Business. It’s a roller coaster, up and down like a cork in a storm.
You lament one day: ‘There’s too much business’.
‘Whatever I do today, I know the small peak I scaled in the mountain of work will be topped by another tomorrow and the day after that.
Crying the next: ‘There’s too little business’.
‘No matter how hard I work, it’s a difficult time, people aren’t spending, people aren’t paying and the bills are mounting.’
How to ride the rollercoaster
As the digital revolution has upped the ante in all aspects of business owners’ lives, a whole new industry has spawned to teach the hapless entrepreneur how to manage the ride.
Much of this presupposes that:
• if you’re in business you know how to do business
• you’re an artful driver and an intuitive explorer
• you’re an adventurer who loves the rush, the thrust, the speed and the thrill.
You’re also equipped with a quiver of bristling skills to hit a bulls eye every time you aim for a target. All they need to do is help aim you in the right direction.
Smile: ‘It’s all just perfect’
I’ve worked my own enterprises for 36 years and roller coasted through too much business, and too little.
I’ve employed and fired, started and failed, launched and succeeded and changed directions. In the last decade like a weather vane in a hurricane.
I’ve availed myself of countless teaching resources and yet rarely, unlike Goldilocks, found the bowl of business just right.
Mostly*, the people I meet in business who share a similar experience are not rally drivers, but pedestrians. Thank Heavens for them as they bring care, nurturing and nourishment to our world.
Mostly*, the people I meet who don’t share my experience are testosterone-driven speedsters. Thank the stars for them or we may still be in mud huts.
* Theory tested and based on the experience of one. Me.
Still, in spite of a marked lack of testosterone, I’ve clung to my roller coaster and won’t be letting go any time soon. Unless I fall off and am carted away in a box.
One day, it might make me as sick as a dog and helpless to steer a course, but on another it’s exhilerating, expansive and life restoring.
I’ve learned a few things along the way that have made the ride tolerable on the days when going up and down like a yo-yo in the hands of a four year old seems beyond exhausting.
When you’re heading down and you know you have another almighty hill to climb in front of you, it’s easy to bog down in regret; if only you’d made a different decision, taken another turn, fired the bastard.
I’ve learned to be quiet in my head when this happens. I intercept the regret and hold it still. It allows me to look at it without rancour or despair. It gives me time to put it away before it rampages through my brain, tossing it around like a furious bull trying to get me the hell off its horns.
This is mindfulness.
Keep moving toward
Recently at the TEDx event at which I gave a talk, Marshall Thurber also shared the stage with his talk, Predicting the Unexpected. Marshall has been described as “an evolutionary event in our time” by Buckminster Fuller, himself a world-renowned scholar and futurist.
Founder of The Positive Deviant Network, in his talk Marshall starts with the question: ‘How many people’s lives and businesses have gone exactly to plan?’
He goes on to talk about immutable theories, eternal and predictable. Like leverage, immutable theories work throughout the universe.
Using a bumble bee, heavy with pollen and not happy with his lot as an example, he explains the immutable theory of precession. The bumble bee’s purpose is not what he thinks it is as he hops from flower to flower. Actually his true purpose is at 90 degrees. He’s cross pollinating.
So if you’re in motion, you’re in precession. That, he says, is an immutable theory, where the action happens out of the corner of your eye and at 90 degrees to your intended purpose.
‘Life’, Marshall says, ‘is not designed to work the way that you thought it should. ‘Don’t get pitiful about it,’ he suggests, just get thankful that you are awake to the theory’. ‘A goal is somewhere you’re not. That keeps you in motion’.
Marshall cites my own TEDx talk** in his as a example of precession. On my roller-coaster and in the deepest dip of my business life, I went for the millions and co-founded a charity that has changed the lives of thousands instead.
Marshall’s theory is tested. Mine, that the roller coaster is an immutable theory of business, is not yet proven.
However, much of what Marshall says in his talk resonates with my thinking that all you can do is move toward, either down the dip or up the other side.
If you are intercepted in the process, you might find yourself distracted to another path. Before long the roller ride will start again. Enjoy the ups, endure the downs but as long as you’re still moving forward, its life’s enriching ride.
** Here is the TEDx talk I gave, ‘Tell Your Story, Save a life.‘
This has been another in the blogging ride of your life, the Word Carnival. Every month this international group of dedicated small business bloggers brings you their views on another tantalising insight into the world of small business. This month, ‘Small Business Behind The Scenes.’ Don’t miss out on more wisdom that you can take with you on the ride!