A Million Little Things

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There are things I can talk about today that I never thought once of three months ago.  I can tell you how much credit card merchants charge business owners per transaction to swipe a Visa or Master Card.  I can tell you the required distance a hot water heater must be from an electrical box.  I can tell you about the advantages of three phase versus single phase electric.  I can tell you about grease interceptors and vent hoods and HVAC loads and privilege licenses and how a town determines whether or not a business establishment must have a public restroom.   While I could go on and on about these things, I won’t go on about these things except to tell you that I now know these things, and many more things, a million things, it seems like, that are swirling around my head.

I never set out to learn these things, but in the building of my business, learning these things has been a necessity.  There has been a learning process, both for things I knew I needed to learn, and as well as for things I never knew I needed to learn.  Learning can be tiring.  There are days that by seven o’clock, I’m maxed out.  There are days that my brain feels so full that I barely get the kids though homework and dinner and I’m ready to lie down.    Some days, there’s not only the learning, but the anticipation that there is still so much to learn, still so much I don’t know and yet other things that I don’t even know I don’t know that I need to let it all go and resolve to not worry about learning another thing until the morning.

There are days that I freak out that I will never be able to pull this off.

On those days, I have to get up from my kitchen table, abandon the vendor credit applications and costs of goods sold spreadsheets and packaging quotes on my open laptop and run to the bathroom to cry.  And then after my cry, I wash my face, I look in the mirror and say, “You can do this.  Now, get back out there and keep going,” and sit myself down again.  Some days I repeat this cycle many, many times.

Some days I feel too kick ass to be afraid of anything at all.

The best advice I got before moving in August was from a friend who told me to face my new situation with certainty.   Despite my off moments and off days, in my heart, I feel certain about what I’m doing.  That’s what keeps me going during the moments when I want to bail.  That’s what kept me going last week, during a particularly rough patch, when I was ready to pack it all up and move back to Jersey.  That’s what keeps me going in the moments when I see a lot of money going out right now and knowing that it will be months before I see it coming in.

Certainty is more than a frame of mind.  It’s an action.  I have to take steps every moment of my day, every day to move this all in the right direction.  Certainty is knowing that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing and it’s having an inherent belief in my success, a belief that overrides those moments when fear gets the best of me.

But certainty goes deeper than that.

Certainty is the belief that if I can’t pull this off successfully, if I fail miserably and never make a dime in this venture, I’ll be OK.  Certainty is knowing that if the drywall and the up-to-code bathroom and the new hot water heater that has been installed a safe distance from the electrical box all come crashing down around me, I’ll go on.  I’ll pack up my suitcase, throw my kids in the back of the car, and figure out what’s next.

No matter how this turns out, I’ll always look back on this as a great season.

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It’s a gift to have the opportunity to chase a dream.  It’s an even greater gift to understand that we are whole and happy and capable and complete regardless of the outcome of that dream.



A Million Little Things — 84 Comments

  1. Ilene, my friend. You will be fine, that is for sure.
    It’s a huge undertaking what you’re doing and I want you to know that you can message me anytime when you feel like you need to talk to someone. You don’t have to cry alone in your bathroom – it’s ok to do that of course, but maybe sometimes you just don’t want to and then I will be there! (get BBM for your iphone and we can connect there) xox
    Kerstin @ Auer Life recently posted…Office ChairMy Profile

    • Oh, my friend! I needed that! And I’ll take that wine over whining any day of the week. Thanks for shaking it into me. And I can’t wait for you to come visit!

  2. Ah… every time I read your posts- I take it in slowly. Every word. You are a gift. And you give endlessly as you go… inspiring us to believe in the very best of us- and the hope that everything- EVERYTHING- will be okay.

    Because, you my friend- believe that.

    And I love that most about you. XOXO

    You- always will live with Certainty. And I will be right by your side, reminding you of it over and over again. And you, me.
    Chris Carter recently posted…Santa Is Mindful Too…My Profile

    • Thank God you’re right by my side! For real! Certainty or no certainty, I am so grateful I’ve had you to lean on…every step of the way.

  3. You can do this. It isn’t easy, but that’s what makes it worthwhile.

    Making a dream come to life can come with a pretty drastic learning curve. :-O
    It also makes you realize you are smarter than you realize and are more flexible and resilient than you thought possible.

    Plus, you never know when that newfound knowledge and skill will come in handy again, and you have all these new and nifty conversation starters. 🙂
    Kim recently posted…Spending less at Christmas yields more joyMy Profile

    • Kim! You are so right about the conversation starters! And I do feel very informed right now about all kids of things. It’s been these wild chase of turning corners and falling down the occasional rabbit hole. But the next door always seems to open in the nick of time. Scary, fun, exhilarating, tiring, and most of all, rewarding as hell. Thank you my friend.

  4. Oh do I know these feelings! It seems like the times when things are good with my husband’s business, I’m in the bathroom crying about mine. And when it’s good for me, he’s going through a rough patch. But I cannot agree more in that we are both 100% certain that this is what we should be doing with our lives. Though I’ve never been more scared, I’ve also never been happier. We will always be okay, regardless of the outcome. As will you Ilene! You are going to rock this! 🙂
    Katie Grant recently posted…My Annual Christmas Decoration BattleMy Profile

    • Oh, Katie! It means the world to me that you stopped by to comment! And I am glad to hear that you and your husband at least alternate the good times and the rough patches! I’m also glad to know you share the sentiment that ultimately, it will all be OK. And it will!

