Strategy

Ep. 32: How To Keep The Lights On In Your Business While Not Able To Be Fully Present With Emily Conley

July 18, 2023

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YOU WILL NOT WANT TO MISS THIS INTERVIEW
WITH EMILY CONLEY!

Episode Highlights:

  • Specific tools and strategies for keeping the lights on in your business while not being able to be fully present.
  • Encouragement and compassion to feel less alone.
  • Lessons I’ve learned in this season.

Resources:

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Episode Transcript

Jillian Dolberry: 00:39

Welcome back to the Gracefield CEO podcast. Today, I have Emily Conley with me from Emily Writes. Well, hey, Emily. How are you doing today?

Emily Conley: 00:59

You know, I’m doing pretty great. I’m very excited to be here.

Jillian Dolberry: 01:03

Well, I’m also very excited to have you because we’ve worked together recently. So I feel like we’ve been able to spend some good quality time together. And I’m really excited to chat with you about this specific topic because I know that you’ve been going through a season where you haven’t been able to be 100% present in your business. And I feel that too sometimes. I think it’s a good conversation to have. So before we jump into that, can you tell the audience a little bit about what you do, what your business is, and what life looks like for you?

Emily Conley: 01:37

So I’m a copywriter, essentially. I write any words you use to sell in your business. I work mainly with female creative business owners, service providers, coaches—really across the board. I’ve resisted every coach and mentor’s desire for me to niche down to a specific industry because I like working with people. I don’t know, I like to live in myself. So anyway, I work with a lot of people. I write website copy, sales pages, emails—all that good stuff. I help people tap into the power of their own voice and really stand out by being themselves. It can be a really hard thing to do on your own. So I think it’s really cool. Part of what I do is drawing out the best parts of what people do and who they are, and putting it in clear, compelling copy that attracts their dream clients. That’s what I do for work. On the life side, I have a five-year-old daughter who’s finishing pre-K in a couple of weeks. So she’ll be starting kindergarten in the fall, which feels impossible but exciting. She’s very excited. I’m married, and we live outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Yeah, my husband and I both work from home full time, so we hang out a lot, which is typically great. Um, it’s typically great. Sometimes I’m like, “What if I was just able to be alone in my house?” That’s my dream—literally being in my home alone—and it very rarely happens. But that’s nice.

Jillian Dolberry: 03:31

Well, no, I’m right there with you. So my husband is a teacher and also does real estate. He teaches throughout the school year, and then during the summers, he has off. He focuses a lot on real estate during that time, but he’s also just home a lot. And I love it. There are things about that that I absolutely love, but I do find that I cannot be as productive because I either want to spend time with him and the kids, or it’s just so much easier to have a conversation. So there are more conversations had in the middle of the day, which are amazing, but it’s also good to get out of that every now and then, go out, shop, and just get some stuff done.

Emily Conley: 04:18

Yes, it’s a delicate balance, for sure.

Jillian Dolberry: 04:21

It’s a delicate balance. And also, I’m excited for you to have a kindergartener. That’s big stuff right there.

Emily Conley: 04:28

It is. Yeah, she’s my only, so it feels like everything. I don’t know. Every milestone, I’m like, “This is it.” So, like, yeah, that’s the one, so I feel like I have to really feel them. But it’s exciting. Yeah, she loves school. She loves learning. She loves talking, so it’ll be good.

Jillian Dolberry: 04:52

I love that. Yeah, no one prepared me for what it was like to have a kindergartener because, at least at my son’s school, there was a lot of parent involvement. And I love that. I truly do enjoy that and value it. But at the same time, I’m like, “I nobody told me about this.” Like, I feel like I have more homework than anyone else. And it’s a lot of work, but it’s also really enjoyable. So I’m sure you’ll have a blast. A whole new adventure.

Emily Conley: 05:25

Yes, yeah, we do like adventures around here. We like to travel. That’s pretty much what we spend our money on. I don’t really care about things, but I’m like, “Trips? Sure.” I’m always planning a trip. So I love that. Where’s your next trip?

Jillian Dolberry: 05:39

Oh, actually, Dani, my husband, and I just booked an anniversary trip this summer to Spain. We’re going to Madrid and Barcelona. I’ve been to Barcelona, but not since I was in college, and only for like three days and on a college budget. So I’m really excited to actually do it for real. And I’ve never been to Madrid, so that should be really fun.

Jillian Dolberry  06:01

Do you guys travel alone a lot? 

