The Pressure To Know

Her Corner

Frederique Irwin

May 22, 2018

Recently, I ran into a former Her Corner member who had decided a few years ago to close her business and return to teaching. As we were talking, she shared that she was once again asking herself what was next.

I can’t tell you how often I meet women asking themselves this same question: What do I want the next chapter to look like? What do I want to do with myself?

One on hand, it may look like such a privilege to be able to ask oneself this sort of question. But when you examine the heart of this question more closely, you’ll see that this is a very real source of anxiety. It is a question that is full of a sense of obligation: to make a difference, to give back, to feel fulfilled. Where that sense of obligation comes from is less relevant than the more pressing questions, “How does one know what to do next? How does one decide?”

WOMEN WHO OWN BUSINESSES SEEM TO FEEL EVEN MORE STUCK THAN OTHERS.

Here’s why, and what we can do about it when we feel this way.

Perhaps it is because we fought so hard for the right—yes, the right—to be business owners. Perhaps it is because we have a sense of duty to what we have built, or to our employees. Either way, the sense of “stuckness” is strong.

Each month, I see or work with women who have had their businesses for many years. These businesses are successful, solid, and—at times—no longer enough.

The desire for the next chapter is strong, but how does one get there?

It is a process to work through the question. To look at the options and consider the choices. To turn them around and look at all the angles. I know, because I have gone through this myself recently. I have had to ask myself: “What will my role look like next year when I live on the other side of the world for a year?” “Will I be able to make the impact I want to make?” “Will I stay relevant?” “Will the business continue to grow?” “What should I work on?”

In my case, and in the cases of other women business owners I’ve seen, there were a few things that helped to get through the process more quickly:

1. You have to ask for advice and ask for help. Think about the concepts, then talk them through. Work with someone if you are comfortable with that. (Ahem, we can help you with that one!)

2. And you have to believe that just like everything else, that there is a time for everything. That an answer will present itself and a direction will become clear. Even if it takes six months or more to get there.

Feeling stuck is hard. But you can discover your next step with a hard look inward, some external help, and a good dose of patience.