I’m in the middle of pretty big changes in my life. I’m no longer working as an HR blogger. I’m not doing HR consulting. I’m trying to launch my nascent software company. And there’s always something going on with one of my cats. Right now, Emma has a hernia. You know, of course, my cat has a hernia. That’s how this world works.

I’m pretty stressed. Not mid-life-crisis stressed — mostly because I can’t afford a young girlfriend and a fast car — but I’m really fucking stressed.

Thankfully, I can get out of bed in the morning. The rest of the day surprises me, though. Old work habits are gone because old work is gone. New conversations about unfamiliar subjects sometimes confuse me. And HR ladies still come around and try to hassle me, which is annoying.

But I’m so stressed that I’m having crazy dreams where I’m at a speaking event, and my dearest friends are trying to unmask me. I’m rushing through buildings to tell my audience, “Don’t listen to Jennifer McClure! I am a software CEO! I know what I’m doing. My speech is going to be awesome!”

Imposter syndrome isn’t a syndrome when it’s true. I’m honestly faking my way through this new phase of my life, just like entrepreneurs before me. I feel pretty alone, right now, and it’s because I am alone. It’s the thing about being an entrepreneur that only entrepreneurs know: while it takes a village to raise money and commercialize a product, it can’t get done without you.

Also, it doesn’t help that my husband didn’t sign up for any of this. Writer? Speaker? Entrepreneur? What the hell? We never talked about any of this, and he was relatively happy with his HR lady wife who rescued cats and complained about her job. At least that woman kept a small financial footprint and was aligned with core values of retirement and opening an animal shelter.

So it makes sense that I’m stressed (and having stress dreams). It got so bad that I reached out to my friends who are more successful than me and told them what’s happening. I also said, “I’ve identified one thing about your personality that makes you successful. I’m going to copy it and blog about it. Maybe do some videos.”

I don’t believe in being a mimic, but I believe in taking the best of what people have to offer and learning from it. For example, Steve Boese is wicked smart and reads challenging books that have nothing to do with HR. I told him that I wanted to read a book that I would never consider and then talk to him about it. He agreed with a caveat.

“I choose the book.”

He assigned But What If We’re Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past, which is absolutely a book I’d never read. We’re going to read it together and talk about it on his podcast.

And my friend, Tim Sackett, is the kind of guy who tries anything once. I told him that I’d eat a Chick-fil-A sandwich, but he would prefer that I take a surfing lesson. TBD on that one because I’m not a strong swimmer, but you get the idea.

I am committed to not losing my shit or getting divorced while changing careers, which is why it’s important to occupy my brain in another way. So, I’ll be distracting myself with personal growth projects while we dissect data from the most recent GlitchPath survey.

Please take the survey if you can, and please wish me good luck. And wish Emma good luck, too. She’s having an ultrasound, today, and I’m excited to spend money on my cats while my HR blogging and consulting income has dissipated.

Sheesh, I can’t wait to get past the “nearly having a mental breakdown” entrepreneurial rite of passage. Life will never be normal, but a break can’t come soon enough.

5 Responses to Stress Dreams
  1. Ryan Coslett

    Great post and transparent as always. Channel that stress into an obsession with the problems you’re trying to solve for with GlitchPath rather than the business model/launch itself. The mental break is in the near future. A Friday evening cocktail may be a good start.

  2. Jennifer

    Never listen to Jennifer McClure! Unless she’s telling you how awesome Laurie Ruettimann is. 🙂

    You got this, girl!

  3. Ita M. Olsen (@ConveyClearly)

    My husband can teach you to surf. And play drums. Two for one. .So come to malibu!

  4. Nina Allen Blackshear

    Laurie – I stumbled onto your newsletter a while ago and am enjoying it more than you can imagine. The nail biting honesty of this post is really refreshing. I’m wishing you every success in this new endeavor, and remember – this is likely to all work out (in some fashion), as things tend to do…

  5. Martin Snyder

    You are going to prosper one way or another Laurie. It takes more than the distorted economy of the United States to hold someone like you down for long 😉