Emily Conley  06:05

We try to, like, once or twice a year. Yeah. We love taking trips. It’s hard because Charlotte, my daughter, is so much fun, and she loves to travel. She’s an amazing traveler. We just took her to London and Paris for her birthday in the spring, and she did great. Like, she loves that. So it’s really hard, but that was a big part of our relationship before she was born. And so we try to. We’re so lucky because we have one kid. Both of our families live, like, 20 minutes from us. So we’re very lucky, and it’s easy for her to be cared for while we get to do that.

Jillian Dolberry: 06:47

Yeah, that is huge. That is huge and such a gift. I love that. So I’d love to talk about this topic too, about not being able to be fully present in your business because of some stuff going on in your life. We’ve talked over the past couple of months about what you’ve had going on, and I know that everyone has their own situation and things they’re working through in their personal life. We can’t sit here and say that it doesn’t affect the way we show up in our business. And I think there are some mindset strategies that we could adopt in giving ourselves permission to show up differently in those seasons and understanding that showing up differently does not mean not showing up, you know what I mean? So, tell me a little bit about your story and how you have learned these tools and strategies and what you’re doing to move in a kinder direction for yourself.

Emily Conley: 07:53

I love that kind of direction. That’s such a good perspective. That is what I’m aiming for. So, um, yeah, I mean, you know, honestly, what I’ve been dealing with is just back pain, like chronic leg pain that started when I was pregnant and has come and gone over five years. So it’s not something that’s completely new to me. But in January, I was completely sidelined, unable to, and there was no reason. I just woke up unable to lie down, stand up, walk, sit—what do you do? It was really, really bad for a few weeks. Then I was able to get some relief here and there, so things kind of went back and forth. It culminated in me having surgery two weeks ago. The good news is the surgery went amazingly. I feel like a completely different person. It’s really good. So I feel like we’re moving out of this chronic pain season, hopefully. But while all that was going on, what’s great is I took the month of December off. The whole month. I worked really hard throughout 2022 to be able to say, “I’m taking this whole month off. I’m just going to be with my daughter. We’re going to do fun stuff, enjoy the season.” So I went all in, and I did not work. I took the whole month off, went on a trip with my husband. We just did all this great stuff, right? Then I’m ready to hit the ground running, and on January 3, I wake up unable to exist. It went back several months, so I wasn’t marketing in November because I was taking December off, which was just a bad move. But I hadn’t marketed in November, took all of December off, and then in January, I was unable to really work or do anything. It’s tough. And I had to figure out that my business, the money I make, isn’t just fun money—it provides for my family. “It’s not just extra. So, I guess, like, my husband works—he has a full-time job. We have a lot of savings, so we’re financially, like, we weren’t, like, okay, you know, the world’s ending, but to keep things going on a normal basis, I needed to bring in a bare minimum income. So the first thing I had to do was shift what feels like success—the threshold came way down. I’ve had this very high bar for myself as a revenue goal that I’ve been consistently hitting for years. So, right, I got very used to bringing in a set amount of money, and, you know, what changed, everyone’s, but, like, whatever. And I had to, like, I mean, I’m talking about, like, basically cutting that in half. And then all of a sudden, I’m like, I don’t know, it’s gonna take everything I have to meet this much, much lower bar, which I was actually able to do during January through April. I did, and I feel really great about it.”

Jillian Dolberry: 11:27

I think you should feel really great about that, by the way, because going through this exact same season, not the pain that you’re experiencing, but definitely having to cut back and looking at what was essential, what I needed to bring home. Because again, my money pays our bills. When I looked at the nitty-gritty details of that, I had everything that I needed. And that, to me, was a big shifting point and, like you’re saying, readjusting that mindset around your success. It’s not about the high-level goals that we set for ourselves when business is booming. It’s about what impact we are making in our family, and that’s typically a much lower number than we probably set our goals at.

