The phrase "having my shit together" is starting to grate on me.
I get it. I understand this elusive "someday, when I have my shit together" feeling of security. I've felt it before. Heck, I've said it before (a lot. Recently.)
It's that feeling that SOMEDAY it will all feel a little more manageable. SOMEDAY, you'll be able to breathe a little easier, the money will flow a little more freely, you won't be up at 9:53pm writing a blog post because you haven't written a blog post in, oh, a month.
SOMEDAY you'll "have your shit together." Or maybe this weekend, you'll "get your shit together." Or maybe don't come over please, or don't read the blog please, because MY SHIT IS MOST DEFINITELY NOT TOGETHER! So I'm going to hide until it is.
So let's talk about that for a second.
First, and I know we all intuitively know this, but this bears repeating (in capital fucking letters)...
NO ENTREPRENEUR IN THEIR RIGHT MIND THINKS THEY HAVE THEIR SHIT TOGETHER.
There's not a single one, from that woman on the cover of Forbes to the entrepreneur in the co-working space across from you who thinks they've got it together.
But here's the hard truth about this little phrase that I hear cropping up in blog posts and casual language thrown around entrepreneurial meetups: feeling as though you don't have your shit together and saying it outloud doesn't actually reflect who you are as a businesswoman.
Having your shit together means...
a) Showing up to your job of entrepreneurialism every day, no matter what day of the week it is, putting in the most immediate work that needs to get done, and feeling good about what you've accomplished
b) Testing new products, services, or models of business that you either have a hunch about or you know might work out.
c) Deciding when to quit those that don't work out
d) Putting more time in those that do work out
e) Writing half a blog post, then scrapping it
f) Moving everything off your task list into tomorrow because you know you won't have time to get it all done today
g) Going home and NOT FEELING GUILTY that you didn't manage to create a successful blog overnight. Or sell out of your amazing product you just conceived of. Or booked yourself silly with new clients.
The reality is, if you're a one-woman shop, just starting out, in an amazing state like Montana (or elsewhere. This is a multi-state blog.), you have limited resources, like time, money, and help.
So you're going to be working a lot. You're going to spend a lot of time on shitty projects that don't make you a dime of money. You're going to eat a lot of Ramen in order to make sure you aren't blowing through any hard-earned cash that's earmarked for things like rent.
You're not going to be Gwenyth-fucking-Paltrow on a episode of Glee. And even if you are Gwenyth-on-Glee, you're still going to be looking around trying to shovel your shit under your own rug of "not-good-enough-ness."
Here's what other entrepreneurs think that "not-having-their-shit-together" looks like:
a) Taking a few weeks/months/years away from social media because "life isn't that interesting right now" or "gosh, I'm so busy I don't know how to keep up" (uh no. That's called "running a successful business")
b) Failing to respond to emails that aren't directly related to cash money in your pocket (also, no. That's called being smart and efficient with your time. PS Can I tell you the amount of emails I haven't received back from very-important-high-level people and I've just moved on and not even thought about it?)
c) Taking time to do anything else but work (I mean, that sounds like a smart way to make sure you don't wake up and hate your job to me. Anyone else?)
d) Staying home instead of going to a birthday party/celebration/invitation-only fun-time event (that sounds like a bath and reading Elizabeth Warren's new novel won out against being social, amiright?)
The truth is, the concept of "having your shit together" annoys me because it makes me feel like I need to be someone else's version of an entrepreneur. I need to be in-your-face-all-the-time about how awesome everything is, and how magical running a business is.
The truth is, it's pretty awesome, most of the time and only after a few years and you feel like your feet are starting to be firmly planted on the ground. Sometimes it's magical, like when you land dream clients who also have money to pay you.
But other times, it's just nose-to-the-grindstone work. It's a lot of emails, and organizing, and making sure that details don't slip through the cracks.
It's phone calls, and more emails, and meetings, and making sure things don't slip through the cracks.
It's juggling and staying up late to write blog posts because you've had enough of the "this is how an entrepreneur's life looks like!" BS that you know isn't really how it is (seriously, my clients are amazing women, but not a single one of them would ever pretend that they don't work past 6pm or that they wouldn't like to be at the next step of business already).
I don't really know where this post is going, but now seems like an appropriate time to mention this:
Be easy on yourself, girlfriend.
Having your shit together means everything is easy, life has plateaued, and you need to get ready and hold on to your hat, because shit's about to get a whole lot less together.
I was talking to a friend a few weeks ago about how he just couldn't commit to having a girlfriend, but every woman that he spends time with has amazing and unique qualities that he so appreciates about them. It makes their time together special, in his eyes, even though there is a knowledge that it probably won't be forever.
"Why," he asked me, "can't we just appreciate people for what we truly love about them instead of deciding that they just won't be the end-all, be-all in our lives? Can't we just be thankful for the small pieces of joy that people bring into our lives, instead of expecting them to be everything?"
Which, agree or not, I thought was a really good point.
Why, regardless of the stage of life or business that we're in, can't we just appreciate it for what we're truly loving about it?
Why, if you're so busy and really inactive on your blog (me!), can't I appreciate the fact that I'm SO busy with client work, that I simply can't sit down to string a few thoughts together? Not that "I don't have my shit together because I'm disorganized and don't set boundaries".
Why, if you're not busy, can't you appreciate the white space in your life that leads to more time pursuing passion projects, your family, or hobbies?
So the next time you bow out of a conversation, embarrassed because you feel "less than", I want to let you know that the fight against perfect, and for transparency and honesty, because with YOU being honest in moments of feeling "less than." It's fighting that feeling of embarrassment because you're not perfect, and being okay with perfection being an enemy, instead of a goal.
Businesses are built in the messy in-betweens. Embrace it, sister.