ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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When You’re Running Around Like a Frizzy-Haired, Obessive-Compulsive Psychopath

In: Feeling Disillusioned With Life

Nobody gets between me and my business. Nobody. Not even that shit bottle of wine from the night before.

It could be Saturday. It could be Easter morning. It could be raining REALLY BIG MUSCLY MEN for all I care, but one thing is certain: I will be the most disciplined person in the room, and I will get it done.

I’m like a military sergeant when it comes to execution. (Not that kind of execution.) I don’t tolerate excuses from myself. I don’t cut slack. And I don’t whine. Because one thing I’ve found is that just doing it is much less painful than thinking about doing it and then berating yourself for not doing it and then convincing yourself it’s okay not to do it, and then not actually doing it, and then going back to feeling guilty about not doing it, and then having to rush to finally do it later because you JUST CAN’T STAND THE MENTAL TENSION anymore and you really should have just done it from the beginning.

Maybe it’s the German in me. Maybe it’s the Italian. Maybe it’s because I’m an obsessive compulsive freak of nature who drank one too many Monster Energy Drinks in her teens. I don’t know. But one thing I do know is this:

When you're a military sergeant at work, you don't want to be one at home.

Except, I used to make myself feel so guilty about this fact. About the unread Facebook messages. The unpacked suitcase. Mr. Wong's two nights in a row. (Wouldn't Mr. Wong's be the best?)

I used to feel so guilty about the dusty shelves, the unorganized sock drawer, the fact I had forty unheard voicemails on my phone.

I would hurry up and try to do everything life demanded of me. Yes I'll hang out! Yes I'll help you with your new business! Yes I'll write your website! Yes I'll cook dinner! Yes I'll be there! Yes I'll make it happen!

But let me tell you what happens when you try to do everything:

You turn into a god damn psycho.

You lash out at people. Your face turns red. You drink so much you look like a bloated Christmas elf with your elastic sweatpants stretched thinly around your apple-shaped waist.

You yell at the man from Verizon. You grimace at little children. You abhor anything that starts with “Keep Calm…” (But for the love of christ, could we come up with a new catchphrase?)

You don't sleep. You write curt, nasty little emails. You tell the babysitter to wash her hair once and a while. (God you're a jerk.)

Bottom line: There are only so many hours in a day, and something's gotta give. Because let's get real: Being a business owner is a bitch, alright? It's a bitch. Granted, it's a fun bitch. It's a profitable bitch. It's an adventurous bitch. But it's still a bitch.

Your friends? They're not gonna get it. Your family? They're going to think you're a psycho no matter what you do. Everyone's going to be constantly nagging the bottom of your tee-shirt to do X or Y or Z, and you're going to want to print off your to-do list, decoupage it to a wooden stake, and stab them through the heart with it. (Or something.)

Because that's how overwhelming it all feels sometimes. Like one big, giant black hole that you never stop falling through.

That's why a few years ago, I had to change the way I was doing my life. I had to change the enthusiastic “YES!” into polite but firm, “No.” I had to get a reality check on what was possible, what wasn't, and stop giving myself so much grief for not being able to be the best friend to everyone in my inbox. I had to PICK. And that's where things get really hard.

But what I discovered was this simple truth, and it's so simple, it's almost obvious…except it isn't.

In order to be good, sometimes you've got to be bad.

You simply can't be good across the board. Hell, sometimes you can't even be average.

You've got to pick your good.

You've got to pick it. And then hold it tight in your arms like a wailing baby, and then, just like any mother, protect it with your life.

Sometimes, that might mean being bad. A bad hostess. A bad homemaker. A bad social butterfly.

But such is the law of physics. Or the universe. Or just being a business owner in general, I suspect:

You can only wear so many hats until the whole thing topples over.

And until it's raining BIG, MUSCLY MEN?

It's a life law you & your obsessive compulsive, Italian/German, frizzy-haired psychopath self is just going to have to learn?

To accept.

With or without the shit bottle of wine.

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