Lessons from the Tower
Strike the match.
Earlier this week I announced my decision to walk away from LuLaRoe.
It was something I had been feeling I needed to do for several weeks (even months), but I kept ignoring it, hoping the reasons I wanted to walk away would change or that I would be able to adapt. After all, this was a venture that was bringing my family extra income. Sure, how much extra depended on my sales, but whether it was $100 extra or $1000, it still helped. And more often than not, it was closer to the latter amount or more, so walking away and giving that up was a terrifying thought.
I wrestled with this decision for weeks. I worried about finances, even though my husband assured me we were fine and that any income I brought in would just be for extra luxuries and vacations. I worried that perhaps I was giving up, too soon. I hadn't even hit my one year mark with LuLaRoe (I was just encroaching on 10 months) and I was heavily considering walking away.
It wasn't so much the dip in sales -- I had expected that with the move, plus sales are slower in the summer in general -- it was the stress. I was so focused (hello, Capricorn, here) on working the business and keeping things fresh and engaging with my online customers that everything else in my life was being neglected.
Housework? HA. I have more than enough leggings to keep me going for two months before I need to laundry. As for dishes: paper plates.
The kids? Here's some iPads. Leave mommy alone. (not my finest moment in parenting)
The husband? Can you take the kids somewhere so I can work? Can you tell me about your day later? I'm trying to concentrate.
Writing? Unless it's something quippy on a graphic, I wasn't writing.
Painting? Do I even still have the supplies to do this? I certainly don't have the time...
Knitting? Maybe. If I get everything scheduled for the week and start on next week...
Burn it down.
Things were not good.
I was stressed out to my limits and beyond. My anxiety was at all time high. I was snapping at the kids for being kids. I was relying on the iPad to keep them quiet and entertained ALL DAY (may I remind you at this time that my kids are 5 and 2). I didn't want to do anything on the weekends with my family because I "needed" to make outfits or get a jump on next week's graphics and posts.
I became increasingly frustrated with the culture of the company. Every week I would watch the training video for motivation to keep me pushing through and every week I would get annoyed. The solution to balancing work and home? According to LLR it was hiring a nanny and a maid. Solution to slow online sales? More in home parties. Can't book an in home party? Go out and meet new people/customers.
I am not in a position to hire a nanny or a maid. Nor am I working just to have those things. Nannies and maids are not cheap and one of the selling points for the company was work from home and spend time with your kids! As for getting out and meeting new customers -- if I go out, I'm doing it with two small kids. My focus is going to be on keeping my 2yo from running off, not on preying on random women hoping to get them to buy a pair of leggings. I am not the slimy sales person. I am a mom just wanting to do something on the side not related to motherhood (something for me) and if that something brings in some extra income, awesome.
The culture of the company was rapidly losing it's glitter. For a company that says they are about enriching families and supporting women, it became clear that enriching families meant the founding family and supporting women meant those who were the first to sign on and thus were the really high tier selling consultants. For the rest of us it was -- Do better. Work harder. Buy more inventory to sell more inventory.
It was as if it had begun to rain and and the glitter was washing away, revealing the ugly, sometimes toxic reality.
Naturally, I also turned to tarot.
The cards kept showing me the tower (seriously, I pulled it half a dozen times in two weeks) and I kept ignoring my inner voice that was telling me my time with this company was ending.
And then my friend, who was also my sponsor, announced her decision to leave the company after two years. She was one of those top tier consultants -- she got to go on the company cruise back in May (which meant she was selling over $10,000 a month). And now she was leaving. Sure she had her reasons that she told us about, but my B.A. is in public relations. I know the reasons we tell the public are just a piece of the overall puzzle and not the whole picture.
So I did some hard thinking and some harder discussions with my husband. We decided that it was time for me to walk away. I did not feel supported by the home office and it was not worth the toll it was taking on my health. I was exhausted -- physically, mentally, emotionally and creatively -- it was time to walk away.
On Monday, I went live in my group and announced my decision to leave. I kept my reasons fairly PG. I explained how hard I was working and how that was taking away from my family and from myself. I told my group I was leaving to spend more time with my family and to spend more time with my real passions -- like writing. All of this was true, but was only a small piece of the puzzle.
I left out the parts about feeling as though the company was increasingly becoming a toxic environment. Or how starting over in a new state was a battle I didn't have the energy to fight.
Later that night, I began my final sale. Everything marked down in order to liquidate my assets as quickly as possible.
I had lit the match and was lighting the pyre.
Though I'm still in the process of going out of business, there is such a tremendous amount of relief coursing through me. I am not stressing about the business. I am not focused on different ways to engage my group or struggling to make 8+ graphics to post everyday across various social media channels.
I deleted the Facebook app and the Messenger app from my phone. I only used Safari once to check Facebook without the app.
Tuesday morning I woke up at 5am, checked Twitter and had my cup of coffee. I typed Facebook in my browser and deleted it. I FaceTimed with a friend. I posted to Twitter (which I prefer over FB anyway). I had breakfast with my kids. I started writing this blog post. I didn't check Facebook until 10am, and even then I only gave myself an hour.
I have a journey ahead of me. It's not always going to be this easy. This company was my entire life for nearly a year. Everything I did was based on whether or not it would be good for my business. It was unhealthy and the company only encouraged it.
Burning it down is a process. It's still burning. It will take time to burn it away completely.
But when it's done, I'll be there. Ready to rise from the ashes.
I'm a mother fucking phoenix. I'm burning now, but soon I'll soar.