When I started the Finishing School in September 2015, I had no idea where it would go. I started out doing classes at the Wichita Art Museum, Harvester Arts and Watermark Books to test the concept and to decide if I really wanted to spend all my extra time and money giving classes to help women own their power. It only took three months to convince me that not only did I want to continue, but that I wanted to go all in and find a dedicated space to house the school and my business consulting practice. I signed a lease at 340 S. Main, making a three-year commitment to give it my best.
Being completely honest, I must admit that the past three years have had their highs and lows. It’s the biggest thing I’ve challenged myself to do in my life so far, and it has been a scary white-knuckler at times. Please understand that as a business consultant for 20 years now, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, especially given the nature of what I’m asking people to do – invest in themselves. Still, with no roadmap to follow, making it all up as I go along, and feeling a strong responsibility to practice what I preach as I am best able, has been harder at times than I’d like to admit. Even to myself.
Over this time, I’ve come close to throwing my hands up and quitting. I’ve thought about leaving town and going somewhere friendlier to women-owned businesses. I’ve considered what else I could be doing with all the time it takes to dream up, research and write, promote and teach these classes. And in my deepest pity-parties, I’ve wondered what the vacancy rates are like for hermit caves somewhere far, far away.
But, every time I start feeling like that, something miraculous happens. I’ll get a note or message from someone who had a major breakthrough from a class. Someone will share their success story with me, to let me know a strategy we talked about worked. Or, when someone I don’t know comes up to me in public to tell me they read my blog, or watch what I’m doing, to let me know I’m making a difference just when I need to hear it the most. (Hopefully I don’t scare them too much when I give them a big hug!) But, for me the biggest reward I get is when women who need us the most show up, from out of the blue, to attend their first class. I am grateful that so many women come to the Finishing School, feeling enough trust to be vulnerable and share their experiences and fears. It is an incredible place to be.
I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching lately. You see, my lease is up in February and I’ve had to make a decision, whether to renew it for another two years. It’s hard to know when something is right on the tipping point, or whether it’s played itself out already. Since I clearly don’t know when to give up, I had a lot of hard questions to ask myself. For me, the biggest and most important question I had to ask myself was how the decision holds up to my “joy-suck” rule, “Is this sucking the joy out of my life?” With the answer being a resounding “NO!,” I decided to renew my lease and continue on for the next two years.
I’m feeling optimistic. After all, I’m so close to launching online classes I can barely stand it! While there’s so much more to it then I had even guessed a couple of months ago, we are steadily making progress.
Soon we’ll be on Holiday break until mid-January, and I look forward to getting a lot done. I’m planning to get a bow on the online subscriptions before the end of the year and kick off the new year with the first class! I couldn’t be more excited to show you what we’ve been working on.
In the meantime, I’m working on the classes for the first quarter of 2019 and really need your help. I’ve put together a survey, asking for your opinion of new class ideas, which classes you’d like to see repeated, and other questions I’d like your opinion on. There are only 10 questions and more than half of them are optional. It shouldn’t take more than 5 or 10 minutes. To entice you, I’m giving away fabulous prizes to winners picked at random that have graciously taken the time to fill out the survey.
Thank you for letting me know what you’d like and for being part of the Finishing School for Modern Women. I really couldn’t do it without you.