In 2013, I spent a year in Manila working with an anti-trafficking group.
It was the most fulfilling and most terrible year of my life.
I expected daring rescues and young women filled with hope at the prospect of a better life.
Up close, right there in the thick of it, that’s not what I got.
I got operations that didn’t go well. I got young women throwing up in the bathroom because they were so terrified – not by their traffickers, but by us. I got how small I was in the face of the entrapment of 37 million people. I understood helplessness.
I will never stop being grateful for that up close view, but I needed something else too. I needed to step way back.
I needed to see the progress that had happened over the ten years before I showed up. I needed to understand that the people I helped hire would still be there, fighting the good fight, five years after I left. I needed to see that I was one small piece of a very long process of fighting for justice.
Now that I’m building a business, I have the same weakness – I look way too close. A bad week can make me feel like I’ve lost my entire momentum.
I can look at the finely-tuned businesses around me and feel silly making the small steps.
Thankfully, last week, I took a moment to step back. I saw the progress I’ve made and how much I’ve learned.
A year ago, I was trying unsuccessfully to get people to hire me on Upwork.
A year ago, I had no idea if the risk I had taken would pay off in any way.
A year ago, A Squared was just me.
Now, I have clear offers and a strategy for all of 2019.
I have clients who are benefiting from what we can do for them.
I have a team.
Where could stepping back help you see how far you’ve come?