Last weeks announcement of The Wing, a network and community space for women, closing its doors made my heart hurt. I don't know the founders, but I know the feeling. I ache for what they are going through. What so many of you are going through.
The founders of The Wing will be ok, their eventual bounce bigger than the drop, they just may not know it yet. You may not know it yet.
For many founders, a wondering day dream turned actual business is now a present nightmare. Perhaps there is momentary solace in knowing this situation is not necessarily corned on what you 'did or didn't do' to make your company thrive. Rather, the entire world is hurting and now your company is too. This knowing may provide temporary assuagement only to dissipate quickly in the reality of letting go something you've loved so much.
Coming to terms with the reality that things are not turning out as they could in other, "normal" times is a process. To the founders that are walking through the stress of this new reality, where the concern has manifested from sleepless nights to an entire body ache of dread, it will be ok. I promise you, there is a rebound after this.
I can still tell you where I was sitting when the, 'it will be ok' part hit me following a period of intense unknowing after I had to close a company I poured myself into. One month I was leading a thriving business and developing technology to support our national presence only to abruptly undergo an event that led to a change of course and our exit. I was reeling from the wind down, exhausted. I was able to move forward by allowing myself to know that if I had come so far, built something that people loved so much once, I could do it again. It may be different and it hurts, but the story wasn't over. I accepted that the learnings would make me a more compassionate leader and that it would all be worth it some day, for the time being however, this chapter was simply wrapping up with a much, much different ending than what we saw coming.
So know this - you will be ok. This event does not define you. What you do out of it will. To The Wing founders, you have already spoken immeasurably with the effort taken to care for your employees in this transition. You are still badasses. Take a breath, take some rest, then get going again. Not out of fear, but out of new opportunity. The world needs what you've got and we'll be excited to consume your next chapter.