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It’s been almost 2 years since I set down to write anything for World Wide Women Group. Excuse me if I’m a little rusty, lol. My writing over the past two years has been limited to reports, dissertation preparation, and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data- such joy (in the most sarcastic tone ever). To be completely honest pursing my PhD has been the perfect excuse for me to BS and suppress my need to write. Had I taken the time to write, I would have realized that a relationship I invested so much into emotionally, financially, physically, and mentally was failing. And death was near.

*Turns on The Internet Pandora station- Get Away is playing,  puts in headphones, exhales and…*

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It was the summer of 2015 right after the 2nd Return to Royalty Weekend when I began to resent WWW Group. It was sucking me dry literally. I felt I was putting so much into this thing, I thought was my dream and my purpose and I was getting nothing in return. I was so pissed off about all that the weekend had brought to light. I saw division, hate, jealousy, cattiness, lack of support, messiness, chaos all the things I thought I would never experience again. I saw all of this at the Rally which was the exact event created to unify women, spread love, and support. I remember the moment I planned my escape. I had left the gifts at home (30 minutes away) for the first place winners. I told my mom I had to go home and get the gifts. She wouldn’t let me go. Instead she and my stepdad took the 45 minute ride (they didn’t have an EZpass) to get the purses from my house. I stood there in the middle of the field and I felt as if I was having an outer body experience. I could see all this craziness happening around me. I saw a few people I asked to be a part of this event turn into  pre-Madonna’s right before my eyes. Yet I still smiled and accommodated their many requests. I saw many of my volunteers becoming preoccupied with activities completely unrelated to the tasks at hand and I saw how many of our vendors and guests were left unattended to. I wanted to scream. Now there were good parts of this event, our contenders enjoyed themselves thoroughly but I couldn’t completely accept that in the moment, I was too angry. Maybe 5 minutes before it ended I shared this special moment with Princess DeOWNa. We cried together, because we knew what the completion of that day had meant, as I was in such a bad space emotionally and mentally. But she whispered in my ear and said, “I promise Elle if you don’t give up we can do this again next year and you won’t go through any of the things you had to experience. We can do this.”  And I believed her. So I pulled myself together got on the stage and thanked everyone who came out in the nasty rain and stayed to the end of the event. I then said the craziest thing and I remember the gazes and shocked facial expressions that came from my team when I said, “We hope to see you again next year!” WTF.

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That was August 2015. I did nothing again until December 2015. I was excited because we started to plan for 2016. We had great creative sessions and we had a list of great things we were going to do. Then it was time for the first event the “Kinks and Curls” panel. I stepped back and let my team take on this event I showed up literally 5 minutes before it started and I was underwhelmed. I felt so bad when finding out that my event coordinator had to do everything on her own. So bad that I didn’t even speak at the end of the event. I was so upset that once again I didn’t listen to my intuition and provide a level of support I felt was needed. I am sure the people who came enjoyed themselves but behind the scenes it was complete hell.  So I began to rethink all these cute events we had planned and I said no! Cancel! Cancel! Cancel! And I went back to the drawing board and thought about what else we could do, so we started the Influenc-HER Profile Series, and that felt good. We began to interview all of these amazing women who were flourishing in their careers and their stories were so motivating. It was everything that we stood for.

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Then it was time for the 3rd Annual Return to Royalty weekend. The pressure, the lack of attachment was felt. I was sitting on the floor having a conversation with my husband and I remember saying I refuse for what happened last year to happen again. I am not putting all of this energy and money into something that does not reap a harvest. I’m tired. And he asked me the toughest question ever. “What changed?” There was a time when I would stay up all night not caring about losing sleep or burning my candle at both ends. I thrived off of the pure excitement of watching my visions coming to life.

But my dream had become a burden, and I was no longer in love.

I had my hand in so many things and I was helping so many others but I wasn’t nourishing this relationship that had been my first love. I loved her before she was fully developed. She was with me before I began dating my husband. I let life and all these cool ideas I wanted to pursue and work and people push us further and further apart. Until I didn’t have anything left to give. I had to make the decision to let it go completely or give it another chance.

So I gave it another chance. The 3rd Return to Royalty Rally turned about to be the best one ever. It was because of the effort I put in it because things had to change. I had to believe in WWW Group as much as God believed in me. And it was everything I dreamed it would be.

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I couldn’t return to business as usual, after that weekend. WWW Group had to be completely different and embody all the things I envisioned it would be. I got so caught up in what everyone else thought it should look like that I forgot what I wanted. Like most relationships, the grass looked greener on other sides and I wanted WWW Group to look like the green I had been exposed to. But how crazy was that idea? I’ve never wanted to mimic someone else’s uniqueness and there was no need to start now.  I felt smothered and everything felt dark and heavy so I said, “it needs to be lighter and airy.” My fair brand mother delivered just that. She took all of the components that make up WWW Group and created one unifying W. I then begin stripping away initiatives and adding others so that they all embodied what I wanted to say to the world. What I believe God wants me to say to the world, and I plan to do just that and run this world.

Many people will say that the mixture of business and emotions is the reason why many businesses fail. I get it, I do. But I disagree. When your business is the reason you exist- your purpose, it will be impossible to draw the lines. Unless you hate why you exist, but that’s another blog for another day.

-Elle Harris