I received a surprise this week when I stopped by the post office to check Lucky Break’s mailbox. Tucked inside that petite metal cubicle was a small, nondescript box addressed to me. Tucked inside the box? A bag of dicks. No, really. A bag of gummy candy penises and an anonymous, unsigned letter inviting me to eat said bag of dicks. I exploded in laughter. So irreverent is my sense of humor that I assumed someone was yanking my chain. Actually, I called Melissa (my Operations Manager) from the post office parking lot to ask if she had done it to razz me. She hadn’t, but we both enjoyed a riotous laugh.
I mused with my husband over dinner about who might have sent it. I fielded an onslaught of inappropriate jokes from my two teenage girls, who were (unsurprisingly) amused by phallic gummy candy. I decided to ask my friend Google about how one sends anonymous erotic gummy candy. And that’s when I finally understood: there’s a recently launched website dedicated to the anonymous sending of hateful penis gummies. For $15 and 10 minutes of your life, you, too, can reach out and touch someone… anonymously.
I sat quietly for a few minutes. Call me naively optimistic, but I really hadn’t considered that someone was trying to be cruel. Who had sent it? Why had they sent it? Who had I wronged so badly that they had thought sending me a package of gelatinous genitalia was a good idea? This isn’t the first time someone has taken a swipe at me or my business. I know all too well that being in business is hard and not everyone will love what you do. And still, this was surprising.
So here’s the rub: I’m not perfect. In fact, I’m fantastically imperfect. I’m prone to being impulsive. I often can’t see the forest for the trees. My bullshit meter is permanently set on “negative four.” I hate to exercise and I can eat an entire box of Thin Mints in a single sitting. I’m not proud, but those little wafers are damn good…
If my entrepreneurial journey has taught me anything, it’s taught me this: when you rock the boat, people strap on their life vests and start looking for the wave-maker. And I’m nothing if not a wave-maker. Perhaps I took an unpopular stance on an issue. Maybe I boogied too closely into someone else’s dance space. Who knows? Perhaps I failed to recognize an opportunity to help someone or said something that offended. There are a myriad of possibilities, I suppose, but I’ll never have the opportunity to learn from the experience or apologize because the person that sent the gummy-dicks stayed in the shadows, anonymous.
Starting a business and being a leader is a lot like strapping a lightning rod to your head and running around in a thunderstorm. Sooner or later, you’ll be struck. Add in the possibility of allowing the Universe to strike anonymously and the temptation is often too much to resist. The lure of anonymity is so seductive- we can take that swipe and marinate in self-righteous satisfaction without ever having to own our actions or confront that which offends/ scares/ challenges us.
But each of us has a choice about what to do with the energy that we generate and have transferred to us each day. I would venture that whomever sent this energy my way could have used it more wisely: either by investing it in their business or their family or by sending me a sincere email about how I’ve fumbled. But now that the energy is here, I have the power to decide what to do with it. I could lay in bed tonight, my head full of racing, accusatory thoughts as I replay various scenarios in my head. But that wouldn’t be the best use of the energy, either.
My default reaction is always to pick up that gummy-bear grenade and toss it back doubly hard, but I’m slowly training myself to respond with intention rather than reaction. It’s an uphill battle, but I do have my hiking boots on. I vowed a long time ago not to live a life of complacency and stagnation. And while stepping out and living with passion invites criticism, I’ve stocked my dresser with Big Girl Panties and my kitchen cabinets with wine.
If I’ve offended you, let’s talk about it. I’m not flawless or invincible. My email address is simply my first name + @luckybreakconsulting.com. Send me a missive… I promise to read it, meditate upon it and answer with my most honest thoughts. And if you can’t summon the courage to do anything but send me food, then let’s up your game and send me the good stuff, shall we? A few of my favorites…
Each of us has a choice: when someone lobs a grenade your way, how do you react? If you’ve been on the receiving end of anonymous or internet hate, I’d be honored if you shared the story in the comments. There’s power in talking about it and wisdom to be gleaned from it. So, what’s your story?