Isn’t it sometimes true that you have to go beyond your limits (or what you thought were your limits) in order to see how capable you are? In order to see how strong you are? Strength, it seems, is what I’m discovering new layers of, beyond the surface and the next rung down and the places I knew so well.
Last week, Copper Boom moved out of my house and into commercial premises, and I tell you, it is a relief. It feels better already. Bigger, more real, more professional, more capable. But boy is it hard work. Hard in ways I hadn’t quite imagined. We still have no phone line, no internet, because lord love them, BT cancelled my order without telling me three times. After I diligently planned ahead and had a date a whole week before we moved in when they would install! There is strength in calling them back – again! – to see what the hell is going on.
My team also trebled overnight. Two permanent team members started last week. Thank goodness. I held a team lunch on Friday and there were eight of us around the table. Eight! And at the end of that long week, it felt like strength to sit there and not let all of my fears and exhaustion show through, but instead introduce them to each other and give us all the opportunity to celebrate and get excited.
There’s strength in being so completely brain-dead at the end of the day that I burn the dinner, and then getting up in the morning to do it all over again.
There’s strength (or is it just an ache?) in my calves, thighs, shoulders, from standing and lifting and moving and working on photoshoots.
There’s strength in coming back to my vision, my integrity, my dream – even when I see other people doing other stuff, or when I’m asked if we can do something else.
I was thinking about strength, and I wondered what my strengths are. In the chaos of moving and building and adding people and launching a Crowdfunder, it doesn’t feel like organisation is my strength. But perhaps flexibility or riding the wave is a strength.
Writing and communication are strengths of mine, and yet I’ve called two people the wrong names every time I’ve seen them this week. And I’ve read over emails I’ve written and thought, Jenny, that really isn’t clear at all. I know that they’re still strengths underneath it all, but in this busy phase, who’s to know?
I do believe one of my strengths is hope. I am good at finding hope in dark places, whether for myself or for others. Recently, I worried that perhaps hope was my downfall – do I just hope too much, without really putting the effort in to make it happen? This is a genuine question I have put to several friends. They all laughed at me. Apparently running two businesses and pushing one of them quite hard is practically the definition of “putting enough effort in”.
And you know me. I see strength in the tears, in admitting that it’s hard and I still want to do it. There is strength in acknowledging that there’s still so far to go and, damn it, I’d just like a rest, please.
There’s strength in becoming more visible. (Oh, I have a whole book to write on this subject, but safe to say I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently.) Especially when you don’t feel polished and up to scrutiny.
I see strength in the client who emailed today saying she has two staff members out of action and is struggling to draw breath. I hear ya, sister. There’s strength in powering through.
There’s strength in the client who asked me to create a business plan with her, even though she’s going through IVF treatment, because whether she’s pregnant tomorrow or not, she needs her business to change.
This year, I chose bloom as my word. I think about it a lot. It’s been very apt, so far. Today, thinking about strength, I notice what a vital component it is to blooming. A flower needs strength to grow, to stand, to open its petals. Even the most delicate flora needs strength. It doesn’t question whether it will be strong enough, or whether being strong is even worth it. It just blooms.
And so here’s the thing:
Let’s be strong together. Let’s recognise our strengths. When was the last time you considered what your personal and professional strengths are? Perhaps now is the time to make a note of them.
And: what do you need to be strong? I need sleep and good food and space to completely collapse at the end of the day, with no expectations that I will have anything further to give. Right now, that’s what this building-a-business strength requires.
I am strong. And I’m glad of it.
Here’s to us.