I’ll start off by acknowledging that I missed issuing this weeks Wednesday newsletter/blog. I thought about apologizing for it right out of the gate, but then I realized that it wouldn’t be authentic. It wouldn’t be authentic because the truth is I am not sorry.
Hear me out…
Above all, it is paramount that the relationship between you and I remain honest. That means, if I miss sending a weekly newsletter or blog post every now & again, 1st and foremost, I’ll acknowledge it because I value our connection. Secondarily, I will do so because I believe in saying the words, no matter how uncomfortable. Third, I do it because I am a human and being human means taking responsibility for our truths, and the truth is, this weeks newsletter was a casualty to my mental, emotional, and physical well-being… and I ain’t sorry.
I don’t talk much about the fact that on top of being a coach, author, writer, and public speaker, I am also a Project Manager for a large organization. I lead and implement project teams for large, medium, and small employers, as well as public & governmental entities, professional sport leagues, and more.
I have been a Project Manger, with a license in health insurance, for 10+ years. I work in an industry that leverages technology to aid and assist in providing benefits administration to employer groups and their staff, relieving stress on HR and upper-level management, automating enrollment, streamlining eligibility verification and data exchange, as well as taking ownership of premium remittance & reconciliation processes, with all vendors, carriers, and systems specific to a client.
Since the lockdown and demands of social isolation, truth be told, I have never been busier.
More employers and HR staff are finding a need to ensure the immediate and timely availability of benefits to their employees. However, with changes in operations from in-office to work from home status, in face meetings to remote accessibility, and assisted enrollments to individual self-service, the demand for a TPA right now is HIGH. That means the demands on me are HIGH, too.
Don’t misunderstand, the gratitude that I have for job security in such a precarious time is overwhelming, while saying as such feels same, because I am painfully aware of those in drastically different scenarios right now. My heart goes out to you if you are such an individual by the way. My heart goes out to you if you’re not & find yourself plagued by other stressing factors. My heart goes out to you no matter the struggle or stress you face now, during this crisis, but also, always, at anytime and forever. That is the truth.
It is also true that this was a rough week in the Wooten household for many reasons. Not only am I slammed with Project Management work, but I also can’t deny the call I feel in the pit of my belly to help in some way associated with Coaching & teaching that hasn’t revealed itself yet. While that call is very real, it’s also disjointed, unclear, & just beyond my grasp. Meaning, I don’t know what to do, I only know that I wanna do something, but I am not the type person who acts without intention & the frustration of nothing coming to me… well, it’s a lot.
Despite the desire to get out there & throw my hat into the ring of assistance to others in need, while I’m trying to figure it out, I’ve found myself disregarding the fact that I am already helping.
I am social distancing, washing my hands, covering my face, etc. I am connecting with friends/family when it feels good.
I am disconnecting from everything when it feels good.
I am choosing to honor myself & others. I am BEING.
In the denial about what I am doing or not, I found myself focusing on what I wasn’t doing more. As a result, the overwhelm sucked me in. To that end, I assume that similar to some, I’ve spent many days this week crying, exhausted, & sitting, trying to solution engineer not only what I am working on, but obsessing over all that I wasn’t.
By Wednesday, I didn’t have anything to give. Burned-out, shutdown, & focusing on where I felt like I was falling short, I couldn’t think of anything to write and quite frankly, I didn’t have the energy to write it. Ironically enough, while focusing on what I wasn’t doing, when it came to writing the newsletter I decided not to do it.
I decided to let Wednesday pass without a newsletter/blog release. I decided that guilting myself into creating wasn’t going to make me feel any better. In fact, I decided that I didn’t care to do it; continue to force me into a position where I am imprisoned by allowing the frequency of how I show-up or not police how I feel about me, and that revelation required I prioritize my welfare over you.
Believe me when I tell you that making this decision was tough. It was tough because as Entrepreneurs we’re taught to SERVE & somewhere inside that has manipulated itself to mean; self-sacrifice in the present is crucial for long-term gain. I understand that’s not a pretty admission, but nonetheless it is true.
For too long, Entrepreneurs have been cajoled into being hustlers, robots, & operating in ways that feel like a ‘must’ in order to succeed or create impact. We’re convinced that without constantly being in each other’s face that people will forget about us, what we have to offer, or how uniquely we can help. What a crock of “there is only 1 way to…” limiting-bullshit!