Certainly! Here’s the text with the grammatical errors corrected:

Emily Conley: 12:22

Absolutely, and you know, it looked like scaling back on my expenses. I had gotten really used to being able to work with a number of people and outsource anything I didn’t want to do, which was a privilege that I had worked pretty hard in my business to have. But that was no longer possible. I did keep my VA because my business would fall apart without her. So I was like, “That is a must. We don’t have a business without Taylor, so she’s staying.” But other than that, I had to basically be like, “No.” I had to pass on retreats I wanted to do, I had to pass on people I wanted to work with, and just say no, no, no, no, no. Because an extra $1,000 could have made a big difference. And that was a shift for me to be like, “Oh, I haven’t really had to think about things that way.” But yeah, I mean, I think it is—it goes from, and I think, to be perfectly honest, it was a really much-needed ego check for me. Because I struggle with money just like in general, but I think I was starting—I was on a path to putting more of my self-worth in high revenue numbers, which are relative. Like, “Oh my gosh, I make that.” But for me, that was right. And I was starting to feel it. I could feel it. I didn’t know until that was taken away from me. And I was starting to have feelings of being worthless and like, “What am I really doing?” And I count that as a major blessing. So I do think that’s really important, regardless of what the stress or chaos is, whatever it is. It doesn’t matter, right? This looks different for every single person, but the experience is kind of the same: being able to pull out the good things and actually appreciate what is coming out of a tough season, even while it’s happening. Because it’s really easy, with my fully functioning back and no nerve pain, to look back and be like, “Oh, look at all these things I learned now that I feel like myself again.” But actually, in the moment, being like, “Something’s happening. I’m going to see the results of this.”

Jillian Dolberry  15:03

Yeah, I think it’s an important distinction when you said, you know, it doesn’t matter the circumstance because it could be that you’re having a hard season in parenting, it could be that you’re experiencing chronic pain like you, it could be that you’ve lost a family member who is close to you. It doesn’t really matter what it is. And comparing our situation to other people is not helpful because it’s going to have somebody look at these tools and strategies that you’re talking about and say, “Oh, well, I don’t need those yet because mine’s not as bad.” But I think it’s important for us to dig in personally and identify if this is a season in our business where we maybe need to operate as our minimal selves with minimum expenses and payments, those kinds of things, just to keep the lights on, like you said, but also to keep that fire burning. Because if we put those high expectations on ourselves, we’re automatically going to feel like failures, and then that’s only going to fuel the doubt we have about going back to our business at the end of all of this. And it just spirals out of control.

Emily Conley  16:14

It absolutely does. And I do think that, yes, figuring out what is essential. For me, it also looked like creating additional streams of income in the middle of all of this going on. I literally created some additional streams of income that did not require me to show up in the way I’m so typically used to. Most of my money is made through writing website copy and doing project days where I’m head down for eight hours, with full creativity flowing. That is my favorite way to work. However, I could only do that one day a week essentially, whereas before, I could do that three or four days a week. That’s where most of my time was spent. But that just was not feasible. And I tried really hard to push through at the beginning, and I realized that it’s not good for me, but it’s also not good for my clients. I’ve worked too hard to build a reputation for being really good at what I do. And I value the fact that someone else is spending their hard-earned money on my services. So I take that more seriously than anything in the world. Therefore, I have really high standards for the work that I do. I cannot serve the same number of people in the same way. So I had to scale down the number. I could still do what I do, but I also had to create additional income streams. I started offering workshops and created some passive digital products that I had never had before, and I sold those. I also relaunched a course that I used to run live and decided to turn it into an evergreen offering. In the middle of all of this, I put a lot of energy into putting it out there. It was not perfect, but it was done, and I put it out into the world. That created some recurring revenue as people joined and opted for payment plans. They’re paying me every month when I’m not having to output additional energy every month. And that really saved me. We’re not talking about a six-figure launch by any means. It was bare bones, but it created a safety net. So yeah, okay, this is enough money coming in that I can show up in the very limited capacity I do have and do it well. We’re gonna scrape by, and we have. Actually, I’ve done some of my best work. And I do think, so I’d like to go on. I do think it’s important to remember that pain, loss, grief, parenting—all of those things tend to feel overwhelming. And I think it can be really hard to remember that you can have bright spots. It’s like you can have bright spots throughout tough seasons, especially when your tough season lasts for a year. You have to find some wins. Otherwise, what are you gonna do? You just have to. And it’s funny to look back and be like, I’ve definitely done some of my best work that I’m most proud of during this painful, challenging quarter, five, six months, or whatever it’s been. I’d like both of those things to be true. I was in a lot of pain, and life was really hard. And I did some really great work and some things I’m really proud of. And it doesn’t negate my pain, and my pain doesn’t negate my success. So both of those—you have to learn how to, especially when it lasts longer than a day, you have to be able to say, ‘Okay, two things can be true at the same time.’ And I just think that’s a really good life skill in general.”

