This will probably be the hardest post I’ve ever written. Today I’m going to share the most *bitter* and *sweet* news I’ve ever shared with you, so I’ll just get right to it.
I’m not crying, you’re crying. Wow! Deep breath.
That was heavy to write and I’m sure equally heavy to read. I’ve gone back and forth over and over again on how to say this. Honestly, I don’t know if there will ever be “good enough” words to say it. So I’ll do my best to just share my heart, tell you why, and provide hope for what’s to come.
But before I go there, I have to start this message with absolute humility and gratitude (cue tears now). The past seven years have been an absolute dream. If we’re getting real here, which we are, it’s also at times been more like a nightmare… I’m pretty sure I’ve pulled more all nighters in the past seven years than I ever did during my four years of college! Entrepreneurship is hard and absolutely exhausting. Yet, at the very same time, the most beautiful and rewarding experience.
Through all the bumps and bruises, twists and turns, highlights and low points, I will count the past seven years as some of the best years of my entire life. I have no doubt that is because of the amazing women (*and a few great men, too!) I’ve had the privilege to meet and work with along the way.
You have loved me with more love than I could ever deserve. You let me fail, and cheered me on as I learned to get back up. I’m seriously the luckiest to have each of you. Please know that while my business is changing … I will always be here for you. You aren’t just my students, you are my friends. Thank you for making the investment in me and my work. I will cherish all the memories for my entire life. I am proud to have stood on the sidelines as your biggest cheerleader. You are accomplishing amazing things, and I couldn’t be more proud.
I want to take you back to the beginning just for a minute. This business began on an Atlanta sidestreet with me, a road bike, and an ‘aha’ moment. I had just walked away from five years of power suits and high heels as a Fortune 100 financial advisor. While I wasn’t sure of my “calling”, I was lucky enough to be pursuing my curiosity. That curiosity led me to the doorstep of a big-time Atlanta floral designer and the realization that women in business weren’t always given the time or attention they deserve from the big business finance world.
When I started this work in 2012, I hoped to put my husband through school and help some women make money in their businesses. Seven years later and seriously amazing things have happened :
This business was more successful than I ever dreamed of it being. If you ask me, that’s one beautiful legacy. Amen?
Not to mention :
I am so. so. proud. I could not have asked for anything more than this.
It has been my mission from the beginning to help women find more life amongst the hustle. From businesses on the brink of bankruptcy to babies who didn’t recognize their hustling (read: never around) mama, this business has done more than just teach people to understand their money … it’s helped women build a business custom-built for their life.
This business has served my family so so well…. But over the past year it’s become clear that this season is coming to an end. This is a decision that has been prayed over very long and very hard and though I know it may come as a shock to many of you, I am fully affirmed and at peace that the season of “Skidmore Consulting” is coming to an end.
I believe business is a beautiful piece of our life, but is absolutely not the entirety of my identity. And that’s how and why I’m able to lay down a very successful, profitable business now in a time when my family and my work are being moved into a new season.
Actually no. I have no clue. But I’m excited to sit in a season of rest for a while, soak in the quiet, and explore my curiosity again.
Mother Teresa says “if you want to change the world go home and love your family” so that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’m going to take Sadie on more walks, plant a new garden, cook dinner for Kyle, and rediscover my curiosity. While closing a business, especially a thriving one, isn’t easy and doesn’t make a lot of sense to on-lookers I’d like to share with you how I’ve been assured this is the right thing.
As many of you have heard me say before I truly believe this is the path the Lord put me on. It was the first time in my life all my interests and passions aligned : business, psychology, finance, and art! It truly is / was my dream job. For a long time I viewed this as my “calling”.
Calling : a strong urge toward a particular way of life or career; a vocation.
Growing up in the church “calling” was something I always seemed to have on the back of my brain and I want to live into that. In fact, for a long time I was afraid of missing it.
Then last year I read a book that redirected my thoughts on calling versus assignment.
Assignment : a task or piece of work assigned to someone as part of a job or course of study.
This book helped me see that my calling doesn’t change : to love Jesus and others and live out the gospel. But the way I live out that calling day to day, that is my assignment. Assignments change.
Another affirmation I’ve received is learning about seasons in business. We talk a lot about seasons : being in school, getting married, having babies, getting your first job, changing jobs… seasons. But I’d never thought about the natural way God created seasons of this world to work. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … like the actual seasons. I heard Nancy Ray share these seasons in her podcast and it was so helpful for me to put words to what I was feeling. My season is changing and that’s not only OK, it’s natural.
Spring : Spring is a time of new beginnings. Of planting a lot of seeds, of starting.
Summer : A time of labor and hard work and sweat in preparation for the harvest.