This week, that narrative, the one that suggests we need to keep going, doing, being, accomplishing, dancing like a puppet for the world & showing-up shiny, bright, & new for others to like or appreciate our humanness ended. With caution & mountains of respect, I hesitate to say that it died, but the truth is that it did. The conversation or notion that I have to do, be, care, appear as, seem as, be accessible & likable according to the standards of others is OVER.
In the words of the fabulously unique & powerful Carrier Bradshaw, “It is so over, we need a new word for over.”
It is over in my mind. It is over in my heart.
It is no longer on the menu.
If this saddens you, I am sorry, but let’s be clear, I am not sorry for me.
In the posthumous wake of leaving behind the mindest that “Entrepreneurs must be circus performers”, I have decided that in order to make the kind of impact I want in this life, I have to be committed to creating an impact 1st in mine.
That’s right! I like me some me & I care about continuing to love, value, appreciate, & like myself, so I’m going to stop doing shit that ain’t me. Believe me, I thought I conquered this mountain years ago, like in high school, but low and behold, here we are, slam dunk, in the center of a crisis, & shadows that I thought had integrated & healed, are knocking on my door challenging me to see what is REAL vs what I’ve convinced myself is. That’s the magic of the shadow, really. Just when we think we’ve shown it to the undying light, it appears again to remind us that our subconscious behaviors are only trying to allow us to feel safe, even when the security we created is keeping us hidden, afraid, & small.
In honor of this shadow, the one that likes to convince me that I am not doing enough & oh-by-the-way, what I am doing is not enough, & all that I want to consciously be OVER with…
I decided to defy feeling like I have to EVER DO ANYTHING that I don’t care about again.
I decided to choose differently & see what NEW opportunities await on the other side of choice.
I decided to acknowledge that I’ve always seen Coaching, writing, and public speaking as brave, creative, & more likely to change the world than leading a Project ever will, & to stop making aspects of myself compete with each other.
I decided to stop hiding that I work full-time and run my own business full-time, too, & there are many Entrepreneurs who do the same. That just like you, I juggle the journey of leading under an employer, while simultaneously being a business owner who leads herself, & friend, being able to wear all those hats is a special talent.
I decided to embrace that I am damn good at a lot of things, but for a while, I have shied away from admitting it and as a result, I haven’t been good to myself, so during this time, at this moment, in this crisis, being a damn good Shannon to Shannon is how I want to lead.
I decided to befriend my will, as well as my ‘other life’ & trust that what I care about is the only reason I EVER need to be, do, feel, or act-on, anything, again.
If reading this upsets you in any way or makes you feel/think ‘things’ about me, I get it. I celebrate what you feel & acknowledge you choosing to exercise your will to do it. After all, choosing not to write & release a newsletter/blog this week, share where I am at, how I feel or don’t, with you, is me exercising & choosing to honor mine.
Long story short, amidst all that is going on right now, don’t forget to look at yourself. And, I mean really look.
Take a good, long, look at you to see the truth of what you care about. Maybe while reading this, you find something nudging at you or pieces of the message are hitting home for you? COOL! What is that something?
Maybe you see a correlation to yourself within what I am sharing about me? AWESOME! If you do, if within my words or example, you identify with the way you’re treating yourself, FUCK YES! Where is the overlap – what do you find meaningful here for you?
Whatever message is contained within the subtext of this text, I am excited about it, for me and for you, because while it can feel real, that doesn’t always mean that it is. It wasn’t for me.
I am not useless. I am not doing nothing. I am doing something. No matter how big or how small that may seem to some, I don’t care, and I don’t have to, because it is something to me & that’s what matters. The same goes for you.
That said, if this week or the past 2, 3, 4, 32 weeks have felt overwhelming and you’re looking for an outlet, an opportunity to destress, this evening I cordially invite you to destress with the Wooten’s in way that we care about and is meaningful to us, thru music.
Tonight, at 9 PM EST, join Scott & I for a FREE night of music and djing.
Tune into @ScottWooten or @704shop on Instagram and join us LIVE from our home as we share our care for you via what we care about & decompress the stress through the sounds of music.
At a socially acceptable distance, of course…
Grab a cocktail.
Grab a joint.
Grab your fur babies, kids, or partner.
Grab your JOY & CARES and dance the stress away with us even if it’s just for the night.
Be Good to Yourself for Fuck’s Sake!