I was supposed to be walking out the door. Instead, I slumped to the ground, my back against the door of the bathroom. The door was firmly locked and I could hear my kids scrambling to find their shoes and backpacks and lunches. Tears dripped down my face.
I was at a breaking point. How could I go on like this?
So much swirling in my brain. So many different areas of life to juggle and now it felt like all those balls had fallen the floor. I had dropped them all.
How on earth was I supposed to do everything? How could I keep up with the intensity of raising 4 little kids and also grow my little company? My whole life felt like one step forward, two steps back. I could never get ahead.
On the bathroom floor, I cried out desperately to God for help. "You have to help me figure this out!" Choking out a sob, I let the tears flow. I had to release all the emotions that threatened to strangle me. After a few minutes on my knees, I wiped away my tears, checked my makeup in the mirror, and bravely walked out into the chaos of the entryway. "Time to go!" my voice sang in a false bravado. As I drove, I gripped the steering wheel and continued to pray for answers. "I can't keep living like this," I muttered under my breath. "You have to help me."
Change doesn't come immediately. It's like the changing of the fall colors--you see glimpses, but it's a slow process. Little by little, I started to turn the ship around. I got a steady babysitter to come once a week so I could work ON my business, and not just IN it. I focused on marketing and advertising--so I could get more clients in the door. I spent hours and hours selecting the right staff members that I could trust and train to take tasks off my plate. I put firm boundaries in place and gently said "no" to activities and phone calls so I could focus what I should be doing. (I even emailed my family and closest friends and let them know my schedule--so they could help me stick to it!) I assigned tasks to specific days. Monday was clean the house day and spend time with the kids. Tuesday was staff meeting and client work. Wednesday was dedicated to working on marketing and my website. Thursday was meetings and getting big tasks done to move my business forward. Friday was family day.
Slowly my life transformed. I saw glimmers of hope. I didn't feel so stressed. I made a choice to be fully present with my children and fully engaged in work when the allotted time for work came around. As a result, my company grew. My children were happier. I was more at peace. (And when work ideas popped into my head while I was with my kids, I just jotted them down and saved it for later.)
I committed to dating my spouse regularly. We made it a priority to have a meal together and hang out and laugh and talk one-on-one at least once a week. Joy crept back into my life.
That breaking point was 5 years ago. I'll never forget that day in the bathroom. Something shifted inside of me and I brought my business to God like never before. He was faithful to give me ideas and tools and wisdom and guidance. Every day I still have to come to Him for help. There's no way I can do this on my own. I need coaches and friends and books, and I never stop learning.
If you're feeling completely alone and overwhelmed, reach out for help.
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Hi, I'm Jen Hickle!