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Preparing for abundance

So it’s Saturday morning of Memorial Day weekend. Kids are up around 7. We’re headed to Boulder to meet Jon’s mom who’s visiting from Arizona. We’re going to stay at a hotel, have some fun at the pool, and go to a graduation party.

Sounds great. Except for the fact that actually getting there is going to be completely and utterly painful. It always is.

Even though we’re up at 7, we don’t leave until 9. It’s not like we’re taking our sweet time reading the paper and sipping coffee. It’s a whirlwind: up and down the stairs 200 times. Getting ourselves packed, getting the kids packed, applying sunscreen, putting on bathing suits, avoiding tantrums, eating breakfast, and shoving snacks into tiny little plastic containers.

We get in the car. The journey to the hotel is less than 40 miles away but it takes us an hour to get from our house to the Harmony exit, just 6 miles away.

Jon and I haven’t eaten yet, so we stop by Starbucks to pick up coffee and breakfast sandwiches. Jon realizes he doesn’t have his wallet. We have to go back home.

Finally en route. Kids are watching a DVD. For about 20 minutes, complete euphoria. Then Easton’s headphones don’t work anymore. Jon pulls over in an attempt to fix. No go. Easton is getting impatient. Wants his headphones back. Last resort: ditch the headphones and put the movie on the whole stereo system so that all of us can listen for the duration of this incredibly relaxing and blissful journey to Boulder.

Welcome to my life

Aside from the special trip to visit family in Boulder over a holiday, this is pretty typical of life on the weekend. The mass chaos that ensues when attempting to enjoy an outing as a family. The constant struggle to balance the break I so badly need, the limited time I get to spend with my husband and kids, the chores that need to be done to support our family, and the precious few hours I’m awarded to keep up with this tiny little passion of mine that I call a company.

But this is life. And instead of always pushing against, I’m finally learning to surrender.

The month of May

So the flywheel is starting to turn at Mack Web, but for some reason, I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. I keep expecting the surge of interest to wane and we’ll be right back where we were. Before all of this started to happen.

But things are different now. The team keeps telling me to prepare for abundance. I could be wrong, but this feels like an upward trajectory and we better hold on tight.

But with success comes a lot more of everything. This is what the month of May looked like:

Signed & onboarded two new clients
Trained a new team member
Got ready for another
Had daughter’s 5th birthday
Had husband’s 45th birthday
Mother’s Day
Bought a car
My 94 year old grandma died
Wrote my SearchLove presentation
Made the trek to Boston to speak at SearchLove

Not to mention the normal daily stuff like:

Meals for the family every night
Lunches for the kids every day
Baths
Laundry
Grocery store
Yard work
Reading to stay on top of the industry
Leading, managing & supporting the team
Time with my husband
Time to myself
Time for yoga
Sleep

At times, I was feeling a little like Joe Pesci:

I’ve got absolutely nothing to complain about. I’m blessed with two healthy and amazing kids, a wonderful husband, and a thriving company. Sometimes it would just be nice if I didn’t feel all of those blessings at once.

It’s always going to be like this

How lucky am I?

But for the longest time, I was having so much resistance to so many things in my life. I wasn’t seeing it as abundance. It was all just more work. More to handle. More to balance.

I’m not sure what happened but all of a sudden it feels like my perspective has changed.  I started to realize that my life is always going to be like this. I have a choice to look at it as a burden I have to bear, or I can see it as abundance.

Because the thing is, this is life and it’s happening right now. Not when the kids are older and Easton doesn’t need help going to the bathroom anymore. Not when Jon and I have more time for us because the kids don’t always need constant attention. Not when Mack Web is out of its current growth stage.

It’s always going to be something. So I’m learning to look at it through a different lens and appreciate the abundance. All of it.

Because I really don’t want things to be any different.

Even though there’s a great deal of pain that comes along with the success Mack Web is experiencing, I’m full on embracing it.

When I’m making lunches and doing dishes after a 14 hour day, instead of hating my life, I’m picturing my kids eating their little ham & cheese sandwiches on those cute little Hawaiian rolls.

If it takes me over a month to write a Moz post because I have to do it in 2-3 minute increments standing in the corner of my bedroom because that’s the only place I can find any peace, so be it.

When I’m running out of patience, compassion, kindness, and empathy because I’ve got too much to handle, I will have the breakdown I deserve and keep on pushing.

This is the life I have been blessed with. Bring it on.

