The first question I needed to ask myself was: why did I have a business? Not why I was in business — I knew writing was my calling — but why was I expanding Christine Ink?
The more I thought about it, the more I returned to one idea: my upbringing. My grandfather (and that side of the family) was an entrepreneur. He had a company. My father was a writer, my grandfather was a businessman, and somewhere along the way I had decided that both things (instead of just the writing) were in my blood. When my mother said “you should start your own writing company,” I had taken that advice and turned it into something… else.
It wasn’t just that. Solopreneurs-turned-founders were all around me. I had been sucked into the mindset plaguing coaches and ambitious freelancers everywhere: the belief that in order to be reputable, you had to be big time. You had to have a “brand” and an “offering” and a “pipeline” and a “team” and a “growth mindset.”
I had been caught up in it: hook, line, and sinker. But why? Why did I take all those people’s advice? What was I chasing?
I thought back to the time in college when I got in a car accident, following my friend into an unprotected left turn. Just blithely driving into traffic, because I believed she was looking out for both of us.
Was that still me? Was I still following other people because I thought they knew best — because I thought they knew what I needed better than I did myself? Was that why I was taking advice from business coaches who couldn’t calculate P&Ls, or social media “experts” who faked their followers? What in the world made me think those people had my best interests at heart?
And what were my best interests, anyway?
It was then I knew: after all these years, all these lessons learned, I had one more big curve in the road ahead of me. One thing I still needed to do. One thing still holding me back, no matter how hard I tried: I was still tethered to my past, weighted down by my history.
I began my adult life in pain and weakness, dependent on others for everything. All I could do for myself was think, and I did. My mind was empowered, brave, creative, and bold. But I was still seeking others’ strength to prop up my actions. I was still looking for a shoulder to lean on or a wise person to guide me. And I was paying the price, because I was serving other people’s wishes instead of my own.
I could think independently all I wanted, but until I acted for myself, I would never truly become myself.
I knew I could trust myself — that much I had come to understand. I could always rely on Christine to show up and get things done.