talked it for far too long. The talk was easy. The talk was great. It felt good, sounded good. None of that matters. YOU GOTS TO GET TO DOING. And it turns out, sometimes doing means simply that – doing: with fear, with faith, and with a dining room chair as your desk chair.

So this heart of mine and this business of mine are beating along splendidly – happily, joyfully, crazily. Sure, there are still moments where I catch myself on a client call and think “how on Earth do you think you’re going to do this?” but beautifully, interestingly..because for the past three months I’ve pushed myself to do nothing but move forward in spite of that discomfort, my response to my inner critic is fast, resound and loud: I’m already doing it.