Oh my – what started out as a small blog has turned into a novel! So you do not get overloaded I am going to have to break this down and drip feed you my lessons over the next few days…..here goes….
It is nearly a year since I launched my business officially even though I did not even really know what I was launching (as it was changed from what I originally wanted) but I thought – hey – do it anyway….announce to friends and family that I no longer am a slave to an alarm clock, never have to answer to anyone apart from myself, be a caged animal who is told when I can eat or have deadlines according to others. Instead, I wanted ultimate freedom which is what I got. I had worked in an environment where I could not plan a holiday or time off, my schedule was solely around my boss and if his plans changed at the last minute, so did mine….So, when I walked out of the door of my ‘job life’ I vowed to live and breathe that freedom.
I wanted to travel when I wanted, have lunch with the women’s groups for 2 hours and certainly not be location dependent – oh the irony of the freedom to travel, boy did I get that – in the past year, I must have jumped on an airplane at least 2 – 4 times a month – did I regale in this? Sitting in a tin can hoping that the pilots can keep their cool and get us to the destination safely, on time and relaxed? Hell no……I developed a fear of flying! Well, not the actual flying bit but the bumps they call turbulence. It is a completely irrational fear that suddenly appeared but I still today, will not let it stop me from actually flying. It has, however, taken the sheen off these images of sitting in the airport lounge with my laptop, relaxed and happily working away, then getting on the plane and telling people very loudly on my mobile that I am just about to take off, enjoying a glass of champagne before falling asleep then waking up refreshed just as the wheels touch down, ready for the adventures in a new city and country.
The reality is – I have to have a very large glug of wine in the bar before I board, then I smile at the crew in hopes they will notice my sheer panic of potential turbulence and know to keep an eye on me so they can come and comfort me with lovely words.
I usually sit just behind the wings by the window, thinking I can at least know if they are going to fall off (what I think I can do if they do, I haven’t a fucking clue). I then listen to music in vain hopes it is going to calm me down ready to take off…..in the air, I can not relax, I am hypersensitive to any noise, bump or reaction of the crew. They completely ignore me unless they are offering me overpriced, undrinkable red wine or snacks.
So, I figured that I can chat to the people next to me and tell them I may freak out if there is turbulence, give them all my contacts and a copy of my will ‘just in case’ but to no avail – people can be so unfriendly. If they see me freaking out – they start freaking out!! Or they just ignore this mad woman swearing and whaling like a banshee, clutching the seat in front of her she literally leaves imprints…. What the actual f**k? Where is the humanity?
My red wine coping mechanism came unstuck when one time I left my laptop in the back of a cab I took from the airport to my hotel because I had one wine too many (let’s face it, I was hammered!). So, I turned to drugs – I went to the medical emergency doctor at one point and they prescribed me some anti anxiety tablets to take when flying, however, my anxiety that I may get addicted took over so I never took a big enough dose for it to make a difference – so it was back to the red wine.
I did actually try to look at the reason behind this irrational onset fear and it definitely coincided with me ending the security of a pay cheque each month to having to relying on myself. It was the lack of control and still is. When I fly – I have no control, I have to rely on others and that makes me anxious in addition to the fear of the unknown which is in my business – so throw that all in the mix and I am one big ball of mess.
This is clearly an example of be careful what you wish for!! Or expect the unexpected……..
Aside from the issue with flying – what else have I learnt in my first year as an entrepreneur I hear you say? As I mentioned earlier, I was looking forward to being able to actually attend women’s lunches, engage with other entrepreneurs at any time of the day and being part of a community but it certainly does not live up to my expectations. I found that a lot of entrepreneurs just want to sell their services and these groups are really for a bunch of narcissists to gather under the title of networking. My first lesson was in a situation where I signed up to go to a drinks / networking event for coaches as that is the label I gave to myself but it turned out to be a disaster. The actual event was great, we chatted and ‘networked’, I sampled some pretty nice wine and paid a pretty hefty bar bill and got a few business cards. I followed up with a few of the people and met them after for coffee which I thought was going to be for supporting each other on our entrepreneurial journeys but no……maybe it was a vibe I was giving off that I was in need of help but they all tried selling me their coaching programmes!! WTF?????? They were completely off the mark with me. Maybe that is the norm but I was very uncomfortable with it as when I said no they turn off. But I hear you say – did I learn my lesson? Hell no…..I still attended those events and I even paid overpaid to join these groups to try to get better quality of people but it is just the same. What has happened to just plain simple lets help and empower each other rather than having a motive to sell? I now tread with caution and I do not jump on joining anything especially if it involves handing over money as it usually is so the organiser can get richer and we get poorer. Then if you complain – it is my fault and I am not doing something right or my expectations are too much!!!! ARGH…….. It has actually come to light since writing this a couple of days ago that I well and truly got scammed with joining a professional woman’s group and unfortunately will not get to see the money back or what they promised me. Since when have we had to pay to join a community? Saying that, I am still hoping to find one or to build one myself…..
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