Service Minded

Debra Helwig on Marketing & Leadership in Professional Services

Starting Over

Posted by debrahelwig on March 6, 2013

StartTwo years, five months, 14 days. That’s how long it’s been since I posted on this blog.

So long, in fact, that I forgot the login credentials for WordPress. So long, my design template is officially obsolete. So long, I almost quit.  Forever.

You see, I got busy. Super busy. My company merged, tripled its international reach, and completely renamed and rebranded. There were three different bosses – with three utterly different management styles – in less than a year. As lead on the branding project, I worked 18 months straight of 18+ hour days, full of multi-lingual, multi-cultural insights and difficulties.

Blog? What blog? I made the excuse that I was too overextended to worry about it – though occasionally I would remember and be sad that I’d left it behind.

We launched the PrimeGlobal brand in July last year (hooray!) and I turned back to my regularly scheduled life. I thought about starting to write again.  But it had been SOOOOOOOO LONG.  “Who would care anymore?” whispered my inner demons. I had started something good and let it die. I was embarrassed, so I pretended it didn’t matter anymore. But it still tied my guts in knots every time I thought about it.

Then my dear friend John Hill died at the age of 44. Thirty days later my beloved father died suddenly. Then 45 days after that, my friend Spencer Cox. Then, my great-aunt Ruby. Mom’s cancer became terminal. My not-quite-so-toddler-anymore started Pre-K. My 9 year old acquired her first boyfriend – and her first breakup. Holidays set up and fell like dominoes, one set of decorations down, another up. For a control freak like me, this much uncontrolled life left me spinning, deliberately unengaged for fear that if I connected, just ONE MORE THING would happen. I didn’t want any ONE MORE THINGS. And this blog was just that. One more thing.

The internal dialogue went like this: “How could I start again? Real writers, they write.  Real bloggers, they have something to say all the time and post like mad. They are witty, insightful, and most of all, timely. That can’t be me.  It’s been two years. No way. Just do your day job. Take care of your kids. This writing thing, that was just a fun little dream anyway. Forget it.”

But the day I went to hit “delete”, I didn’t remember my WordPress login. And before I could find it, I had a chance conversation with my friend Melinda Guillemette. Melinda is a woman with thoughts like spun gold. She is 100% witty, insightful, and one of those folks who on my better days I wish I could be like. And she, this person I admire so much, said pointedly, “Darn it, I want you to start writing again. The world needs your voice.”

Really?  Me?

Then just a few days later, another extremely smart friend, Michelle Golden, posted a statement to Facebook that hit me in the face:

“Just declined doing the wrong work at the wrong time at the wrong price. Always hard to do but feels good once it’s done.  Also about ready to walk away from the wrong work at the right price. Even harder to do.”

Wow. So, don’t just work. Do what you love. And let the work figure itself out from there.

That idea really made me think. And I stopped feeling sorry for myself long enough to start looking around. This is what I saw:

Heather Kreiter, launching a line of cute-as-heck plush toys via Kickstarter.
Ashley Garrett, officially the Baddest Mother Ever, launching a blog because the world needed to hear her voice (and believe me, it does.)
Michelle Golden, not staying pat in the social media space, but sharing brilliant insights on Value Pricing.
Tracy Crevar-Warren, who blew up her life as a professional services consultant to be SuddenlySwiss (and remain one of the brightest minds in professional services at the same time).
And, to take the tale back to professional services, Grossman St. Amour CPAs, who just launched a fabulous niche in equestrian accounting.

These folks naturally GOT something I missed, in my busy-ness and malaise of the past couple of years.

It’s never too late to start – or start over.

This applies to my whole life, and maybe to yours too. Do you have a friend, or maybe a client, that you’ve neglected because you got too busy with other things, then never called because it had been “too long” and would be “embarrassing”?  Do you have a hobby at home, or a niche or a certification at work, that you always wanted to pursue, but stopped yourself because “it’s too late, I’m doing other things now?” or  “I don’t have time, and who would care anyway?” A type of work you want but haven’t pursued because “someone else is already doing it?” or “no-one will like me doing this?”

Let me tell you what Melinda said to me: “Honey, they aren’t doing it like you. Because they aren’t you. The world needs YOU doing this, even if everyone else is doing it too. Because your way will be different – and it will be something that people need.”

If it’s true for me, it’s true for you too.  Both in your personal life and in your professional career.

What have you been neglecting out of embarrassment or fear? What dream or idea keeps running around in the back of your mind, unwilling to be laid aside? And what step can you take today to say “to hell with what anyone thinks, I’m doing it anyway?” and see where it takes you?

Me, I’m taking a stand. I choose to be brave like Ashley and Heather and Michelle and Tracy. I’m going to write. Right here.

I hope you’ll come along for the ride – and that you’ll share your dreams and plans in the comments as well.

Let’s do this.

Photo by Stevendepolo. License.

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9 Responses to “Starting Over”

  1. HOOOOOOOOORAY!!!

  2. Chris Barber said

    That’s awesome, Deb! I had a point in my life (when I started working ‘out of the house’) where writing went to the wayside. It was then the ghosts and their stories reached out to me once again, screaming to have a voice. And now here I am, writing the next ghost book, and doing the television show. It is NEVER easy, nor does it go as planned, but in any event you will be doing something you love and that makes it all worth while!

  3. Well, I now need to replace my mascara. What a beautiful, touching, and ridiculously flattering post. Thank you for mentioning our conversation. It is such a joy to know I have made a difference to you. And here’s the thing: you have made a gigantic, warm, slurpy, teary, laughter-filled difference to me. We have intentionally engaged in this relationship, and we are both better for it. Girl, I am so proud of you, today and always. You are a gift. Thank you for writing. Let’s do this. More and more and more.

  4. Barbara Walters Price said

    Welcome back! You have been missed. The world does need to hear from you because you are not only amazing, but amazingly fresh, funny, and wise. Way to go!

  5. Rebecca Hoch said

    Ah yes, that Melinda, she’s a keeper. I’m thankful you heard her. Your words hit home and are making me think. I’ve slipped into comfort and forgotten about stretching. Thank you for the inspiration. I’ll be back.

  6. Merci, Vielen Dank, Thank You Debra Bailey Helwig for having the courage to not hit the delete button. Your words resonate like a conversation with a long lost friend. Matters not if it is 2 months or 2 years – you just pick back up where you left off as if no time had passed. I cherish you, your heart-felt words and your wonderfully Debra perspective on this world, mon ami! .

  7. Marva Rodriguez said

    Yes, please! 🙂 And now I have a blog too bookmark. I think John would be so happy to hear you refer to him as a “dear friend”. It made me happy too! 🙂

  8. Yay! I often think about you and wonder how you’re doing. Soooooo glad to see you back.

  9. […] on this blog.  I write here once a week.  If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I fell away for a time, and I’m determined not to let that happen again. […]

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