For the better part of the last two years, I have been the VP of Marketing at a mobile app startup based in San Francisco. When I took that job, it was everything I was looking for: an executive position with a small team working on a consumer-facing product that has a real opportunity to make peoples’ lives better. My job at the outset was redefining the brand, which is something I love, and less tangibly about injecting experience and a female perspective into a young, male team. When I took that job, I fully expected to be in it for the long haul. I was passionate, and wanted to see the company through to its eventual outcome.
My life was changing, even as I was pledging my allegiance. I was transitioning out of a 15-year marriage to someone I still like very much to this day. I was trying to prioritize female friendships in a way I never have in my life, in the hopes that I would have a support structure to get through the divorce. I was about to get serious with someone who lived 1500 miles away and had a daughter, in which the outcome of our relationship (were it to last) had to be me moving to Minnesota. My grandma got sick(er), one of my friends died, friends/parents of friends died, relatives/friends/relatives of friends/friends of friends got sick. My priorities shifted.
So, 18 months later, I found myself in a place where it no longer made sense for me to be in California. Though my company was kind enough to let me work remotely, it was clear to everyone it wasn’t going to work. And through some freelance work, I am now finding myself with new and strange opportunities. It means I have to give up the thing that once felt so right – inevitable, since it doesn’t feel right anymore – which is a bittersweet moment.
Right now I am doing some strategy work for some of the highest-profile clients I’ve had in my marketing career, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. During the rest of my time, I’m figuring out how to take the helm of a new startup, one that is even more inline with my personal interests. I’m facing challenges I have never faced before, and am learning some pretty heady stuff every day. Last week, I had my first nightmare about it. When I think about how much time and energy I will have to give to make this business successful, it makes me want to hide under the covers. Also, I wonder what in the heck I’m thinking, with everything else going on.
It’s kind of time, though. I never knew I wanted to run a company until someone asked me if I wanted to run a company. I want to do it, even if it scares the bejeezus out of me. Something I’ve been trying to explain to Claire, even though she is dubious, is that it’s important to do the things that scare us. Now’s the time to model that behavior.