“A lot of businesses aren’t going to survive… even those that do survive are gonna look different on the other side of this. And that’s okay.“~Andrea Klunder
I want to have a little heart to heart with you today about where we are right now, how we are right now.
Moments ago, I completed a recording session with Pat Wetzel, founder of Cancer Road Trip (from episode 109.) We were recording a conversation for her brand new podcast Bump In the Road.
We know what that means, right? It’s when things are going along one way and then, then whoops — Yeah — Not going along so great. There’s a hiccup. There’s a problem. There’s a change of plans that is required and maybe not welcome.
I think that we could safely say that the vast majority of us have in 2020 hit a bump in the road. I mean, what are the chances that we would all hit one at roughly the same time?
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“That feeling when the identity that you’ve been building gets ripped out from underneath you…“~Andrea Klunder
It looks different for each one of us.
I was recently editing an interview with Pam Covarrubias from Cafe con Pam for Podcast Envy (episode 066) and when I asked Pam about the opportunities that are available for us during the time of COVID-19, she hesitated and backtracked a little bit to state that while yes, there may be opportunities for us here, it is also important to acknowledge that we were discussing this from a place of relative privilege of relative comfort, where our lives were maybe not immediately being threatened or, even comfier still, our livelihoods were not being immediately threatened.
It was important to state that we were viewing this idea of opportunities during the pandemic through that lens.
Back to my interview with Pat for Bump in The Road…
She had asked me to think of a story from my own life of when I hit a bump in the road. The one that maybe was not the most life threatening, but was definitely the most informative/transformative for my life trajectory so far was when I closed my first business, Infuse Yoga Spa in Chicago, completely broke with tens of thousands of dollars of credit card debt — credit cards that had been used to pay for business expenses and for groceries, and certainly NOT for social or entertainment, because when I was hustling to make a failing business work, I certainly didn’t have the time and energy for social and entertainment.
So yeah, I was broke. I was exhausted. I was demoralized. I was depressed. And I was experiencing that feeling when the identity that you have been building gets ripped out from underneath you.
That identity WAS entrepreneur, business owner, yoga studio owner, yoga teacher… And in that moment, I didn’t have ANY of those to cling on to. The identities that I felt like I could cling on to were: Andrea Klunder – failure, former business owner, broke ass single girl with no idea what to do next and no will to do anything about it.
I’ll save the rest of the story for Pat’s podcast.
At the end, she asked a question: What advice do you have for a business owner or an entrepreneur at this time who is struggling because of outside forces, because of things beyond our control, whose business is really not going so well and is thinking this isn’t working?
The advice that gave kind of surprised me: I started off by saying that a lot of businesses aren’t going to survive.
I don’t want to be pessimistic! I really don’t. But it’s true.
We’ve already seen it happening. I know in my neighborhood, long time restaurants and coffee shops and cafes and book shops aren’t making it, despite their efforts to put together a GoFundMe, despite the support that they’re getting from the community, they just can’t survive.
And what I followed that up with is: it’s okay.
It’s okay if the business can’t survive. It’s okay if it has to close. It sucks, but that person or people behind the business, THEY can survive. They can be okay. Even if the business isn’t okay. And in the short term, sure, they might not be okay. I wasn’t okay in the short term when my business closed and that was not due to a global pandemic.
But we are resilient. We are resourceful. And we are creative.
And if we can help ourselves be okay, then we can do something different. We can survive.
Even the businesses that do survive are gonna look different on the other side of this.
(Is there another side of this or is this just ongoing forever and ever, God, that’s my worst fear is that this is just going on forever and ever, you know, that whole phrase, the new normal, yeah, fuck that.)
Things are going to look very different. We can’t just continue business as usual. We don’t have that luxury. We have to dig deep into our inner resources. And into our own creativity and into our own resilience and see what’s there.
And when I try to see far ahead into the future, when I try to look out at that horizon line, It’s hard. I can’t see it. I get overwhelmed. I feel anxiety about all the things — about education, about politics, about finances, about small business, about mental health, everyone’s mental health.
And I shut down and I say it doesn’t matter. What’s the point?
But when I can focus closer, when I can pull that focus inward, I can ask myself: Right now, what can I do right now in this moment? What can I do and how do I want it to look? And can I be okay with it if it looks different than it used to?… THAT is more manageable.
And it doesn’t always work. Sometimes I’m laying on the floor, staring up at the ceiling and sometimes I’m scrolling through social media with comparison-itis and feeling bad about every little thing that everyone else is doing that I’m not doing. And sometimes I’m complaining to my partner about everything and anything. And sometimes I’m watching The Babysitter’s Club on Netflix….
But I’m giving myself a little bit of grace. I’m trying to be patient. And I’m trying to remember. that I’ve hit bumps in the road like this before. Well, maybe not like this, but nevertheless, I’ve been challenged — really challenged — before. And I found a way to come out of it.
If you’re feeling like you’re in that state of overwhelm or that state of it doesn’t really matter, what’s the point? Everything is broken. Nothing will ever be the same that it was before… Recognize that’s where you are. Take a pause, take a breath. Remember that you’ve been through a hard time before and you’ve found your way out of it.
Remember that you are resilient, resourceful, and creative.
And say: Just for right now, what can I do?
And if it looks different than I expected, it’s okay.
Tell me a travel story!
Putting together a series on travel stories for the show (hey a girl can dream, right?)
Do YOU have a great story to tell?
You MAY be a travel podcaster, blogger, photographer, digital nomad, entrepreneur etc… but it’s not necessary. What is necessary is a good story, a willingness to reflect candidly on travel, identity and the creative process, and speculation on the future of travel either personally or professionally.
Please share some details with me using this Google Form: http://www.thecreativeimpostor.com/bemyguest
And if I think your story is a good fit for our series, I will email you to schedule a time for us to connect.
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