Little City Kitchen Co. Blog

My stories about local food, fermentation, and formerly organic baby food
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Giving Power to your Fear: Who is Driving Your Car?

Over the last few months, I’ve gone through what can be described as a normal grieving process: respectfully mourning the death of my first entrepreneurial dream.  I have no doubt that shutting down Little City Kitchen Co. was the right decision, but the occasional pocket of sadness still pops up, and it catches me off guard every time.

The pragmatic part of me knows that at some point I need to make some money and start supporting myself again, so I’ve started getting comfortable with the idea of going back to work.

Without really even looking, an unexpected opening at a local & sustainable food company came across my desk.  It was the perfect position on paper, so I had been exploring it, quite seriously, for the last few weeks.  Somewhere in between negotiating salary and start dates, the gentle nagging in my gut, that until this point I chalked it up to normal apprehension about going back to work, turned into a full-blown freak out.

It became clear that something else, something bigger, was actually going on for me, so I started examining my real motivations for wanting this job.  The answer hit me like a ton of bricks:  I was terrified of running out of money, and this job was the safest and most practical solution.

After sitting with that thought for a few minutes, I realized the deeper implication…

I was letting my fear make decisions for me.

Even now, seeing those words on the screen disturbs me.  It seems like such a yucky place to come from when making life’s big decisions, sort of the anti-Jill approach.  Yet I can’t help but wonder how prevalent fear has been in other aspects of my life (and for the record Mom, that’s a rhetorical question!).

This new awareness, however seemingly small, is already impacting my life in big ways.  Fear can be very powerful, but only if you allow it to be.

Don’t Make Me Pull This Car Over…

I equate it to taking a road trip with several very loud passengers in a car.  Each of your motivations wants a turn in the drivers seat, but ultimately, you get to choose which one of them drives, for how long, and in which direction.

I’m reminded now of a previous blog where I talked about the opposite of fear being trust. In the case of my almost-job, my trust finally took over the driving and put my fear in its place…on a much-needed time out in the backseat.  Whew!

So in the end, I listened to my intuition and politely turned down that job knowing there must be another even better one is out there for me.  Although the final conversation with them was not an easy one, I’m left knowing, yet again, that this is the right decision for me.

On that note, I will sign off and leave you to ponder…  How much power do you give YOUR fear?

Mastering the Art of Transition: A Guide to Making Big Changes

Two years ago, when I walked away from the corporate world, I knew that my life was going to change.  On some level, I expected the twists and turns associated with being a first-time entrepreneur, but like anything, you never know what to expect until you really get in there and do it.

There have been three significant transitions I’ve made in the last few years: (1) Leaving the corporate world to start Little City Kitchen Co, (2) shutting down the business, and most recently, (3) embracing the idea of looking for full-time work after being an entrepreneur.

I could dedicate a blog to each of these, but instead I wanted to focus on my personal process for making big transitions in hopes it will inspire some of you to do the same.

A Guide to Making Big Changes

Be honest with yourself: Everything starts with awareness, and to have that, you need to ask yourself (or have a coach/counselor ask you) the really hard questions.  Once you’ve uncovered the truth about something, just sit with it for a while and get comfortable.

Don’t judge your answers: In other words, separate the answer from the implications. When I came to realization that I didn’t want to make baby food anymore, I tried to avoid the onslaught of “what does that mean” questions which tend to be negative and paralyzing.  I just stayed focused on what I knew was true, baby food wasn’t right for me anymore, until I made peace with that thought.

Consider the options: Once you’ve gotten a little more comfortable with your new realization, start to consider the changes needed or solutions that are possible.  This is sometimes where I get stuck.  I want to consider every possibility so I can make the “right” decision…it’s a fear of failure thing.  I could set up camp at this point, so I’m careful not to live here for too long!

Make bold decisions: My dear friend Emily and I call this part “putting on the bold shoes”.  Once you have awareness and you’ve considered the options, take a risk and make a bold decision; shut down a company, leave your relationship, move to India…  Making the decision is usually the hardest part, but I’ve found the details always fall into place afterward.

Take action in your new direction: The change becomes real when you start taking action.  For me, I’m usually so “ready” by this point that the action follows quickly.  This was resigning from my corporate career, blogging about shutting down Little City, and most recently, sending out my resume for the first time in nearly 12 years.  Sometimes the first step is the hardest, but it’s also the most empowering.

Roll with the changes:  Flexibility, I have discovered, is the key to everything. Once the changes started coming (and they come fast and frequently!), the ability to adjust quickly became one of the most important skills I developed along the way.  When I stumble in this area (and I do often), I just try to stay focused on the reasons I made the transition in the first place.

Once I went public with my intention to leave corporate America and start a business, people started to share their own pipedreams with me; starting a pet clothing company, opening a bait shop, moving to Italy for a year…

I’ve grown more in the last two years than perhaps any other period of my life, so I hope that by sharing my own experience and perhaps even by writing this blog, it inspires you in even the smallest way to make changes in your life.