As I watch my almost 2 year-old try to keep up with her older siblings, every once in a while she stumbles and saves herself. Other times, it is a total concrete face plant. I am reminded of my own face plants that I have made over the last 6 years running my own business. Some were small stumbles but others were hard falls that left scars. These scars are ones that I did not fully understand until months and years later and many times, I was too scared to show people as I did not want to be seen as a poor leader or weak.

Throughout the past 6 years, I have come to realize as I have been maturing and learning that we all have face plants. Face plants are inevitable but it is what we do with the pain and hardship that sharpens and shapes us.

I want to share a few things that I have learned while being a young entrepreneur that has helped me excel as I hope it helps you. These include:

- Having mentors that you respect that can act as great soundboards. Make time to connect with them monthly and give yourself permission to be vulnerable as you don’t have to have it all together. Most likely they have struggled in many ways you have. Whether that be a cash flow mistake, having a hiring or firing BLOW UP or the feelings of loneliness when you are the CEO. I am beyond thankful for my mentors and how they are a lunch date or call away.

- Surround yourself with a circle of trusted people that will always be honest with you and will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want. I don’t need everyone to weigh in on my decisions, business and life. I give power to only those who are in my life that can be transparent with me and in the good, bad and okay moments. When I go to them, I know I get the real deal. I want and desire authentic people in my life and having these people open your eyes to how important this is. 

- Feeling the yuck or embarrassment without pointing fingers or playing the victim. I mean, no one wants to feel this way but it is good to have these raw feelings. After lots of practice on working through my emotions, I realize I grow most when I am embarrassed.  When I am able to sit in that yuck, I find myself saying in a few hours “Okay, that sucked. I did not like it one bit but what do I need to do now so I can ensure this will never happen again?” I took my hardships and made some real learning moments by not passing on excuses and just 100% owning it.

- Reading for personal growth has the power to change your life! I have read some amazing books, blogs and quotes that have inspired me and challenged my perspectives. It is important for us to stay connected to the reality that the world is always changing and I believe so should we. I hope with each day and decade, I can be a better version of myself. I hope my kids and my team see that that “status quo” does not work here.

- Giving myself permission to not always know what is the best and right decision. I may be the leader for my team but sometimes I need time to reflect, check in with a mentor or do some research before acting. Remember when I said embarrassment was something I try to avoid at all costs? Sometimes I just need time to process. This is hard because today everyone is seeking instant gratification, insta info, insta service, and insta shipping. I want all of that as well but I know when I can’t just react and need time to truly respond thoughtfully. 

- Time heals and sometimes just reminding myself that today will not be like yesterday nor will it 4 years from now can bring great peace. I remind myself that this is a season and won’t last forever. There truly are better days ahead and I’ve seen this play out in the time that I’ve owned this business. 

As I celebrate my 6th year of owning Erica’s ATA, I look forward to all of the new, exciting, frustrating AND amazing things that will come our way. Be encouraged and be okay with sharing your fears with others. It is how we grow and also how we become better. Cheers to years to come!