For the past few months, this pandemic has wreaked havoc on… EVERYTHING. Like everything. My job, my sleep, my nutrition, every kind of relationship I could have from work to parenting. There is not an aspect of my life that has not been touched, and, many times, negatively.
This is incredibly disheartening and has landed me back in weekly therapy, instead of sporadic. Why? Because when we see our life’s work (y’all I’ve been in therapy since I was 6) unraveling, we must start the work again, lest we undo 100% of everything we’ve put into ourselves. Right? Right.
So let me start here: Some of the most important relationships in my life started to run away on me. Like a child who’d dropped a ball of yarn and caught just the tail end, I kept pulling and pulling. The ball of yarn getting smaller and smaller, while I chased faster and harder, getting more and more frustrated.
Until I stopped. Full stop.
Once I stopped moving and let the yarn unravel, I could drop the frail end I was holding onto, walk to the intact ball of yarn, pick it up and begin to roll it all back together. Moving at my own pace, making sure nothing was out of place, until my yarn was a ball again. Not chasing until it’s just a messy pile on the floor.
Now that you have that imagery, let’s talk about…
The Business of Friendship
You are the CEO. The #bossbitch of your life. YOU ARE THE HEAD OF YOUR OWN BRAND. The brand of You.
Me? I’m Chelley… head Michelle K Corp. I run this town, and the people in my town used to be seen differently. I said things like my friend every time I told a story. Today? I used specifics- it makes for a richer story and facts. NOT EVERYONE IS MY FRIEND! You know that person you sometimes see the gym? They don’t have to be your friend- you can say gym guy said, XYZ today while telling a story, instead of my friend at the gym.
Why is this important? Because this is our business, and who we give titles to matters. Those titles give us the power to GIVE to those people of ourselves. My gym squad- they get my surface sunshine. They get loud and boisterous. They get knowledge about their health and wellness with a lot of jokes and some song and dance. This takes a lot of mental capacity, but I find joy in it.
My friends and family- those are the people who take the bulk of my mental capacity, both joyful and taxing, and I have chosen those people, both to drain and to lift up. But I have also given them roles, because that is how we retain good co-workers as a CEO. What do I mean?
I have an everything friend- she is my stars and my sun. I call her first for everything, but when everything falls on her, she cannot be her best self. She simply cannot fill all the positions all the time. She must also take time for herself and run her own business- Corey Co.
So I also have a goofy friend, a 2am crying friend, a rager friend, a down for anything friend, I have a hype man, a personal zen master, a work wife, a midnight emergency call, the please have bail money ready friend-you get the idea. Theses are all people I don’t label except for friend. Really and truly- I could call anyone I call a friend and I know I would have them there in a moment. And while I can name those friends, they are all important and carry me along the way- giving way for my best friend to not bear all the weight of me being in her life.
Enlisted with positions NOT labeled as friend: therapist, the lady who does my nails, my neighbors, the woman I bought my car from (yes, she’s amazing), and so on. These people aren’t my friends, per se, but they are important to me. My therapist is my glue at the end of the week piecing me back together from whatever the hell I got myself into. The woman who does my nails a few times a year? She gives me the little respite I allow myself. My neighbors shower my girls with candy every holiday and snowblow the driveway when I can’t finish it. They are comfort right next door. The woman I bought my car from is an absolute firecracker. She’s authentic and raw. She makes spending more money than I make in a pandemic year on one thing totally palpable. She stuck with me for the past 3 years as I’ve looked and looked and looked at cars I never bought… and when I did, it was 1/3 the price I’d previously been considering. Yes, she is important in my big decisions, but she is not a friend.
These distinctions are important
Because we must not just stop giving everyone the privilege of being friend, but we must also ensure we are not overloading any one of our coworkers, and we’ve hired to capacity!
I used to take pride in my small circle, but was my small circle maxed out every day? Maybe. Recently, I’ve opened my circle and my people. I have given people roles in my life, which gives them purpose- not just extras in my business- but people I recognize as valuable. THIS MEANS I CAN GIVE THEM THE VALUE THEY DESERVE! I can show them I appreciate them because I have given them meaning to me.
Don’t strip people of their value in their lives by either considering someone a friend or an acquaintance. Allow them the opportunity to be in your life. Open yourself up! The guy who changes your oil? He isn’t a friend even though you see him every 3 months and his name is Carson and he went to Attleboro High School. He’s not just a random connection, however. He’s the young man you have come to trust to change the oil and fill your fluids and check your tire pressure and tail lights. Now you see his value as more than some rando- he’s The Oil Guy! THANK HIM.
This goes for so many people in your life- this is your business. You are here to thrive. You are here to help others thrive, too. So promote their business! Your favorite cashier at Stop & Shop, your vet tech, the teller at the bank. These people have roles- hire them to support you, CEO!
When you allow everyone to step off the pedestal of friends and move into their roles, you also allow your friends to breathe. They now have the importance of that small circle you brag about. Everything does not fall on them, but they hold your heart the most. Some of those friends will move out of this role as time goes on… your hair dresser may become your newest best coffee date friend! Vice-versa is true, too. Your close friend may grow apart, and choose a different role in your life, or none at all. That is ok! That is when you grieve, if you must, and reevaluate your team.
This is where you continue to build and grow, and support those who are building and growing around you. You will grow like a flower, you must burst through the ground, you must protect yourself as you blossom, you then live beautifully… until the elements and time weather you and you wilt. You must shed those petals and grow anew, this time with deeper roots and stronger stems and more vibrant color. And you must do this again and again.
This is how you grow.
This is your circle, those other blossoms around you. Though some may replant, many will stay… but you must continue to grow yourself, and this will help them grow, too.
You must run your business like the badass boss bitch you are.Now… go #slay Click To Tweet