One of the great privileges of my consulting work is being alongside brilliant people who work their asses off for their dreams.
Sometimes our work together is defining, building and growing those dreams. I am in awe of people sweating blood to meet expectations and deadlines and payrolls, mortgaging their futures and pushing themselves (or being pushed, I’m sure they’d tell you : ) in ways they didn’t know they were capable of.
Along those paths are many pits and trolls and dark corners and bruises. Of course, one of the things that happens at least once, and sometimes many times in an entrepreneur’s life is having to close up shop, sell or wind down a business. Because sometimes you need to see when it’s time to quit and walk away. And the people I work with who reach the end of that path do so with grit, with grace, and with integrity.
Many times over the years I have bought and sold restaurant equipment and supplies at auction or in person. When I use the things I buy, I’m mindful of the hands that have held these knives, stirred stews and sauces in these pots, begged and borrowed the money to put food on these shelves. When we work in food businesses, we step into the stream of all the people in all the history of all the world who’ve fed people for money from the beginning of time. Someone made, bought and sold those Greek amphoras, the big pots that feed hungry people in field kitchens, and the good knife that was passed on to me with love. I wonder sometimes if the people who sweat over the sinks and stoves that were once part of my shiny dreams feel their place in that stream. I hope so. And I hope they find their own shiny dreams.
Entrepreneurs, hustlers at heart, know that no ending is truly a dead end. The lessons learned, the reputations built, the professional and personal relationships go along with you, lay the rails for the next adventure. When you live and work with integrity, as my clients do without fail, there is no shame and should be no regrets.