Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Cost of Doing Business

I turn 30 in three days.  A landmark that I joke about as scaring me but more than anything I see it as validation.  I’ve earned my 30 years and I’ve got a lot to be grateful for.  I’ve made concessions and mistakes and certainly done some stupid things, but all in all I’m very happy where I’ve ended up and the work I’ve put in to get there.

In my former life as a professional in the corporate world, we often were told that there was a cost of doing business.  Lay-offs(been there), losing benefits, perks, clients being slighted or terms changing were considered a write off given the changing climate.  “It’s not personal.  It’s just the cost of doing business.” 
What if the cost of business is your life the people in it or your very dream itself? What if the business, by definition, is personal and unavoidably so?  How do you tell people that what you are doing, what they don’t understand about you is actually who you are and what you need? 



I knew when I started this journey there would be kinks to work out.  There would be changes, evolutions and there would be concessions.  Working 16 – 18 hour days, sleeping very little, and traveling the country is a way to make a living especially when you love your job but it’s also a way to alienate the people in your life.  It’s a constant struggle to find that perfect balance where what you are giving up is proportional to the time and effort you are investing.  That what you are forgoing is going to yield benefits that you are going to achieve. 

It’s easy when you are in the driver’s seat with the map in your hands where you are going and why, but that is a luxury to the people in your life who care about you.  And if I am totally honest with myself, I get tunnel vision and hyper-focused.  A major asset in my work a HUGE problem for anyone or anything that exists outside that line of sight.  My withdrawal and focus on my career and my writing has inadvertently created a chasm with some of the people I am closest to in my life.

It’s a matter of perception and intention on my side but when I don’t articulate that (I’m not known for my stellar communication skills… *irony alert* I’m a writer so that shouldn’t be the case) it is taken personally as well it should.  I wonder if I’d have this same problem if I was a man… just a thought. 

I’ll struggle with this one for a while.  The one’s in your life that you believe should need the LEAST reassurance from are the ones who ask the most.  Where I think they know how I feel, who I am, and what I am about, I am finding that isn’t the case and it isn’t enough.  Balance isn’t often achieved seamlessly.   These doors keep opening for me and I jump through them and I look back and am seeing that there is an unintended wake being left behind me. 

So my cost of doing business is costing me a great deal.  It’s an unintended consequence, I’m finding, that could leave me standing alone at the top of the mountain if I’m not careful…