When I was in photo school, I worked 100+ hour weeks in the darkroom. I got to class Monday through Friday at 8am and then stayed after class to print until about midnight. On weekends I shot Saturday morning, processed film Sunday and made contact sheets that night to start over Monday morning. It was a long week. And I felt a little crazy a lot of the time.
What kept me sane? The fact that I loved (and still love) photography. And my requirement that I let myself see a movie every Friday night. Somehow, this ritual helped me feel that my time was still my own in some way and that I still had a little bit of a life. That and constantly singing the little song from Finding Nemo above.
I'm finding myself singing that same little song again lately. It's a crazy world out there, but I am so touched by how many people responded to what I wrote yesterday. We do need to keep swimming. Here's how I'm trying to do it.
One of the crucial decisions I made right after I started my business ( as in less than a week after I started it) was to join a networking group. Now, I know that networking for most people has about the appeal of public speaking, but really, it saved me. If you pick a group that makes you feel jazzed up and inspired when you leave, you are in the right place. If it hadn't been for the ladies of Westside Women's Leads Club, I wouldn't be in business today. Not only because I have gotten so many clients through working with them, but because it really helped me so much to be able to connect with other women who owned their own businesses.
The sad paradox is that even though many of us work for ourselves because we're say, less than extroverted, we still need the support of other people in order to move forward. When I find myself daydreaming about getting a 9 to 5 gig, often what I miss, aside from the dependable paycheck obviously, is the sense of connection and community working for a company in an office can create. Even the job that I left to work for myself had a great community of people working there, despite the fact that the organization was not in the greatest shape.
Creating community now is saving my ass. Have you reached out for other people? it has meant the world to me to have the comments I've had this week, and to be able to reach out on twitter and on here. Online is definitely a viable option to connect, but don't discredit the need to have real face to face contact. I had lunch today with some of my Leads ladies, and it was such a treat to talk to them and have a group experience. I always get good ideas when I talk to these women.
I'm starting a drop-in goup in LA next week. Please let me know if you'll be in the area and woudl like to come. I'm keeping the price low- $30 for a two hour group- because I feel so strongly about providing this resourc to people right now.
There is change afoot. Even if I am scared, I want to be part of that. This is the point when people are ready to try something new to build a better foundation. Let's be the change that everyone needs. I'll keep going and I hope we can all do this together!