Being an entrepreneur is hard and it can be lonely. Just surviving the first couple of years requires confronting your greatest doubts and learning how to stop and enjoy every small win. You can struggle alone or you can call on your tribe.
One Small Step for Man…
As my four-year old readied herself to cross the driveway at daycare one morning, she looked up at me and said, “Hold my hand. This is going to be awesome.” I chuckled to myself, knowing that this child of mine thought most everything she did was pretty awesome. In fact, she would freely chime in as my elementary age kids reviewed the behavior color status of the day to share her own awesome behavior. While my son and other daughter shared whether they got on green or blue or purple, Sarah would say, “I got on awesome.”
My daughter was nearing the age when she only rarely wanted to be held anymore. She was so passionate about doing things herself that she resisted holding hands to cross the street, and only wanted to rock or cuddle when it was the key to staying up past bed time.
When she asked me to hold her hand that morning, I didn’t care how awesome anything was going to be – I was happy just to have been asked.
She reached up, grabbed the hand I willingly, excitingly, lovingly gave her and leaped over the curb from sidewalk to black top (about 6 inches high). We celebrated. We woo-hoo’d. Then we kept walking toward the daycare as that perfect moment began to file itself away in the drawers of my mind.
The Thing about Holding Hands
Walking out of the daycare, having dropped her off with one last hug and one last kiss, I began to steep on that one small moment of awesomeness. I thought about how she wanted me to be paying attention as she stepped out. Not only that, but she wanted me to participate in the moment with her. For you and me, jumping a curb is no big deal, but for Sarah, jumping the distance equivalent to half the length of her leg was a HUGE deal.
I also thought about the language of the question itself. What struck me was that she didn’t ask for my help to do the trick. She knew she could do it and she expected that it would be awesome. She also didn’t ask for me to watch. So many times our kids, our spouses, our friends and family want and need for us to watch and smile with approval. We want to know that our loved ones are watching and that they will be proud of us. We also want to know someone is there to help us if we don’t quite make it.
Sarah knew she could do it but I’m sure she also knew that if she started to fall, my hand would steady her. If she didn’t quite make the jump, my strength could help carry her just that little bit more. Either way, once the jump was complete, she could still claim the “ta-da!”
It’s about More Than Help
I think as we grow up we still want people in our lives to watch us and approve. We want them to be proud of the things we do which we think are really hard. For me, the “atta girl” became something I didn’t want to have to ask for. I certainly didn’t want people to know I might need help. When I stopped asking for help, my jumps became less risky, my requests for attention less frequent, and my experience of the journey less wondrous.
I thought that if I just worked hard enough, I could climb my way out of a life that wasn’t bringing my family or me much joy.
I spent so much energy powering through on my own, thinking I shouldn’t need help. Fast-forward two years into this new career and building my own company. I have found myself reaching out again and again. I want someone to hold my hand. I need someone to hold my hand.
Surviving AND thriving isn’t about going it alone: It takes many hands.
What about you?
Making the decision to jump from one career to another was liberating, energizing and terrifying. Deciding to invite others to join me has been essential to my survival. That’s one of the reasons you’re reading this right now. You’re holding my hand. Right now. Did you know that?
Even in the corporate world, in the world where a parent is knee deep in diapers and baby bottles, or the world where the kids are grown and a new chapter is beginning, we need a great support network. They celebrate with us when there are victories and encourage us when we struggle to keep going.
Funny thing about asking anyone to hold your hand is that people rarely say no.
What big decisions are waiting on you and who will you invite to “hold your hand?” Because this life you are leading, this career you are managing, this family that you lead…
THIS is going to be AWESOME.
Tara Lynn is a speaker, coach and writer who works with companies and individuals to clarify what makes them great and build the confidence they need to achieve success as they define it. Are you looking for your support community or that spark of confidence you suddenly feel is missing? Join Tara for private or group coaching sessions and see what happens when you find your tribe.