It's been almost fifteen years since our family closed the door on a grand and expensive experiment in owning a restaurant (and in the closing threw some awesome people out of work at a really bad time). This time of year reminds me of that experience, and I take note of the water under that particular bridge.
To those who are facing a new year dusting themselves off, starting on paths of un-dreamed-of (and super-scary) freedom or are tethered to work or projects that are terrifying, or are threatening to drown them, I’m here to tell you it gets better.
You can come out on the other side of disaster with gifts you haven’t even dreamed of.
I hesitate to call this ‘advice’, but I’ve learned some stuff from my own experience, and from my work with clients in the years since. Hope it helps.
Only gamble what you can afford to lose. Do plenty of brainstorming about the the very real potential for losing more than you can imagine.
Plan for success as well as for failure. Just because you don’t want to imagine it doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Planning for anything makes you ready for anything. Success that doesn’t look like what you dreamed of can be as scary as facing failure.
Find your network, your tribe, your safety net, your community. Be present there and be willing to ask for help, and to give what you can.
Make time to rest and play, and be well. Just do. Only you can prioritize this for yourself, and if you don’t, nothing else will work or feel good, in the end.
Make time to love the people with whom you borrow and dream and work above all. Money can be replaced, friends cannot.
Take as good care of the people who scrub your floors as the bank president you hope will make you that bridge loan. They are both keepers of your good name, but only one will bear-hug you in the bar years later.
Work as much ON your business as IN your business. That includes working on YOU. As my friend JC said one time as he tripped in the door in a hurry, “My toolbelt is all tangled up in my briefcase!” Rueful laughter ensued at the hackneyed but so-true metaphor.
Figure out what you don’t yet know or will never love doing. Be brutally honest, and then study, hire or contract for that, but don’t ignore it. Tiny cracks become yawning chasms and screaming emergencies. I promise this is true. Look carefully and often for your knowledge gaps.
Go outside and look at the sky, and notice that faraway shit. Often. Keep perspective, little speck.
These pictures were taken 24 hours apart from the very same spot.
In the first, the pier was rocking, the waves lapped our feet, and the wind almost blew us over.
As it goes with our planet, it can go with you.