Jillian Dolberry  20:25

It is, that’s a huge, huge thing for us to learn in life in general. The sooner we can adopt that and become more comfortable with it, because I think that’s part of it too, is like, it’s uncomfortable to feel pain and also want to be proud of ourselves and feel excited about something. And I think that somewhere along the way of growing up, it was harder for our brains to process that and for us to say. Because, you know, with kids, one minute they’re crying because their cup is blue and not pink, and then the other minute they’re so excited because their cup is blue and not pink. It’s such a shift in emotions, right? And I think there’s a lot of value in being able to bring ourselves back to ground zero, reevaluate what success looks like for us. And I love that you mentioned creative problem-solving. Okay, well, if I can’t show up this way in my business right now, how can I show up in a way that’s kind to me as a person and as a human, but also honors my clients and the people that I work with? I love that.

Emily Conley  21:46

Yeah. And I do think it’s a really important thing. Because, right, if you’re not going to shut things down, and there were definitely days where I was so mad. I was like, why can’t I just have it? If I were, you know, my husband works for Dell, if I worked for Dell, I would just be on FMLA. They would be paying me. Somebody would be doing my job in my absence. So when I came back, everything would be running pretty normally. I might have a crowded inbox, but that’s the only thing I would have to deal with. So I had a lot of frustration about that. But I was like, you know, at the end of the day, I don’t want to shut this down. And I don’t want to be, you know, I continued to show up on social media sparingly, not a ton. I do think that’s actually something interesting to talk about too, like what you choose to share publicly. Because I do think I had to say something, because I was sure it was just a big change. And I think it’s very personal, every single point. You have to discern what you’re comfortable putting out there. And I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer. I think it’s very personal. So I did share that I was having some pain, I was dealing with chronic pain that was pretty severe. And it ended up being that I didn’t share a ton. I tried to keep things. When I showed up, I tried to just show up for my business and not go into it a lot. Because I didn’t want that to be the focus, to be perfectly honest. From a selfish perspective, I wanted something to distract me. I wanted to have something that felt productive. But I also just didn’t want to, you know, document my day-to-day. But I shared enough to really get some incredible support. The number of people who were like, I deal with a silent illness, I deal with chronic pain, I deal with these struggles. You know this better than anyone, there are so many people who deal with ongoing chronic pain, loss, grief, struggles, whatever it is, these things that don’t go away. And so many people came out of the woodwork to either say, ‘I know what that feels like.’

Certainly! Here’s the text with the grammatical errors corrected:

And that alone, it’s so empowering to realize it’s not just me. Some people shared stories, some people shared in great detail, some people just said, ‘I feel you, I’ve been there.’ But feeling that community was actually incredibly helpful. And right, like people I was really close with were checking in on a daily basis. People I had never spoken to before were sending me these kinds of messages. And it’s hard because I was like, ‘Is this pity?’ I don’t like pity. I don’t really like feelings in general. But it was really helpful. So I think being able to share to the degree that you are comfortable sharing can actually be cathartic and supportive, tapping into that community that we talk about all the time. And I was like, ‘Oh, this is real. I have a real community. It’s not just a hashtag or something fun to say. This is real, and people are showing up for me in a real way, people that I’ve never met in real life.’ You know, I think that’s really unique, that’s what’s unique about the online space.

Jillian Dolberry  25:32

It really is. It’s one of those things that I don’t think a lot of people understand unless you’re in it. But there is a community of women who are like such badasses, being able to make money in their business, serve people super well. They’re incredible at their craft, and they’re also just handling their business and getting stuff done, working through hard things, and being honest about it and vulnerable. That is the hard but holy work of what we do. And I absolutely love that. It’s something that you’re expressing too, as someone who has said doesn’t love to sit in emotions and just process them. That’s never been easy for anybody, even for emotional people like me. Even for me, I’m like, ‘Man, I have a hangover after that.’ But for anybody, it’s hard to sit in that because then you feel like you have this vulnerability hangover after you share stuff. So I’m curious, after you shared that with people and you got an amazing response, did you have anybody who was questioning you as a service provider? Or do you feel like it impacted your business negatively, positively, or neither? How did you feel about that afterwards?

