We recently celebrated the Jewish New Year, and RBG left this world, which has me thinking about beginnings and endings.
Somehow, in the blink of an eye, I am now the mother of a one-year-old.
My son, Noah, turned one back in August, which feels simultaneously like yesterday and 847 years ago.
He has lived more than half his life in quarantine.
I look back at the woman I was before he was born. The woman who thought she’d spend maternity leave reading business books and knocking out work projects. I look back at her and I think, Oh, to be so naive.
I look back at the things I worried about before I became a mother, and I’m not sure whether I should laugh or cry.
I worried that my natural need to do things quickly would make me an impatient mom, or impatient with him.
I worried that I wouldn’t know what to do when my son cried, or when he needed me.
I worried that I would somehow not be enough for him.
But the truth is, I’m finding that I want to give him all the time in the world.
When my son cries or needs me, I hold him.
I am enough for him.
Thinking back to before he was born, here are things I didn’t worry about:
A global pandemic
The future of democracy
How is this even a list
And now, when I hold my sleeping boy, I wonder what kind of world I’ve brought him into.
Back in March and April, when coronavirus really started to heat up, my go-to coping mechanism was, “Fix other people’s problems.”
I snapped to attention and tried to solve All The Problems, spending hours coaching students, and giving my clients the guidance they needed…
… until I nearly collapsed from the exhaustion inherent in parenting a 6-month-old in quarantine with no childcare while running a business and taking care of everyone else but myself.
My wife Emily sat me down for a Serious Conversation about how I had to remember to take care of myself, of us. It's a conversation each of us needs to have with each other and ourselves.
So. Imagine that you and I are sitting down at the kitchen table for a Serious Conversation. Here's what I'd say.
You can’t fix everything.
But you can take care of yourself.
I’m right there with you when you say that you’re terrified for the future of democracy. I hear you when you tell me you’re worried no one will ever hire you again. (I’ll be talking about that more in the coming weeks – see the P.S. to join me).
But I also know that that what’s underneath all of that, is what you’re not saying:
You are so tired.
You are depleted.
You can’t imagine doing this for another eight months.
Or another four years.
Your tank is empty. Mine is, too. So here’s what we’re going to do.
One small thing.
If that one small thing is to simply wake up and be kind to people, that’s OK.
But if you have one ounce of energy, then every day, do one small thing for your business. One email to a potential client. One post. One follow-up with someone you haven’t heard from in a while.
Just one thing.
If you’re consistent — if you do your one thing every day — it’ll work. Not overnight, and not in a week, but it will work.
I won’t bullshit you and tell you that it’s going to be easy or that I have the answers to everything.
But consistency is the only thing that’s ever worked, and it still works now.
You don’t have to do all the things. Just one. Every day.
And take care of yourself. We’ll get through this.
To your success,