By Dawn Apuan, Regular Columnist.
I was working crazy long hours, the kind that make your eyeballs bleed.
I poured everything I had into running a non-profit and serving others in the community. It felt good to make a difference, but at what cost?
And then there was the day that changed everything…
I walked in to my annual review proud of my accomplishments from the past year. I hadn’t skipped a beat, even with a new baby in tow.
But my “success” was rated on two indicators that apparently didn’t measure up, so I was told I was ‘failing.’
I had been 5 years on the job. I began to list all the new programs I’d started in that time, all impact I’d had. But then my voice trailed off….
I could see my words were falling on deaf ears. My reviewer crossed his arms, shrugged his shoulders, and said, “doesn’t matter.”
As a result of that review, I was transferred to a different city and demoted. Even worse, I wasn’t allowed to have my daughter at work with me at all. She had to be in childcare. I was expected to be in the office 5 days a week 8 hours a day.
While this might be normal for most people, ministry is 24/7 and my daughter always just came with me and we did it together or I worked from home when I had administrative things to work on. I went from complete freedom over my schedule to a dictatorship where I practically needed permission to pee.
Yanking away my freedom sent me down a spiral of depression and anxiety. I actually had panic attacks about leaving my daughter in daycare since neither of us were ready to take that step.
My mental health finally got so bad that I went in to meet with the regional leader, who completely failed to understand why I was struggling. His response?
“Parents don’t stay home with their kids anymore.”
Soul-crushed and eyes welling with tears, I sat there speechless. Inside the Hulk was raging, but I had no clue how to prove him wrong.
I had no clue how to make that happen without my husband having some crazy high-paying job…which he didn’t. We both were in ministry and always had enough to make ends meet, but there was no way we’d get by without me working. I felt trapped. I remember texting my sister, “there’s no hope…”
For over a year my daughter had come to work with me or I worked from home. I loved work, but I loved being a mom even more.
Even though I found a sweet nanny, I still dreaded dropping her off and would cry my way to work. For a few months there, I think I cried more than she did…
…and she cried herself to sleep every night, sometimes for hours.
One night trying to soothe her to sleep as tears silently streamed down my own face, I decided enough was enough.
I didn’t know how, but I knew I had to find a way to create a different life for us. My stress and unhappiness were affecting her and the rest of the family too.
If only I could find a way to support my family from home…that seemed like the right solution….
…but turns out that was only half right.
Becoming an entrepreneur
I’m pretty sure I Googled every possible way to make money online and at home without ever once Googling “entrepreneur”. In fact, that was a totally foreign concept to me.
Even after I’d launched my first business as an affiliate marketer, I still didn’t refer to myself as an entrepreneur. I was so focused on solving the work problem and making money, that it didn’t even cross my mind until WAY later that I had become an entrepreneur.
In the process, I’d read countless books, listened to podcasts, taken courses, and attended conferences about entrepreneurship…ultimately discovering the full solution.
Owning a business is like personal growth on steroids, and as I gained all these different skills to grow my business, I was forced to grow.
It was crazy. I started living a life of gratitude and forgiveness like I never had before, even being grateful for being told I was a failure.
I had hope again. I felt joy in ways I never had before.
So, was becoming an entrepreneur the answer?
Yes, but not completely.
You see, so often in life we’re focused on what we want to have. I wanted to have an income from home so I could be home with my daughter and live a life of my choosing.
We figure that once we have the money, we can do the things we’ve always wanted, and be the person we want to be, but that’s backwards.
What I learned as an accidental entrepreneur, is that I needed to master my mindset to become the person that’s worthy of doing the amazing things that impact the world around me, so that I can have the life of my dreams.
It’s not so much about achieving that big dream or that big mission, but about who you become in the process. Become THAT person, and the life you desire will unfold.
Dawn Apuan is a business and mindset coach for moms, author, and motivational speaker. While providing women with the tools and support to build dependable businesses, her deeper mission is to help them discover true peace and happiness. Start writing your happily ever after with a free copy of her Peace Playbook at www.dawnapuan.com/mindset.