Things get much better when we internalize 2 truths-
1. Nobody owes you anything (no, not even a thank you)
2. It is actually you who owes the world and its denizens. You take up space (physical and emotional). And you better have something good to show for it.
It is startling to read these points so close to Mother’s Day, and to realize how well they capture the gift of being a mother. Clearly, my three sons were born knowing they did not owe me anything. They learned to walk holding my hand, and I was a cheerleader in their moves towards greater independence. And the way they saw it, I was meant to be that kind of permanent and uncomplaining fixture in their lives.
Kids give you lots of opportunities to think about what you care about, what feeds your soul and what doesn’t. As a mother you let go of all but the most important pieces of your old life, and the most important pieces find a new Petri dish to flourish within. The lessons I learned from my sons helped me to get less concerned about what the world owed me and more focused on what I owed the world—and more importantly, myself. For me, poetry, writing, journaling, social justice, and meaningful work all rose to the surface. I outsourced house cleaning from the beginning of our childbearing years, recognizing that one woman cleaning house for four boys/men was a recipe for resentment.
So, though I part ways with Seth Godin a bit and believe that, like my sons, I do not owe any more than my kids do, I want to thank my amazing sons Devin, Mason, and Harte for unapologetically teaching me that my life and joy are my own responsibility. On the way to that lesson, we have laughed deeply, shared our struggles and accomplishments, and reflected on best options in each of our lives. We have also played together and watched more Sports Center than I EVER would have chosen. Being your mother has been an honor and a privilege and nothing like I thought it would be. As my own mother suggested about my siblings and me, each of you has been an exciting ride to places I would never have had a chance to go to without you. Thank you for the ways you have transformed who I am and how I live my life through travelling this road together.
Every small business owner knows the feeling of over commitment intimately. We start a small business so we can have more flexibility to be there for our friends and family, as well as an opportunity to do the work we love. It sounds so promising…
Then the reality sinks in, and our customers trust us and count on us to solve their problems. The best ones have our cell phone numbers and can call us anytime. But sometimes anytime is when we are at our son’s baseball game and he is at bat, or at a zoo field trip with our daughter’s class. You want to be available for your customers, of course. Somehow, though, commitments to the people who are always there for us get lost in the shuffle, and we never formally commit to make their events a priority in our lives.
I personally have been at important family events and watched my son roll his eyes at me when I take a call that must be answered. I have also answered a call I thought might be important and really regretted the disruption when I get stuck in a long, unnecessary conversation. I saw the disappointment in the face of my son and was missing something I value much more than my business obligation.
As an entrepreneur with little cash flow, you may think you don’t have options for support. You do, though. There are business resources right-sized for solopreneurs and small business owners.
You don’t have to do it all yourself, just because you are a small business. For example, at Just In Time Direction we offer custom phone support packages based on the needs of your business.
It is important as a business owner to continually reevaluate your business model and your life goals. Small business ownership can be a path of personal development and joy unlike any other, or, if done without reflection, can create a job situation you would never willingly accept.
The safest dreams we experience are dreams with no hope of coming true…Living with the possible takes guts. ~ Seth Godin
I received a book for Christmas this year that I love, entitled What to Do When It’s Your Turn by Seth Godin. It’s a book about living your life on your own terms, which is so inspiring. Seth Godin came up with a new term I really love–Concrete Dreams. It is one thing to daydream about leaving the job you hate, or to play “what if…” about changes you could make that you’ll never initiate. All of us have those friends that are painful to talk to because they focus on what they hate in their lives and never take the steps to do something with their frustration. They are playing it safe, collecting a paycheck, and hoping for a big payoff after years in misery.
The business owners (or aspiring business owners) we work with at Just In Time Direction are seriously considering, or have already taken a leap of faith. They have faith that the net will appear, and they will recognize it when it happens. A new business startup is full of uncertainty, and the best laid plans will no doubt morph into something unexpected. If you are game for it, you’ll be okay with that, and you’ll know the newborn business has a personality and it will get clearer as it interacts with the world. Those of us who have had a few children, know the surprise of having a second child and realizing we haven’t really broken the universal code of child-rearing. This new being is a new adventure that will have to be taken on its own terms. That is what makes being a parent so rewarding–and it is what makes launching a new business so exciting for a business owner, too.
No matter what happens with our business on the skinny branches of concrete dreams, I’ll always be delighted to have taken the leap and buried my hands in the clay of starting a business. The advisors, consultants, and small business experts that have helped us on our way have been invaluable. There is a community of us out there, and we want to help each other succeed. Every one us that lives with the possible and gives their Concrete Dreams legs, helps to forge a trail for those that follow.
If you are standing on the edge of living with the possible, we wish you every success in making the best choice and getting the guidance and support you need to fearlessly consider your options and making the best choice.