Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Value of Letting Others In

I'll come right out and admit it. I've been struggling to find new clients. My business did reasonably well in February and March, but the pond has dried and my fears have grown and I've slid back into old habits: relying on myself and not partnering with or sharing things with my husband.

It's a business that relies on my writing talent to operate. But, in shutting him out, not only am I contributing to his doubts and worries about the family, I'm robbing him of the opportunity to help me and to contribute something useful to the business. I'm putting him in a position of being a stranger rather than a partner.

Tonight we went on a walk together. I've been feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders, and feeling as if our whole financial situation were on me. I needed to get out of the house. He's been battling depression, and I thought a walk in the cool evening air might be just the thing to help him. We walked in silence for most of the way.

Then I mentioned that I was scheduled for a coaching call with a very sweet lady I met online, but I was a little worried about the call because part of her advice during a webinar she gave was to eliminate all the negative people out of your life if you couldn't get them to stop their negative talk. This bothered me since it's definitely not a Christ-like attitude and I don't think it aligns very well with the values that Catholics are called to embrace. I told him I was thinking of positioning myself to be a coach for other Catholic business owners because I thought it might be a need that wasn't being met.

He made a statement about this being yet another switch in my business focus. I was upset by his statement and felt it wasn't so much a switch as following his advice to focus on the audience I am best suited to serve and have the most to offer. He then started telling me how worthless he was and how the reason I didn't have the resources to make it was because he wasn't bringing anything in to the family. This hurt even more. I've been trying so hard to lift him up and it meant I was failing.

I started crying. I felt attacked and torn down at a time when I was already feeling overwhelmed and like I was drowning in responsibility. He got angry with me and wanted to know why I was crying. I explained what hurt me. He got even more upset. He made several statements to the effect that I wasn't asking for the sales. He had no idea how hard I was working to get sales and how many times I was reaching out to people to try and find them.

And when I defended myself and got upset with him for his accusations, that's when he pointed some things out to me. First, I am not responsible for his mental health. Yes, I can be supportive and yes, I can pray for him, but it's not my job to fight his depression for him. That's his job.

Second, he was attempting to help me. He wanted me to focus on the areas where he'd seen me light up and shine the most. When I am helping someone tell their story and I am immersed in their journey, that's when I really come alive. He wanted me to focus on that not because it also happened to be where I made the most money, but because it was where he'd seen me come alive and grow the most in such a short time that it'd left him breathless. He felt the other was a distraction from that.

Third, he didn't know about all my efforts because I wasn't letting him in to my business. I wasn't making him part of it. I wasn't keeping him informed. Shutting him out was not only contributing to his depression by leaving him unaware of my progress in developing new clients, but it was robbing him of a chance to feel useful by being useful to me. Without knowing what I was doing in my business, he couldn't guide me or help me or offer input to me that might allow me to see a bigger picture.

So, at his suggestion, I have given him a job in my business: accountability coach. I'm going to share with him my goals since he doesn't have any of his own and it'll be his job to help me break down what I can do to reach them and then make sure I am making steps toward making them happen each and every day.

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