As most of you know, my man and I are renovating our home. We've been at it for nearly a year now and we still have a long way to go. I know that when markets fall, renovations increase, and DIY renovations typically increase as well. I get it; you're wanting to stretch your dollars as far as they can go.
Today I want to talk about the mental and emotional effects a renovation can have. Yes, there are the positive ones, those of loving your home now that it's updated/upgraded. But more often than not, renovations create massive upheaval in our lives.
I started my business about 20 months ago, working out of our home in my cozy little home office. I did a complete decor overhaul on the space before I began knowing that I needed a positive uplifting space in order to accomplish my lofty dreams. Nine months in, we decided it was time to start renovating our home. This was a project my man had been wanting to complete for years and it had been put on hold since before we met. Now we had nothing else holding us back and lots of time to work on it, since my guy was laid off.
I walked into the renovation with eyes wide open. I knew what to expect, I knew it was going to be tough and I knew that I'd be living in a constant construction zone for quite some time. I had stipulated ahead of time that when we replaced the window in my office (the only real upgrade needed in that room), we were doing the project in one fell swoop. My guy agreed.
We started the reno with the best intentions. We had set up a plan and a timeline, though there was the openness to adjust the timeline as needed. I made sure that we selected materials well ahead of time so that no part of the project would be hung up by waiting for something to come in. We planned in our big costs to line up with sales and promotions along the way, like our kitchen. And yet, I was not ready for the mental and emotional toll this project would and is taking on me.
The Reality Is...
The reality is that this renovation has caused massive stress on myself personally, on my guy personally and on our relationship with one another. Our work styles are different; our planning requirements are different; we have different ideas about how quickly or when things should get done. And these differences are causing a breakdown between us. Our communication lines, which we work so hard to be open and honest with each other, have shut down. We couldn't escape the work because it was all around us. There isn't a single room that isn't being touched and, for a period of time, there wasn't a single place of reprieve anywhere in our home.
The stress not only took it's toll on our relationship but my mental game and my drive to create a wonderfully successful business was being gutted like a fish. Every day I'd have to pick myself up, tell myself that "we're gonna get there" and step into my office in the hopes of, well to be honest, make money. The stress from starting up a business, in a tough economy no less, was fracturing me from the inside out. Worry about how I was going to make it all work, where would my next client come from, am I going to have enough to pay my bills this month - this ate at me, still eats at me, almost daily.
About 6 months into our renovation I had the idea to launch a webinar to help other homeowners struggling with their renovation by giving them solid, useful information and offering a package of services at a smoking price. I was already feeling the stress of our reno and felt that, at that point, my guy and I had been doing pretty well considering. Fast forward a few months and my first webinar was pretty well a no-show but I had a few clients all of a sudden sign on for projects. I set the webinar aside for now since the work seemed to be pouring in.
Then the bottom fell out.
I Reached My Breaking Point
Communication between my guy and I were virtually at a minimum. I didn't know how to tell him how I was feeling without the fear of making him feel awful. All I could see around us was this project that wasn't done, and that project that was promised to have been finished two weeks ago and all the other stuff that we hadn't even started on! I couldn't handle family and friends asking anymore, "You're still working on the renovation? When will you be finished?" I wanted to shout at them "I DON'T KNOW! STOP ASKING ME!" And I felt like a complete failure. Who was I to think that I could help others manage through THEIR renovation when I couldn't even manage my own? How could I say, 'just do this and this and you'll be ok' when I had been trying all those things and it didn't seem to be working?
I took hit after emotional hit, some of them from myself, some from others, and like a hammer beating a nail, I felt driven into the ground. I could no longer see the light.
How I Turned It Around...
I knew that things needed to change. I knew that I couldn't go on this way any longer. I made an appointment for my man and I to talk with someone. I had been given a referral from a friend and knew I had to try something. I scrambled the money together to pay for the session and for the first 45 minutes, I found myself thinking, "Is this a complete waste of time?" And then something happened. As our conversation turned to the now, the reason for us sitting in that downtown office, something happened. There was a dawning of understanding on both sides of what the other was feeling, what we were each going through. It became the light through the doorway that I had been looking for so desperately.
It was rocky footing at first, but as we worked at it, our communication opened up again. My guy knew the hurt and frustration I was feeling and I started to see that I wasn't alone in this. We started having real conversations again, we had lunch by the river and watched planes coming in, one of our favourite things to do. I didn't feel so absolutely alone and I could start to see just how far we've come on our renovation.
What I Realized...
I still felt like I was a fraud if I were to try and launch my webinar again to help others until it dawned on me - who better to understand than someone who didn't do it perfectly? My favourite doctor was a man who played a lot of sports. He coached the local rugby team, was active himself and I'm sure took some hits over the years. But I appreciated him so much because when I did hurt myself in a game, he didn't coddle me or tell me to just stop playing such active sports, he told me how I could protect myself from further injury and how I could grow stronger out of it. He'd been there, he knew why it was so important to me to still play.
I can't sit here and tell you that I have it all figured out. I don't. And this project still stresses me out. And maybe my post today is nothing more than a public journal writing for me. But maybe one of you reading this are feeling the same way right now. Maybe you're holding off on a renovation for all the reasons I struggled. I'm here to tell you there is a way through. It may be messy and hard as hell, but if you want help, I'm here for you.
I will launch the webinar again soon, I'm thinking maybe mid-August. If you're at all interested, email me. Let's have a real conversation. It brings me such joy and fulfillment to help other human beings but moreover, it means that I'm doing the work I was put on this earth to do.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for allowing me to be honest and entirely open with you. And thank you always for your support.