“What if you’ve outgrown the business you created?”
“What if your value is bigger than all this which surrounds you.”
“What if you let it all go?”
Sitting cross legged on a swanky orange couch, in the office of my dreams complete with fireplace and vaulted wood ceilings, my heart splattered in my lap. “Not a chance!” I exclaimed. After 5 years building my business, it was just beginning to blossom with its growing staff, bigger projects and blockbuster movies! I had shifted from being the “hands” of someone else’s leadership to taking the helm of my own creative-ship. I wasn’t about to let that go.
Then, everything changed.
More specifically, a sliding economic climate created a entertainment marketing disaster. The beautiful movie packaging our studio designed was being sold in the Wal-mart $5 bin. Motion picture studios scrambled to maximize profits for a disappearing market, which also meant increasingly shrinking budgets. Spec work, killed jobs and multiple “vendor” (despise THAT word) projects, nearly broke the bank account (but that’s another long blog post for a galaxy far, far away). So I took the helm, white knuckles and all and repositioned the business. I built a strategy to reach independent filmmakers in need of experienced marketing and creative leadership. Unfortunately, that strategy proved faulty as those who could see the value, couldn’t make a firm commitment. Pitches went nowhere fast while my crew wracked up higher and higher overhead. Still, we hung on! We can DO THIS! Let’s reposition to expand our capabilities! YES! Let’s produce a website for a documentary where we can show all our creative talent and marketing savvy. Before I knew it that pro-pono project became a $40k business development investment and a year later, I had mastered the “act of repositioning” without finding a comfortable position. I had missed the biggest lesson of all…
I had to let go!
One by one, my incredibly talented staff found new homes of employment. It warmed my heart to watch these beautiful birds whom I had trained straight out of the college nest take to their own wings. They reached for their dreams and my soul lifted.
Next, the weight of an office building four times the size of what was needed had to go. Yup, the custom-built kitchen, the steampunk skylight and spa-like restrooms complete with sauna were all sayonara. It’s just a building, Cheryl. It’s far too heavy for your wings.
Then came the big close out moving sale, and FAST! 3 days to clear 6500 square feet of office furniture and art supplies. I donated much of it and my heart lightened.
Finally, the BIGGEST letting go moment of all…I fired my biggest client. Yup. I said NO THANKS, with clarity, firmness and no regret. They were no longer a good fit for my “hands” and it was in my best interest to let them go. I still have the letter tacked on my wall. My courage raised to new heights that day.
Wriggling and wiggling, I “repositioned” for a more comfortable position only to discover a cocoon of my own making blocked my way! And in that darkened evolution I became a lighter, freer and more empowered me.
Today, my voice resonates with healing hearts.
My art inspires imaginative souls.
My teaching challenges adventurous minds.
My leadership connects creativity through nourishment and love.
YES, as my business mentor inferred all those months ago…I am bigger than the business I created.