Fall : The time of harvest, the reaping of your efforts.
Winter : A season of rest. Everything draws to a close. It gets quiet in order to rejuvenate and renew.
Every season is necessary. Every season has a purpose.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (snippets) : For everything there is a season: A right time to plant and another to reap, a right time to hold on and another to let go.
Over the past few years my business has absolutely been in harvest-mode. God has provided so much blessing to us all : my family, my team, my students. But after the harvest must come rest. I must embrace the time of rejuvenation. Winter is here.
Now I just have to trust that Spring will come again.
I’m really good at my job and there’s no one who does it *quite* like me. Pretty cool I can own that now! That is both sweet, and super hard. I know I’m walking away when there are still a lot of women who need this work. I’ve never been a “quitter” in my life and I think “quitting” has such a bad rap!
But there is a difference between quitting and stopping.
We can feel like stopping when things are hard and we’re burned out. In fact, I’ve had a lot of people ask “Shanna, are you maybe just burned out?” believing maybe that was influencing this decision. I get it. Burnout is real and yes! I am absolutely burned out!
I’ve really wrestled with this a lot. I don’t want to stop prematurely or because I’m tired.
But here’s the difference. I’ve gone through times of burn out in my business before.
In the past, the solution to burn out has been = rest + a system. Fix what isn’t working and start again after a period of rest.
Around this time last year when I was feeling those all too familiar signs of burnout, I followed the formula. I took a 6-week sabbatical and decided to expand my team.
But here’s what happened. I hired the most amazing team in the world (Love you TS) but my heart feelings didn’t change. It wasn’t a burn out problem. I didn’t just need to change a system or re-work a problem or get more rest. This isn’t a result of burnout. This is a season change. A time to lay it down and walk away.
My prayer this past year has been for God to radically “open doors and close doors”. And that is exactly what He has done. He has made it clear.
Stopping something good is never easy. As my friend Anne says “Endings are sad” but that doesn’t mean they aren’t right.
I know it doesn’t make sense. I know stopping a very successful, profitable, business doesn’t make sense. But that’s where faith comes in, right? I have to trust there is a new path waiting, I just don’t see it yet.
My second biggest struggle has been letting others down and leaving before the work is finished. As mentioned, in this decision to walk away it’s become ever more clear that no one does this work *quite* like me. I am unique. I am special. And I am absolutely gifted at this work. Words and truths that haven’t always been easy for me to believe.
This makes it hard to walk in obedience and walk away from this good work. I’m afraid of not using my talents.
A friend of mine really helped me understand how to wrestle through this. First, knowing that Jesus walked away from the crowds when there were still people who needed healing. I am by no means comparing myself to Jesus, but this helped. I served the work well in the season it was given to me, and now that the season is done the obedient thing to do is walk away.
I had another friend share about a big career decision they made which caused her husband to walk away from work he was extremely talented in. She mentioned to this day he still has people say “I cannot believe you aren’t still doing that job, you’re so gifted in it”. She proceeded to tell me all the amazing things that have happened in his new position—yet another gifting he is clearly talented in. One that may have not been discovered had he stayed at his old job. She then looked at me and said, “Shanna, maybe it’s time for you to walk in a new gifting.”
Walking away from this work doesn’t mean I’m not gifted in it, in fact it’s shown me how gifted I am. For some they may have one gift they use their entire life, but for me I believe there’s another gift out there waiting for me to discover it.
We can stay where we are, or we can believe in leaping. That’s why it’s called “faith” right — believing in what we can’t see.
Romans 8:15 msg : This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?”
While this decision is final and I’m looking forward to what is to come, I want to be faithful to the end. That means finishing out 2019 with gumption to serve my students and clients well and to give you (the one who’s been saving up and on the sidelines for years or minutes) a chance to join in on the “SS philosophy” that has changed lives across the world!
We are finishing the year in a really fun way and opening up all my programs ONE LAST TIME in a special event we are calling “The Legacy Campaign”. Starting in July we are highlighting the legacy of SS Consulting and celebrating our student success stories. In August, we are opening enrollment to all my courses, classes, and products ONE LAST TIME and I’ll be leading students through the 12-week Blueprint Model curriculum to end the year! Not to mention our 7th and final Blueprint LIVE EVENT, Blueprint Summit, for my students in November!
So mark your calendars and make sure to add your name to the list here to be notified about what is to come.
And to all my students, I know you have questions on how this will affect you. We are working on a full student “endgame” guide so pop your question in our inbox (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can make sure to get your questions answered!
With the most humble and grateful heart, I’m ready and excited to go out celebrating!
Thank you for seven amazing years!