Welcome back to the blog series “My Story”! You’ll definitely want to be sure to have read Episode Two: Life Changing Decision prior to reading this. You can also check out Episode One: An Overview and Episode Three: Brain Tumor Diagnosis if you like!
You’ve read about how in 2017 I realized my life was heading in a direction I was not satisfied with and I knew it was going to take selling my business for me to get my life back on track. In June, 2017, I said goodbye to my business – my dance studio and the dance world altogether. This was a world I’d lived in basically since I could remember. So what the hell was my life going to look like without it? Who even am I without dance? That’s what today’s story is all about!
I can tell you that I dealt with a lot of mind drama when it came to pulling the trigger and selling my business. I discuss a lot of it in Episode Two. What were people going to think? How would people react? What was this saying about me? A lot of these thoughts followed me throughout that first year after selling the studio.
Letting things go…
One big thing I struggled with was the thought that choosing to let go of the studio somehow negated all of the years when I was deeply passionate, committed, and in love with dance and this business. I saw plenty of old ladies who were still running studios into their 70s – they seemed to still love it, so why couldn’t I? What’s wrong with me? Are people going to think I’m weak, that I’m a quitter, that I never enjoyed all this in the first place, that I didn’t care about my students and that I never liked teaching this whole time? What kind of idiot would choose to let go of a highly successful and profitable business? Who does that? Am I majorly going to regret this?
Even though I logically knew that none of these thoughts were valid or true, and of course it didn’t really matter if anyone else was thinking these things about me, it still filled me with that fear and anxiety of being misunderstood and judged and the uncertainty of whether I was making the right choice.
I had to see that it is perfectly natural and normal to let things go from your life that don’t light you up in the way they once did. Whether it is a business or career, friendship or relationship, hobby or passion – it’s not all going to fit in your life or lifestyle for eternity – and isn’t supposed to! Imagine the people we’d be if we still loved the haircut and the outfit we wore when we were 5 years old! My love for dance had run its course and nearly 30 years from my first ballet class, I was no longer interested in dance like I once was. I was ready to let it go and discover some new passions. AND THAT IS OK!
That is the message I really want to get across to you. It’s ok to let something or someone go from your life when it no longer serves you. It doesn’t mean anything has gone wrong or that you are a broken person. It just means you’ve changed and evolved as a human and that thing no longer fits within your life. It doesn’t negate or detract from your history, it only means you are heading into a new chapter of your story. Once I could view my transition from this perspective, I felt a lot more at peace with my decision.
The pressure is on…
So there I was, I had let my business go, I had no career prospects lined up, I had no real clue what I was excited to do next, I just needed a break. In the back of my mind I thought, you need to get a job. You need a plan. You need to be doing something important and legit. Otherwise, people will think you are lame and lazy and worthless. What are you going to say when someone asks, “so what do you do for a living?” You better have an answer to that – otherwise, how embarrassing! Better find a job soon. Right now you are what, a stay-at-home-NOT-mom…pretty sure that’s not a thing…
It took a HUGE shift of thinking for me to see what an accomplishment it was that I was able to take time off work because of the financial flexibility I gave myself in selling the studio. I wasn’t a lazy loser without a job or a purpose, I was a freakin successful entrepreneur who worked my ass off to create and build a business that I was able to sell for a good chunk of change that allowed me the freedom to choose to not have a job while rediscovering my new passion and purpose. Bam! That was something to feel super proud about and changed everything for me!
None of the facts had changed. I just had to change my thinking about them. And thank God I did, because I would not have been able to allow myself the grace and compassion to take my time discovering what I wanted to do in my next chapter of life. I would have felt major societal pressures to take some random job doing something I didn’t even like, just to be able to feel and say that I was doing something. Now I could walk confidently into this period of transition without feeling badly about it.
I spent the year completely renovating a vacation home that my parents bought in Palm Desert, CA which was super fun and it felt great to do something for them and their dreams. I got back to my roots in Interior Design and did some residential consulting. I investigated investing in some fix/flip property and real estate investment type of things before quickly realizing that wasn’t going to be the right thing at that point in time. I rested. I reconnected with friends. I reconnected with my husband. I started looking for new hobbies and rediscovering old ones. I started finding out what the ‘ME’ without dance really looked like.
The last major mind drama that I had to work through was the guilt about no longer being a financial contributor to my family. Yes, I made money on the sale of my business, but that felt like a one-time bonus. It wouldn’t make up for the money I could have potentially continued to pull in had I kept running the studio for another million years. And so far, with no new money-making career in sight, it felt like I was no longer adding value to my family.
What was I thinking to give up that income? Will I ever have another job that makes a similar salary? My husband probably thinks I’m the worst. He’s totally going to resent being the only bread winner while I do nothing. Now I’m basically a pointless money-suck on this relationship. I’m not a mom, so what value do I really bring to the table? What kind of a woman isn’t a mom and also doesn’t have a career?
It wasn’t until probably months later when I really expressed these thoughts and talked with my husband about all of this. Basically he just said, “none of that stuff matters to me, the fact that you are already so much more happy and we are able to spend so much more time together doing the things we want – THAT makes it worth it to me.” He wasn’t focused on the fact that selling the studio created a loss of financial value, he was focused on the improved value of our lives and lifestyle it created instead. Yes, my extra income was nice, but the quality of our lives is more important. As soon as I realized he was on board with that perspective, I could let go of those thoughts that weren’t serving me. I realized that I bring tons of value to our home and our marriage, even if it may not specifically be dollar-dollar-bills-y’all! More money really doesn’t always mean more happiness and I found this out first-hand.
So there are some of the thoughts and feelings I worked my way through following the sale of my business. Again, I hadn’t even learned mindset management at this point and it would have made things so much easier if I had, but now I know how I can help coach people who are going through a similar situation! If you are in the middle of redefining or rediscovering yourself and are struggling with the associated mind drama, I’d love for you to request a free consult call where we can chat about you and your journey!