The Right to Change Your Mind: In Business

I was recently faced with this question: Do I have the right to change my mind after I have said yes and started in on a project or venture with a partner?

Promises are a sticky subject, and the answer to such questions isn’t always as simple as “well, you said yes and promised to do it so now you have to…forever.”

A bit of background: In addition to my main business, Alchemy+Aim, I also have two side partnerships with designer friends, both of whom I adore working with.

I’ve been working for the past several months to put more systems into place to reclaim some free time and create space for myself for my next big project (coming in January, says our plan). In that time, I’ve really been asking myself what do I want to stay doing and what do I want to delegate or give up. As a result, I’ve been forced to confront what the future of these partnerships will be and how involved I want to be with them going forward. Do I delegate or just get out?

Delegating a task is much easier to do than giving up an activity. Way easier.

No hurt feeling, or sad faces, or disappointed friends.

Hello, my name is Brandi and I’m people pleaser who hates disappointing people.

I’ve considered at different times giving up one or even both of these partnerships, asking myself if the work we’re doing is truly serving me, our businesses, the world.

But how do you change your mind and say no when you’re right there in the middle?

How can you be true to yourself and what you need to grow, and accept you may disappoint others in the process?

For me, the thought of altering course can bring up a lot of emotions and thoughts around failing people. I often think as much about their potential emotions around the situation as I do about my own. It makes a decision messier.

So what do I do? I start with what I want, because the only reaction I can be sure of is my own.

It has been crucial and incredibly empowering for me to learn how to own my desires and wants and needs.

Saying no creates space for new possibilities to emerge, often ones that are much better fits than what currently exists. And sometimes saying no allows the venture to transform into something even better, because you were willing to admit that its current state wasn’t working.

So my solution boils down to answering the question, “How can this endeavor evolved to serve both of us partners better as we grow?”

In one case, I think it means letting go. In the other, it means delegating the work and watching it become something even better.

Four Questions to Ask Yourself If You Need To Change Your Mind
  1. What do I really want / need / desire in my life that’s leading me to question my involvement?
  2. Is this project still serving everyone involved, or does it need to change?
  3. What are some possibilities of transformation for this project that would allow my needs to be met?
  4. What would my ideal outcome be if anything were possible?

When was the last time you gave yourself permission to change your mind?

How to be an entrepreneur and date someone who’s not

A lot happened in August. I drove down to Asheville twice for mastermind retreats. I’m still processing losing my beloved Marty (and helping my other cats through their grief too). I discovered that I’m building an empire with my business. And I started dating someone.

This someone — we’ll use his first initial of G for now — is not an entrepreneur. He has a job he loves that has a solid pension and lots of vacation time. He has plans and dreams and the drive to potentially move into another position. But he is not an entrepreneur.

How is he ever going to understand this business thing I’m doing?

Having my own business has meant late nights and long hours and vacations that aren’t really vacations because I need to answer emails. Now, I’m getting some great systems into place to help things run smoothly (and help them run without me around sometimes), but I’m not there yet. I still have to give up a Sunday here and there to push forward with some projects and position myself to handle the influx of new clients and emails and projects.

I think G is already beginning to understand that he’s not only dating me but also in a relationship with my business. I’ve had to disappoint him once already and miss a friend’s party because I needed to work an extra day and make progress with some projects I had already promised myself to.

This is just reality for me: I love what I do, and while it’s not all I am, it’s important to me.

So how am I handling all of this? (And keeping this guy who doesn’t quite understand the entrepreneur thing around?)

  1. I’m drawing boundaries. When I’m off and spending time with him, I’m off. No emails or calls. Just us.
  2. I’m putting systems into place so when I’m off, my brilliant team is handling things.
  3. I talk about what’s happening, what I’m doing, and why it’s so important to him. He may not be in it, but I can share my excitement and challenges with him.
I love my business, but I am so much more than my business.

I’m more than a website developer or business owner or entrepreneur. I’m bigger than that. And creating space to nurture all the relationships in my life is key to my health and happiness.

And I’m pretty sure G and I will figure out the rest along the way.

Uncommon Commitment

When I go in, I go all in.

That’s the way it’s been with things I’ve been passionate about in my life.

I’ll admit, the unfortunately typical manifestation of this commitment could most clearly be seen in my string of serious relationships with men. But I’ve done it numerous other times with classes, studies, and adventures as well. In December, I signed up for my mastermind group and decided that I was going to go all in here as well.

Uncommon commitment brings uncommon results.

And I’ve had some great results. Numbers have gone up each month. I’ve hired a team of amazing people to support and work with me. My business is growing (fast) and forcing me to expand and grow as it does.

One of the real highlights came last week, when I was asked to speak as part of a panel at Uplevel Live in Atlanta, a three-day business conference hosted by Christine Kane and her team at Uplevel You.

It was awesome to be able to sit onstage and share with other entrepreneurs what I’ve done, so they might see what’s possible for their businesses.

Every moment teaches you something new.

While I had fun on stage, I also realized that there were pieces missing to my business and life, elements that I need to develop and work on.

I discovered that truly knowing your story is incredibly powerful and empowering.

I realized that in order to play bigger, I need to manage my energy even more, so I’m constantly fueling myself, rather than nearly running on empty at times.

My moment on stage wasn’t about finally arriving, but rather uncovering a new point of expansion and growth for myself. And yes, it’s really uncomfortable right now, but I’m recommitting to going all in once again.

Hitchhiking on Someone Else’s Dream

A few weeks ago, a friend told me of a business he wanted to start: an online archery shop.

I wanted in.

It was easy to imagine myself in charge and building an incredible company. More than anything else, I imagined all of the content I could create for the world, particularly for young girls interested in archery. I had such good ideas.

But the dream wasn’t mine. I was hitchhiking on his dream.

It wasn’t the first time I had done this. I’ve lost myself in teachers’ plans for me, the requirements of companies I worked for, the expectations of graduate school.

I remembered standing in my graduate advisor’s office, as he told me that I needed to give up my hobbies if I wanted to be a philosopher, that I needed to dedicate more time (subtext: all my time) to this career. It was then I decide I was done trying to please other people.

I left grad school, got a job, and started working. I tried to excel but there was no place for initiative. I tried to fit in but I felt entirely out of place in a company where everything was wrapped in red tape. I was told I wasn’t quite meeting expectations. It was then I was done with not being myself.

I wanted freedom – to travel when I wanted to, to dress in a way that expressed who I am, to live wherever I’d like, to take time off when I need to, to be myself – my full, vibrant self.

I considered what working on this archery shop would look like for me. It wouldn’t be mine, not properly, and there would be new expectations. So I asked myself,

Why hitchhike on someone else’s dream
when I can dream something even better for myself?


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Jane Reaction

(logo and original branding) is a graphic design and art director who works with with small businesses and creative entrepreneurs, creating cohesive and interesting brands and websites.

Carrie Coleman

(photography) is a wedding photographer, whose goal is to capture the visual expression of a couple's love through timeless, organic images. She is based in Charlottesville, Virginia.