The Arena

by Mom in the Arena

I am busy. Like, truly busy. Just like you are. Maybe you are busy because you work at home with 3 kids under 5 (God bless you if you do). Maybe you are busy because you are fighting your way through Corporate America. Maybe you are both…struggling to find the hours in the day to meet everyone’s needs and just survive. Please don’t stop reading, I promise I am not about to tell you “to take time for yourself…it is important…you can make the time, you just have to put it on your Google calendar and commit to you!”

Bullshit…it won’t happen. Writing it down will not make magically make time appear. Trust me, I have tried. Glamour magazine, you lie. You know you do. You tell us we can “do it all” and you make it look so damn glossy and perfect. I know it’s not true, but somehow it still stings when I can not make my hair shiny, brunch with friends, run my business, exceed my customers’ expectations, and make the PTA meeting all in one day. Pinterest, do not even get me started on you.

(Speaking of magazine’s that lie, Sassy, the tiny braids and little butterfly clips were not a good prom look for this whitest of white girls in 1998. I would like to formally request a full refund and damages in the form of therapy hours for that hit to my delicate 17 year old self esteem.)

Our professional life is no longer 9-5. Thanks to technology and innovation, we are never “Off”. Do I resent this? No way. I love it. It gives us flexibility and allows us to do what we do. With our biggest asset, typically comes our biggest challenge.

I did a crazy thing. Really crazy.

Give me a fancy computer, ipad, and two glasses of wine (what, your bottle holds more???) and I think I can open a business. Like, a real business. No, not even a business, but a company. With employees, warehouses, trucks, and, make your chest tighten up at night, debt. (Don’t worry, I am totally Dr. Google…all is well…just old school anxiety…I think.)

So, picture this…. I am told no, I am told that I can’t start and build a company in this area. What do I do? I take my family’s  retirement fund, invest it is inventory and equipment, and start a company in an over-saturated market. I am smart like that.

Guess what?

I am HERE. It is one year later and we are making it. The company is growing. Slowly. But we are here. I am learning that some days that is enough. Other days, it is not enough. But maybe that is the goal. Maybe being HERE is sufficient. Just like Grace. Maybe it is enough.

That is why I am writing. I want a blog for us. The women (and men) who drag their tired bodies out of bed, get the kiddos feed, loved, dressed, dropped off. Then we don’t go to yoga. We don’t hit the greens or our corner office. No. We go into the Arena. The Arena is scary. In the Arena, there are men with families who depend on a paycheck directly from YOU. In the Arena, there are customers who can make or break your reputation in 140 characters or less. In the Arena your trucks, your equipment, your business does not run without cash. It is some scary shit.

You come out of the Arena. You are bloody. You are sweaty. You are victorious. You did it. You made it another day, another month, another year…

You jump into your car, wait,  there is no time for celebration, because your iphone alarms tells you that you have the cutest, most loving, little person waiting for her parent to pick her up from school. And if you fail at this, you are a failure. None of it matters if you fail at this. You will get there in time. You will apologize to her for having to take a customer call right in the middle of her “how was your day story?” but she will forgive you because you are HERE.

If our place (yes, this is OUR place. we will help each other succeed) can help at least one other emerge from the Arena with their company, their job, their marriage, their family, their sanity intact, then I will consider myself a Victor. We are HERE. We are in the ARENA.

Maybe your Arena doesn’t look like mine, or anyone elses. That is okay. I may not know what your’s looks like, but I do know fear of failure can be crippling no matter the battle.

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

– Franklin Roosevelt
“Citizenship in a Republic,”
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

Thank you to Sgt. Major  Park for encouraging our family to live and repeat this each day of our lives. Thank you to Brene Brown  for the wake up call.

Welcome, my friend, to the Arena…