Thank you to everyone who read my first post in my new series “Adventures in Entrepreneurship.” I’m thrilled to know that sharing my journey can be helpful and inspiring to my fellow entrepreneurs and those who are aspiring to be on this journey. Enjoy this month’s entry and I look forward to sharing more with you next month!
Choosing to be an optimist under the age of 10 is cute, endearing, and refreshing. Choosing to be an optimist in your late 30s is emotionally jarring, frightening, and often exhausting. Daring to use optimism as a shield against fear, heartbreak, anxiety, and disappointments can be downright insane. Propelling optimism into crucial confrontations is like bringing glitter and sprinkles to a gun fight. Why are people like me still allowed to run rampant in the world? I’m sure that I’ve been de-friended and unfollowed on social media due to incessant sharing of inspirational quotes, upbeat songs, and softer, gentler TED talks. I’ve tried—I mean I REALLY tried—to be darker and more sarcastic, but it rarely works. As I’ve journeyed into this road of entrepreneurship, I’ve discovered that my relentless optimism has been both my savior and my saboteur.
My stance at my starting line into entrepreneurship last winter was reminiscent of President Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. I was screaming “YES I CAN!!” all over the place. But I wasn’t prepared for those days when my “CAN DO!” attitude wasn’t enough to get me over the finish line. Optimism alone couldn’t save the day when I was exhausted, entrenched in fear, overextended, and mentally depleted. There were some days where I regretted being so hopeful and enthusiastic about a project, especially when I became mired in the reality that some projects required way more heavy lifting than I anticipated. My optimism was no match for the sheer terror that I felt upon hitting “SEND” at the end of each project and hoping and praying that my clients would be OK with what I had done.
My optimism is the divine magnet that has brought me a tremendous number of client referrals, great connections, and amazing opportunities in my entrepreneurial journey thus far. However, my optimism alone cannot be the only tool to ensure my company’s success and my personal health, well-being, and soul satisfaction. I’m learning that every potential client may not be the right fit for my time and my energy. When I speak with people now, I take the time to listen to their expectations, gauge their energy levels, and be brutally honest with myself about whether I want to move forward with the task at hand—and I now give myself permission to be OK with my Yes’s and my No’s.
I also realize that my optimism is a limited supply that needs to be refilled–constantly. Like so many entrepreneurs, I easily fall into the trap of going like the Energizer Bunny and not eating well, sleeping regularly, exercising, and just stopping long enough to recalibrate myself. Providing my clients with the best version of me is part of The Fresh Eyes Editorial Services Experience and taking the time to refuel my optimism reserves with a good book, a long walk, play time with my goddaughter, and spending time enjoying my new life in New York is essential to being a good business woman and a better human being on this planet.
When I’m asked to describe my vantage point on life, I now describe myself as a RELENTLESS optimist. Choosing to believe that I can be consistently successful as entrepreneur is kinda crazy when you think about it, but I truly don’t know any other way to be in this world. Optimism catapulted me from an editorial assistant to a managing editor within my first working year. Optimism gave me the courage to become a book editor at age 26 with NO experience. Optimism gave me the chutzpah to leave my last 9-to-5 job, become an entrepreneur, and relocate to the city of my dreams.
As I enter Month 15 of this journey into entrepreneurship (yes, I count every single month—it’s what an optimist does!), I know that my optimism has been an essential companion on this journey. But I’m no longer naïve to the fact that my optimism must be coupled with healthy working habits, time off the grid, thoughtful planning, good scheduling, and most importantly, taking good care of me.
The great Howard Hughes once said, “Passion will make you crazy, but is there any other way to live?” I often view my optimism as the fuel line for my passion, and I stand proud in choosing to see the world as a place where EVERYTHING is possible. Relentless optimism is an insane, scary, daunting, and thrilling perspective that leaves me both overwhelmed and overjoyed. But I will gladly choose a heaping dose of optimism any day, especially when it takes me one step closer to living a life I love.