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Terrified, Funny Humans and a Heartfelt Goodbye

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Terrified, Funny, Suck-Loving Humans and a Heartfelt Goodbye

About 6 years ago, I answered a Craigslist ad to become a marketer’s assistant.

In doing so, although I didn’t know it at the time, I took the biggest, most audacious step of my life to date, and it meant more change, more personal growth, and more opportunity than I ever imagined.

And I’m about to take another one.

After many long and wonderful years working with Danny and the team at Mirasee, it’s time for this little bird to leave the nest and see what’s around the next bend in the road.

It’s been a wild ride. And I’m so grateful to Danny, to the team, to the students I’ve worked with, and to you—the members of our community, for whom we do it all.

As cliché as a “business lessons learned” post feels for my goodbye missive, I want to share some things with all of you.

I have learned more lessons than I can count working at the company formerly known as Firepole. But there are some that stand out as the meaty, life-altering lessons that I take with me, not just on to my next job or project, but as a part of my everyday life.

So I’d like to share them with you, by way of goodbye.

Your Power is in Your Fear

business lessons on fear

In a very real sense, I grew up at Firepole. Working here, I spent more time with the team than anyone else for the majority of my adult life, and, like I assume many young adults are when they take their first professional jobs, I spent a lot of that time being kind of afraid.

Let me set the stage a little.

In January of 2013, I was 25 and we just launched the Audience Business Masterclass for the first time. Suddenly, I was responsible for advising actual, for real grownups on how to build their actual for real businesses.

When I stopped to think about it (and happily there wasn’t much time for that!) it was TERRIFYING. Who the hell was this business school dropout to give advice to people my parents age?

Later, when the company grew too big for Danny to manage everyone personally, I had a team for the first time. Now people’s JOBS and how happy they were in them was my responsibility. I’ve read plenty about how the biggest signifier of liking your job or not was your boss—and all of a sudden (again), it seemed like—I was a boss. Cue the existential crisis.

But the thing is—I did it. And I did a good job.

Of all the things that I’ve done at Mirasee—giving business lessons and advice, and managing a team turned out to be the things I was really, really good at.

A lot of the other stuff, I kind of sucked at or had competency but not passion for.

And those things I wasn’t so good at? Never sweated them, really. While I always wanted to perform well, I never felt the fear, the anxiousness about screwing up, the feeling like there was no WAY I was good enough or qualified enough to do it.

Looking back—it’s because they weren’t the things that really got my blood pumping. They weren’t the things I attached my identity to. They weren’t the things I ever really have a chance at succeeding hugely at—so who cared if I failed a bit? It didn’t affect my sense of SELF.

Business advising and people managing however? This is the stuff that kept me up at night, that I agonized over, that I never ever really felt good enough to do.

Where the fear lived… there lived my greatest opportunities for success.

So what scares the bananas out of you? What do you feel like you’re at the biggest risk of screwing up? What has the highest stakes for you, personally?

Do it. Do it again and again. And eventually, you’ll—in the words of one of my mentors “step into your power.” And no one will ever be able to take it away from you.

So that’s the fear. Now let’s talk about the obstacles.

Embrace the Suck

business lesson - embrace the suckHelping to run a fast-growing company is not a cakewalk.

A company built on a launch model is not an easy place to work.

Reporting to a visionary entrepreneur has its downsides as well as its ups. (Much love, Danny!)

And sometimes it sucks.

Technology WILL fail. People WILL bail. Estimates WILL be wrong. Expectations WILL be high.

There’s no way around it in our industry, and when it’s late and there’s NO time, things still have to get done—even if you want to crawl under a rock and cry.

(Crying is best done once daily, in the shower, to get it out of your system without leaving your eyes all red and puffy. #launchlessons)

Don’t try to put a bright face on it. When it sucks it sucks. Lean into the suck. Embrace the suck.

The suck is the price you pay to come out the other end smarter, stronger and better equipped to tackle the next obstacle.Click To Tweet

The suck is your friend. (Well… frenemy)

I think the term “the suck” is a military one. And there’s a feeling, sometimes, of going into battle with all of your responsibilities. Your team, your audience, your partners, your industry—they all have tremendous positives and benefits—but sometimes you have to fight to get to the value.

It’s easy to say, “Next time will be easier. It’s all going to smooth out and become simpler, and less challenging.”

I hate to break it to you, but it’s not.

If you’re a good learner—and as a reader of this blog, I have no doubt that you are—you won’t run into the exact same problems in the exact same way. And if you do, you’ll know how to handle them. But the ingenuity of the universe in constructing NEW challenges and obstacles is infinite.

The thing to remember is it never gets “easy.” But the impossible slowly becomes the difficult, and the difficult becomes the simple, and the simple becomes habit.

What doesn’t change are the humans.

