When I think back to the Balance & Boundaries event, I find myself smiling, nodding, and taking a deep breath.
I’m smiling because it felt so damn good to hear three successful women in our business community share such real, honest, and relatable stories to a roomful of over 35 entrepreneurs.
They shared the nitty gritty of what it's like to run a business. They didn’t sugarcoat the fact that being an entrepreneur is hard. They also quickly squashed that Pinterest board version of self-care we are all being sold. Ashley of @soulbentwellness summed it up well when she shared,
People learning from people. Real honest talk on boundaries. A pleasure to hear other women speak and give their take on this.
I find myself nodding because we heard things that were based on real life experiences. Like when our panelist Jen, Schoolhouse Gluten-Free Gourmet, shared that she thinks of it as a practice and shows up every single day. Somedays she checks off her list and some days she shows up for a breast exam wearing a princess hat...like I said, real talk from real women who work hard and show up every day!
Rita Van Tassel, a local entrepreneur, reflected on the evening and wrote, “The true beauty of events like this one is not the expectation of arriving to hear “secrets of success” but the honesty that the path is long and winding and rewarding and looks different for ALL of us. There is no magical point where you get it all figured out, but you do get better at doing it, which enables you to grow and accept new challenges with more confidence."
I think all the shoulders in the room dropped a bit when panelist Vickie Gray of Old Barn Pottery said,
You don't have to do everything - you really don’t.
Not that we needed permission, but there was something powerful about hearing those words being said out loud.
Vickie also talked about the fact that sometimes we put up boundaries that are not helpful - that we don’t talk about our mental health. She shared her experience of working in the corporate world for years while living with anxiety and depression and encouraged us all to get help and not put it off.
Krista of @tamedraven reflected that “it was nice to hear everyone say there is no cheat code and we are all just doing what we can. We're all in the same boat, we just only see everyone else's highlight reel.”
It’s so important to be there for each other. We put up so many walls and the ‘hustle’ culture has us all painting an unrealistic view of that elusive ‘work/life’ balance.
Here's your nudge to call the friend who is struggling and see how they are doing today. And to make sure you also check on the one who appears to have it all together because it can be hard to see what's going on outside the highlight reel.
Our third panelist, Amelia, co-owner of The Barn, challenged us to celebrate the little successes every day. What are you grateful for today? Pause and take note of it. It can make a big difference, when you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, to take a minute to recognize something each day that makes you feel great.
Time. Energy. Money.
Amelia also spoke about these three resources and reminded us that time is a non-renewable resource. Being conscious of where we are spending our time, energy, and money can help us grow and scale our businesses. Focusing on the ideas that are just 3’s and 4’s, instead of the 9’s and 10’s out of 10 opportunities isn’t sustainable. You need to put your resources into the ideas and opportunities that will hit it out of the park - not the mediocre ones.
This really hit home to folks and when I asked if there were any ah ha moments from the event, Natasha shared this;
Ohhhhh so many things that were said resonated with me, yet I seem to be replaying over and over in my head “time is your most precious resource".
Jen talked about the fact that you cannot wait until things are 100% perfect.
If you try to make it perfect, you’ll likely never do it or the moment will be lost.
Are you in the 80% club? Ready to leap? What can you make a move on, today?
You have to let it go at 80%.
Jen also talked about seasons of work - for example, getting really clear on when it’s best to be productive and when you can spend more time being creative. She shared that when she is in her productive season and someone asks her to do something, the answer is simply, ‘no’. She has a limited time when things need to get done and she has to be really firm with her boundaries. Whereas in the winter, her creative season, she is more flexible and creative, spending time writing, brainstorming and creating opportunities for growth and development.
Local jeweller, Melissa Morrison, reflected on the event, “As a solo entrepreneur, I have days where I feel I am experiencing hardships alone. After these events, I realize that we all work through difficult times and there are many people in my network with whom I could share experiences with and get good feedback and advice.”
In the end, the message was clear. And this is where I am taking the deep breath.
Balance and boundaries are messy.
So here I find myself, walking into this next season, creating structures to find freedom, knowing that it’s ok to feel uncomfortable, and being sure to pause and reflect on those glimpses and moments of success.
How are you moving through the seasons?
A huge thank you to our panelists - much gratitude for your honesty and willingness to share such deeply personal and real moments of your lives.
Amelia Bishop, The Barn
Vickie Gray, Old Barn Pottery
Jen Laughlin, Schoolhouse Gluten-Free Gourmet
Thanks also to our sponsors and venue hosts for making this evening possible!