I will not sugar coat this for a single moment: building a business is HARD.

From the moment you start to take your golden egg of an idea seriously, you’ll be tested. You’ll work harder than you ever have. You’ll pour everything you have – mind, body, and soul – into birthing this new (ad)venture. You’ll spend a lot of money, you’ll eat a lot of takeout, you’ll even fall asleep on your laptop once or twice. You’ll hit major roadblocks and face delays and sometimes even have Godzilla stomp through your village. You’ll want to quit once or twice or seventeen times. Sometimes you’ll be fueled by inspiration, passion, and creativity and you’ll know it’s all worth it. And sometimes you’ll want to hide under the covers, thinking you’re an imposter who doesn’t have what it takes. At times, your family and friends will wonder if you still exist. Sometimes you’ll wonder if you still exist. You’ll need to dig deep inside yourself and find reserves of energy, time, some serious strength, and perseverance to make it to the finish line. (Feel me on this? Read our blog, 4 Ways to Keep Crazy at Bay When Starting Your Business).

Once you hit that finish line, you’ll make every excuse in the book to delay it, to make it more perfect, to wait until X, Y, or Z happens, or to tweak one last thing. We call it Launch Paralysis here at Wildernest. You’ll be terrified nobody will care, or people will laugh at you, or that you’re just not good enough. You might ask yourself what right do you have to do this thing you’re doing. So you’ll procrastinate some more, plan every detail of your marketing and messaging, change anything you can possibly change, and make up excuses and problems that don’t exist. But eventually, when you’re out of excuses or you have people holding you accountable, you’ll have nothing left to do but dig deep within yourself to find the courage to just GO.

And then, suddenly, you’re launched. You’ve done it. You’ve accomplished what most people wouldn’t dare to do. It’s A BIG DEAL. It’s your livelihood, your dreams, and your brainchild, and you have officially put it out into the world. The adrenaline and sheer willpower that has been driving you up until that moment will disappear. You’ll be EMOTIONAL, exhausted, and so damn proud of everything you’ve accomplished it hurts. It is an extremely vulnerable and brave thing you’ve done, and no matter how confident and accomplished you are, no matter how much you gain your sense of worth from inside yourself, you still need to hear from the people that matter to you that the vulnerability and bravery and all the things you sacrificed along the way were worth it. You’ll want a hug, a pat on the back, maybe even a giant congrats in skywriting above your home. You’ll be ready and waiting for it from all the people that have been on the ride with you – the ones who know how important this moment is and will know just what you need them to do.

At that moment, when all you need is the people you love to show up for you in just the right way, there’s a good chance you realize they’re not coming. You wait at that table alone, fending off the waiters, watching the clock, until you realize you’ve been emotionally stood up. The reality is that unless your people live with you and see all the blood sweat and tears it took you to get to this moment – unless they intimately know the massive obstacles you’ve needed to overcome to achieve what you have – unless they’ve launched a company before and know what it feels like – 9 times out of 10, they are not going to celebrate the way you wish they would. They have their lives to contend with and their own things going on; and no matter how much they love and support you, they likely don’t understand what you need in that moment, and how massively important it is for them to set off fireworks* and give you the praise you so desperately need. Hell, I get it. I’ve definitely dropped the ball more than a few times for my people in these kind of important moments, and I’ve been working really damn hard to get better at it over the years. Because I know these moments feel like finishing a grueling marathon and having absolutely nobody there at the end holding up a witty sign so you feel loved or bringing you a warming blanket so you don’t go into physical shock. You look around, hear nothing but crickets, and feel so very alone.

I know all this because we just made it through. We’ve guided many women through this experience as well. And it’s the same every time. Even though I’ve seen it countless times and felt it a handful myself, I am never fully prepared for it.

When we launched Wildernest last week, I knew what to expect. But I still found myself alone, in tears, hurting like hell for an entire day when I didn’t hear anything from the people I care most about in this world. These were the people who saw what I had to go through to get to this point; the people who are a huge part of why I’m even able to be here writing this post; the people that cried with me, fought by my side, and supported me in their own special ways over the last six months of trial by fire. My people. And I heard nothing. No “Congratulations,” no “Great job,” no “Wow, I love what you built,” and no “Look what beauty you created from all the struggle.” And let me tell you, even though I’ve been to this rodeo before and knew exactly what was coming, somehow I still wasn’t prepared for the silence.

It was not a good day. Even though we got a great response on social media from friends and strangers, and I had my incredible (and wildly exhausted) team to celebrate with, I just couldn’t figure out where my people were in this triumphant moment. Did they just not care? Did they think what we created was horrible? Did they not get it? And if they didn’t get it, who would? What would that mean for us?

The next day, I got on the phone with my dear friend Weam – a brilliant therapist and a woman whose insights have profoundly impacted my life in the past few months. She and I lived together for the first half of my time in Bali, and during that time we became incredibly close. She helped me through a lot, saw my sleepless nights and endless hustle, and even in the end lent her brilliant perspective to Business Ownership Mindset modules of our e-course AND became a Wildernest client. On our first call post-launch, I shared with her what I was feeling. The let-down. The disappointment. The disbelief. The hurt.

And you know what she told me?

It’s not the big moments that matter. When a big occasion happens – whether it’s a milestone in your personal life or business – your emotions are EXTRA, and of course you just want a huge hug and a pat on the back to celebrate and encourage you. That’s human. But instead of judging your people by their behavior at that moment, try instead to focus on all the little moments that got you there – all the things they contributed along the path. Remember every loving, supportive conversation. Remember every dollar loaned or flexibility granted. Remember every hug and kiss. Remember every adventure that recharged you and helped you continue. Remember every late night brainstorming session. Remember every pep talk, call, text, and Facetime. Remember every “I’ve got you.” It’s not what they did or didn’t do on the big day, it’s what they did along the way. It’s the accumulation of all that energy, those moments, and the support that truly matters. In the end, it matters so much more than the big day. They were there during the messy, the hard, and the ugly. They were there when you needed them the most. Focus on that.

And hell was she right, as always. I sighed out my first deep breath since the morning of our launch and simply sat, replaying every one of those moments of love and support from my people. I felt every hug, heard every word, and saw every smile all over again. I even wrote down a list. And damn is it long. All of a sudden, it was ok that I didn’t hear anything from them because I knew from those moments that I have a pretty incredible crew of ride-or-die people. I know that even though I didn’t hear, “I’m proud of you,” or wake up to breakfast in bed surrounded by balloons, they were right here beside me through the accumulated moments. I had become so consumed by the few times they didn’t show up, that I forgot about the hundreds of beautiful times they did.

In the end, it comes down to this:

They’re the ones who saw the struggle and didn’t run; the ones who pushed me to keep going so I could be here writing this; the ones who held me up while I built my foundation over the last six months. Without them, there might not even be a big day to celebrate.

And that is all that matters.

*Metaphorical fireworks. The night this post was written, Gabi met me for dinner super frazzled because her neighbors had actually just set fireworks off 10 feet from her house and scared the bejesus out of her. Emotional fireworks are far more enjoyable. No one’s ever lost a finger to emotional pyrotechnics.

stephanie goldfinger

CEO/ Creative Director

Bali, Indonesia / USA / Earth

Stephanie always knew in her gut that the traditional way of doing things didn’t vibe with her heart. She craved purpose, lived for creativity, desired freedom, and wanted to find something that spoke to her soul, not everyone else’s. She founded Wildernest to guide women through their journeys, empower them to have the courage to brave the wilderness of business ownership, and help them harness their power to create real change in their lives, the lives around them, and the world.

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