• erin-loechner-unboss

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    Unboss

    05.08.2015 / WORK

    A lesson from last year: just because you can be a leader, just because you own a business, just because you have one good idea, or a string of good ideas, and just because your title has the word “executive” in it — you do not have to enjoy being a boss. You do not have to listen to entrepreneurial podcasts, attend management retreats, wear a black blazer and tuck stacks of business cards between the pages of Girl Boss.

    You can, if you’d like. There was a time when I loved a good business book read, when I would curl up on the couch in the sunniest spot and devour the words of Malcolm Gladwell, Seth Godin, Stephen Covey. Where I would learn a little about business and a lot about people, and a good success story would make my pace quicken, my pupils dilate.

    And now, for whatever reason, I am not that way. I have learned that there is a difference between being good at what you do and being good at managing those who do what you do, and I fall swiftly in the former camp.

    When I founded Clementine Daily a few years ago, the first position I hired was someone to manage the whole shebang. She is amazing, an incredible leader – and still, it was a hard for me to transition from a lone freelancer – just me in the corner coffee shop – to having the final say for a team of ten. To calling the shots. To making the plans. I just didn’t love the pressure of it all.

    I am rambling.

    It is hard to talk about female leadership now without entering a feminist conversation, without tiptoeing around words like empowerment or equality, without taking a stance with our feet planted firmly, lips pursed.

    I don’t particularly enjoy planted feet.

    And so, I will say this: being a boss didn’t work for me. I preferred something else, my priorities had shifted, and on most days, they centered around Itsy Bitsy Spider tunes, afternoons in the park, pork in the crock pot – all of which I found counter-intuitive to leading a team of writers in every major city in the U.S.

    It’s just, you go through life thinking that if you can do something great, more of that would be better. Why not make it bigger, why not start something new, why not found an entire movement – think big, dream always!?

    It’s true, but wasn’t true for me.

    Sometimes, building an empire with you as the foundation leaves quite a lot of bricks on your back.

    Today, my think big, dream always has changed, and it now calls for stillness, quiet. It’s learning how to serve with my head down, rather than lead with my shoulders high. It’s making room for grace, the kind that cannot be offered as an addendum to yesterday’s contract.

    And so, ladies. You don’t have to be a boss. You don’t have to build up, expand, grow, increase. You can simply be what you are, what you know, what you enjoy. Sometimes that’s leaning in – to an empire, to a tower, to a mahogany desk.

    Other times, it’s leaning against the pantry door, wondering what’s for dinner.

    • Wow! This is absolutely spot on — and exactly what I needed to hear. For me, it’s so easy to get caught up in my future self and where I hope to be in the next five years. Instead, I need to focus more on being intentional each day and finding happiness in my current self. Thanks for sharing these thoughts!

      • thank you, olivia – i can absolutely understand this, yes! i think we all struggle to live in the present. ;)

    • Great post! Thanks for sharing, Erin. I’ve never heard anybody challenge the Girl Boss movement and I’m so glad you did. I’m all for it (as I know you are too), but I think it’s good to be for things and still push against them a little.

      • ah, thank you sweet becky – i love hearing from you. :)

    • Yes thank you! I don’t want to be a girl boss either. And sometimes that makes me feel much less glamorous than “others.” But I am so much lighter for it :D

    • Great post! I’m a freelancer and people often assume my goal is to be a business owner, expand, get an office hire people… and it just isn’t, that’s so not me. I like what I do and where I’m at, and for now my goal is to be as successful as I can be in this position, and that’s ok for me :)

    • I really enjoyed this Erin. I, personally, would love to be a #GirlBoss. I think it’s just who I am. Go, do, decide, make. But it’s totally not everyone’s jam, and that’s ok! we can’t all be bosses. It’s just not possible. We need to be at peace with whoever we are, and stop competing with others for the sake of competing.

      • i love this, stacy – and yes to peace where we are. :)

    • hollYo

      Loved this post. I’d love it if you added a “like” button to your posts, too…as I often relate your thoughts, but don’t have the eloquent words to express my gratitude! Keep up the good work.

    • cindy k

      love this and possibly the best advice i ever received came from a former boss who i didn’t really care for – just because someone throws you the ball doesn’t mean you have to catch it.

      • ahhhhh cindy, you always have the best advice in your back pocket. ;)

    • Hi Erin! I’ve admired for your blog for awhile now and never commented. But as a mother of an almost-two-year old and a freelance graphic designer, I can so relate. I certainly love running a business, but just recently was reminded that it’s necessary to take time to be still, take a breath, and just BE. Especially when there’s also family to consider. Your post was very refreshing and I’m so glad you shared it. Thank you!

      • oh nikkita – thank you for commenting! it’s lovely to hear your take – thank you for sharing! :)

    • I can relate to this. I have ten years of experience under my belt in my current career and could move up through the ranks, but I’m happy to be a worker bee and not queen. The people who understand this are rare, but being boss is just not in my DNA. I enjoy the actual hands-on work too much to give it up.

    • Wonderful! Well said! I absolutely love my freelance world and sure there was a time when I thought it would be great to build and empire, expand, have employees, but now, just like you, my days are different. Yes I’m still a freelance graphic designer and blogger, but more enjoyable than anything is that I get to be at home with my toddler enjoying making a mess, watching him learn and grow and have those moments when all he wants is to curl up with my on the sofa a cuddle. I’ve definitely reached my goal of happiness!
      Woah! sorry for the long comment, just got a roll and couldn’t stop xx

      • Ahhhhh yes, I am so right in that sweet spot with you!!!! :)

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