Several months ago, I was working on my usual creative work…bouncing between making a video, writing a blog post, or creating a graphic. I was in a good mood. I was elbow deep in the creative work that I love. I took a break from the fun to do some more tedius admin work and checked in on several blog networks I had joined to see if I had any notifications or opportunities to write, as I was looking to take my writing to a new level of being compensated for something I love to do. After all, I didn’t want writing to remain a hobby forever.
I logged into my accounts and for each of the networks I had joined, there were zero opportunities to partner with any person or any brand. And what had been my normal creative high, quickly turned into a depressed low. Those blank dashboards were screaming that I had no value to offer anyone, that I was not worth listening to, and that I should just stop sharing my heart because it’s not worthy of partnering with anyone else in a common goal. Those blank dashboards sent me spiraling fast. And those blank dashboards I allowed to steal my joy.
Aaron and I had planned on going on a family walk that afternoon. I mustered up enough energy to make it down stairs and into the security of my bed and warmth of my covers. After all, I was not worthy of human interaction so I was determined it would be me and my bed for the rest of my life. I’m not dramatic at all.
I gently suggested Aaron take the kids by himself so I could rest. You know, because it’s exhausting work feeling sorry for yourself. He did and I laid in bed wondering, “What’s even my purpose anyway?”
I know this all sounds so dramatic but I also know we’ve all been there; When the expectations didn’t follow through in the way we planned and we wonder if our efforts are even worth the hurt to have dreams in the first place.
Aaron got back from his walk with the kids and I managed enough energy to finish the daily motherly duties until we put the kids to bed. I came down the stairs after tucking in the kids and I fell into Aaron’s arms as I began to come back to reality.
“I’m really sorry I flaked out on you. I know you were looking forward to family time and I broke that promise. The truth is, I let something external get me down and I let it rob me of our family connection time.”
He was gentle and kind and accepted my apology while tenderly asking what happened. As I finished explaining, he stopped, and pulled out his phone to show me something.
“I was watching Christine Caine’s Periscope today and you need to hear it.”
Christine was Periscoping with Christy Wright – a speaker, business coach, and Dave Ramsey personality – about a conference she was putting on in May called the Business Boutique. I listened intently and of course I thought it sounded awesome. But I’ve already spent so much to do so little to financially contribute to our family that I felt guilty for saying, “This sounds like something I would like to go to.”
They finished talking and Aaron asked what I thought. “It’s awesome. I’d like to go, but…”
And he stopped me.
“You need to be there. You have so much to offer and you need to learn how to share it in a business. I’m buying you a ticket.”
And he popped open his laptop right then and bought me a ticket. His level of belief in my dreams and abilities is a gift to me of such magnitude that I have a hard time articulating my appreciation for him.
(This is Annie Downs. She is lovely and hilarious and you should go buy her book, stat.)
Leading up to the Business Boutique this past weekend, I kept my expectations at a minimum. I’ve been in this position before and I still have little profit for my family to show for it after years of doing this. So instead of entering this experience with an expectation for myself, I entered it with an expectation that I was there to 1) simply learn as much as I could and to 2) be open and willing to speak into someone’s life where ever I felt the Holy Spirit lead me. So that’s what I did; the whole time I diligently took notes and absorbed information as I constantly prayed for the Lord to show me if he wanted me to talk to anyone. And he did. And that was an awesome testimony I can maybe share another time of how being obedient can help bring joy into someone’s life.
As I was sitting in each session all I could think was “I WISH AARON WAS HERE TO HEAR THIS!”
See, Aaron entered the world of owning his own business nearly two and a half years ago (you can get a glimpse of that story here). He was thrown into the deep end of running a business…without floaties…and without knowing how to swim.
It quickly felt like chaos, but we did what we had to do and over the past few years we’ve learned together to manage our time, our schedules, our family, and our finances, as it pertains to owning your own business (Aaron’s counseling practice).
I’m sitting in this conference and all I can think about is how I can use the talents I have in writing and design (I designed his website) to help Aaron grow his business. And I began getting a download of vision for the more in Aaron’s business and how I can contribute to that. I filled our text thread with quotes and pictures and ideas and fist bump emojis. And by my drive home to Houston on Saturday night, that was it…
The reason I was at the Business Boutique was to get this vision for Aaron, to be educated on how to implement it, and to be inspired to create it with him and for him. All these years of my learning what I know about writing, designing, and sharing in the online world has brought me to a place where I’m supposed to partner with my husband in his gifts. My “WHY?” is to make the content and knowledge Aaron has spent years learning and implementing in his practice, to be palatable and available for a broader audience beyond his day-to-day practice.
All of the time we’ve known each other – since dating and sitting at the bar at Tiny Boxwoods working on an outline for a book we wanted to write together all the way to now – we’ve dreamed on creating a partnership and being in business together. The Business Boutique helped facilitate the seeds for that. And because of that, it was a life-changing event for me…for us.
How incredible that Aaron bought me this ticket as a way to serve me and show that he believed in me. But God turned right around and blessed his faithfulness and years of diligence to his counseling gift by giving us this new vision and idea to implement for Aaron’s business, all for HIS business. It’s so awesome.
Now it’s time to hustle…
And because I’m still Hannah and can’t help but make videos, here’s a vlog from my Business Boutique weekend. Enjoy the zaniness of me traveling by myself.