No matter what some say, your business is not your ‘bae.’
Bae – “before anyone else” – as in ‘top priority.’
As much time as you might spend on, with and in your business, and as exhilarating as career highlights can be, a business is not a living breathing thing, sis. It doesn’t and can’t have thoughts, feelings and a conscience or care about your health, schedule, meal plan, hobbies, friends or family.
This week had some tear-filled moments. Chances are, yours did too. Did your business ask how you were or if you wanna talk about it? Did it make you a hot drink or take care of the laundry? Not mine.
Please don’t get me wrong; I get the bond, but had to wake up to the truth that we can sometimes idolize our gifts and business, and be filled with pride when they get time in the spotlight.
We can put our careers on pedestals and set people aside if we’re not paying attention and doing a self-check every now and then.
Before i purposefully re-designed my business (by grace) and started working mostly from home, i was running a 24 hr vocal studio, while traveling frequently, learning lyrics and lines non-stop – packing each day like it was a Brunswick sardine tin.
i thought i was happy because i loved what i did and the people i worked with, but there were many moments when life was a frazzled fiasco. i was genuinely energetic and enthusiastic most days but essentially working off of fumes.
Some parts of this post are a little uncomfy to write – had it saved as a draft for weeks (mostly because of the potential response) but hey – let’s grow.
So many businesses these days, are owned or managed by women. It’s no secret that this is ‘a big thing,’ since historically, education, enterprise and economics were withheld and later fought for for so long, and it’s still a hot topic at the table.
Starting a business and keeping it running, growing and reaping, is something to celebrate – especially when that opportunity wasn’t considered possible or probable before.
i was recently interviewed on ‘Balancing The Hats‘ podcast, and the host, Korena, asked about career highlights. To me, still being in business stands out, even more than what might look like obvious highlights to some.
The words, “I’m an entrepreneur” can sound like a Top 10 hit in your ears when you say it the first few times. No harm in that.
But i do remember how attached i became to my business, as if it was an appendage that i couldn’t quite shake off, even when i wanted some air. It almost became a fixture on my mind, engraved into the daily design of any given day. What looked like success came with insomnia, marathon migraines and a golf-ball sized missing clump of hair for a few months awhile back (thankfully, i have a thick crown and that’s a distant memory.)
But i kept going; in fact – it was like i couldn’t stop, at least if i wanted to continue buying groceries, paying bills, helping others and saving up along the way.
*please put on your seatbelt here*
Sooo, quite a lot of us in The Caribbean (generallllly-speaking), aren’t really raised to depend on men…that much. There, i said it. Hope you noticed the ‘generally-speaking’ part.
Whether you look at the absent dad stats, cross pollination in communities, ‘life in leggings’ facebook posts, or check the steady increase in women entrepreneurs and single mothers, you’ll find evidence that we’re mostly schooled about school, getting ‘good jobs,’ gathering earthly possessions and continuing education qualifications. Then you can include them in the picture if you need to, ’cause you’d have an ‘exit plan’ prepped and provisions tucked away as backup in case he steps out, messes up or lets you down.
i feel a bit sad typing that because it has historic roots, but it’s a topic we don’t talk openly enough about so we can grow forward and build up those who’ve been broken down.
My late dad who had Multiple Sclerosis (but was well enough to drive and work when not in the hospital) didn’t lift a finger in the house or garden. He didn’t have to; it was taken care of. The housekeeper who is still in a position to lovingly correct me in life took care of the cleaning, my mum cooked the daily meals after her job and hobbies outside the home when not traveling for work, and she tended to the garden because she loved it (and still does.) Chores and financial responsibilities were also not expected from my brother either, and those examples were my first impressions of men whom i saw as unreliable, demanding and exhausting, until i saw and knew better. My dad said i didn’t need to learn about money because i was a girl (i think he meant that a husband was to be the main designated breadwinner) so navigating business was tough at first.
Proposals, weddings and happy marriages are still celebrated as beautiful things, but some of us (myself included) have turned down offers without blinking twice along the way to instead hold hands and make future plans with our businesses. This isn’t about regret; more about observations. i wanna be honest with you. Owning and committing to a business (even with all the risks related to entrepreneurship) is often thought to be more appealing and stable than pairing with another human being.
Now, businesses are being referred to as ‘babies,’ ‘baes,’ ‘men’ and ‘world.’
