One of those moments...

Last week was just plain weird. Was there something going on in the stars? It seems like everything that could go wrong, did. My tv croaked, we had an ant infestation in the kitchen, Ian's car kept overheating and is now in the shop, his Mom's basement flooded and I helped her clean out 150+ gallons of water, Ian passed a kidney stone and we went to the ER, and then on Saturday all day Ian and I both had some kind of stomach virus. Phew. Since so much happened in so little time, it actually all seemed kind of funny.

But then yesterday, I had one of those moments...you know, the ones where you think to yourself, "What am I doing with my life? Who am I?" Ian's friend was visiting and we did the typical how's-your-job-going small talk, and for some reason saying my situation out loud sounded so...pathetic. He's got one of those grown-up jobs for a for-profit company, flying around the country and telling people better ways of doing their jobs.

I had to go for a walk after he left. 95% of the time, I am proud of what I'm doing - I feel so in control of my time and stimulated by my different projects at the museum, with The Hive Archive, at New Urban Arts, and building Connect the Dots. But explaining it to someone else yesterday made all of my self-doubt bubble up and over. I know that what I'm doing is very brave and worthwhile. I'm choosing to give a lot of my time to projects that I believe deeply in and I'm excited about. But running my own business and taking risks is also really scary. When I compare notes to others and realize that we measure success in such different terms, it's easy to feel lost.

So what did I do?

I went for a long shot. I called my big brother. Seeing how he lives in New York City and works in the finance world, this was indeed a long shot. John and I don't always see eye to eye - we have very different beliefs and ways of living our lives. In pretty much every conversation we've ever had, we find some way to misunderstand each other. But I know he has always really believed in me, which means so much. And last night he came through with some really helpful thoughts and advice.

He listed to me let out all of my fears and insecurities. And he pointed out, "Carole Ann, that's your comfort zone talking. It hates it when you try to do new things and move outside of it." And he's right. My comfort zone is really freakin' loud. It helped to know that that voice wasn't really mine.

He also suggested that I write down my thoughts so that I could look back at them in the morning with fresh eyes and realize how all of my fears were really unfounded.

After about 45 minutes, I said to him, "Well big brother, you've been really helpful. We better quit while we're ahead."

I know everyone has those moments. It's part of being entrepreneurial, it's part of being an artist, and more than anything it's part of being human. So what do you do when you have "one of those moments"? Who do you turn to? What advice do you have to get through it?


  1. Gosh, what a week you've had! It will be great for you to be able to relax and have some fun at Hive O'Clock tonight w/ Cynthia Treen.

    When I have one of "those moments", more often than not I'll flip through the book you gave me, "The Creative Habit" by Twyla Tharp. She has a way of offering artistic and creative consolation for most any situation and the topic of self-doubt appears over and over... and then she'll offer honest ways to help you push through those times and really blossom!

    You are growing in leaps and bounds right now and you and your brother are right - it's your comfort zone that is doing the talking. If being an artist, social worker AND entrepreneur were easy, I think a lot more people would be doing all three! Just keep pushing and taking the occasional step back to reassess and revaluate, like what you are doing right now.

  2. Thanks, Joanna. It helps so much to have friends who are going through the same things...

  3. I totally had a moment like that this week! Reading your blog totally helped me remember that I'm not the only one going through this! You gotta kick your self doubt's butt when it acts up. I try to remind myself how miserable I would be if I were doing the 9-5 career thing and think about fulfilling my work is, even if I'm not rich. Whatever, I'm happy, and that's way more important.


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