Power from Pain
Here’s the deal, life isn’t easy. Life isn’t fair. Life has a funny way of sneaking up and slapping you in the face as soon as you get too comfortable.
Let’s get real — this year has been painful for everyone. We are living in the midst of a pandemic that is taking the lives and livelihood from many people around the world.
If you are tired of reading about COVID-19 in a traditional sense, keep going to learn how this virus played an interesting role in my life.
Just before the pandemic hit the Midwest I had proudly opened the doors to a brand new business. A business that I began building nearly a year earlier after deciding to enter into a partnership with someone I had worked with for over a decade. We decided to leave the corporate world to build something new, and we introduced a healing outlet, or healing collective, to our community.
Despite many attempts to visit an actual bank, my partner was determined to finance the project. She promised that I’d be an equal partner, handling the customer-facing aspects of the business — given my extensive marketing background.
As with most relationships, the early days were fun. And then, each day that we got closer to opening our doors, I felt more like an employee and less like a partner. Every time I asked about the legal paperwork, documenting my stake in the company, it was always “in-progress”.
Money was spent without a team discussion, because the money was hers, and therefore I didn’t have a say. While she was spending thousands on chairs for our office, she failed to designate a marketing budget, leaving me to build a brand with only my skill and my network. Tempers shortened, and passive-aggressive comments and text messages became her way of communicating. I was in tears by 8:30am on the day that we opened the doors.
Despite the mental and emotional abuse, I believed in our vision and success. And trusted my friend and partner not to betray me.Seven weeks later, with solid opening numbers, we were forced to temporarily close the doors. And as the doors closed, my intuition opened. As my questions went unanswered and input was ignored, I knew something was wrong.
And wrong it was.
After many unanswered phone calls and only a few days of being closed, my partner called me to tell me that she couldn’t “pay me” and that I should find a job. Pay me? Job? Obviously, I was never a partner — just an over qualified and unpaid employee. She tried to spin it in a way that was saving me from the long-term pain of a small business in the face of a pandemic. But, I knew better. This was her opportunity to cut ties without having to own her decision.
My world began to crumble. Even though I was unhappy with our dynamic, I had spent more than a year of my life building this business. I declined executive leadership positions to be a part of something that was mine. And all the while, I was being played in a major way. She never intended on having a partner, and she used COVID-19 as her catalyst to fly solo.
On some level my inner knowing prepared me for this news, because although it was heartbreaking, I refused to let it break me. Instead, of falling into a victim mindset asking “how could this happen to me?”, I looked inward to ask, “what is this teaching me?”. By staying in that place, I became the victor.
I took time to explore my options. I took time to enjoy being safe at home, with my son. Although painful, I did the work. And every time I was tempted to get angry and spiteful, I chose to RISE.
Life is challenging all of us in different ways. And each of us has a choice every damn day. We can stay down and feel sorry for ourselves, or we can rise up, hold our heads high and walk with pride, as victors!
The next time life slaps you in the face and brings you to your knees, turn that pain into power and transform your life. It is your choice.
Always choose power!