This is a post about fear. Particularly, this is a post about the specific brand of fear associated with uncertainty; especially uncertainty spurred by starting. Fear of this variety is known by many names. We have all had some sort of experience wherein we were nervous to do a thing, especially a new thing. This fear/nervousness/anxiety/whatever, is what I’m writing about this week.
Whew that was rough! Those three sentences are probably the ugliest I’ve ever crafted. I thank you for reading through it. Now that it’s done, I never have to start this post again, which has been a real challenge for me during these weeks actually. I’m now free to settle into my usual comfort — born of experience, confidence, and enjoyment — that I usually employ when writing. The stream of consciousness can flow, I can edit, add great graphics, post, and bask in the feedback and support I receive after doing so.
But I had to start.
This post and its central mediation were inspired by a Snapchat about three weeks ago. A young woman I’ve known since high school, who has created her brand and multiple business opportunities, shared a series of snaps about the hardest part of it being starting. That really resonated with me. I was finishing up my last post and in the early stages starting of my business, A. Allen Consulting LLC. Her remarks made me consider the flip side. It wasn't the ending anxiety that bothered me. It was the starting stress. It was the fear of crashing before takeoff. From that point, I began calling this shadow menace by name and working to overcome it.
I had to really listen to the reasons I was giving myself for not taking a couple hours to sit down and write a breezy 1000 words. “Oh, I have time,” “it’s just 1000 words and I’ve written that while stuck in traffic on the way to class,” “it’ll be easy because it’s literally my life.” I had to read between the lines. “If I say I got busy, no one can fault me because that’s life,” “I’m worried it won’t be as good as the last one and I rather not do it if isn’t perfect,” “*literally trash not worth saying*.” I was making excuses which made me waste time and become more nervous. I had to end this cycle. Basically, I had to “Band-Aid Rules” my approach to my personal and business lives.
DIGRESSION TIME! I know how you, dear reader, enjoy the journeys we go on during the course of these meditations. I was starting to worry they might become gimmicky and you would grow weary. Then I remembered variety is the spice of life and what’s spicier than getting a little adventure in your blog reading experience?
Anyway. I’m sure you noticed ever so casually mentioned I started a business (and dropped a smooth link). June 14, 2017, I founded my freelance consultancy and I love it dearly. While the explicit purpose of this post is to address fear of starting, the ulterior goal was to introduce my business brand to the world in a chill, millennial kind of way. Sneaky, I know.
But wait, there’s more!
In the spirit of letting the words use me, I'm going to be brave enough to admit this post is also meant to complete a series. The previous posts on enough-ness and endings have been leading to this exact moment wherein you find yourselves following this yarn. I have always been a person who greatly values continuity and finally my time has come. Thank for you allowing me to play out this fantasy.
After being inspired by my peer’s post and acumen, I began to think on the entrepreneurs in my life — from other friends and colleagues developing brands to stylists owning their salons to my mother’s law practice to major corporations like Apple and Starbucks (I’m basic, I know). They all had to start. They have to start in a sense every day. It would be a grave error to assume none of these entities didn't (and still do) deal with the whispers and shadows of “what if this fails?” I’m not the first and certainly won’t be the last. There are many “firsts” on my horizon. Full disclosure: I'm a little shook. I know I had the life changing aquatic experience and I think about those whales every day in attempts to bate the new-space-in-life-shookness but I remain shook. I must consider myself like the whales, my friends, my mom, my stylist, tech giants, and drink peddlers. I must be bold. What makes one bold is the ability to recognize that starting is daunting and doing it anyway.
A.Allen Consulting LLC is a realization. I’ve always had a vision of myself owning an innovative and meaningful business. I wasn’t sure how or what but the idea appealed to me. As I matriculated, I discovered my love for “making paper pretty.” From there, I found myself doing projects like designing fliers and building powerpoints for people every so often. One day someone messed around and paid me for it. I made the process more formal and thus a freelance consultancy was born.
I always assumed owning business would be a capstone in my career rather than a beginning. However, I was presented with the opportunity to work for myself in earnest after completing my master’s thesis and decided it was a good time. My education was ending and I needed to make moves. Instead of marking an end, the founding of A.ACo (which is a very aesthetically pleasing nickname) is a catalyst for an exciting new stage in my personal and professional development. It’s a positive step toward boldly going about my courses because I am enough. I’m beyond excited to share this with the masses. Follow the links to familiarize yourself with the vision. Maybe we can work. I’m a little antsy sure, but I've decided to think of it as exhilarating. First day jitters are lowkey fun.
(This is me on the my first ever day of school btw. Get it? I did a thing 👐🏾✨)