WKHy-4-1127I have a stick in my closet. Every night I take it out and flog myself rhythmically like Southern mothers used to do when they’d spank their bad children: “you…haven’t…done…enough…for…your…business…today…Gayle. You…have…been…a…very…bad…girl.” Then I put the stick back in the closet and try to fall asleep covered in bruises and scabby sores. I do this because I am an entrepreneur and I am hard on myself. I believe that all my waking moments (and even my dream time) SHOULD be spent doing something for my business and if they’re not, I am a slobby-faced failure. All day long my inner voice says evil stuff like “you SHOULD’VE called that contact back. You SHOULD’VE sent just one more email. You SHOULD’VE introduced yourself to that woman who works at the hospice,” until I sink to the ground crying, my hands cupping my ears. But for some reason yesterday was different. I took one of those long, summer walks. Spoonfuls of sunlight all over my skin, a tiny breeze in my hair and I realized something: every good thing I do nudges me closer to the fulfillment of my business. Each time I step outside, leaving the prison of air condition and artificial lights inside my home, I am building Grief Friend. Each time I smile at third graders waiting for the bus, my business grows a little muscle. Each gulp of water, each new thought, every book I read, every tear I let trickle, strengthens me and by extension, my business. Naps nourish my goals by restocking my reserves and refreshing my perspective. So, my fellow entrepreneur, what I’m trying to say to you is put down the stick. See your “work” in every thing you do. Instead of beating yourself up, try changing your view of what you do and how it enriches your lifework. Make real connections between what you’re doing and what you do then you can see clearly, free from the bondage of self-inflicted black eyes and broken kneecaps. You are, we are, enough, already. We are getting there, one sunlit walk, two dishes washed, a few hugs, at a time. Now throw the belt away and go build.
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