Emily Conley  27:06

It was a really interesting question. Actually, I do think it had a slight negative impact. Not because anyone, like I don’t. The story I told myself was that everyone thinks I’m weak and I can’t do anything, right? But then I’m getting better at asking, ‘Is there any evidence for that story?’ Like, ‘No, maybe not.’ Maybe we can let that one go, right? I do think it had an impact because, for a fact, people have approached me now that things are kind of on the upswing and said, ‘Hey, I wanted to work with you back in February, and I saw things were really hard, so I waited.’ So I do think there were people who did not approve, and it was some of that is like a gift because the people I was working with, or one of them, were people I was kind of on the inside with. So it was very much my tightly connected people who really know me. And that was easier too because I didn’t feel pressure to show up in an overly professional way because there was an existing relationship. So that made those projects easier. I was still delivering the same quality results.

Jillian Dolberry  28:19

I would attest to that.

Emily Conley  28:22

It blew my mind. My response, well, actually, it was kind of terrible. But I did say no, I didn’t say no to some invitations. I did say no to some things that were outside of my immediate circle of people. So I kind of appreciate it. But at the same time, I was like, ‘Oh yeah, I think there were some people who might have wanted to work with me that didn’t.’ And maybe they found someone else to work with, you know, a lot of people probably did. But at the end of the day, I’m not losing sleep over that. I would say the net impact was positive in that I’ve had some really amazing conversations with people I’ve never really connected with before. And that’s not just positive in a personal sense, but also professionally in terms of networking. I feel like I’ve actually expanded my network a little bit because it’s a relatable thing. We all struggle, right? Nobody can avoid it. I had been really lucky to be in business for quite a while without experiencing any serious setbacks. It had been almost four years before I encountered something that went beyond just a tough day or two. So that was all new to me. Like this whole secret side of people, exactly what you said, incredible people who are serving others to an unbelievable level while also dealing with their own difficult challenges that I didn’t even know about. And so I think that opens up the opportunity to build connections. My vulnerability and sharing allowed me to connect with other people who then felt comfortable reaching out to me and being vulnerable in return. It’s a beautiful exchange of honesty. So overall, I would say I feel it has been a positive experience, but I would be kidding myself if I said there weren’t some negative consequences. And I’m okay with that.

Jillian Dolberry  30:44

Yeah, well, I think the important thing you said was the story that you told yourself because it wasn’t that these people questioned your ability to do the work. It more so sounds like they were uncertain about whether they could book something with you, unsure of your availability and not wanting to overwhelm you. So, again, it’s crucial to believe the right things and direct ourselves to the truth. In business, when you own your own business and are present on social media, you’re not only creating a narrative for others but also forming a narrative in your own head about yourself. We have to ensure that it’s healthy and aligned with the truth, and not let our minds run away with false beliefs. So, I think that’s an important distinction. You mentioned having some lessons learned from this season and things not to do. Could you tell us more about that?

Emily Conley  32:01

So don’t catastrophize catastrophe? I don’t even know how to say that. No, I think that was a catastrophe that it did I get it catastrophe planning. It’s the thing I’m amazing at. I’m like planning for things that haven’t happened, right. Like I but I think that’s the first thing is like,

Jillian Dolberry  32:17

Are you a seven wing six? Or six wing seven? That? 

Emily Conley  32:20

Yes. 100. 

Jillian Dolberry  32:26

Okay, yeah. I’m great at identifying your type. We literally sat at dinner the other night with my friends. And me and my friend Kendra, just like went around the table and we’re like, you’re this you’re this. You’re this.

Emily Conley  32:35

That’s an incredible skill. I do feel like my son just shouts really loud. It’s like, I like to travel, and I hate feeling like, “Okay.” But yes, absolutely. But catastrophe planning, right? Like, don’t do it. Just remind yourself that this is a season, and things will get better. I tend to think, “Well, it feels like this right now, so this is how it will feel forever.” And that’s such a dark place. It’s not healthy. I also think one of the biggest mistakes I made at the beginning was trying to stick to my goals for the year. It was weird timing because it was January 3rd, right after I had drummed up these great plans for my business. I wrote it in my passion planner, and I was like, “It has to happen.”

Jillian Dolberry  33:33

It’s in pen.

Emily Conley  33:36

Pretty pen and washi tape, like it’s real. But none of that is real, right? It’s all arbitrary. So not letting go of things that felt really important before but now feel impossible, that’s a big mistake. Another one, and this one’s kind of silly, is not accepting help. Like, just accept the help. I was so resistant to being seen as weak or a victim. I didn’t want help. But when I finally had no choice but to accept it, it was so nice. Other copywriters graciously took on client work that I had promised to do but no longer felt capable of, and they just did it. It was amazing. It took a lot for me to accept or ask for that help. So that’s a really good one. Don’t avoid help. Don’t be too proud or too absorbed in yourself to let other people help you.

