Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Show Your Real: Allie

Sometimes when I hang out with awesome people, I find myself hoping that maybe, just maybe, I'll soak up some of their cool. Like hipster osmosis. Or maybe I can just catch some of the talent runoff. Or possibly be considered by someone as cool by association. It doesn't really work. But it doesn't stop me from trying!

So I'm excited to be connected in any way with today's guest writer; Allie is about as cool as they come. She's about a million things I'm not (tiny, adorable in hats, self-employed...) and another million things I am- but better (designer, blogger, photographer). I maybe don't love the twinges of jealousy I have of her glam life, but I do love how she's always inspiring me, and knowing no matter how big a rock star she is, she's still humble to her core, passionate about loving people well, and a constant encourager of those around her. We'd be lucky to absorb even a little bit of that spirit.
I love keeping it real. Unless someone shows up at my house unexpectedly and I haven't cleaned in three weeks (which is all the time). I literally have said, "No you can't come in right now. My entire house is a disaster." I remember my friend looking at me, giggling as she tried to bypass my arm. She soon learned that I was 100% serious and a little part of me died in embarrassment. Just keeping it real, I suppose. 

Now that you know that about me, I should probably introduce myself. My name is Allie Lehman. I'm 27, married and I own a couple of businesses. I love working for myself but over the past two years, my real has felt surreal. My highs have felt quite high but my lows have felt pretty dark. 

Most people say that owning your own business is "so freeing." It's extremely true but they don't tell you how isolating it can be. You convince yourself that 14-16 hour workdays are normal and that you couldn't possibly spend an evening just relaxing. If you work more hours, you'll make more money! Work harder!

I can attest to the fact that if you believe these things and accept them as truth - you will find yourself without friends, quite stressed and pretty sad. I didn't understand that I was at this point until I reunited with one of my best friends in NYC. We spent the day at the park in Brooklyn catching up and I was actually being my old self. My husband (who's also my business partner) looked at me at the end of the day, shocked by my carefree spirit. I cried on the plane ride home because I knew that (besides my husband and my brother) I didn't really have any friends back home. 

To be fair, I did have friends but by that point I had been such a lousy friend that I didn't believe that any of them would have any interest in sticking around. Thank goodness I was wrong. As soon as the plane's wheels hit the ground, I promised myself that I would be the friend I wanted...NEEDED. It had to start with me being less selfish and embracing vulnerability. 

Over the past few months, I've been so blessed by my friends. The smallest things like texting all day about goofy things instead of burying my head in work brighten my week. Booking trips to see the ones who live too far and sending care packages enrich my life. I know that only 8-10 months ago, I would have seen those things as distracting. I want to go back in time and hug that version of myself. Because that's honestly all I really was looking for. Nobody talks about this part of entrepreneurship but I hope to continue to help people realize that they're not alone. 

PS: If I want to get more real, I can NEVER spell "entrepreneur." Ever. Thank goodness for autocorrect. 

Show Your Real is a series of guest posts centered around the concept of authenticity. The goal is to encourage each other to expose the reality of our lives- good and bad- and to foster a sense of community that goes beyond the often surface-y interactions of social media. We invite all of you to participate! Please comment, link, and hashtag to spread the #showyourreal love. If you would like to contribute a guest post in this series, please email me (cjsbowden at gmail dot com).


  1. Allie, thanks so much for being willing to share this part of the struggle of entrepreneurship (sp?!). I'm glad that the changes you've made have brought you so much happiness -- though do you feel at all like your work has suffered for it? How have you worked through those feelings, if so?

    1. Hi Michele! Thanks for readying! I commented once but I think I did it wrong so I apologize if it shows up twice :) I haven't seen my work suffer, actually. I honestly believe that if you surround yourself with love/support, anything that's inauthentic becomes way more obvious. I've been able to bow out of bad partnerships/clients and actually have made the most money since owning my own business.

  2. thanks for sharing your real with us, Allie! many blessings!