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Everything Else Is Extra

Written By: Lauren Howard



Sweeeeeet Caroline— 


Cue a five-year-old yell-singing BAM BAM BAH. 


Launching a new company is scary and exhausting. 


If I’m being honest, the excitement of starting something new has been heavily tempered by my frustrations with the previous year. 


It feels wasted in a lot of ways. I was focused on the wrong things, which meant that my companies were working on the wrong projects. We should be building off that year's growth, but in many ways, we’re really starting over. 


I trusted the wrong people and gave them too much of my mind. If you know me, you know that having my mind also means having my heart. 


2024 so far has been a hard reset in every sense. My brain is free to focus on growing our programs but every success has been watered down by this feeling of regret that we “wasted” a year. Where would we be if we made different choices? 


Even with this heckin’ successful launch of a new company that I could not be more proud of, there has been a black cloud over my head. 


I took a break from rumination, paperwork, and patient management yesterday to make sure the kids were getting ready for bed. They were not. Instead, I found them and their dad having what can only be described as an oldies dance party in the basement. 


The music was loud. The giggles were bordering on shrieks. Someone was definitely going to puke from all the spinning. 


A small hand grabbed mine and yelled, “SPIN ME, MOM,” as Sister Sledge boomed. Next came The Temptations, sung directly to, in fact, my girls. There was Jimmy Buffet. Smoky Robinson. The California Raisins. 


We danced and sang and laughed and played at a party that I didn’t even realize I was invited to. I taught them when to yell “So good, so good, so good,” as Neil Diamond joined the chat. 


It hit me as I literally caught my breath. I absolutely was focused on the wrong things.

Even that day, as I was technically focused on the things that I feel like we should have been doing last year, I was still focused on the wrong things. 


No matter how my day at work is, there are always two small humans ready for a dance party who will remember that dance party long after I have forgotten about the bad days. They’ll hear Sweet Caroline and know they learned it while pushing off bedtime just a little bit. 


We need to feed these kids. We need to pay our staff. We need to grow. We need to work hard to make all of that happen. We will make mistakes, but as long as we can do all of those things, we are iterating and changing and learning.


But we also need dance parties in the basement because every minute with small humans who want to spend that time with you is borrowed. 


Everything else is extra.


So good, so good, so good. 



 


Founder & CEO at elletwo



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