 

Author Mack Fogelson

More posts by Mack Fogelson

Join the discussion 22 Comments

  • Thanks for sharing this Mackenzie. I’ve been feeling much the same way with my business and home life. Business is getting busier, good things are happening, I have a 3 year old boy, a wonderful wife and another baby due next month. I’m a very lucky guy. Sometimes it just feels overwhelming though and I haven’t even reached your level of busy yet.

    So, time to change my perspective here too. This I hope is the start of abundance for me and my family, it’s a good thing and we are lucky.

    Looking forward to meeting you in person at MozCon 🙂

    • Mack says:

      Congrats Matthew! I hope you find all of the abundance you can handle with that new baby and your great family. Those are exciting times (even though they’re overwhelming). Drink it in as nothing is more precious than those first few weeks with a new baby. See you soon.

  • Mike Essex says:

    Thanks for sharing such a personal post Mackenzie and I totally agree. Even just looking at the work side of things I think everyone in the digital industry knows what it means to truly juggle many different things at once. Whether that be client needs, algorithm changes, new tools or internal changes there’s always something going on.

    I think that’s why a lot of agencies recruit people who can adapt and cope with change often over hard skills because ultimately they can quickly become outdated. Kudos to you for managing to cope with so many things and deliver excellent results (especially the SearchLove talk) throughout.

    I totally subscribe to the idea of using stolen moments to achieve something great. I wrote a novel in 30 minute blocks every time I caught a train to work and it just wouldn’t have been possible without it.

    I do have one question. With so much to balance how do you decide when something is done? That’s always been the tricky part for me, striving to make something perfect but knowing that time is always limited. The “Just Ship It” mentality only really goes so far, it doesn’t quite explain how you know when something is truly ready and that you’ll get diminishing returns by going further. So what’s your point of knowing when to ship something?

    • Mack says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment Mike. That’s a tough one. As I was writing the post I was wavering as to include some perfectionism stuff, but it just didn’t fit. Personally, especially with my writing, I am working to let go. I overdo a lot of stuff and have the tendency to put on too much pressure and make things harder than they need to be. I especially experienced this last month drafting my SearchLove talk. I had so much anxiety about not having it ready weeks in advanced. There was just no way. But now that I’m on the other side, everything worked out as it should have. It always does. I just need to trust.

      So I think the answer I have for you comes down to quality. It’s something that I can’t explain other than I feel it in my gut. I know when something is crap. And not just because I’m a perfectionist, but because of the standard I’m observing from those in the industry I aspire to be like. As you know, all of this stuff takes work and it always will. So I just need to give myself the space to get things done (meaning don’t freak out on deadlines because I always pull it off), and know when I need to ditch something before wasting too much energy. All of that comes from knowing when to take a break and not pushing so hard all of the time.

      Hope that helps Mike. Really, it’s in me to over achieve and that’s ok. As long as I don’t let the small stuff get me down and I’m committed to living my life in every moment.

  • Dan Bonomo says:

    YES YES YES!!!

    I almost didn’t post anything in response because I couldn’t come up with the text equivalent to a high five and a hug.

    What a bunch of lucky dogs we are! We get to work in one of the most dynamic and ever changing industries in the history of industries, raise beautiful, healthy children with great spouses, and live in a seriously awesome part of the world.

    Now who is doing the dishes?? One two three NOT IT!!!

    • Mack says:

      lol Dan. So glad we’re on the journey together big guy. We should get the families together some time soon. Thanks for reading.

  • wil reynolds says:

    Hey Mack, great to see you write this post! There is a solace in acceptance 🙂 On a much smaller scale it was like one day it just hit me that managing email was part of my job, not an interruption, so I stopped treating it as such and made some changes to how I managed things.

    I think its the “embracing it” that helps us focus on the positive impact we can have. I have no real burdens, because I can make choices if I don’t like X, I should change X. Is my approach, if I don’t have time for something I say is important, then I need to change my actions to give it the right priority. This often leads you down a path of delegation, which is wonderful, as it allow you to help people on your team get more responsibility and help them grow professionally.

    • Mack says:

      So true Wil. Everything is a choice. And I want to enjoy all the moments I can. Even the ones I’d rather not have. So I’m on a mission to make it all great knowing full well there will always be pain, but it’s just contrast to help guide me to where I want to be.

  • Jay Norris says:

    Wow, that is familiar. It’s good to know it’s that difficult for other families to get going with their kids too!

