Tiffany Frye, social media strategist and designer for Detail & Design, is co-owner of Nido Durham, the southeast's only co-working space with on-site childcare. She wrote this post just before she launched her business. It may ring true for those of you who are about to launch a new project.
I've been receiving strange messages from some people in my life. Not the kind that arrive in an envelope with five orange pips, but the kind that are snuck into conversations when I don't expect it. The kind that make me hesitant to show my true self.
"Just focus on your daughter."
"You don't have to grow bigger."
"It's great what you've created already, why worry about anything else?"
Nido is on it's way to greatness. I know it, I believe it. It will help many parents have another option for working with their children nearby. It will support entrepreneurial women. It will send positive signals that it is okay to want to work even if, especially if, you are a mom. But I find myself shrinking in the face of these messages of smallness.
These messages are coming from people that I admire and respect - people that care about community and are contributing positively. I don't want to disappoint, yet I cannot change who I am or what I'm doing.
Am I being too ambitious? Capitalistic? Narcissistic? Arrogant? I don't want to be these things, and I don't want people in my life to believe I am these things.
I was talking to my husband about these messages last night. Even he has been guilty of urging me to stay small. He thinks it comes from fear - fear of falling, fear of getting so big that you lose sight of principles, fear of creating something you never meant to create. I have to agree. Fear is the thing that will hold me back, if I let it. And right now it is fear - fear of what people will think.
The reality is, I am doing something big. Not Walmart big. Not hedge fund big. But it's big for me. Currently, we're serving 5 families. We'll soon move to a location where we will serve 20-30 families to start and could grow to serve nearly 50. If it takes off, we will open another location. I am writing and documenting the process. I want to help other people do this, too. I believe in it, and I think it can change the work/life equation for many, many women (and men). And when you do something big, there will always be people that will think you should be small.
For now, I am letting these message roll off my back. It's hard to know when to listen and when to let them go, but right now I'm pushing forward. Nido is founded on principles, and I have no intention of letting those principles escape me. It's not easy, but I'm stepping into myself and into the person I want to be. I hope that I'm able to show up as my true self in all contexts, and to not shrink. I've never been one to fit in a box, and now is not the time to start.