Move back in with your parents. Get the shitty job. Do the thing.
One continuous theme throughout my life has been a desire to demolish the veil of perfection that hovers over each and every one of us. We're all so busy curating picture perfect outsides while, internally, we are crumbling and growing stale. I've always loathed that, but the irony is, as much as I hated it, I was a DEEP TO MY CORE perfectionist. A perfectionist who also couldn't stand that there was this inauthentic masquerade going on everywhere. I played the game and honed my perfectionism; I was, dare I say, one of the best at the game. (Being a perfectionist always propels one to be, well, the BEST.) With a plastered on smile, swipe of makeup, and the right clothes, I could play any part needed.
But let me tell you: as a health coach, I am DETERMINED to make sure no one thinks that I'm perfect.
I AM NOT PERFECT. I don't eat perfectly. I don't always say the right thing. I don't always make the right choices. I curse and I eat sugar and I drink alcohol and coffee and I even honked my horn and flipped a dude off the other day. Am I PROUD? Was that a PROUD moment? No! I felt awful. It was the exact opposite of a "yoga off the mat" moment.
But I'm not perfect. And the more work I do as a coach working with other women, the more I realize that the MESSINESS in me is way more helpful to anyone than the things I do right.
People keep asking me recently how I've gotten "here." I guess I've entered into some modicum of success in which people think I've arrived somewhere, but let me tell you, two months ago I was waking up at 3 am to go to work in a grocery store for an 8 hour shift, lugging heavy boxes, working the cash register, cleaning the bathroom, and refilling coffee. That was only two months ago. As I see it, I've not arrived anywhere. I'm on a new and interesting part of this journey. But it's all still a journey.
I hear people saying they want to do things and start businesses and make money and run programs, and I *do* hear you. I too have wanted to do things and start a business and make money and run programs. And sometimes I've launched things to crickets. I've held a workshop and made food and workbooks and crafted a whole presentation and spent money on advertising and had no one show up. Truth. More recently I've had a moderate level of what some may see as success. I'm now bringing in "my own income" with no true employer; I'm an independent contractor, consultant, coach. Whatever you want to call it. The thing I've realized about being an entrepreneur is... the only thing that really matters is being so incredibly authentic that it's almost uncomfortable. The discomfort I'm talking about isn't about making other people uncomfortable. This is about YOU.
If you want comfortable, get a job with benefits like paid holidays, vacation, sick time, and health care. I used to think that a corporate job would give me the confidence I needed; as though proving to others that I'm part of the pack (and an important one, too) would provide the necessary evidence that I had the smarts and the gumption and was worth some mother trucking respect. A business coach once told me that I was fooling myself for two reasons: 1) there's not that much security in that kind of work, either, where you could get laid off/considered redundant/get fired at any time (especially if you're interested in pursuing something else and not *fully* applying yourself to the gig), and 2) your value does not come from your work. And it was true. While I sometimes felt fancy playing office and wearing the costume and talking the talk at sleek boardroom tables, I mostly... didn't feel at all aligned. Everyday was like stepping into someone else's skin (ew) and playing a role.
So I'll tell you exactly how I got here. I have two degrees in the arts, one in Interior Design and the other in Musical Theatre. I suppose you could say I failed at both. I didn't end up owning my own Interior Design firm (which is what I would have told you I wanted to do at the age of 19) and I didn't end up on Broadway (which is what I would have told you I wanted to do at the age of 24). The thing is, there was a point where I stopped wanting both of those things. I pushed past the wanting and kept pursuing them out of this sense of "should" and other people's expectations, but, with both, eventually I realized... I didn't want it anymore. I simply didn't want it. And honestly, other people *really* didn't care what I was doing.
I've had a ton of shitty jobs. I've also had a ton of great jobs. I've looked my ego square in the face and been like... "welp... this is probably going to be embarrassing. Wait—why? WHY is this going to be embarrassing? Do I think I'm too good for this job? Oh, shit. I do. Okay, well, Brittany, guess what? You AREN'T too good for this job. You aren't too good for a paycheck. You aren't too good to pay your bills. You aren't above it. And serving your high school math teacher a steak as he says, "weren't you valedictorian?" doesn't make you less than. You reply, "Yes, I was, and now I'm starting my own business endeavor, and, well, a gal's gotta eat." And then you feel a little bit like shit and a little bit empowered. And you go run a steak to another table and get yelled at for forgetting a martini and you feel a little bit like shit again. But in the back of your mind, you know you're still following your heart, and that's what really matters right?
