After we moved to North Carolina I wasn’t bringing home an income from my business. Matt and I started discussing me getting a job. He was going to try to continue in real estate but we both new we needed some steady income. I applied for a part time receptionist position and was given an opportunity and began my new job.
Even though I was so grateful I felt like I had given a little piece of me away. My dreams were getting further and further away and the voices of all the people saying, it will never work, you’ll eventually have to get a job was ringing in my ears. They were right. I had to get a job, I failed. Once you have gained huge success and then you lose it and everything that comes along with it you realize how strong you really are or how strong you’re not.
I had negative conversations with friends and family and they would say, “why do you have to pull the weight of the family? Why are you the one that has to leave the house? Why doesn’t Matt contribute?” This was the recording that I played over and over in my head. This is a huge example of being tapped in to the wrong circle of influence. We all have those gremlins in our head. That voice that says, poor you, you shouldn’t have to do this. I knew I needed to support Matt and bring home an income for our family, but in a way I was angry that I was putting down my dream so that we could build his. At the time I was pushing down hurt feelings because I was putting this burden on my shoulders. I was completely forgetting about the burden that Matt had, the burden to recreate the success he once had. This is something that happens when you start living in a “what about me” world.
It didn’t help that my family was always saying how unfair it was that I worked and he stayed home. It is a toxic mixture when negative words that you hear in your head is voiced through other people, you feel validated in your feelings. Really if they haven’t lived it they don’t understand it. They are only projecting their fears onto your situation.
You have to protect your dreams, relationship and visions because if the people you are surrounding yourself with and sharing your heartaches and struggles with are not on the same page as you, the advice they might give can be detrimental to your positive energy.
I soon was doing a lot more than receptionist work. They heard about my sales experience from my business with Mary Kay and offered me sales position. They wanted us to move to Charlotte to help open a new location. Charlotte was 2 hours away from where we were living now. I knew it was one of those offers that if I didn’t take it I probably wouldn’t have the job that I had much longer. Matt and I discussed it and we decided to do it. We made the leap of faith once again. Not sure if we were crazy or just following our destiny. Once we moved to Charlotte I continued in sales and traveled all over Charlotte. They soon gave me two more territories and my travel increased once again.
Eventually I was offered a branch managers position and I ran three branches and traveled them all. After a year I decided to apply for an internal position in the safety field. I had no experience at all, did not go to school for this but it looked like something that I would be good at. I threw my hat in the ring and got the position as a safety manager for NC. At this point I was traveling all of NC and was gone a lot. After a year I was promoted into a position as a Safety Director and my territory now was the east coast.
During my climb up the corporate ladder, I worked hard. I would take on projects that most would not. I knew that if I went the extra mile that I would be rewarded.
Most people only do what they were hired to do, nothing more. They have the mentality that “it’s not my job.” Well yeah, but where is that attitude going to take you? I see now that this climb was my entrepreneurial spark trying to poke it’s way through the conventional box I had crawled in to.
To be an entrepreneur or live this lifestyle you must do what most will not to have the success that most will not have.
I craved my own success, I needed to feel like I was accomplishing something. Even though I had worked my way up from receptionist to Safety Director I still felt empty. There was something missing in my life. Because of this emptiness my angst had grown and the emotions that I pushed down were bubbling. I had so much stuck energy that I was like a pressure cooker. Any moment I was going to explode, I could feel it. I was always gone, over worked under appreciated and tired. I gave 100% at work and had nothing left to give when I got home, but I still had to support Matt and be there for him.
It is very difficult for resentment not to creep in. With our lack of communication we were slowly widening the gap between us. What was once our vision was now “his thing.” During this time Matt had changed directions and was getting into the internet marketing space. He had started making money online but my anxiety was growing because I felt so very far way from my passion and my dreams and he was getting to live his everyday. Again there was a lot of my, me, mine… We were really putting down roots in the, “it’s all about me” world we created.
Once you get a taste of freedom it’s hard to go back to a confined space of a J.O.B. I had to leave my kids in the morning and drive hundreds of miles a week and at times be away from them a couple days at a time. Which is normal for a lot of people. I realize this but for me at the time I was drowning in self pity.
He was with them. He got to experience their firsts. I was jealous of silly things like, he didn’t have to sit in rush hour traffic or that he didn’t miss the kids activities. I was trying to be supportive but I was not in a place where I could give him what he needed. Hurt feelings become compounded and are so much worse when you cannot find an outlet. As a couple you must create a space to communicate hurt, frustration, and anxiety.
This went on for several years. The lack of communication and the lack of giving what was needed on both sides grew into an ugly monster. I had an amazing career, I was a super successful corporate girl. Matt’s businesses was flourishing. He was making six figures, but we as a couple were miserable. I have to be honest, this was another crossroad for us. This crossroad was different though. The decision that we had to make now was, will we stay together or go our separate ways? The anger, resentment, and frustration that we had towards each other almost tore us apart. We are so blessed that God intervened in our lives and said, “that’s enough children.” We believe God put us together and we are meant for greatness. The very dark time of separation that we had to endure made us remember this. It also made us appreciate each other and learn how to give and communicate.
As entrepreneurial families we are at times so focused on the success, the power, and the lifestyle that we forget how much attention that the family requires to grow. The business is not the only thing that needs developing. If you work 24 hours a day and put all your efforts into the hustle you will probably become very successful. What is success though if you turn around at the finish line and your family unit is no longer there, they have become a casualty of the grind.
I sit here today eight years later a different woman. I have come through what feels like an eight year storm, a little battered but so much stronger and wiser. Everything that Matt promised me came to fruition. We have financial freedom, an amazing lifestyle, but the most extraordinary part of the 14 year climb is that we now more than ever have a “one shared vision.” I believe that God put us in the tornado of financial devastation and pushed us to the edge of divorce because that was the only way for us to truly relate to others and be able to make a difference in the world. For that, I am humbly grateful.