I’m terrified. I’m exhilarated.— morning meditation

Me on the platform at Willis Tower in Chicago. Publishing this article is WAY scarier.

What is a morning meditation? To help me build a habit of daily writing, I’m publishing a few thoughts here every morning about ideas that interest and inspire me, mostly drawn from ordinary life. I hope you enjoy them.

Every Tuesday morning for the past 3 years, I’ve attended the same meeting. The weekly leadership team meeting, we called it, where, together with the CEO and my fellow executives, we discussed our business, our strategy, our mission, our various departments, etc. etc. etc.

That ended on July 5, 2017, when Jhana was officially acquired by Franklin Covey, one of the most prominent firms in our space (which is organizational performance and leadership development, in case you’re wondering). By all external measures, this was a success. We had, together with our teams (mostly, it was our teams), built an exceptional product with many happy clients and a well-respected brand. We created a lot of value for a lot of people. In the startup world of winners and losers, we get to call ourselves winners.

And yet I’m terrified. While the acquisition is a clear business success, it is nonetheless a seismic personal shift. I will not be joining the new company. I spent 3.5 years co-building a place I truly loved, and now we must both move on.

So I’ve been asking myself, what comes next? What do I really want? The answer is the reason I’m terrified: I want to work for myself. I want to take everything I’ve learned about marketing, leadership, and building a company over the last 10 years, and I want to coach others who can benefit from my experience.

There, I said it. I want to be a coach. Scratch that. I am a coach. I already have my first paying clients. Soon, I hope to have a few more. And truth be told, I’ve been doing this for years. I just didn’t realize it until recently.

I fought with myself this morning about whether to write this article. Then I fought with myself about whether to publish it. “It’s too soon!” “I’m not ready!” “They’ll think I’m crazy!” “I don’t even have a website for f’s sake!” said the chorus of voices in my head.

Maybe it is too soon. And holy shit, I’m terrified. But if I wait until I think I’m ready, then I’ll probably be waiting for the rest of my life.

I’ve been thinking a lot today about the Hebrew word yirah, one of several words for “fear” in the language. I first learned about yirah from Tara Sophia Mohr, one of my all-time favorite writers and coaches. Quoting the late Rabbi Alan Lew, she writes:

[Yirah is] the fear that overcomes us when we suddenly find ourselves in possession of considerably more energy than we are used to, inhabiting a larger space than we are used to inhabiting.

Mohr urges us to listen, lean into, even savor yirah. What a profound idea, that we could savor the fear that comes from inhabiting a larger space. I don’t fully have words to express what this could mean, but I expect I’ll be exploring it a lot in the coming weeks. I am exploring it right now, even as I write these words.

I’ll end with something that is both tremendously uncomfortable and absolutely necessary if I’m going to succeed at this: a request for your help. If you know me, you know I’m very good at what I do. If you don’t, here’s a quick summary (I also have some lovely LinkedIn recommendations here):

  1. Career and leadership coaching for individuals and groups: I bring 10 years of experience in marketing, leadership, people management, and startups to my practice. I’ve also spent the last 3.5 years as the Head of Marketing at Jhana, a company that has helped tens of thousands of people managers become more effective leaders for their teams and that was recently acquired by Franklin Covey. So I know a thing or two about what it takes to be a good leader.
  2. Personal branding and credibility: I’ve helped dozens of clients better understand and articulate their strengths, improve their online presence, and tie disparate professional experiences together in a way that strengthens their personal credibility stories while remaining authentic to their values.
  3. B2B marketing consulting: I advise individual marketing professionals and companies on how to build, grow and scale their marketing organizations. I specialize in startups, growth marketing, content strategy, and product marketing.

So my ask is this: should you happen to know a person or a company who would benefit from what I can do, I would be so, so grateful for a referral. Please message me privately on Linkedin, and we’ll take it from there.

As a good friend likes to say, “Leap, and the net will appear.”