Humans are Funny

business lessons goodbye MeganWhen you sell things (any things) to people (any people), you will piss off and disappoint some of them.

When you buy things (any things) from people (any people), some of them will piss you off and disappoint you.

When you work with other humans, you’re going to get irritated with them. They frustrate you and let you down. And they will feel the same way about you.

That’s the reality of humans engaging with other humans.

It may be that no man is an island, but no man is an open book either, and you’ll never know what it’s really like to experience something from someone else’s perspective.

You might, one day, stay up until 3 in the morning finishing something for your customers and wake up exhausted and bleary-eyed at 7am to find two dozen emails telling you how terrible you are.

You’ll explain your position on something, only to learn, in excruciating detail, how “real professionals” would NEVER think anything of the sort.

You will painstakingly craft and communicate your terms of service, and people will ignore absolutely everything and then go utterly ballistic when you enforce them.

Humans are funny.

Humans aren’t, by and large, malicious or mean or selfish. They’re just other people living their own experience, and it intersects yours in a challenging way.

One of the worst things you can do is set yourself up as adversarial to your customers or your team or the management. It’s a false dichotomy in almost every situation, and all it does is make it harder to work together.

As a method, us vs them has helped approximately no one in recorded history, and in cases where it seems to have, no one can tell me that a more collaborative approach wouldn’t have worked better.

Humans are funny. I like this phrase because it does a couple of things:

  • It reminds me that the person or people I’m dealing with aren’t a monolithic creature hell-bent on ruining my morning. They’re just folks, just like me.
  • It reminds me that, at the end of the day, no one is losing a leg. Yes, there are some big, difficult feelings right now, but it’s all going to be okay, one way or another. And really, isn’t it funny to get so worked up about it?

Now, this isn’t to say that I float through each day, a paragon of calm and benign goodwill. Hardly. But it often helps me keep things in perspective.

Don’t beat yourself up when you say something wrong or make a big mistake. You’re a funny human who did a human thing, and so is the person who noticed, or who you disappointed. Or the one who disappointed you.

Being compassionate to yourself, as well as to your team, company and partners is how you can keep going when it’s hard or painful or boring or annoying.

At the end of the day, you’re not what you do, or who likes you, or who you spend your time with, or what you accomplish.

You are the sum total of everything all rolled up into a ball of wibbly-wobbly human stuff.

And it’s by our impact on the people around us by which we are remembered.Click To Tweet

And so many people here have impacted me so hugely, I couldn’t be more grateful.

So What’s Next?

new beginningWell, if you’ve followed the blog for a couple of years, you might remember how I used to have a side business called Paying for Life, where I talked about making and managing money for millennials.

I reactivated the project with a bit of a pivot. Now I’m going to focus strongly on side-hustles—micro-businesses that teach you important skills and earn you important (if not huge amounts of!) money.

And since it all starts with ideas—you can get 15 of them to start off with over on Payingforlife.com/ideas.

Whether you’re interested in that or not, I’d love to stay in touch! Find me on LinkedIn, or meet me on Twitter!

I’m going to miss everyone.

Thank you, and goodbye for now.

Editor’s note: Thank you Megan for everything you do and for being you. If you want to give Megan a little love, leave a comment below!

About Megan Dougherty

Megan Dougherty is an alumnus of Mirasee and is passionate about online education, small business and making a difference in the world. You can find out what she's up to and how side-hustles will take over the world at PayingforLife.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MeganTwoCents.

97 comments

  1. CBL office hours won’t be the same 🙁 But the best know when it’s time to spread their wings and fly. Wishing you much success on this next part of your great adventure.

  2. Megan, you will definitely be missed as part of the Mirasee community. Thanks for sharing such great insights in this heartfelt goodbye. I have always appreciated your encouragement and energy. Wishing you the best on your new journey!

  3. Megan, I’m really going to miss you! {sob…} You’ve been a wonderful support and resource for years. I’m very glad that you’ve been a part of this community for so long.

    I wish you the very best on your new journey! May you enjoy a lot of success and a lot less stress. {{HUG}}

  4. I love the Paying for Life tips – super useful. Thank you. So grateful for your warm engaging delivery of the Mirasee course materials I have worked through. Your encouraging style is inspiring. Good wishes and much success to you Megan.

  5. Megan, as much as I hate to see you go, I can see it’s time. You’re a star and I’ll try to never forget this:

    at the end of the day, no one is losing a leg.

    🙂 Success and superpowers be with you!

    1. Oh, Ruthy – I’m going to miss you! I’ll never forget when Danny used to forward me your emails with typos from the blog or emails! *hugs* Thank you for the warm wishes – and take care!

