The Bitch Slap: So What’s Next?

what's next bitch slapYou keep your head down and you hustle and hustle, and you wake up one day and wonder: How did I get here?

~Queen Latifah

Fuck you. I started the post with a Queen Latifah quote. If the word “fuck” bothers you, I guess that’s two things that might make you bounce. But you might stick around.

Things could get exciting.

I’m kind of an asshole to myself. I never take vacation. I work more hours than I should. I spend money I shouldn’t. I make excuses more often than take adventures. I feel overwhelmed the minute Monday pulls into sight. I should visit my family more often. I sometimes walk by trash on hiking trails and don’t pick it up and then feel guilty about it for the next 15 minutes.

Maybe some of that sounds familiar to you.

But I’m getting better. This past weekend, I blazed home to Denver from Seattle, did a miraculous 3.5 hour turnaround and found myself off to Aspen for a 3-day holiday weekend. I rarely pulled my phone out. My laptop was left at home. And my life wasn’t any worse for it. To be completely frank about the entire weekend, I had more fun than I’ve allowed myself in quite some time and laughed about and at things that should never (ever) be repeated (to anyone). Not only did I go to a Kid Rock concert, I got shushed at a motherfucking Kid Rock concert.


Seriously. <insert epic win HERE>

But when Sunday post-breakfast rolled around, I found myself not just hating getting back in the car and driving back home. I felt like I had to leave a little bit of myself in Aspen in order to make coming back to LAWNi (Life As We Know It — I keep the “i” small so I feel trendy) tolerable. Something was nagging at me. It was beyond having to go home. It was just a peculiar feeling that there was trouble in beyond.

The whole way home, I was asking myself a simple question: So, what’s next?

Here is where we’ll begin the slapping. (But first, a picture.)

Back to slapping.

I spent nearly three days this weekend devoid of that wretchedly beautiful question: So, what’s next? It didn’t impede my fun, any of the smiles that crept across my face, meeting new people, and simply spending time.

Spending time…when’s the last time you did that? I don’t know about you, but the modifier in front of my instances of time generally run the gamut from wasting and losing to sucking. It was simply delightful to spend time for a change, as if I’d spent my life socking it away into some mythical bank and this weekend in Aspen was my Time ATM machine — without the annoying as piss daily limit.

All the way home, it was as if I was staring at a haphazard pile of Time ATM receipts and the only logical question was: So, what’s next?

It had nothing to do with my companion for the weekend, whom I’d clone and market on eBay should shit like that be possible. Granted, I’d change his hair color and maybe a few defining physical traits just so I could (1) tell the Real McCoy and the Clonepanion apart, and (2) stage a snark-off where they would all compete with the original and I could tell who won. I’d crush the line at the Vegas sportsbooks and walk away not just richer, but with a hot, astonishingly bright, and delightfully snarky guy to boot. But I digress.

My what’s next pondering had everything to do with everything I’ve been doing professionally and dreading the answer to what’s really next. What I’ve created, scheduled, sought out left me with a twist in my stomach indicating that it’s not aligned for fuckall with what I’ve envisioned, pondered, and dreamt.

It’s the hustle — what leaves me staring at an imaginary pile of Time ATM receipts and hoping I’m not going to waste what’s left in the bank in the days that follow.

We hustle and hustle…but sometimes we get lost in it and we wake up one day wondering, “How did I get here?”

But there are two versions of the So, what’s next? ask — and one’s better than the other, methinks.

Version #1: So, What’s Next?

Translation: I’m going to overthink this like the first time I dry humped a boy/girl in the back seat of a car. It’s not enough to think about it — I’m going to go all the way and make shit up that’s not even there. I’m not going to pull an amateur move and worry about shit that’s real. Nope. I’m going to worry about next level kind of shit — shit that hasn’t even happened/will never happen/would have a higher likelihood of happening to a character in Arrested Development than it would me. I am going to rub myself up against it and get absolutely no satisfaction (ever) and just waste my time and everyone else’s bitching about the chaffing on my inner thigh.

Version #2: So, What’s Next?

Translation: I’m curious and thinking about the future — how I feel about where my life is and where it’s going. Do I have the tools I need to get shit done? Am I following the right building schematics? Am I trying to build a Trojan Horse and my shit’s looking more like a swing set? But most importantly, am I being honest with myself? Honesty. It always comes down to fucking honesty, doesn’t it? Do I look in the mirror and like what I’m seeing? Do I look in the rear view mirror and feel fear for what I can’t seem to shake? I know what I want. I know what I’m doing. Do they match up? If so – what’s next is finding more. If not, what’s next is jumping this boxcar off its janky tracks and building a route to Anywhere But Here.

The ride home Saturday was Version #2. So much to smile about…being shushed at a Kid Rock concert, “hillbilly gay,” staying up past my bedtime (can you say 3-4am?), waking up when we got around to waking up…but you don’t need to know about any of that.

But I was wondering what’s next?

So today, take a look at what you’re building and ask yourself the #2 version of So, what’s next? The #1 version isn’t going to get you anything but restraining orders and a hangover. And if you’re in the process of wasting your time on the #1 version, stop it. Just fucking stop it, for all that is right and holy in the world because nothing is more annoying than listening to someone who thinks ruminating is an Olympic sport and training for 2016 gold. Asking isn’t a bad thing, either. In my case, it’s not a statement of depression, frustration, or sadness — rather, it’s me knowing that something isn’t sitting right and I need to get it right.

It’s time to gear-up to slap yourself. To make the self-slappage easy, I’ve even made a list of question to ask — many of which I’ve been pondering since Monday afternoon as well.

