This I Know For Sure; An Open Letter On Navigating COVID-19 As An Entrepreneur and A Human Being
I wrote this knowing there are differences in our experiences, our realities, our fears and our dreams. I wrote this because I wanted you to read it. I believe at a core level regardless of the specifics that make up our differences, we share similar feelings right now. Try not to let yourself slip into a web of comparisons that could lead to you missing my point.
I will not make scientific claims (now or ever), I will not aim to ignite blame and I will not pass judgement on what fear and uncertainty have brought to light in some of us.
I am not better than you or in possession of a secret knowledge. Regardless of the space you hold in the world right now, I am sure that we still have much to learn from one another.
I’ve been struggling with how I would continue to intentionally operate The Curated Root in light of the global impact presented by COVID-19. How would I protect my business and the spirit of hope that created it?
I’ve been feeling, thinking and interrogating myself with the same unanswerable questions to the point of near insanity (sound familiar?).
I’m processing emotions I wasn’t planning to, changing plans I wasn’t prepared for and routinely finding myself sliding into the spell binding haze of memories that hurt to touch.
Like many of you, I’ve been grasping to catch the tail of positive thoughts as they float through the chaos of the negative. Digging for the good stories, fantasizing about a gentler future, questioning the methods and choosing to trust the process.
Let me be clear. Choosing to fight for the positives does not mean you are oblivious, immune or ignorant to the negatives.
You know the scene in the movie where the football coach rallies the team? The scene where a person takes ownership for helping a rag-tag group of unlikely characters achieve their potential, you know the one right?
Well, I have been searching every corner of my being for that coach. Hoping for a flood of energy that would push me through every hour of every day.
Battling through the fear, the anxiety and the insecurities highlighted as a result of but not solely created by the world shutting down. To paint you any other picture would be a disservice to us both.
I paused, updated the website, cancelled my appointments and ensured I was operating with safety and public responsibility in the forefront. I watched people communicate rapidly and adapt the way they operated and spoke about their businesses and their lives.
I felt unsure of what to say, rushed to respond and crippled by the cresting wave of emotions I knew needed to land before I planned how to get up. I needed to get out from under the weight of the blindsides and decide if I was going to find the energy to keep building the business I was born to create.
The more space I made for myself; the louder the coach’s voice became as it echoed through the ether of my thoughts. She was writing letters, sending smoke signals, chanting mantras and loudly reminding me of all the strength that was available to me.
A coach made partly of my own understanding and partly of something else entirely. A coach who reminded me of the work I had put in, how lucky I was to have something to loose and who begged me to think of the example I’d be setting regardless of my choices.
Unlike the movies, there isn’t just five minutes left in this game. I’d need to make a decision to suit up, to show up and to practice even though the game schedule had been cleared.
What Does This Have To Do With My Business?
So, here’s the thing. I’m a real person who created this business as a way to express creativity, passion and explore things I love with the time I have to give.
I’ve sacrificed sleep, risked finances, faced fears and lost love in the pursuit of building it. Not for money, fame or freedom but because it started to energetically feed and fuel me, giving back everything I was putting in.
The dilemma and the reality started to completely block access to the joy and hope.
“How can I realistically ask someone to buy a f%^&* shirt right now when there is so much worry and unknown in their lives? How can I keep things a float but show respect to the blow we’ve all been dealt?”
The grief and loss of control was blurring the strength and vision I had earned from rising through heartbreak so many times before.
I had to quiet my mind enough to see that the glow of light slipping under the door crack was enough to see. Was it better when I had access to the light switch? It was easier, but this was enough. I have enough.
What I Know For Sure:
Right now we are unified in the fact that there is little we know for sure. As far as anything external goes, things are completely out of our control (and they always will be).
Figuring out what I knew to be certain in a time of great uncertainty was the lesson I was meant to learn. What are the thoughts and principles that have immunity in a time where that is no longer externally available?
1. I know this business was never intended to prosper over the mental health or physical safety of another.
2. I know that regardless of what happens, the right choice is always the only choice. Anything else would be rooted in fear and yield pain and uncertainty beyond what I understand.
3. I know that I have a responsibility to myself and to others.
4. I know that the moments that led up to this day and the moments that follow will all have served a purpose.
5. I know that where there is darkness there is also light. Where there are positives there are negatives, where there is sadness there is joy and when one appears as the other there is a lesson to be learned.
6. I know that it feels better to hope than to dread.
7. I know that I was not built to wallow or to quit or to contribute to that in others.
8. I know I was not created to judge or to blame, but that I have the right to require accountability from myself and from others.
9. I know that I will adapt regardless of circumstance because I will remain open to the possibility that there is a better way.
10. I know that it is always better to give than to receive and in times of fear, I should give more in hopes that the gift of reassurance is working its way through your heart to mine.
11. I know that effort is internally sourced. It’s not stopped at borders, restricted to physical contact or blocked by law. It cannot be compared from one to another without recognition of the journey it’s had to pass through. If you’re having trouble finding the effort, get so quiet that when you look inside you can hear it softly whisper.
So, in recognition of the things I know for sure; I’ll let the things I don’t slip into the background and I’ll keep trying to do my best. I will write blogs, I will build my website and I will work to understand how I feel about things before I let the pressure of how I “should” feel cloud my actions.
No, I don’t know when things will get back to normal. No, I don’t know what the future will bring. I do however, know what I know and I think that’s more than enough to move forward.
With all my love,
Written by Tiffany Cox, Edited by Keely Wallace