Owning a business: the realities of ugly crying and being scared pants-less.
Written by Claire Keet
There are a lot of things that make working at Sentiens completely, utterly wonderful. That we get to imagine and create this brand and all of it’s products is a privilege I can’t begin to express my gratefulness for. That I get to do it all alongside my sister is actually just beyond me. I could have a drizz just thinking about it because it makes my heart so full with gratitude.
But the thing is, I can’t have a cry. Not even if I tried. Mainly because I spent every last one of my tears on some of the ugliest ugly crying known to man just earlier this week.
It all began with the three magic words ‘business strategy meeting’.
Our parents have always shown keen interest in and support for what we are up to at Sentiens. (Thanks Mom and Dad!). It certainly doesn’t hurt that our Dad is, amongst other things, an enterprise development facilitator who helps businesses focus, optimise and define ways to reach their full potential. (Another reason to weep with gratitude!). Dad generously sat with Kait and I over three days to help us reflect on and refocus our Sentiens vision.
It was all going well until we got to our financial projects on day three… the unambiguous, black and white, no-where-to-hide, no-place-for-bullshit bit. The bit where, on one hand, you see what happens if you surpass your targets. The bit where, on the other hand, you see what happens if you don’t meet your sales goals.
And I lost the plot. (Sorry Dad!)
Reflecting on the situation now, with a bit of distance between me and that fateful Excel spreadsheet, I can see that fear overtook me. Fear that I don’t often allow myself to feel. When you own a business, by default you invite fear into your life… and if you aren’t able to find a way to coexist peacefully with it, then you’re in for a bumpy ride. I am usually able to harness fear and the pressure I put on myself for good. It drives me, inspires me and pushes me to continually create. But sometimes, if you let it, it can come out of nowhere and take hold. And, if my ugly crying and the pool of snot and tears I left in my Dad’s office, is anything to go off - it ain’t pretty.
So, this is a reminder to myself as much as it is to any of you possibly dealing with fear:
Make space for fear in your life… acknowledge that it’s there, accept that it’s going to be around. Try to make friends with it. Being fearful means that your goal is so worth fighting for that you’re scared pants-less of not being able to achieve it… and that’s a great privilege. To feel so deeply moved by a goal that you can’t imagine it not working out is a wonderful thing. Use your fear as a springboard to innovate, to find solutions, to make action plans to realise your goals. Try to discern between fear and excitement - there’s a fine line between them. Remember that big scary numbers or black and white action plans are just your goals packaged up differently… and that your goals aren’t anything to be scared of.