  1. When I look at my schedule, who owns it — me or some monster I’ve created?
  2. Is the time I’m taking to do everything IN my calendar worth the dollars I’m getting paid for it?
  3. Am I running a business or a free clinic?
  4. With whom do I work that I’d like to work more?
  5. With whom do I work that I need to work less with/for?
  6. If there are things on my calendar a month from now, do I look at them and they excite me?
  7. Is everything in motion with my business creating the right kind of motion — or is it just making me so fucking dizzy that I don’t know where to look when I stand up?
  8. Am I doing what I love?
  9. Am I doing what I love for the right people?
  10. Did I leave the iron on?
Simple questions, perhaps — but much like knowing what scares us, asking them time and again keeps us from becoming complacent. Questions like these keep us honest with the only person who matters: ourselves.
And it’s tough – fuck if I don’t know it’s tough – to keep asking yourself questions. This weekend, I was with someone who asked me a metric ass ton of questions. It reminded me that I should ask myself questions more often.
So, what’s next, friends? It’s blissful to turn that annoyingly gorgeous question off for a bit and find yourself spending time, but without the questions, we become complacent and can only become content (and stay that way) if we trust that the track we’re following is the right one. Maybe it’s only right for today. The next two weeks. But who knows — the train might need derailing. And it might be on a right-as-rain course for the duration of your lifetime.
You’ll never know until you ask. So ask already.
You’ve been slapped.


23 replies
  1. Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef
    Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef says:

    Those are 10 powerful questions, my friend. Thanks for sharing ’em. (And I’m pretty sure I did NOT leave the iron on as I usually only touch that horrible beast once each year before attending some official ceremony or other high-brow event). But the other questions? I’m sitting with those today, for sure.

  2. Jason Ramsey
    Jason Ramsey says:

    first off, if you were doing something that got you shushed at a Kid Rock concert, I’d pay to see that. Secondly, you post was spot on. It’s a weekly struggle for me to answer those questions, and you can’t ever sleep on them or forget about them or you won’t be happy. THanks for the reminder.

  3. SL Clark
    SL Clark says:

    For 23 days in a row, my subconscious woke this dead ass up at 2:00 AM. On a few occasions, I was “lucky” enough to fall back asleep within a few hours. If only the sleepless nightmare would end, , ,

    After two recent spectacular failures & several older ones, the damning questions of “why did they fail” and “what’s next” kept at me. The train is now right as rain and accelerating properly. Lest I never sleep again, I’ll ask *consciously* more often. One thing is certain, I have NO IDEA how to get “shushed” at a Kid Rock concert, but I won’t lose any sleep over it.

  4. Shalagh Hogan
    Shalagh Hogan says:

    So proud you took the time, applied faith, and saw the difference. Both with your goal setting (as they exist to serve you and not you them) and your long overdue question asking company. I dare say, you’ve graduated. A toast to less anxiety for all.

  5. Shelly Cone
    Shelly Cone says:

    Yes, yes, fucking yes. That wasn’t an orgasm, just so glad to see someone nail that question. It’s not the question it’s how you ask it that can make a difference in your life.

  6. Rich Bonn
    Rich Bonn says:

    I always love what you have to write.. the language is a bit salty for my taste, but the message is always RIGHT ON. I love questions. They are the best way to learn and move forward.

  7. Bill Dorman
    Bill Dorman says:

    See, asking all those questions only keeps you up at night… it a bad thing I sleep like a baby? Should I be more curious……….

    Good for you on the blow-out, totally unplugged weekend. Wherever your restless soul takes you, I’m sure it will still be taking you forward; good luck on your journey.

  8. James Taylor
    James Taylor says:

    You made me read this thing three times Erika! I kind of hate those moments when the question smacks you unexpectedly. Your post was timely, I’ve been stuck for awhile and my entreprenuer has been struggling with wanting to be uncaged, but being unispired. I definitely think getting out in the world will frees up the “move forward” muscles in your head.

      • James Taylor
        James Taylor says:

        My vote would be for you to assemble the bad-ass mentorish people in one place and invite people to come tear it up for a weekend. Maybe like a TED, but directed at moving people down their own roads. Tough talk and cookies maybe?

  9. IrreverentSalesGirl
    IrreverentSalesGirl says:

    Your latest bitch slap is EXACTLY where I am.

    “Now, if Erika would just take on the world of sales, I could
    sit back and have a margarita and get on with my selling career……”

    And then it happened. YES. It was there all the time.

    I am about SALES GODDAMMIT! I am about doing it newly with
    style, and balls, and passion, and…well, dignity.

    I am about the sales person who is AWESOME getting to six figures a year
    reliably (from there, they are on their own).

    Is there a market for it? We’ll see. Unlikely that there is a market with what
    I am going to say, but who cares? It needs to be said. EVERYTHING I have to say
    about sales NEEDS to be said. DESPERATELY.

    Gloves are off.

    Glad you are sharing your journey. HELL, I spent my weekend in
    bed (no more about that) and watching incessant sessions of Sex and the City…watching
    my dreams piffle like magic paper in a magicians hands. Wondering…what the _____ am I doing with The Irreverent Sales Girl?
    I AM NOT ABOUT “SUCCESS”…. (yes’m an ellipsis with FOUR DOTS – got something to say about it?)
    am about AWESOME SALES…and most EVERYONE has no clue what that is. But,
    they are about to find out. David Sandler, you will be proud.


    The Irreverent Sales

    Bringing a Dash of Dignity to the Art of


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