A couple of days ago my cousin made a Facebook post titled “I Ain’t No Ways Tired” the title of an old Negro spiritual. I replied, “Yes, I am tired.” This was the day after the verdict in the murder of George Floyd and the day after an officer shot and killed a 16-year-old Black girl in my hometown. I was exhausted.
The Uphill Climb
Then, yesterday happened. I took my morning walk and sat down to print out the orders from our website. The business has been dwindling. But, that’s OK, as I’m transitioning into the life coaching business. But, there were no orders to print. We had received 0 orders in 24 hours. Typically, we get 7-10 orders a day, down from the 20 orders a day we got at our peak. I immediately felt a rush of panic. What was happening? Just two days ago I sent a text message announcing a sale to 2,500 people on my text list. Two ordered. Two out of 2,500. That’s a paltry 0.08% conversion rate. My mind fixated on all the things going wrong.
I had two coaching appointments for the week. My goal is 3-4 appointments a day. And those two appointments were with the same person. I got a reply to my automated follow-up emails that go out after my complimentary discovery sessions. A potential client wrote that she would love to schedule more appointments with me. She just can’t afford it right now. Why do I keep attracting clients who love to work with me but don’t have the money?
A few days ago I put out a call to 3,000 Facebook friends and 800 people on my business page asking for volunteers to evaluate my new guided meditation. Literally, not one person volunteered.
I felt all alone and the voice inside my head told me I should just quit. “Just give up.”, it said.“ “You’ll never be successful at anything. Everything is too hard. Why did I plan this life?” I wanted someone to talk to. But, there was no one. I had an appointment coming up with a client. I thought about canceling the appointment. I didn’t have the energy to try to cheer someone else up. I could barely keep myself going.
What Does Quitting Look Like?
But, what would quitting look like? What were my options? As always the only option was to keep going. As Churchill said, “When you’re going through hell, keep going.” So, I didn’t cancel the appointment. Instead of focusing on what was going wrong, I focused on what I could do at this moment. Instead of projecting into the future where I’d be living on the street, I set up a list of things I could do right now.
I put on my problem-solving hat. What would be wrong? Let’s investigate. The first thing I did was I got on Google Analytics to see if our website was getting any traffic. Traffic was fine. Actually, better than fine. We had over 1,000 visitors in the 24 hours we got no orders. I got on my website and placed a test order. It went through fine. So, the website is up. The payment methods are working and people are finding me. Nothing else to do there. Next, I wrote an email and sent it to our newsletter list- 5,600 emails. I offered a flash sale for 36 hours only. A few minutes later, two orders came in. Two is better than zero. The orders continued to trickle in during the day. I guess I just had to prime the pump.
I kept the appointment with the client. It went fine. Then, I re-wrote the request for help evaluating my meditation. Within a couple of hours, ten people had volunteered. I guess the first post just went unnoticed for some reason. I thought the guinea pig image was cute. Apparently, no one else did.
I put it all out of my head when Tywana got home from work. I had been too tired and distracted to make dinner. Getting out the meditation to the people who volunteered, re-doing that post, composing the email, etc. had taken up my entire day. So, she went out and picked up Chipotle for dinner. I had done what I could do. So, I set things aside to resume tomorrow.
But, the frustration followed me into my dreams. I was driving down a dark highway with no headlights on. I could barely see 10 feet in front of the car. Suddenly, I found myself in a tunnel that was too small for my car. I could head the walls scraping the paint off of both sides as I sped through the tunnel which turned into a roller coaster. We looped and dove in the car on this roller coaster in the pitch dark. I transitioned out of that dream into a dream where I was wandering around downtown Columbus (my hometown) trying to find the bus to take me home. I wandered into a restaurant where the owner offered to tell me how to get to the bus stop if I first introduced myself, individually, to all fifty people in the restaurant. I did so. Then, I found myself trying to walk home alongside the very busy two-lane road near my parents’ house. But, the road had no shoulders and about a 15-foot ditch beside it. And, my legs didn’t work. So, I was army-crawling most of the way. I was spent. Finally, about halfway, mercifully, I woke up in my bed and the alarm went off a few seconds later.
Then, it was time to get up and do this all again. So, here I go… I am tired. But, I will keep putting one foot in front of the other. It’s a new day with new challenges. I am tired. But, it’s one foot in front of the other.