The night a bunch of strangers changed my life

“I’m not alone, but I’m lonely without you.” -Mary Martin

Successful accounting business. Great family. Three great boys. Great husband. House. Living back home in the community I grew up in. Everything is awesome, right?

Nope.

This was me exactly one year ago this week.

Being your own boss has many perks, like… not having to go to an office everyday if you don’t want to. But for me, working in my basement alongside my furnace and a mountain of hockey equipment was…exactly as glamorous as it sounds. And the business itself – despite its financial growth – was almost getting TOO busy. I loved my clients, and really enjoyed helping build their businesses, but I was tired. I was busy ensuring success in my business and maybe too tired to seek out why seemingly having everything going for me still wasn’t…awesome.

I came across this new local networking group called “Lonely Laptoppers” for fellow self-employed’s and remote workers to get together occasionally, have coffee and talk about our solitary work environments. I initially took a pass on attending. I mean, I love coffee and meeting new people, but I’m not lonely. At least, I don’t think I’m lonely? Or am I? Should I go? Nah. Maybe next time…just to see.

That next time was Wednesday, October 24th, 2018. A night that changed my life.

I walked in as the first “stranger” to this already somewhat established network of mostly family members and close friends. There were maybe 6 of us in this little cafe. Looking back, I think the fact that I was a stranger is why this group had such a profound impact on me, initially. Because no one here had enough of an emotional history with me to fear for my financial stability or my self-esteem. They simply asked where I wanted to go in life. They asked why wouldn’t I hire someone, if it meant having more time? And then…what would I do with that time?

Until then, it was always “what are you gonna do to make more money and be more ‘successful’”? It was never about me. These new people were more interested in Crystal Rieck than Rieck Accounting. An epiphany had just occurred – in a dark cafe with 6 people I’d just met an hour ago: the value of time vs money. Invest in help so I can have more time for family, and for me. No one had ever said that to me before.

Looking back, I don’t know what made me go to that meetup that night, but I’m forever grateful that I did. I discovered my people. My tribe. They even challenged me to go home and do a Facebook Live that very night – something I openly confessed to dreading – about this epiphany moment. Gulp. Not sure what came over me, but I got home, pulled out the phone and, well…  https://www.facebook.com/crystal.rieck/videos/10156672563510786/

One year ago this week. I know, right?

The word ‘lonely’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘alone’. I’d never considered myself ‘lonely’…but at that moment, I felt like a wandering lone wolf who’d just found her pack. They saw me for me. And after what they helped me see that October night, I’ve leaned into them ever since. And in the year since, the group has grown to over 100 members and we still meet regularly to see more people – no matter their degree of business success – for themselves.

As for me, I hired someone. Three people, in fact. And now I devote my own life to helping others make sure their business plan fits in with their LIFE plan. Cause when both work together…everything is awesome.