Plan Around the Doubt
Last month I published an open letter to my Elevated Fitness clients. It went something like this:
As many of you already know, our EF Contractor, Meryl Binder, will soon be moving overseas. Meryl has been a great ambassador for Elevated Fitness, and I would be lying if I didn’t say my first “baby”, this business, is just as much mine as it is hers.
Before I moved from Clovis, Meryl took the time to shadow me in a variety of settings, study hard, ask questions, and attain truly professional certifications. She didn’t cut any corners. When my husband and I drove out of town in November 2014, she wrapped both of her loving arms around Elevated Fitness, 100% respectful of the time, money, and energy I had spent in building a business for both military families and locals. Although we have different backgrounds, experiences, and athletic interests, I knew my clients would be in good hands.
Since early 2017, Meryl and I have spoken at length about the options before us when her family’s impending PCS (aka military move) would occur. Ideally, we wanted to give another person the opportunity to grow Elevated Fitness. Finding a local would be best; no more PCSes, and the added bonus of being able to truly have big ideas and longterm plans. Hiring another military spouse would be great, too, as employment opportunities for spouses in a smaller community can be more than challenging. Our fear was simple: leaving our beloved clients high and dry.
Despite our best efforts, finding someone with the experience (or time for mentorship), who maintained a culture and attitude similar to ours, proved to be rather difficult. And despite my new home being driving distance from eastern New Mexico, I just wasn’t sure how much time I could realistically spend checking on a situation that needed full-time attention.
We have reached a compromise that involves our longtime partner, Athletics Evolved... ...we will be recommending our HPBC students and clients continue on with Athletics Evolved...
...Although Elevated Fitness will no longer be operating locally in Clovis, Meryl and I will continue to provide programming, distance training, and online/phone consults; Meryl will be doing so through her own venture, Wicked Iron Strength & Conditioning. I will likely begin working with clients on-site in Colorado Springs this fall. The two of us are happy to have shared the past few years “together” and there is absolutely no bad blood going forward. We will continue to collaborate and consult with one another as our strengths are quite complementary.
We thank all of you for your business, but most importantly, your support and friendship. Being in this industry, the hours we keep often make socializing difficult…you all are our family and the bonds we have had the honor of sharing with you are the sole reason why leaving Clovis has been so difficult. Twice.
Please feel free to reach out to Meryl or myself with any questions regarding the new arrangement in Clovis or how distance training works.
Owner, Elevated Fitness
It took me over a year to swallow my pride and be at peace about the future of EF. Once I did, drafting this letter took less than 15 minutes to create.
Pride may have originally kept me from considering closing shop in NM, but my latest challenge is overcoming doubt.
Recently, on old friend and former client invited me to be a guest on her new podcast with MilHousing Network. We agreed to chat mostly about career challenges for military spouses, and how my career has evolved across multiple moves and duty stations. The podcast itself was a totally new experience, but mostly it felt like catching up with an old friend. I was actually a little uncomfortable, but hosting a blog with the name Comfortably Uncomfortable has helped push me to do things I would otherwise make excuses to avoid. But I digress. It was actually a lot of fun and I look forward to doing it again.
After the mics were replaced and my endorphins wore off, I started to doubt my performance on the podcast. I didn’t reference my notes often enough. Some of my comments were incomplete. I didn’t give Lindsey what she was asking for. I could have done a better job elaborating on some very important points. I should have done a better job promoting my social media and blog, not just my business, which is, by the way, in a holding pattern of sorts. Not the best set up.
Doubt. Doubt. Doubt.
I blame my son. Aside from half my intelligence fleeing my body at 4:47am on December 19, 2015, he has bestowed upon me a bizarre set of traits: brain fog, situational ADD, conversing in a circular manner which only myself, female family members, and close friends can follow, and last but not least, decreased professional self-esteem. Well, it's partly him and partly some medication I take for my ulcerative colitis. Either way, my layer of doubt is a bit thicker these days. Whatever the contributing factors, it's only natural I feel rusty, having exchanged one full-time job for another. Anyone would.
As Lindsey, my podcasting celebrity/friend, and I were chatting, she relayed an analogy so many of us can relate to. Lindsey and her business partner say they are like ducks; Everything looks smooth as they float gracefully along the surface, but underneath they are paddling the sh*t outta that water. That’s my paraphrase; she was slightly more eloquent.
The point is, no matter how smooth and put-together it looks from the outside, we all have doubts about our abilities, our processes, and how others perceive our “product”. But sometimes simply taking the time to sit down and list those necessary steps is the biggest speed bump to reaching your goals.
Right after drafting this post, I heard a Langston Hughes quote: "...the only way to get a thing done is to start to do it, then keep on doing it, and finally you'll finish it..." Just like the duck, you have to keep paddling. This is totally my M.O.. I learned some very hard lessons this way, but for me, it works. Most of the time.
Even the best laid plans can result in poor execution; and sometimes just going with the flow (à la Mr. Hughes) can have amazing results. But doubting your ability to handle the good or the bad is the worst way to go about making progress.
So what does this mean for me? Aside from writing a brief companion piece to be posted when the podcast is broadcast, I am sitting down and doing some loose planning.
- What do I want my “new” business to become?
- What is the new business plan/manifesto/mission statement?
- What do I want out of my business?
- How am I going to get there?
- Who is going to help me get there? How will they help me?
- What is it going to cost ($$, time, energy, famiy)?
- Do I have income goals?
- How much time will I realistically dedicate to my clients and general business maintenance?
- What is the a timeline?
Obviously my doubt revolves around the next phase of my business and all the unknowns that entails. But I challenge you to sit down and plan around the doubt in your life: relationships, work, health/fitness. Here is a general outline I whipped up to help organize my thoughts.
- What do you want? Better relationships, more income, more time for loved ones, healthier habits?
- How are you going to get there? Obviously the most difficult question; not so simple!
- Who is going to help? What is your support system like?
- What is it going to cost? $, time, other relationships, etc.
- Do you have a deadline? What will you lose if you fail to meet said deadline? Sometimes (not always) putting something on the line is a nice motivator. But don't be fooled - your main motivation should be intrinsic. i.e.: Spending $500 on gym equipment doesn't guarantee a thing.
- What is your manifesto/mission statement? This is a public declaration that summarizes your aim(s).
Clearly, this is a list that will take some thought; not exactly a last-minute grocery list. Set aside some time over a few days or even over a few weeks. You might even find after creating a rough draft that revisiting your list may result in changing your goals, priorities, or timeline. I also find it helpful to throw some ideas out to your friends or family; their different perspective can often shed new light on the situation.
I'll keep you updated on how my list is coming along.
What will be the subject of your list? Comment below or tag @comfy_uncomfy on IG and FB.