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I got the email of congratulations while on the streetcar. An email from my lawyer cheekily (but also actually) referring to me as Creative Director Sonja Seiler of Nurture: Creative Retreat Centre & Coworking B&B, Inc. The certificate and articles of incorporation were attached as a PDF and I scanned them, absorbing the legalese in the same way I can still read Italian after not having studied it for years. You get the gist. You can order pizza with the right accent and flirt a little with the waiter. You can give the occasional knowing nod. But, in reality, you are on the surface of something much more complex - and dare I say beautiful - than you can even imagine.
There is, sadly, no "What to Expect When You're Expecting Incorporation" pamphlet.
I wish there was.
I feel like all the questions I have are as stupid and as obvious as those I had as a teen when I was first curious about what the heck sex was all about (an equally 'much more' complex and beautiful subject, if you ask me). It's a combination of the burning desire to know and the hand over the eyes, I need to do WHAT?! naïve shock, horror and curiosity.
There IS Google. So I Googled: "What to do after incorporation?"
Nurturers, Google is good for a lot of things. In fact, for those of you who have been with me since the first post, this retreat centre business would not be happening if it weren't for the existence of that little bar on the top right of my screen. Did you miss that part of the story? It's a good one. Here it is.
Google is also good for giving you complexes and diseases you didn't even know you had. By the end of my search, which had opened the Pandora's box of all things legal and corporate, I was in such a state of fluster and next-step-paralysis (it's a thing) that I was having all kinds of insane thoughts.
Each click lead me to a different official-looking list of Things One Must Do or Else Fines or Maybe Jail? or You Are Stupid For Not Already Knowing This, Sincerely, Smug Corporate Guru.
Apparently, when you incorporate, you need to have a meeting right away with all the company members and establish and vote on things like company bylaws, shareholder agreements, appoint corporate officers, assign accountants, etc. I had anxiety-fuelled and hilarity-driven visions of my official minutes looking like:
- Members in attendance: Sonja Seiler
- Shareholder agreement motion: Sonja Seiler
- Shareholder agreement motion seconded by: Sonja Seiler
- Minutes: WTAF am I doing?
- Witnessed by: Sonja Seiler and the World At Large, judging harshly/laughing maniacally over mini-sandwiches.
- Mini-sandwiches catered by: Sonja Seiler
I pored over articles that revealed additional steps that need taking, returns that need filing, roles that need assigning, all by certain dates and within certain municipal, provincial and federal parameters and all ALONE. I fell into that state of overwhelm that I feel many of us entrepreneurs feel when faced with the facts of all that needs doing and the fact that, as our own bosses, it is up to us to do it.
The thing is, my worries during that information gathering session were out of proportion to what I have come to know as the only way to get things done: one small step at a time.
I was concerned (and deeply, intensely so) about licenses and policies that don't need worrying about UNTIL IT'S TIME. Essentially I was the equivalent of a parent who has seen the double blue strip on the pregnancy test and is already apoplectically palpitating over which university my child goes to. MY RETREAT CENTRE WILL GO TO STANFORD! IVY LEAGUE OR BUST!
I took a deep breath and stepped outside of myself for a moment. I saw myself under the spell that fear so often enchants us with - the Overwhelm.
I saw also how the Overwhelm was showing up in direct proportion and ferocity to my caring, to the passion underneath it all that is driving this project.
I realized how this applies to all we are passionate about, all the ways in which we're making progress, or trying to heal, re-write our stories, or show up as our real selves. Once we make that connection, it becomes easier to gain perspective.
Of COURSE fear is going to be like that annoying close-talker that corners you at a party and thinks it knows all about you even though you've just met (may or may not be talking from recent experience here, Nurturers. The only things allowed that close to my face are: things with butter, cute babies, good kissers and bouquets). Fear's going to do 'push-ups on the side' - as you grow, it attempts to keep up the pace. It will outwit, connive, scheme, and generally make itself known to you any way it can. But does it need to be listened to as truth? No. Does it need to dictate whether or not something can move forward? No.
Instead, I choose to cling to faith, and I hope you will join me there with whatever is on your plate these days. Faith in the space beneath it all where peace resides. I imagine it sometimes like a river, solutions bobbing up and down happily, waiting to be plucked up and applied. If we can tune into that space, anything is possible and the right connections and decisions are made because what's operating is the heart. Fear, although it has a seat at my corporate table (we can't deny it), isn't welcome to second a thing.