Twice in the past week, I’ve been asked, “So, have you always wanted to own your own business?”
Both times, it takes a second for it to register that they’re even talking to me. I shift in my seat feeling slightly offended by the question before I reply, “Goodness, no. I don’t even want to have my own business now.”
Since I believe in transparency and authenticity, I want to come clean with you: I find it slightly amusing and extremely bizarre that people see me as an entrepreneur. I don’t even know how to spell it and just had to look it up because the red squiggly line called me out. My coach (yes, coaches have coaches!) lovingly says that the only way that I’ll accept the moniker of a businesswoman is if we whisper and say it with a “little b.” I love the work I get to do with One Eleven Leadership and am passionate about supporting others as both a coach and a facilitator, but being a small business owner is not at all something with which I identify. At least, not yet. So, it got me thinking about other roles or titles that I’ve had in the past that didn’t quite fit.
I started running in 2009 by taking a beginner’s class through the New York Road Runners. The goal of the first session was to run without stopping for 20 minutes and we spent 4 weeks working up towards that big milestone. I was one of the slowest in the group, but it was good exercise and I met some nice people so I signed up for the next session which had us training for my first 5K. A few months later with a little too much time on my hands and an engagement on the horizon, I had a crazy, outlandish idea to train for a half-marathon thinking it would be a good way to help me get into shape. I crossed the finish line of the Disney Princess Half-Marathon 11 years ago this month which still makes me emotional to think about. I literally went from couch to a half-marathon in just over a year. I was hooked.
I picked running back up in earnest in 2014 after I had my first son as an efficient way to lose the baby weight. To help motivate me to stick with it, I signed up with the Team in Training program to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, a cause near and dear to my heart. I joined the local chapter of a Facebook community called Moms Run This Town and researched Garmin watches, learned which Gu flavors I preferred, and even got a fancy hydropack for longer runs. I set a goal of running at least one race each month which I kept to for almost two years until I got pregnant again. During that period, I ran dozens of races, including 5Ks, 10Ks, 10 milers, mud runs, trail runs, snow runs, and two more half-marathons. In 2015, I logged a total of 500 miles. When people would ask what I had been up to or what I liked to do in my free time, I would say, "I run," but never once did I say that I was a runner.
It’s curious, right? I had all of the trappings of a runner with the accessories and lingo (I felt like a total BAMR* when I got a PR**) but I never embraced the label for myself. I felt like I was a visitor in that world, always on the outside looking in. I was clearly traumatized by the Presidential Fitness tests back in the day and was nowhere close to having the traditional body type of a runner. It just never felt genuine or integrated into my core identity.
However, I know that it’s precisely because it felt so out of reach for me that I felt so incredibly proud, confident, and powerful each time I crossed the finish line.
As I navigate this new professional chapter as the Founder and CEO (and COO, CMO, CTO, etc.) of One Eleven Leadership, I am noticing how reminiscent the experience is of feeling scared and unsure, but also excited and filled with anticipation. It’s like I’m on the starting line of a “couch to coach” program, approaching the business side of my work with a learner’s mindset, recognizing when I need to ask for guidance from trusted experts, and, most importantly, being patient with the process. It's knowing that it’s going to take me awhile to reach my destination, but feeling optimistic that I'll get there eventually. It's also admitting that having that patience, particularly when things get challenging, is easier said than done.
I may not know much about P&Ls^, SEOs+, or what the heck Clubhouse@ is, but I do know that I am passionate about providing meaningful support to individuals and teams looking to move in the direction of their goals. If being a business owner is the vehicle for me to achieve that, I guess I’m leaning into it, and getting more comfortable embracing my inner B.
If you (or someone you know) could benefit from working with a certified coach and trained facilitator who will provide customized, holistic, and tireless support as you or your team identify and take action towards your goals, please reach out to One Eleven Leadership to set up a complimentary consultation.
* Bad A$$ Mother Runner
** Personal Record
^ Profit and Loss sheets
+ Search Engine Optimization
@ I still have no idea