Have you ever seen the honest look of love between newlyweds, a committed couple or married union? It’s soooo beautiful. You don’t even want to disturb them or the atmosphere by staring too hard with that smile on your face, sweet melody on your mind and joy in your soul. Ok, now, look at your calendar, desktop or Sharpie markers. Feel the same way?
i remember how much i placed my music career on a pedestal. Though songwriting and singing are clearly and consistently a huge part of my calling that i enjoy soooo much, doing something and being consumed by something are two completely different things. One gives and the other takes away. Even from being onstage singing at fancy hotels, many the guests below would often be visitors holding hands with loved ones they’ve grown beside and a built a life with for decades. Always found that interesting and culturally perplexing…but undeniably beautiful.
It’s one thing to recognize something you desire is missing, and another thing to acknowledge you’ve made no room for it.
As much as i was taught to respect men, and have musical brothers from different backgrounds living as good examples to their cherished women, for more than a minute i just could not fathom putting myself in a position to trust one enough to lead or even have a say in the bpm of my business.
Investing all that precious time with no guarantees and possible – probable heartache and headache in the mix too?
Turns out, those are also included in the managing-a-business-kit.
Now, i believe what God says about the structure and order in the family and home. Love and honour. Honour and love. And most of all – Him at the center because He is love. And the ‘weaker vessel’ verse too; it’s actually a relief and release that comes with a comforting promise. i also understand why that can be scary as ever at times, if we gauge what He says by what we sometimes see…but that wouldn’t be faith, would it?
Having been treated both like a queen and somethin’ under a shoe, i’d definitely say i prefer the first one but despite having experienced the second, still believe in loving leadership.
Tell me somethin’ – a phone ringing late at night – all up to 4am, to leave home to go record? C’mon; what was i thinking? Well, i wasn’t. i was just responding with enthusiasm to a musical assignment…forgetting that i was and am a woman, and when you think about it, that’s probably not the safest hour to be out and about, if it’s not an emergency or you’re not working a late shift.
It’s also not a healthy pattern fitting for a future promise. A respected husband should have the right to say (with loving authority) that it’s not an appropriate time for a phone call or studio session. And it shouldn’t be a big deal to understand that.
Come to think of it…
What about you? Ever had an incident while rushing on the road or out for longer than you needed to be?
There was that accident on the way home from a late recording session, when a racing 16-yr old ran me off the road and ‘wrote off’ my then-car. Or what about that night when some dude standing at the pedestrian crossing reached for the car door and tried to open it before i ‘scratch off‘ like de Concorde. Or sitting in a speedboat crossing the sea in St. Maarten after a flight in the night to get to sound check, and not even contemplating the fact that i had no idea where i was or who the people on the boat were. It was perfectly safe at the time, but it’s only now i realize that’s all by grace.
As we all know, both good and bad things can happen anywhere and under unpredictable circumstances, but i’m learning more and more to discern when to move, where to go, and how to be still and grow…and more importantly, to not feel the need to prove myself or jump hoops to impress anyone where career is concerned. Do your best, yes…but no circus monkey business thanks. When i said, ‘Yes, Lord. You gave my the gifts; You guide my steps and lead this business,” He power-washed my whole life (still under renovation) and i realized it was way too cluttered and fast-paced – with all the career demands and travel plans – but escape tactics too.
Being ‘busy’ can be a subliminal technique to avoid acknowledging what’s really missing or where needs healing.
The path to working mostly from home was…refining, to say the least and i’m thankful for the lessons – the fun and the tough ones.
i learned how i was sabotaging personal growth and overworking muscles not meant for my frame and divine design, by striving for career ‘success’ that didn’t take my health or God’s plan for my life into consideration.
You ever notice yourself doing that? If so, what will you do today to show you know your business is not your ‘bae?’
What have you been meaning to ‘find time to do,’ or what might you be forgetting about your beautiful design, while managing your business?
Woo! This was a tough post to write but pressing message to share.
Even if we have different beliefs, i hope you know this post is written and shared with love.
i’m thankful for the refining that’s still in motion and hope to be a good gift to that special someone at the appointed time – not distracted, but devoted while still being diligent and well-paced in service, song and business. No precious loved one should feel or be second or insignificant when it comes to business or life, for that matter.
we are more than our career and sometimes our calling requires our refining.