The list of "throw away jobs" (as they've been called to me) include time served in the service industry: Being a waitress/cart girl/cocktail waitress/barista/hostess at Outback Steakhouse, The Country Club of Louisiana, Bella Italia, Co. Pizza, SaraBeth's, The Stumble Inn, Khave Coffee, and Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. I've been a nanny. I've office managed an interior design fabrication/wholesale office. I've interned for hedge funds and advertising firms. I've stacked bananas and rang bells at Trader Joe's. I've even had the "respectable" bank job with a nameplate on the desk and an office with a view (it was of a parking lot, but the point is: I had a window, which is, as I've gathered, an indication of a good office).
I wouldn't throw away any of these "throw away jobs" and the things I learned doing them.
I have a high level of compassion for anyone who's out there DOING the thing, especially if she's DOING everything she can to get it done.
Here's the thing about crying in the corner because you might have to get a day job to pay your bills: GET THE DAY JOB aka shit or get off the pot aka DO THE THING. Otherwise you're stuck in lack mindset because you're terrified of not making money. Your business begins to feel desperate and the grasping energy is scarcity. Get the day job. Know it's just for a paycheck and it isn't for FOREVER. Focus on the enoughness and KEEP DOING THE THING.
I contend that every single human on this planet should have to work in the service/retail industry at least once, anyway.
So how'd I get here? I made my ego my best friend (because you can tell your best friends hard truths), told her my value doesn't come from where I'm making money, and I put one foot in front of the other to DO THE THING.
I made a lot of excuses along the way. I've not had enough money, I've not slept enough, and I've had to swallow my pride. Every time I swallowed pride, I realized that means I was being a little bit of an asshole, and the shedding of that assholeness made me feel a little more empowered.
So how'd I get here? I realized I cared way too much what other people thought of me and where I was making my money from, and I put one foot in front of the other to DO THE THING.
I asked for help. A lot of help. I moved back in with my parents at 28. I got into credit card debt. I hired coaches and therapists. I journaled. A lot. I realized that I can't do this on my own, and asking for help didn't make me less than or weak; it made me human.
So how'd I get here? I realized I don't have to do this on my own, and I did the terrifying thing of asking people I was scared to ask for help, and I put one foot in front of the other to DO THE THING.
I don't want to stay here though. What is here, even? I haven't arrived anywhere.
The moment I became a true entrepreneur was when I was on a two hour register shift at Trader Joe's on a crazy busy Saturday. The lines are relentless, and the crush of humans staring you down as you run frozen food and wine and various produce over a scanner (does anyone know the code for pomelo!?) makes you question if they know that you, too, are a human. A salt and pepper dude with a slightly weathered face, maybe from time spent in the sun without sunscreen mowing the lawn and playing ball with grandkids on the weekend, came through my line and took it upon himself to engage me in authentic conversation. We got deep fast, and one thing led to another, and I started talking to him about The Soul Food Project.
"Ah. A real entrepreneur, I see. Doing anything necessary to make it happen."
Well, dang. Here I was thinking I was FAILING once again. Not every minute. A lot of the time I feel like I'm in the thick of it doing the things I love to do and every once in a while I do one small thing right. And then another. But there are those dark moments, like when you're trying to remember the code for a pomelo and the next person in line sighs loudly at you for delaying their day 5 minutes and you have been awake since 3 am after working until who knows when the night before when you wonder "WHAT AM I EVEN DOING? EFF THIS ALLLLLLLLLLL."
And then someone reminds you: you are DOING THE THING.
In that moment I realized that I was ready. I was done. I was ready.
So yeah. Just keep doing the thing. And sometimes... you cry. Sure. Get pissed. Throw something and wallow. You get one day to do that. But you'd better pick yourself up the next day and get back to work. Lord knows I have a lot of those days in my future. I can see them as clearly as I can see what I want for myself.
Speak your truth. Seek your truth. Want what you want.
THAT is Soul Food.
PS: Whenever you’re ready, here are three ways I can help you with food and health this year:
1. Join the Glowing Goddess Guru Beast Mode group and connect with women who are investing in their health and happiness, too.
This is my new Facebook community where women learn to get more of what they want in their body, food, and lives. Click Here
2. If this is the kind of food & life philosophy that you find intriguing, or if you're interested in this kind of approach to eating and living well, you'll really dig the book I'm wrapping up and getting ready for print right this very moment: Glowing Goddess Guru Beast Manifesto. It's now available for pre-sale!!