Like so many women who get divorced, I was ready for a fresh start. Part of this included selling the business my ex-husband and I had together. I was dating Mike at the time and working as a freelance copywriter and ghostwriter, yet I knew that I wanted to be doing something more—I just had to figure out what that was.
Enter Erik. He was a tall, red-headed prankster I met during one of my meetings with a mutual client. We stayed in contact, and, about a year later, we started The Draw Shop, a little whiteboard animation company. That was nine years ago, and the company has just kept growing.
Beginning in 2015, business was so good that Erik and I decided we were ready to start two more. Understandably, this would take a significant amount of our attention away from The Draw Shop, but we had a great team we knew we could rely on to keep things running.
In 2016, I decided to add something else to my plate—planning a wedding. Mike and I were ready to take our relationship to the next level and I was all-in when it came to figuring out the details to celebrate our union. Life was good—business was excellent, we were starting something new, and I was getting married.
My wedding in 2017 was one of the most beautiful, precious days of my life. But it wasn’t long after that something called out to me. “Hey, remember me?! Remember when you used to give me so much love and attention?” It was my baby—my first business with Erik.
While the business itself was doing just fine, it wasn’t thriving like it had been when I watered it every day and took it out to play in the sun. Back then, I’d given it my undivided attention, but now, I’d divvied up that attention as I had turned my focus to other things.
That was when I knew I had to step up my game. It was time to put on the big girl panties, have a sit down with my business, look it straight in the eye, and commit to doing what needed to be done to make it not only good and okay, but awesome.
As a business owner/entrepreneur/CEO, I should know by now that awesome doesn’t mean easy. And it’s true—this was when things got hard. We had to dig deep and do some hard work to find what was still working and what was not anymore. What facets of the business needed a renovation? What people needed attention? What processes needed improvement? And who was going to take responsibility for it all??
I was. And I did. Because at the end of the day, the only ones to blame were the founders. If things weren’t where we wanted them to be, we had to step up, own what we didn’t like, and know that it was up to us to change things.
It’s been challenging, for sure, but this past year or so has made me realize parts about myself I didn’t even know I had. I CAN do these hard things. I can look at mistakes and know that I made them and now I know how I can fix them. I know that when—not if—failures occur, I can take them on and make things better because of it.
Stepping up my game meant going deep, owning what I didn’t like, and changing it. It might be easier in the short-term to blame others or to just wish things were different, but I know from experience that will get you nowhere. Stepping up your game means taking control over you own life and being the one to decide the direction you want it to go. It’s not always the easier path to take, but it’s the one that will be most rewarding.