I was on my way to an investor meeting across town. One year before, I’d gotten a call from their consultant saying they’re giving us a grant, a few thousand more than my proposal asked for. I was on my way to our one year review meeting, but in my mind it was actually the first meeting of a new round of funding I wanted them to take the lead on.
Just a few days before, a roller coaster of events happened. The rollercoaster’s peak was a NYTImes feature and its dip was the resignation of my #2 at the company. I’d also spent an entire hour that day deciding what to wear. Something sophisticated, but not too tight, not too short, flattering…. I left the house stressed and frustrated with myself. Also frustrated with Mark Zuckerberg who carelessly promoted his same t-shirt and jeans lifestyle. How am I supposed to combat misogyny in a t-shirt and jeans? How am I to prove I’m worth listening to if I don’t have makeup on, telling you I’m worthwhile.
I found myself driving across town and to this meeting bottled with anger. I was taking on two roles, going through hiring, writing extra press releases, dealing with the bank etc. And this whole time I’m asking myself if it even matters– because I could walk into a room will size all 5’11 of me up before I open my mouth. How we look speaks before we can.
I do what any entreprenur does in this situation and I called my dad. He replied as if he’d been preparing for 24 years. Within three minutes I realized the insane pressure I’d put on myself. My body knew that the only way to be ready by the time I got across town was to release the tension with an epic cry. My first in seven months. I pulled up to their office and quickly took a peek in the car mirror only to notice two prominent streaks, emanating from the outer corners of my eyes. My stress-induced tears had left evidence. For a brief moment I considered leaving them as is. Then I realized the world of business isn’t quite as transparent as I am. I cover up the tracks. Of course I carry my make up with me. After blasting some very loud Kayne, I headed inside and proceeded to charm the hell out of the room.
As I walked down the hallway and into their office, I remembered that this was just another meeting. There is no pinnacle or big break. The journey we’re each on is more substantial than any one encounter. I remembered the wise words of my friend Yavilah who before I went up for a talk a few weeks before told me “Why are you nervous? You’re just speaking your truth.”
I recently learned they will fund us, big. Believe in yourself, my friends. Take the time to know yourself and your work. Having clarity on that mission is essential.