  • Beautiful piece Mack. It’s amazing how frustrating and amazing children can be at the same time. I try to realize and remind myself that the causes of frustration are an important part of the journey.

    I hope the flywheel keeps turning for you and your team.

    • Mack says:

      Thank you Anthony. Isn’t it so funny how much you can love them and want a break from them at the same time? They are truly a gift and I’m drinking it all in every moment I can.

  • Ahh, this was such a refreshing read! I constantly feel like I’m going a million miles a minute.

    Today, I’m working on building localized listings for a client, while juggling some details of switching our daycare at the end of the summer, and of course, the usual stuff you mention – getting everyone up, making lunches, getting everyone dressed, dropping off all three family members before arriving at work, realizing I forgot my own lunch, taking a quick break, back to work, back to pick up 2/3 of family members while #3 makes his way home on the bus, making dinner, bathtime, bedtime, and then some time to … do whatever – catch up on work, or try to read a book for five minutes, or maybe make tomorrow’s lunches if I’m really on the ball. 🙂

    I like the way you’ve reframed it and can’t wait to share this around – abundance is an excellent way of looking at it, even if, like you, I sometimes wish I wasn’t handling so much abundance at once. 🙂 Thanks for opening up that side of your life so I don’t feel like the only crazy digital marketer trying to raise small children!! 🙂

    • Mack says:

      I feel all of your pain Beth! Every night I think, “I’m going to go to bed early tonight.” But it feels so good to sit on the couch with my husband and read or catch up on emails that I stay up way too late and hate myself in the morning.

      Here’s to being a mom and a marketer!

  • Ronell Smith says:

    Hi Mack,

    The older I get, the more I realize life doesn’t stop coming at you. And sometimes, it’s impossible to get and stay ahead.

    My two beautiful daughters keep me grounded and serve as reminders (a) to stop and smell the roses, and (b) that we all get to enjoy more good than we might think we deserve.

    (btw, my youngest daughter’s middle name is Mackenzie, and she recently asked that I call her Mac. Yes!)

    Have a great week.

    RS

  • Mike Essex says:

    Thanks for the great reply Mack. I have to agree that quality is something that is very personal and it’s only you who can know when something is ready. That definitely comes with experience or having a great mentor when starting out too.

    For me it also often feels like “what’s the moment just before the last possible moment” and that’s where I seem to work best. Which is crazy really as it often adds undue stress to the process but I think we’re all wired in a way that drives us to try and push out tasks if we have time until that magical “go time”. When there’s no pressure I don’t seem to work as efficiently as when there’s a mad dash to get something finished.

    • Mack says:

      No kidding Mike. I certainly don’t consider myself a procrastinator, but because I push so hard all the time, when I don’t have a deadline, I want to coast. Lately though those non-deadlines don’t exist 🙂

  • Wow, what a timely post for me. I almost didn’t read it until I read the first few lines and felt like we were going through the same things. Its tough when you have kids and a spouse who also works! Shoot, its tough to run a company when you’re single even, let alone married with children!

    Oops, reminds me, gotta run to chaperone a field trip!!! SHOOT!

    One last thing, hire more people to take the burden off of you. I realized this month that I can’t control every aspect of the daily operations of my business. Especially if I want it to grow!

  • Ariana says:

    Great post Mack! Attitude is everything, thanks for the reminder to be mindful of choosing how we deal and look at things.

  • chris pullen says:

    Hey Mack, great post! Great to see you and Jon finding balance in your life. You’re right, “it doesn’t change”. As you move through life new events and challenges fill in the time slots. I’m I few years (several) ahead of you and now planning my daughter wedding, my son’s needing help starting a web business, my wife wants me out riding road bikes 3x a week and my love of photography is no where to be found. I’ve found no more spare time than I did 20 years ago. Hold on ! It just gets crazier!

  • Cher Hill says:

    I don’t know how I missed this post in May! And I don’t really know what to say except that you have taken most of the overwhelming feelings I have had over the last 12 months and put them to type.

    I started a new online marketing role at 4 months pregnant with my second daughter early last year and since then it has been a whirlwind (as you know). Stopping to enjoy the abundance is the best way to describe how to tackle the so called ‘life/work balance’. Well put and thanks for posting!

    • Mack says:

      Thanks for reading Cheryl and hopefully things are going well in your role now that you’re a little ways in 🙂

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