  6. Megan, 1st Thank You for your advice for the 3 weeks I was in the program and I realized my subject idea wasn’t a market match so I dropped the program.
    2nd I believe you are doing the right thing – following your heart and gut and having the courage to take a huge leap is the best way to live, no matter what the outcome is, as you will Know that you went for IT instead of kicking yourself for years asking “What If???”
    Best Wishes!

  7. Megan, it’s been great getting to know you over these past few years.

    So happy you’re continuing with Paying For Life!

    Somehow I think our paths will continue to cross. Don’t hesitate to reach out if I can help in any way!

    congrats! 🙂

  8. Megan, what a beautifully written goodbye, full of incredible advice for everyone. You’ve beautifully translated your life lessons in a way that will benefit al of us (anyone who reads it, quite frankly). And I can tell, based on the little I’ve gotten to know you in the past year, that what you’ve written here is so true to who you are – and that speaks volumes about your integrity and value!

    Congratulations on your new pursuit! I sincerely wish you all the best, and I hope we stay connected. Like many, I’ll be watching from afar!

  9. *sniffle* Megan, you shaped the Firepole / Mirasee experience for so many of us. But I am NOT going to miss you one bit… because we’re gonna stay in touch. There are no goodbyes here, only good beginnings for the next sprint of our lives. <3 🙂 <3

  10. Hi Megan,
    I guess it’s time to get back to your own passion and away from everyone else’s desperate confusion. You’ll be your easiest client.
    Bon Voyage! Take pics! Enjoy the view! Breathe!

  11. Megan, from first hearing you admit your tendency to talk to fast, (which Infound endearing b/c Indo the same thing;-), through the Skype job interview, to the myriad of ways you’ve helped, supported,educated and tolerated/loved it’s been an amazing journey. While it won’t be the same without you, life isn’t about staying the same.
    You grow girl! We love you!

    1. It’s always been a pleasure, Penny – thank you! It’s all about change, isn’t it? I think 2016 is going to be a great year – for everyone!

  12. Megan — FABULOUS article! You are quite special, and I have 1000% confidence that whatever you set out to do, you will accomplish even more that you envision. Thank you for your professionalism, authenticity and positive attitude. Rock on, girl, rock on!

  13. Ah, Megan,

    I’m going to miss you.

    Change is good. Stick to the Plan.

    I’m excited to watch you turn your side hustle (which you have neglected) into a full time go.

    Good luck and call me if you need me.

    Kathryn

    1. Neglect is too kind a word, Kathryn! 😉

      But I’m also really glad I stopped it to focus on work at Mirasee – it deserved my full attention!

      I’ll miss you too, I will – and you should also feel free to reach out if there’s anything I can do!

  14. Best of luck! (Which is kind of an oxymoron – we MAKE our luck, don’t we?) I’ve been telling folks for a while now that “everyone needs a side “gig’ so it was with great delight that i opted into your subscriber list, Megan. Am going to be sharing “snippets” of your post – with all due credit and link-backs to you and to Mirasee – because the life lessons you share are pearls beyond price.

    Thank you and see you out there!

  15. I know you from your fantastic service to us in the Business Ignition Bootcamp (back in the day, right?).

    You and Danny changed my life. You gave us so many opportunities in so many ways. You taught us so many things and left us forever different. For that I will always be grateful and continue to pass on what you, Danny, and the rest of the team worked so hard to instill in us. You are more than teachers; you are investors in and caretakers of those of us who are blessed to have met you during our earthly journey.

    Praying your next successes and stepping stones give you sweet memories of how worth it it is to serve these crazy folk humans we all are.

    1. Ahh, the Bootcamp! Those were the days. 😉

      I’m more honored than I can say, Deborah – thank you so much for the immensely kind words. You’re the reason we do it!

  16. Megan, you are that warm center of awesome inside the amazing delicacy that is Mirasee! I am sure you will be a huge success at anything you do, and I will certainly keep tabs on you and your new endeavor! Thanks for everything…

    1. Aww, Andy – thank you! Keep on being wonderful in the FBgroup (as long as it’s not distracting you from building your business!) – we all appreciate you so much!

  17. Wise insights eloquently expressed, Megan. Thank you for all your help during my ABM residency. You leaving Firepole / Mirasee is a potent reminder that life IS change… and it’s all good. The best to you with everything, and I’ll be turning my millennial daughter onto your stuff!

  18. Wow Megan, this was a huge surprise. I wish you all the best in your new venture. You are certainly very talented and you will no doubt be a huge success in any venture. Thank you for your support.

  19. Megan, I will miss you. What a great farewell post. Thank you for sharing. Not sure if I’m ready for a “side hustle” but I’m curious to check out your eBook and follow your business. Just sent you a LinkedIn connection invite. Let’s definitely keep in touch.

  20. Megan, Your advice in this post is wonderfully Awesome stuff!!! I will miss you here at Mirasee but trust and believe I am following you into the sunrise! I love your new project idea or should I say ideas 🙂 Take care! Type to you later!