Jillian Dolberry  35:02

Can I ask you? What did that look like for someone to step in and say, let me do this for you? Like, did they approach you? And they just said, like, let me do this for you for free. Like, what did that look like?

Emily Conley  35:19

Um, so I paid them. Yeah, I did. But I did have two people reach out to me and say, “Hey, I don’t really know what’s going on. I was also trying to predict because we weren’t 100% sure what was happening.” And I was just like, “I’m having these panic moments.” I never went into great detail. So two people reached out to me and said, “Hey, I know you’re in a tough spot. Is there anything I can do to help?” And I left them on read, to be honest, for about a week. And then I was like, “Yes, actually, I’m at a desperation point where I’m supposed to, right? I’ve agreed to do this.” And they stepped in. I don’t know if I would have ever approached someone and asked; I would have just panicked. So that’s how it worked. Then I had to, I had to be like, “Yes, can you please? Thank you so much.” Yeah, it was the worst. And then I had another client whom I subcontracted with, who basically gave me a really long extension. She was like, “We’ll push this project back. It’s not a big deal. It’ll actually help.” I had two clients where I approached them about an extension, and they both said, “This actually helps me. It’s better to push this back.” I was like, “What world is this where I put myself out there and people are actually like, ‘Oh, I wish she would just push this project back.’ It makes life easier.” So yeah, that’s how it all worked.

Jillian Dolberry  36:58

That’s crazy. Yeah, it’s crazy in the sense that you just don’t… I don’t know, I feel like this community is really tight. It feels small and large at the same time. But there are genuinely good people out there who just want to see others do well, succeed, and be supportive. And I think that’s incredible. And you’re talking about people who do what you do, in the same industry, competitors, right?

Emily Conley  37:38

Yeah, I mean, it’s amazing. It is essential. And I’ve never been more thankful. And I guess that’s probably the last “don’t” like, don’t isolate yourself and don’t sit in your pity for too long. It’s healthy, even if I don’t like it. It is healthy to feel things, to actually process. And I did get better at that through this process. But I also had days when I was fully capable of doing the work, but I just wanted to lie in bed, feel sorry for myself, and watch Gilmore Girls. And that doesn’t actually help in the long run. It does help to an extent, at the beginning of this experience there were days when that was what I needed and it made me feel better. But there’s a difference between avoiding something and caring for myself. Those are very different. And I think on a day-to-day basis, you have to figure out what you actually need. Even if you don’t want to go outside and walk to the mailbox in the sunshine because it might cause pain, maybe that’s what you actually need to do. You need to try, you need to move even if it’s not what you want to do. But then some days, you know, eat a bowl of ice cream and watch Gilmore Girls in bed. If that’s actually helping, then great. But if it’s making you feel worse, then at the end of it, just being, yeah, you have to listen to yourself. And I don’t like listening to my body. That was another weird thing. Every doctor I went to, every specialist I saw, I had to self-report on my pain, and I was like, I don’t know, like, they’d ask, “Is it radiating? Is it…?” I’m like, all of it, everything, all of the everything.

Where the sigh, and almost like, I don’t know, I had this moment where I just desperately wanted someone to tell me, just take a test and tell me what’s wrong. And I was like, that’s not how this works, right? Same thing in my business. I just wanted someone else to do it. Like, I just wanted… I had days where I was like, to my husband, “Can you just cancel all my meetings?” And he was like, “No, how am I supposed to do that?” And I was like, “No, you have to handle this for yourself.” And you do have to tap into some of those deeper reserves, right? I was really lucky that this was a short season, and I’m really grateful to be on the other side of it. And I’m also not dumb, I know that it will circle back over and over again in different ways and forms. And I just feel a lot more equipped and less scared of it. I feel more equipped to know when to put my head down, when to find a way through, and when to step back and navigate that. It’s not a one-time thing. It’s not like you figure it out one day, and then that’s what works. It literally changes every day.

Jillian Dolberry  41:18

Short seasons feel like long ones, though. I mean, you said this, you said luckily this was a short season, but I feel like the only way you’re able to say that is because it’s over and you’re looking back and saying, “Okay, well, it was only a couple of months.” But when you’re in that, it’s like, “Wow, how long is this going to last?” And you start looking ahead, thinking, “Okay, if this goes on through the rest of this year, then how am I going to function, build my business, achieve my goals, blah, blah, blah.” And it’s like this internal pressure that we put on ourselves. So even though, yes, in the grand scheme of things, it feels small, a small amount of time, it feels big in the moment.

