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One Simple Question


I recently had my first major breakdown since I decided to embark on the journey of being an entrepreneur. I didn’t think it would be easy to strike out on my own, but I never thought it would be so stressful.

Here’s how it unrolled.

 I started to realize that I was annoyed at everything. At the barista who was taking her sweet time to give me my latte to start another day. At the person driving at turtle speed in the left lane. At the girl in front of me who couldn’t make up her mind about what she wanted for lunch. I even sighed at the old lady that just happened to be coming out of the restroom when I was stepping in. And then there was the person taking forever to get in the elevator, the people texting and driving and not paying attention to the traffic light. The list went on and on.

I was unusually frustrated about all of it. I texted my friend and started complaining to which she responded, “What’s going on? I’m usually the grumpy one, and you are the peaceful one who calms me down.”

What was wrong with me?

I wasn’t sleeping well. Whenever I buried my head in my pillow I would start thinking about everything that needed to be done, all the ways I could improve and all the things I still needed to learn. I was waking up in the middle of the night to tweak my designs, sort out information for  meetings with suppliers and contractors, or to research workshops on running a business.  Morning would come and I’d be tired, but I’d have an endless list of things to do. And that kept happening on repeat.

And then there was my personal life. I tried on my bridesmaid dress for my brothers wedding and it didn’t fit. I found mold in my apartment and had to move to temporary housing. I got a speeding ticket and had to take driver’s ed. I decided to give myself a break and go for a drink, but my license had expired which meant a trip to the DMV.

My tipping point was the day I opened my mailbox to find the ugliest version of myself printed on my new license. I was barely able to hold in my tears to pick up the phone and call my mom in Brazil. The moment I heard her voice, my tears just start coming out. I spit out everything while crying and sobbing. She might not have understood a word I said, but I knew she was listening because she always does.

Why did I do this to myself?

Why open a business when I can just work for someone else? Why spend so much time thinking about what to post on social media when sometimes I only get one or two likes– or even none? What if everyone thinks my designs are horrible What if I can’t find that perfect fabric for my collection? What if I can’t sell my clothing line? I miss my family, my friends, my free time. I miss having a life! After I was done complaining, all my mom said was “What is the worst that can happen?”

It is funny how it only takes one simple question to make everything clearer. That night, I decided to take a break. When morning came, I picked up my surfboard, drove myself to the beach, and surfed until I couldn’t feel my arms.  I came home, took a long shower, and took a very needed nap. I woke up read a novel (not a business book, not a “how to” book, just a mystery novel), poured myself a glass of wine (maybe two), ate a big, fat, and juicy slice of chocolate raspberry cake, and went to bed.

And tomorrow? Tomorrow will come. The world will not stop because I decided to take a break.

I will just leave it for tomorrow.

I will still feel anxious, I will still feel lonely, and I will still have a lot of things to deal with. But the most important thing to remember is that this is the path I chose, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to make my dreams come true; this is my passion and it is the source of my strength.

When life gets messy, we tend to forget about the good things that happen to us and instead, just focus on everything that is wrong. So I guess my point is: it is okay to feel anxious, stressed, and overwhelmed. And it is okay to let it out.

Take a step back, ask yourself why are you doing what you are doing. Be confident, set your goals, believe in them and work for them. If it doesn’t work out, what is the worst that can happen?

And what if it DOES work out?

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