With it being my three-year Arbonne-versary, and today being my birthday, I feel it is very important to share MY truth about my business. This summer was very important because it made me think about my journey with my business, which ebbs and flows, and this year has been an ebb sort of year.
Pre-Arbonne: My Story
My background is in communications and public relations—more specifically, event planning. Even to this day, I am asked to do events, because I was really, really, good at it, and therefore thought I loved it. However, I realized that I was in love with the idea because I was good at it, since for most of my life, I never really thought I was good at anything—except food. I used to say that I didn’t have anything to give anyone except cooking food for them.
What I disliked about event planning was essentially planning for the worst-case scenario for everything. Events may seem really glamorous, especially when they go well, but actually, it is extremely back breaking. Sometimes dignity would entirely go out the window, along with pride, as I was left behind hanging off a ladder in high heels to hide the wallpaper that was just torn off when we had to reposition a sign right before the event. That probably means nothing but gibberish to you, and it’s hard to understand the magnitude without context, but the point is that you have to be a little neurotic to do events as the success is in each and every detail.
I would take on contracts, which meant I
would get a salary for each event. I would write proposals to obtain the
contracts, and provide a quote of my worth, (for illustration purposes only) let’s
say 10 thousand dollars. Based on the budgets of the groups or if there would
be multiple quotes, often there would be a negotiation of my salary. So for the
same amount of work, I could accept the contract at $7500 or not.
It was horrible to be dictated by other people’s perception of my worth. Why do we subject ourselves to that??? I realized whether or not I was working in a traditional job on an hourly wage, a yearly salary or taking on contracts, I would always be subject to others opinions on how much value I was worth, regardless of the amount of time I actually worked. Plus, always in competition with others to ‘make it’ or promote or win the contract.
Having kids definitely tipped the scales as well. My time had a totally different value now, as I had tiny humans that depended on me, and I wanted to give them as much of me as possible. Which, is insane, by the way, because I didn’t realize how emotionally exhausting it would be to be a stay at home mom. That didn’t even account for the sleep deprivation that becoming a mom generally partners up with.
I have always been a hard worker, I believe, and loved working, so I continued to take on small communications contracts. Additionally, I was babysitting friends’ kids, and I started a new, catering-type business—all things that would allow me to stay home and take care of all of the sessions as it related to my youngest son having autism (at that time, not diagnosed). I also wanted to help contribute to the household. We had debt due to school, purchasing a new home, etc., things that were keeping us up at night. But, I was burning out.
In addition, my mother was diagnosed with dementia, and although she was still lucid, it was progressing quickly, and she was angry. Then I received very difficult news about my dad… his story is not for me to tell, but it was hard for me to take because he’s always believed in me, no matter what and I was terrified of losing him.
Even though people really didn’t realize, I
was isolating myself on purpose because
of my depression, because it was so hard to fake that everything was okay and
it was making matters worse.
I’m not sharing all this to make a list of how bad things were in my life. I’m sharing this because I can appreciate that people are reacting to grave matters in their lives sometimes.
My burning questions: How could I help anyone if all I was doing was working every job I could from home so that I could make myself available? How does that even make sense? I stopped being available to myself, and with another heart-breaking catalyst that affected our future as a family, I quietly snapped and gave up on living life. I couldn’t help but constantly wonder how could all this be happening to me and how I was going to balance it all.
I knew that I couldn’t do anymore within the hours that I had, but I needed to help my family and I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, regardless if it came from food or creating advertisements for a company, or being truly available and present, I just wanted to help… So, I continued to do it all, even though I was just a stay at home mom. And I say ‘just’ because that was the perception of me at the time and that was my reality.
I was officially introduced to Arbonne by a playgroup mom. She indicated that she had a large network, and was up for discussing how sharing our networks could be mutually beneficial. I didn’t want to join Arbonne, I was clear about that, and I wasn’t looking for anything else to be on my plate. I agreed to meet up with her from pure selfishness of potentially meeting new people so I could get more catering business or communications contracts.
After the first time we met without kids, she offered me her company’s products (which I immediately fell in love with), and followed up with a link presenting her business. Funny enough, I complimented her on her presentation, as I’ve helped people with media training before too, and she did well. Another time, she asked me to join an online conference call over zoom, and I did listen in on the call. This was all over a couple of months.
Something was pulling at me, and I couldn’t figure it out. The business model was so simple that it was insanely brilliant. My gut told me to both run away and to sign up at the same time. The thought that I was about to do something like this was terrifying because I didn’t know how I was going to do it or when. Crappy things were happening in my life, why would I add something else to my already off-balance scale. But, there was this but, that kept reaching for my heart and I could decide to ignore it or grab it.
Ultimately, I saw a glimpse of hope, something that I didn’t even know existed in my vocabulary anymore, and it gave me reason to believe again. Something, I had also given up on. I signed up on my own and let her know after the fact. It was the best decision I have ever made and now recognize it as the best birthday gift I could’ve ever given myself. I think people still wonder if I was brainwashed or joined a cult but finding Arbonne was one of the best things that ever happened to me.
It’s All In A Decision For Change
I had done all the right things. I went to school (and left school, and went back to school again), I started a career, I got married, we bought a house, got a dog, had kids, worked hard for our money, built other’s companies and dreams so that we could enjoy retirement together—until my husband was 82, because that’s when his pension would run out… but don’t worry, men don’t usually live that long. (Yes, that was actually something that was said, verbatim). Seriously, there are so many things wrong with that statement!!!
I decided I want to live now. I deserve more. My family deserves more. I want to be able to help others more. Not when I can squeeze it around a work schedule, or in between my husband’s work travel schedule, or by dictated vacation time, no. Now.
I always believed that dreams were just that, dreams because in reality… What the heck? Why did that have to be my reality? Because that’s life? No, I decided that I want to live my dreams. Not be a circumstance of the crap that’s going on around me, but to find that beauty and gratitude that’s actually in that mess.
I decided I want change now. Whatever I was doing up to this point wasn’t working on making serious change in my life. No, I can’t change my mom’s condition, but today she and I laughed about how old I was because when she was my age, I thought she was ancient. No, I can’t change what’s happening with my dad, but gosh darn it, I’m going to enjoy the heck out of the time I spend with him in Toronto, even if he’s just sitting at the computer playing bridge, because that makes him happy so it makes me happy to be with him.
Does my mental health affect my business? I would by lying if I said that it didn’t. My mental health challenges will always be a part of my life, and some days the illness is easier to deal with than others. But, the point is I honour it, regardless, and I now know I have a vehicle through my business, which led to this blog, to share my story.
Is this business easy? Heck no! It’s not easy.
But it is simple and it is worth it. Even if my business is in the ebb stage, and hasn’t provided time and financial freedom yet, it doesn’t matter. I know that I have the ability to help others change their lives, and together we will change the world. I don’t know when it will happen, but I believe in my journey there and this is my truth.
But, believe me, I didn’t start from that place. Look out for My Arbonne-versary Part Two when I share some of the reasons why I told myself not to start my business. Until then, Happy birthday to me.
For more information about how you can start your own business or to purchase products, head to my website http://www.SarahKhanWindsorJunction.Arbonne.com Please note, that I do receive an income from products purchased from this link. Please note, this is a personal blog and not affiliated with Arbonne International in any way.
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From the bottom of my heart, thanks for reading!
Sarah, The Depressed Mom Boss