The other day, I posted something on Twitter that was a first for me. It said, simply, “This is my official ask: help.” It was cryptic, I admit. I was too tired to say more. But I was so heartened by what happened next.
Contacts began to DM, email, text, and call me.
They wanted to know what kind of help I needed, and how they could provide it. It was a powerful reminder of what ALLY Energy is all about: creating a community across our entire industry. Forging alliances. Being there for each other.
For the past couple of weeks, three words have been going through my head: I’m not OK. As I began to share that with people who reached out, I was quickly reminded that I am very much not alone. Many of us are struggling. Many of us are wary of admitting it. But maybe it’s time.
Maybe we should use a hashtag: #ImNotOK. And be okay with it!
In my case, it’s largely about major burnout. I’m tired of everything that has come from the pandemic. I’m tired of following the steps to help bring it to an end when so many other people disregard them and end up clogging hospitals. I’m tired of women losing the progress we’ve made in the workforce, especially women of color. I’m tired of the fighting among people, especially in the government. And I’m tired of inadequate action to help humanity tackle the climate crisis.
I am not okay with these things.
But it’s also the daily challenges of business that are exhausting. As an entrepreneur who has so much to be grateful for in the successes of ALLY, I try to always focus on the positive. But building a business and a community means plenty of setbacks as well. The leaders who praise and express interest in what we stand for, but don’t commit to being part of the solution. The haters consider our calls for DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) a threat to the status quo.
Unloading about challenges like this can make one feel vulnerable. In fact, we are taught to stay ‘cool’ and to keep it to ourselves. I disagree. That is a recipe for more stress. It turns out that, according to research, CEOs and entrepreneurs should open up about our struggles more often. When we’re transparent, we help other people feel less alone, and break the “myth of the flawless leader.”
And let me tell you, as a CEO I’ve got flaws. I’m not superhuman. I’m vulnerable too.
Surveys show a great many of us are facing challenges to mental and emotional health and well-being. If you’re in a similar place, know that you can reach out, to me and to our community, right here on ALLYEnergy.com. It’s OK to not feel strong. It’s OK to need a break. It’s OK to not be OK.
Together, we can help each other shore up our confidence, rest, rejuvenate, roll up our sleeves and keep going.
A few days after my tweet, I published a very different post, this time on Facebook.
It was a photo of me from 16 years ago. It filled me with joy. Partly because I can see the happiness and excitement I had for the future. It also embodied the energy I had and zest for life. It was a time I took very good care of myself. I had only just met my husband, Mark, and could not imagine the joy and wonder the future would bring -- most importantly, of course, in the form of our daughter, Ally.
In fact, sometimes all I need to shore up strength is a photo of her to remind me that I may not be OK but I WILL be OK.
Remember. You’re never alone. You may not be okay in this moment but you will be okay. It’s only when you acknowledge all the challenges you face and lean into your village of allies, that you can breakthrough.