  21. Words fail me. They couldn’t possibly do you justice.

    But I’ll try anyway.

    Megan, you are, hands down, one of the most intelligent, kind, fun, generous, hard-working, diligent, creative, compassionate people I’ve ever, or will ever have, worked with.

    Nobody will fill your shoes here at Mirasee in quite the same way, because you brought so much to your role that is inimitable, and irreplacable, and unapologetically brilliant.

    There is zero doubt in my mind that you will crush whatever next pursuit you choose, and change many thousands of lives for the better. And I’m happy to help, in my own small way.

    We will all miss you – so, so much.

    1. Aww, Oleg! <3 Thank you so much for the kind words, I'm blushing and I'm going to miss you all so much as well! Never fear – we'll be in touch all the time!

  22. Megan – good for you on embracing the ‘sucky’ stuff and turning those into learning and growth ventures. Best wishes with your newly revamped personal business. I’m going to check you out on LinkedIn.

  23. Well congratulations on the new adventure!!! And thank you for your attention, caring and much appreciated help! I can’t wait to keep up with your revamped project! (I love the pivot!)

  24. Megan, thanks for all that you have done for me, and other people, over many years. Your responses to my emails were always timely, clear and respectful. Largely on the basis of that experience, I have signed up for your new venture, Paying for Life – or at least clicked on the link. I guess that your landing pages are working already. I hope that everything goes well with your new business. Thanks again for all that you have done.

  25. Megan, I really enjoyed your article!

    I’m new to Mirasee and, unfortunately, didn’t get to know you very well -my loss! By virtue of your article, I think I missed out!

    I wish you well!!!

  26. Good for you, Megan!

    You’re one of the good ones. If there’s anything I can do to help you out along the way, please reach out. I know you’re going to kill it! 🙂

  27. We will all miss you Megan. Do well and embrace the suck. By the way, my favorite military saying is “The best battle plan goes to hell when the first shot is fired.” Change is exciting.

  28. Congratulations!! Change is a fantastic thing. Embrace and love every minute of it. We are here to create our lives and love them. So go and create, and love, and learn and enjoy. Thank you for everything you’ve done this past few years. It has been my pleasure to learn from you.

  29. Hi Megan 🙂 I was just reading a post by Ellen Langer about mindfulness. You might check her out–her writings may be helpful to you as you go along on your next Grand Adventure …After reading your ‘goodbye’, I’d say you’re mindful. You’ll do very well 🙂

  30. Honest fab post – love it – and will miss you! I particularly love the bit in your post about suddenly being responsible for advising actual for-real people on their businesses. I think we all have those days of questionning our own ability but your attitude of grit teeth and get on with it is spot-on – as is the shower tip…

    We’ll miss you, Megan of Firepole! Go forth and be awesome.

    PS I’ve just connected with you on Twitter to look forward to following your exciting new venture 🙂

    1. Great- see you on Twitter! Imposter syndrome is such a problem – fake it till it’s true does wonders, LOL.

      Thank you for the warm wishes!

  31. Enjoyed reading these insightful words to keep your perspective and cool. By not letting ourselves get in the way–aka all about me–we can appreciate the vantage point from which others operate. Go with passion to continue accomplishing wonderful things!

    1. I’ll do my best, Susanne! And you’re so right- it’s very refreshing to take yourself out of things once in a while! Makes everything look different.

  32. You will be missed at Mirasee Megan but I, for one, will follow your new endeavours with interest. Best of luck and thank you for all your work on the inaugural 2013 Master class which was a very memorable experience.

  33. Megan – you did an awesome job here at Mirasee, and I appreciate you. Plus, awesome blog post, you are truly wise beyond your years. Much success awaits you – however you may define it. Cheers!

    1. Hiiii Louise! It is Wonderful to see you! I have been following you for years! Yes, I agree with you. Megan did an Awesome job here at Mirasee! 🙂

  34. Wishing you all the best Megan. I know I will miss you because you were the one I always went to with a problem, and even if it wasn’t your area of responsibility you always took care of it. Your professional manner with these issues gave FirePole/Mirasee a great deal of credibility in my eyes.

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words, Dolores! There are plenty of highly skilled and very caring team members around to help you with anything you need in the future! Never hesitate to reach out!

  35. You’ll never know the tremendous impact you’ve had on those of us lucky to call you a friend and leader. Your strength, resilience, professionalism, brilliance, and down-to-earth sense of humor have made coming to “work” way more fun that anyone could imagine. You’ve taught us so much, shown us genius ways of dealing with things, coached us through difficulties, and always seemed to find a way to bring out the best in us. We wish you all the success, luck, and joy in the world, Megan, and cherish you on so many levels! And, since we’ve got your contact information, you’ll never be rid of us. 🙂 We love you!

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