I Had To Fire Someone

This whole venture into starting my own business has been so personally revealing. I’ve had the chance over and over to see that I have a really particular, old story in my head about who I am and how I do things. More and more I also see how I am actively outgrowing that story.

A huge part of my identity has always been my easygoing, peaceful nature. I am not someone who rocks the boat or causes problems. The positive side of these traits is that I typically get along with everyone and find myself easily building relationships. The negative side is that I overidentified with this part of myself to the point that I began to repress and deny my own feelings, wants, and needs. It became second nature to me to concede to others. I did that so easily that I lost sight of what I actually felt about things.

A whole host of experiences have brought me to a place where I want to truly know myself--who I am and what I want. Starting my own business where I am accountable to me and I am seeking to make a living doing the things I love is audacious, thrilling, and terrifying. It also means I am the boss and getting along with others isn’t always possible.

Through this novel-writing process, I engaged a professional editor and proofreader. Both of my initial hires shared traits that I had to face fears about confronting--because in my story about myself, I avoid confrontation at all costs because it might put me at odds with people and that’s not something I do.

In the case of the editor, she was consistently late in delivering back my manuscript and she usually failed to communicate with me about that. I made it okay by telling myself that her brilliance in giving feedback was worth the frustration and I lived with it--mostly. I confronted her via Skype once but as I look back I can see that I never again communicated my frustrations with her blown deadlines or laid out consequences for her unprofessionalism.

Next came the proofreader I hired who very quickly exhibited the same behaviors. I had a chance to change how I handled the situation and I took it. I needed help from my life coach and my friends and I did it! In this case, the sense of urgency was much clearer because my novel was up for preorder and I had a very definite personal deadline to meet that her tardiness was endangering. In the end, thanks to great support and advice from the people in my life, I realized that I had to fire her. I had lost all faith in her ability to deliver what she promised and her communications were breezy and vague.

So first, I had to own that I can be both peaceful and confrontational. I have the right to hold people accountable for the services I pay for. I value my business and well-being over the old story of being a martyred peacekeeper. I can be a boss when I need to and I am ready to really do this thing. The breakup was quiet and easy and felt like a huge load lifted from my shoulders.

Epilogue: I found a fabulous proofreader who delivered my manuscript back in exactly the timeframe she promised and her work was fantastic!