Emily Conley  42:00

It does. I mean, it’s kind of like having a newborn right where you’re like, yes, especially. Well, I’ve only done it once. So like, what does enough? You know, I was good. I’m about Lance’s enough.

Emily Conley  42:12

You’re like, this is the rest of my, like this six week old baby that cries all the time. I’m like, I’m not a normal. I’m not okay. She’s not okay. Like, this is what life will look like, for the rest. This is This is life now, like a number of times, I think I was like, Did I ruin our life? Like, did my like fleeting desire to like, have a baby, like, ruin our lives? And it’s so because yes, when you look, and then you like, you know, they get to be like, 10 or 12 weeks old, and you’re like, oh, okay, my hormones are settling down. They’re figuring this out. Like, things aren’t easy, but like, we can do this, like, yeah, be okay. And you look back and you’re like, oh, you know, and I feel like we do such a disservice. Like we tell new moms like, oh, the first 10 weeks are hard. It’s like, in the middle, like 10 weeks is, it’s a long time. And also, like in the middle of it. It does it does feel like an eternity. And I had, I did, yes. I think that’s really important to point out because when you are in the middle of it, it does feel like forever, and it doesn’t matter if you don’t know, you don’t know when things are going to be over. Right? I think that’s especially well, like grief is its own grief is never over. Yeah, ever, right? And I do think like it changes and like you move, you move forward with your grief. But like, if you’re in a season of deep grief, for whatever reason, like you’re not going to have a time when you’re like well, that’s done. Now we’re moving on, right. And so I think those things that like I can mark, I can mark this season and it was like I had surgery, I recovered. And like, now I’m on the other side of it. So many of these seasons where you can’t do that, like, yeah, you’re waiting for something that does not come or like there isn’t a clean ending. And so I have another conversation, right of like navigate is.

Jillian Dolberry  44:05

Yeah, it is. But you know, I feel like in the past three or four years, things have been really, really hard personally. And even though I can say it’s over, there are recent events that triggered the trauma of what happened before. So that, as you said, is a whole other conversation. But I think it’s important to give yourself immense grace in all of it and allow yourself to show up as you need to each day. There was an Instagram post I shared earlier today, I don’t remember who it was from, but it had two different graphics. One graphic showed what you think showing up every day looks like, with little circles all full. And the next graphic showed what it really means to show up every day, with each circle at a different level of fullness. And that’s exactly it. To me, showing up with what you have each day is enough. It’s the difference between sustaining your business and keeping the lights on, ensuring that you can keep things moving so that when you’re out of that season, your business doesn’t crumble.

Emily Conley  45:40

Yeah, exactly. That’s exactly it. Building something that can last and taking it seriously is crucial. I realized how seriously I take this business I built. If it was just a casual thing, I would have closed the doors and moved on. But this is a real endeavor that is here for the long term, and I’m committed to it. You have to figure it out on your own. Of course, you can have support and a community that can be incredible and lifesaving. But ultimately, you have to find the strength within yourself to do the hard things while also taking care of yourself. It’s an interesting and complex experience outside of that.

Jillian Dolberry 46:49

I think you used the term “delicate balance” earlier, and that’s exactly how it feels. It’s like a balance, but a very delicate one because you can easily get it wrong.

Emily Conley 46:59

Yes, those eggshells can just break and, like, correct, and break. And I mean, you can break some things and still move on. And I do think that’s something I’m still learning, that you can make mistakes. You’re not infallible, even though you’re in pain or going through a hard season. You also aren’t, you know, it’s not like you get off scot-free. You are still responsible, and you will still make mistakes and missteps. And, I mean, that happens regularly. It feels magnified in these tough seasons, but life still goes on. And yeah, you have to find a way to keep going if you want to continue having a business. I remember looking on Indeed and scrolling through job postings, and it was enough for me to say, “Oh, yeah, no, I don’t want this.” Well, I don’t really have another choice. I’m not going back to that. So, we’re going to figure out a way to make it work.