  5. Amazing as always. I love the way you describe certainty because the world so often feels uncertain. And yet, like you say, it really isn’t. Because everything will always be okay. Exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you.-Ashley

    • The world is as uncertain as anything. But I don’t believe our paths are. I think we all have the potential to face all of the ups and downs and unexpecteds with equanimity…and that ultimately, no matter what is going on out there, inside we will be OK. Hugs!

  6. Boy did this hit home with me. All in all, the opportunity to chase a dream? The knowledge that no matter what happens, it will all be ok? I need to carry that in my heart every day.
    I always think of nothing even when I have so much. I hope I learn to change that.
    This journey of yours! I’m so happy to be somewhat on it with you, in really awesome ways.
    Tamara recently posted…Three Truths, Two Lies: The Raging College Edition.My Profile

    • You are with me in this. You’re with me on mine, and I’m with you on yours. And like Jessie said to me, I will say the same to you. You aren’t chasing the dream. You’re living it. You have an amazing portfolio to prove that.

    • We are so lucky, you and I – and many of our friends – that we *are* living this. I honestly think the only reason I *can* to this is because I’m not afraid to live with the worst possible outcome…which all in all, wouldn’t be that bad. Thanks, Jen!

    • Elaine, the experience has been incredible. No matter what happens, the events of the past 2 months have changed me for a lifetime. Growth, learning, all that good stuff. I can’t imagine doing anything else right now but this.

    • I love keeping up with this world. I’ve had to step back from time to time this fall just because…but keeping up with you guys is my joy. As is letting you all in on what’s been happening in this corner of the universe.

    • It’s hard to live in that risky place! I so get that! But I think learning to live comfortably even without the guarantees is one of the greatest gifts we can receive!

  7. It is amazing what bizarre things we have to or come to learn about! It is so wonderful you are taking charge and going for your dreams. Doubts and fears are such a normal part of the process it is wonderful you have the forsight to see past them and strive for the bigger picture. And you’re right even if you fail, taking the plunge is such a powerful and wonderful opportunity to be appreciated in itself!
    Jess recently posted…Christmas GiveawayMy Profile

  8. This is just so incredible and awesome, Ilene! Learning is hard. That may be the reason teenagers are cranky! LOL!I’m so happy for you and your business. I can’t wait to hear more about this adventure.
    Carla recently posted…12/14: The SkinnyMy Profile

    • You’re so right about that! The learning is hard! And tiring! It’s like your entire head has to expand to hold all of the new information….

    • Confidence is so simple when you think about it. Just training the mind to be optimistic. But easier said than done sometimes! Thank you for your enthusiasm. I appreciate it so!

  9. You most certainly can do this my friend. Starting from scratch and building something new is overwhelming and scary and nerve wracking but we keep moving, one step forward at a time. At least that’s what I tell myself as I start off on my yoga venture. It scares the crap out of me to be honest. But your words at the end, that last bit about it being a gift to chase a dream and an even greater gift to understand that we are happy and complete regardless of the outcome of the dream? PERFECT. Can’t wait to hear more.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…Mick vs. Kelly: 2013 Billabong Pipe MastersMy Profile

    • Chase that dream girl. I am so proud of you and so excited for you! And you have so many gifts to offer this world, as a yogi and anything else you want to be. xo

  10. There will always be days filled with self-doubt, usually linked to feelings of being over whelmed – as long as we always remain certain in our choices and decisions, it is a bit easier to overcome those feelings of inadequacies that can arise. It’s also helpful to be most productive on days we feel invincible versus days we feel more vulnerable and self-loathing – on these days baby steps and little successes are the key to overcoming the daunting feeling of too many tasks and be proud of ourselves. It’s the little things that count and taking it one day at a time. Great post and have a great one Ilene! -Iva
    AwesomelyOZ recently posted…A Childlike StateMy Profile

    • Thank you Iva! And I agree with you – with the productivity versus baby steps. Sometimes, we have to pace our actions so not to get or stay overwhelmed. Great insight!

  11. YES! All of it. Everything you said. In order to truly be successful (and be certain) is to not be afraid to fail. If you do (and you won’t!) you move on. What you DO is not who you ARE and you can reshape and redefine what you do a million times over. You already have.
    Onward with certainty my friend!!
    Allie recently posted…How to Stuff Your Whole (Foods) FaceMy Profile

    • Yes yes yes to everything you say here Allie! What we do is NOT who we are and being certain is not being afraid of failure. This may all fall to pieces on me – and I can live with that – which is why it feels OK to try to begin with!

  12. Keep chasing your dreams with certainty and confidence, my friend. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. No matter what happens, you’ve been an example of strength and faith to women and mothers everywhere. Even when you’re not feeling it, you’re kicking ass. Don’t forget it!
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted…My Christmas To-Do ListMy Profile

    • Thank you Nicole. If I can be any example to anyone at all, it’s just to try. Where I’m headed from there, I’m not sure…yet. But you guys will all see where this is going next with me.

    • I’m really grateful for what my friend said to me. And it reminded me that those worse case scenarios we fret about typically live only in our heads!

  13. I love this line: “Certainty is knowing that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing and it’s having an inherent belief in my success, a belief that overrides those moments when fear gets the best of me.” It’s so hard when you are starting your own business for scratch (and it sounds like you have way more things to learn than I did!), so much uncertainty, but one thing you can be certain about is knowing this is what you are suposed to be doing. I’m going to remember this when I have those moments of self-doubt (which still often come creeping back in). I am in such awe of you and all you have done, and I am so utterly excited for you and this venture!
    Bev recently posted…SpeedMy Profile

    • Thank you Bev! And I agree, that with certainty, I am constantly reminded that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing – and I know that – and this keeps me going through the times that seem difficult.

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