As the year comes to an end, I’ve been reflecting on how my life and business have changed over the past six months due to increasing caregiving responsibilities and other unexpected hurdles. In truth, the year as a whole has felt like a slow and sometimes torturous mix of transitions–some by choice and others forced by the progression of my spouse’s illness.
On reflection, I’m realizing that my head and heart have been at odds since I initiated what was planned as an intentional shift late last year to ‘retire’ my consulting services. Intellectually, it was clear what needed to happen. But change is hard, and sometime scary–especially when it involves your livelihood, professional reputation, and some of your most cherished relationships.
So I dragged my feet, second-guessed myself, and revisited several decisions along the way. Ironically, that struggle simply delayed the inevitable and caused me to feel like I’d overdrawn on precious social capital as I grappled with difficult decisions that would most likely disappoint people and projects I care about.
A quiet re-brand
During the Summer, I made a somewhat impulsive decision to adopt a new public-facing tradename for my business. After filing paperwork online, one weekend in June I simply updated this website as Jennifer Barrett Creative (vs. Connect Consulting) to reflect the downsizing of my consulting portfolio and a shift to new offerings better suited to the need to maintain a flexible schedule that accommodates the unpredictability of caring for someone living with ALS.
Even without any formal announcements or fanfare, the rebrand felt like a public proclamation and provided a symbolic release of things I had been holding on to but needed to let go of.
But it was still slow going, until December. This month has felt like a damn burst and suddenly everything is moving. Things are in finally back in flow, on all fronts.
A final hand-off + a difficult decision
Last week I officially handed-off my final facilitation contract to a trusted colleague after wrapping-up other consulting retainers earlier in the month. And yesterday, I announced to members of the Comms For Causes community that I will be pausing the membership as of Dec. 31. I still believe it’s a community that is needed and can grow into something lasting and impactful but realize that—at least during this season of my life—it isn’t something I have the capacity to fully execute and deliver on to its full and promised potential. For now I’ve chosen to call this a “pause” to hold open the possibility of restarting the membership in 2024 and will revisit this decision next Fall.
Aside from one social media management client and two small project-based commitments, I’m planning to enter 2023 doing just two things:
- strategy sessions – providing bite-sized coaching, advising, or support in a virtual format to nonprofits and purpose-driven entrepreneurs
- launching a new service I’m calling, “Content Hero” which has just opened for a beta testing phase; if you or your team could benefit from having an ample reserve and steady pipeline of customized social media content to share each month, let me know and I’ll send you the details (there are only 6 spots available)
Retiring consulting services and letting go of the membership (for now) is bittersweet but necessary and allows me to more confidently fulfill a lighter load of strategically focused professional commitments in the new year.
It’s remarkable how our culture—at least in the U.S.—has brainwashed so many of us into sacrificing what it most precious in life in the name of reputation, “hard work,” and lopsided priorities.
I recognize my privilege to be in a position to make this decision but am also trying to trust in myself that things will all work out. Being connected to folks who strive to walk their talk and live their values gives me much hope and strengthens my resolve. So many of you reading this post embody that practice. For that, I’m most grateful – thank you.