Standing on the ocean bank on the last day of our trip I threw a rock into the water symbolizing everything I didn’t want to take home with me: fear, worry, and doubt. I was surprised that these three cliche buzz words were the obstacles that surfaced, considering they had been my trigger points when other women would express what they’re “struggling” with.
My inner response in these conversations was often something along the lines of: “OMG! Stop talking in circles and being such a baby about it! JUST DO IT!” But in this season, I felt differently. I guess you can say I briefly understood the paralyzing anxiety caused by fear, worry, and doubt. And for me they’re all stemmed from the mother of all cliche buzz words: L E A D E R S H I P. Okay, I’ll back the train up a bit and explain that within the last year I had to decide where my business was actually going.
For years, I have been a freelance graphic designer dabbling in different formats of doing business. I’ve built a business on creating custom designed logos, brands, and websites for small creative businesses. To say I’ve been blessed would be an understatement.
The idea of “Will this work?” is a captivating concept to me because I love pioneering the spaces and places undiscovered. For years I’ve been able to explore this question in my day-to-day process of creating in an artistic expression. Things like a painting, creating a graphic, or building a website design from the ground up have been my safe go to places to create. Like so many small business owners, I’ve faced the daunting reality that my current infrastructure is challenged to support the possibilities of future growth. Some days it feels like a beautiful disaster. I find myself frequently asking, “WHERE DOES IT GO FROM HERE?”
With a lot of trial and error, failure and success, I have to admit that I have struggled to know if I have what it takes to be a “leader” and grow my business into the company that I imagine. Sure, I’m creative, I have some influence and I can make stuff happen, but, I’m asking the core question: AM I MEANT TO BE A LEADER? [Gulp] Cue fear, worry, and doubt.
It’s possible that I’m being completely melodramatic and that God’s vision for this business is to simply be a secondary stream of income for me and my family. I could stay lean and mean, giving me the opportunity to work from home when we start a family. And if that’s what God’s desire is for this–then I trust Him completely in that gift. But I can’t help but think there is more to the story than “coasting.” I have come to the conclusion that I’m not a “leader” in my conventional understanding of the concept. I don’t geek out on HR protocols and strategies or respond within the first 20 seconds of an email hitting my inbox. I rarely wake up at 5:00am to go for a run, do my morning devo, analyze my databases while delegating all my to-dos, and of course, all before breakfast. I definitely haven’t written a lengthy book on “The 5 Best Pathways To A Great Leader.”
THAT’S NOT ME! Cue worry, fear, and doubt again. I have built up this idea in my mind of what a leader is and what a leader isn’t based on things I’ve read, seen, and experienced in others. I’ve easily categorized myself in the genre of what a leader ISN’T and convinced myself of the reasons why I can’t grow my small business into a thriving company. Namely, because I’m an unconventional “leader.”
I’m a simple art girl, with a few big dreams, who loves to create stuff that helps other people do what they love to do in their lives/ministry/work. This season has taught me that I have placed too much emphasis on the idea of the word “leadership” instead of just accepting the position and the opportunity that God has naturally wired me up to do and put right in front of me.
Maybe the concept of leadership isn’t something we should get over-fixated on. Rather, as we courageously step into our unique calling, we’ll realize the leadership capacity we need will follow the calling we’ve been given. So, go grab a rock that identifies the places in your life/business/ministry that are holding you back from really launching into all that God wants to do in and through you. Find some deep water and throw those suckers. Personally, though I don’t have it all figured out, one thing I know is that I don’t want to let fear, worry, and doubt be my anchor anymore.
So, stop being a baby about it and JUST DO IT!
Promise Tangeman Wurzell is the founder and Art Director of Go Live HQ, a hub for graphic and web design resources and workshops for creative small businesses.
Connect with Promise on Twitter: @PromiseTangeman