The June 2014 issue of Inc. – The Art of the Pivot – is making me feel empowered. My new shop, the BENCH salon & gifts, is just part of my goal to commit to continuous improvement, something every business owner understands.
My friend Millie Hilgert, a.k.a. Miss Courageous, started an Etsy store years ago, became the darling of Boise’s Saturday market, helped start a store with many members, decided to create her own small shop and then recently moved and restructured that. She knows what it is to pivot.
Another friend owns a small coffee shop. While I have to keep her plans more on the down-low, she has been working on an expansion and possibly a mobile business. With food trucks as popular as they are, her plans sound like the best kind of pivot!
Randy Sandknop started as a client and quickly became a close friend. Recently retired, she is taking her Practice Happiness idea and morphing it from part-time to big time, sharing her life and her photography (see The Story In Your Face). Major pivot!
I’m watching friends change careers, buy franchises, and graduate from college in their 40s and 50s. While many whine about life, these people are inspiring others to make huge changes.
It’s all about reinvention.
After an unsuccessful lunch in which I spent a lot of time on my phone either texting or talking (I made the bad decision to send out out a group text – times ten), Pooka and I decided to do some thrifting. She’s collecting marbles and I need display ideas for the new shop, so we decided to go to Antique World Mall. We spent two hours there and still only walked the edges!
I know it’s a totally overused phrase, but I like it. When I did my only marathon in 2010, I finished because I kept putting one foot in front of the other. In life we do the same. Some days we shuffle along, feeling like we’re not contributing; other days we’re world changers who sprint from achievement to achievement. Either way, we keep progressing.
At the end of the day, I examine every moment, dissecting it for lessons. It’s what I’ve done for decades. It’s why I often can’t sleep. It can be heavy, but I do it hoping to avoid that heaviness in the future. Today, for example, someone told me my biggest flaw is that I’m a “people pleaser” and “an enabler.” Sigh. I know I like to be liked, but hearing the E word over and over gets tiring. Besides, I think I’m more of a live-your-life-as-you-want-to-until-it-affects-my-life-too-much-er. Er.
Maire has a fabulous explanation for this flaw. Allow me to paraphrase:
Basically, when you’re a kid, you look around and that’s your normal. As an adult, you use that normal to create your life. When your childhood normal involves dealing with two schizophrenics, your adulthood normal is, um, abnormal. You let people in that shouldn’t really be there, because you’re used to dealing with hot messes.
When Maire explains things to me, even things I think I’m “getting,” the light bulb always burns a bit brighter.
My friend Mike, who passed away three years ago, had his own way of telling it. I used to co-host his political radio show and one day he told me I could rule the world if I could just develop a sense of entitlement. For some reason, to me, entitlement always sounds negative. Why is that? Shouldn’t we all believe that we’re worthy of great things? Shouldn’t we expect that life will only get better?
And, you know what? It does get better. The same year I finished that marathon, I made a lot of other decisions that have led me to the present. I created a sort of pre-40 bucket list and I achieved a lot in the last five years.
I changed my life. It’s so very different than it was in 2010, when I was in an unhappy marriage, struggling to pay bills and trying very hard to provide my precocious daughter with the best education and life experiences. I cried almost every day. I knew I wanted better for Pooka and me. Back then I literally fell forward several times per week as I trained for 26.2. Something in that falling over and over made me strong enough to make some dramatic changes.
Now it’s time to make another 5-year plan.
In a few weeks, I’ll be moving and changing my business. Illuminate is officially no more, leaving room for the BENCH salon & gifts. I’m changing a few things, creating a store along with the salon and making room for kids to have their own space while their parents are in my chair. I’m looking forward to it. Funny how the days are going by slower the more excited I get. It’s like being a little kid staring at the presents under the tree on December 18th.
Yesterday I crawled, today I plodded, tomorrow I’ll run and when I stumble, I’ll just make sure I fall forward. And I have plenty of people offering me hands and piggyback rides.
Today I got to see what it’s like to have that. The Husband Guy talked when I couldn’t. He made sure that I was safe when I felt weak. When I reached out to my friends to support me, they did. By the dozens.
Out of the chaos of the past few weeks, I am finding peace and opportunity. So much opportunity! Bad things will happen. It’s what we create from those events that make us who we are. My good friend posted about how the same water that makes a potato soft will harden an egg. It all has to do with what we’re made of.
Luckily, even when I don’t feel so strong, I have many that want to build me up and support me. I am the luckiest woman.