Jillian Dolberry  48:10

This is like an episode of “True Life: Entrepreneur” because, well, first of all, you were saying something the other day, or not the other day, actually, today in this message. And you were talking about shifting your perspective from catastrophizing, which I also do. I remember last summer, I was having a really hard time and I called my husband. One of the perks of having him here is that when I have mental breakdowns, I just text him and say, “Come down to my office because I need to cry it out.” So he came down and said, “Jill, things are not grim yet. You’re acting like they’re grim, but they are not grim.” And I wrote it on this sticky note, and it has been sitting here in my office for a year. It reminds me to get out of my pity party, to get out of my feelings, and let’s make something happen. Let’s take one step today. And when you mentioned working on Indeed, I actually have a task in my ClickUp. I can’t believe I’m sharing this. I might have shared it before because I’m just an open book and share too much. But I have this task that says, “What to do if it doesn’t work out.” It’s literally a list of ideas, things that I could do with my life. And I find it helpful.

Emily Conley  49:47

Honestly, I think it’s good to have something like that, where there are always options. There are always possibilities. I think that can help to kind of get off your phone, cause, worst-case scenario, this all gets shut down. Okay, here are things I could do. But for me too, looking at those things and being like, this is unappealing. I really don’t want this. Like, you know, reading job descriptions where it was like, “generous three weeks paid time off,” and I’m like, I’m sorry, what? Only three weeks? Oh, my three weeks, really? Or like, reporting. I had a visceral reaction to, like, “this position reports to whomever,” and I was like, oh, someone telling me what to do. No, I’m good. Thanks.

Jillian Dolberry  50:38

That gives me so much joy, because I have thought the same things, looked at the same things and have also had those reactions to things. I’m like, noggin.

Emily Conley  50:53

So yeah, I think it’s great motivation. It’s a good reminder,

Jillian Dolberry  50:56

It is a good reminder. Well, Emily, I wanted to wrap this up by asking you, what ways are you giving yourself grace in your life and in your business right now, and especially being on the other end of this real struggle that you’ve had with the chronic pain? And the growth? It sounds like a growth season, honestly, for you, personally. So coming on the other side of that, in what ways are you giving yourself grace?

Emily Conley  51:25

Honestly, I think it’s good to have something like that where you can give yourself grace in reentry. Right now, I am giving myself grace in reentry. I have a lot of energy, a lot of big plans. I feel rejuvenated and I’ve come out of a season of minimalism. I’m back in the driver’s seat, capable of doing great things. I am giving myself a lot of grace in the implementation because it’s been six weeks, six months of not being in this state, and it’s not going to happen overnight. My Dubsado dashboard won’t immediately reflect the revenue goals I’m excited about for this month or next month. It will take time. Things don’t change overnight, whether positively or negatively. It’s going to be a slow process, and I understand that. I’ve built my business in a slow and steady way, so I have no illusions about that. But I am trying to give myself a lot of grace with my expectations as I ramp things up.

Jillian Dolberry  53:09

That is a great saying. I think we all have a hard time, well, we all struggle with giving ourselves grace at the end of the day. And I think it’s funny, like what I struggle with is boundaries and grace. And I love to talk to people about boundaries and grace. I don’t know what it is. It’s like torture and amazing, and only God, right? Yeah, but I think that it’s super cool that you are showing up to the table. Like Emily’s got her groove back, a seven on the Enneagram, bringing all the energy, all the fun, and yet you are trying to slow yourself down a little bit and say, “Okay, this is not gonna look like swinging the door wide open Emily’s back. This is gonna look like taking sustainable steps forward.” And because this season of growth for you might adapt differently in your business, you might want to make some changes and revise some things to make it better and more sustainable if something like this happens again. So there’s a lot of excitement and opportunity to dig more into that. I’m excited for you. I think this obviously feels like a new lease on life, essentially, and more passion and excitement towards what you’re working towards in your business. So I’m excited to see where that takes you. And I’m so grateful that you came on the podcast today. Thank you for being here.

Emily Conley  54:47

Thank you so much for the invitation. This is an incredible conversation, and I do think it’s so specific, like challenges and pain are both. I feel like it’s so much like being a new mom, that it’s so specific and also incredibly universal. And so I do think that there are so many things that so many of us feel, no matter what our actual circumstances are like. This conversation needs to happen more. So I’m really just grateful to you for inviting me to be here and having the conversation.

Jillian Dolberry  55:24

Well, thank you for coming and for being so transparent because I think that’s also helpful so that people can apply what you’re saying to their lives. And I think being vulnerable, being transparent about those things actually bridges the gap and creates that community and connection between people. So you did well today.

Alright friends, that is it for this episode! Thanks for joining me today! I appreciate you!

Be sure to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts or at www.jilliandolberry.com/podcast. You can also continue the conversation with me on Instagram at @jilliandolberry.


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