Well, up until the day we signed our lease, everything we had done to this point was pretty back-out-able. We could still retreat to the comfort of our associateships and avoid the risk associated with borrowing money and putting ourselves out there. If I'd known how challenging and draining it would be emotionally and psychologically, would I still do it again? Ask me again in a couple years, lol...
Yes, there was a little trepidation as we signed our lease, but overall, it represented the culmination of months of hoping and dreaming about a vision we had developed, and it was a GIANT step forward. It was like signing our marriage license!! As the ink sat, drying on our lease, the only thing we could think of to do was to pop open a bottle of champagne and then go get Mexican food. In other words... we celebrated!
Celebrating certainly wasn't the only option. We could have chosen panicking, but I think we were starting to discover the answer to many of our big questions. The answer was that panicking and fear hadn't helped us with anything so far, so we might as well choose the alternative. After months of waiting and planning, this was the first time that it started to seem that this WOULD happen. For a long time I had trouble believing that I/we would ever get here, but now it was REAL.
Perhaps it felt real now because signing our lease was the triggering event that would allow us to start sharing the news with everyone. I had hesitated to tell many people because I was so afraid our plans would fall through or the timeline wouldn't go as expected. I didn't want to seem foolish, telling the world that I was opening a practice and then have to go back to the drawing board and say, "Hey, I was just joking. It didn't work out." I had already had that experience with my attempt to purchase a practice, and I didn't relish the idea of living it all over again. This would mean difficult conversations like letting my employer know that I wanted to cut back and hoping I'd still have a part-time job to turn to. It would mean awkward moments like starting to promote myself on social media. It would mean facing difficult realities like the approaching plummet in my income. (Man, I'd just gotten used to feeling really comfortable. Might I advise never getting too comfortable??) And most of all, it would mean no turning back!
Either way, there we were, lease in one hand, margarita in the other. And the road ahead was full of possibility :)