Have you ever felt like you were on a bad guy streak? The kind where you suddenly (or not so) became the person who was constantly delivering no’s and disappointing your loved ones with all the restrictions and responsibilities that needed to be maintained.

It’s a really crappy title to wear, and one that I think has to be universally disliked.

I was just a little kid the first time I was called “bossy.” And they didn’t mean it in a good way. Instantly I knew that bossy meant something ‘bad’ in the eyes of my friends. I didn’t have words for it at the time, but I suppose I had a bit of a control freak inside of me even as a child.

I suppose I never really grew out of this, although I tried to become a lot more clever about who I showed my bossiness to. I also tried to really find the ways in which being “bossy” was a praised: in leadership roles, or organizing plans, or even in some ways being the gentle mediator between fighting friends. Most people don’t want someone who tells them what to do- but yet everyone needs those people around who just know what should be done. Isn’t that ironic?

Well this weekend I had a case of the bossiness blues. In my full time business running a photography and videography company, we have started our 2021 wedding season and this weekend was the last non-wedding weekend until August. I had only a few meetings scheduled, but really I knew the majority of my work this weekend would be spent at my desk working on the relaunch of our website. It was really in the grand plan to have this big project happening in May, but it’s just how it ended up happening- and I know I’ll be SO grateful and excited once it’s done, but in the meantime I had to jump into the trenches of doing work that’s not so fun- especially when you’re on a deadline. Work of re-writing copy, of pulling new portfolio photos, of reformatting blogs that no longer work, and trying to picture how it’s all coming together. I also had payroll to run, and end of month finances to rectify.

I could go on and on through mundane and boring details- but the long story short is that I started to feel this overwhelming resentment of “being the one” who has to hold everything there is to worry about.

Whether you’re a mom, or the person who runs your household, or any kind of boss or business owner then I’m sure you can relate to that frustration. It’s exhausting to be the one who takes every little big or small thing that needs to run in our lives, place them on your shoulders, and start to hope and pray that you can carry it all.

Will you be able to? Probably some of the time. Should you be carrying it all? Probably not.

Now there are times in our lives when lots is going on where it does come in handy to be able to write it all down on a big white board and figure out a great detailed plan of how to tackle all that’s ahead of you.

But as I really sit with this what I see very clearly is that putting all the stress on your own shoulder isn’t actually helping anyone, and it is also not executing a game plan. Instead it’s allowing fear to keep you from trusting anyone or anything else.

What we need most when we start feeling like the bad guy is support! And that does not mean other people in our lives start “stepping up” (although that can surely be part of the solution too). But the kind of support we really need is the kind of that comes from within- it’s our ability to support ourselves.

It means that we need to be able to recognize that there are some internal fears clashing with unstable boundaries in our lives, and our choice to not be clear about what we really need is causing us to hoard the responsibilities because of whatever consequences that we’re afraid of. At least that’s what I’m seeing play out in my own life.

I’m afraid that I have to fill all of my “free time” with work because I want to be a good business owner. I’m afraid I have to say yes to that thing I really don’t want to do because if I don’t then I’m a bad friend, or a bad daughter. I’m afraid that if I say what I really think about that design, or that project that was submitted then those people who are working with me will think I’m ungrateful, or that I’m so demanding. I’m afraid if I say what I really think- that I’ll be disliked.

And THAT is the burden that’s really too much to bear.

So what to do? I’m not totally sure but I can share my current game plan. I’m going to sit down with a big piece of paper and dump out all of this shit going on in my mind and heart into two buckets: the irrational fears and the stuff that matters.

The stuff that matters will then become a plan I can actually start to work on. It might mean I need support from others, or have to speak the truth in order to get to the bottom line.

The irrational fears stuff- well that’s something that I observe from an outside perspective, and hopefully be able to talk myself through some of it, and maybe share some of those fears with those who can give me clarity in some situations. Other things might become long term goals for me to work through. But with fear- sometimes it takes time.

If you’re anything like me it seems that too often I ignore my fears through all my “doing”- until moments like this happen where they all become a giant snowball that I can no longer ignore. I’m not going to beat myself up for this, but instead I’m going to take this as a moment to change course and to simply keep going.

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