There are few things in life that truly scare me. I have no fear of heights, confined spaces or even death. I DO have a fear of snakes. In fact on occasion a black or garden snake finds it way into my yard and I run into the house calling animal control reporting that a den of anacondas and pythons is surrounding my deck. They assure me these are not indigenous to Central Virginia but I never saw a science squad set up in my cul de sac, so that’s still up for debate as far as I’m concerned. Next to that my greatest fear is an irrational one, it is the words or even the thought of TAKING THE DAY OFF WORK. Which in my mind is equivalent to being dropped into a bottomless pit of poisonous snakes with no way out. I’m not joking, I break out into a sweat, sometimes with minor shakes, and my heart ra ces and breathing becomes restricted (no pun intended to aforementioned anacondas).
I’m not sure why I have this fear. I know my company won’t tank if I need to take a three hour breather (and yes three hours might as well be the whole day), I know that I’m capable of making up or handling any missed work, and I know that the world won’t crash because there was an onset of marketing emergencies I did not tend to (allegedly). But none-the-less I just have a really hard time taking a day off work. It wasn’t until an unexpected, but eye opening, morning meeting with another female business owner that I realized it might just be because I happen to be a female that I posses such a fear. And is it really a fear, an insecurity or the innate nurturing that females possess?
Working in a family brand of businesses I see that my dad,aka The Suit, and brother, aka The Hoodie, make sure they take time off to re-set. I’m not saying they don’t work, they work harder than just about anyone I know, often pulling well over 60 hours a week, but they occasionally take time, and here’s the kicker, THEY DO NOT APOLOGIZE FOR IT!
Being the only female, aka The Skirt, in the family business I often assume the role of supporter, meaning I feel it’s my duty to make sure that everything is taken care off. It isn’t until after months and months of 7 day work weeks that you sit down in front of your computer and realize you have absolutely nothing left to give. Not to your family, your employees, your clients, and certainly not for yourself. So you start to think of the scariest thing possible – taking a day off work. You know you need to, actually you know you have to because you are no longer efficient and productive. So despite the hives you see breaking out on your neck, you move your chair away from the desk, and walk out the door. Your mind races, you feel like you have just committed some major crime and are walking away from responsibility, then you get in the car, turn on True Colors (or any other anthem accepted by children of the 80’s) and wonder do The Suit and the Hoodie feel this way if they choose to go fly fishing at 2pm on a Friday?
I learn everyday from the Suit and the Hoodie. They are my greatest mentors and my division of our businesses woudln’t be anything without my ability to have them at my side. But it’s moments like this, taking time off, that I realize there are truly just inate differences in the way Skirt’s work. Some serious and some funny, all of them give me perspective – good and bad.
I’m not sure it’s going to get any easier, but I’m learning to realize that I might just need a day off every now and then and I shouldn’t apologize for it, despite the paralyzing fear it brings with it. So today I walked out the door at 1:30, and I’m not working, I’m headed outside for a walk (presumably into a den of snakes) and will come back tomorrow ready to tackle the things that I (nor the Suit or the Hoodie) are afraid of – hard work.