(disclaimer: this is not a blog about cooking a turkey!)
Have you ever heard the expression, “The days are long, but the years are short,”? It’s true of parenthood, and also of running a business. Sometimes I blink and a month has gone by! When you’re juggling work, dinner, the kids’ soccer practices, the dog, the laundry, the bills and the raking those endless piles of leaves, it’s easy to get mired in the day-to-day and forget all about your big picture goals.
I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who practice self-reflection and regularly takes a step back to reflect on my big picture goals. And, since it’s nearly Thanksgiving, this seemed as good a time as any. This is rough, but here goes:
Who I Was
When I first started Listed Treasures, I would often act hastily, making rash decisions that were based on emotion, rather than facts. I once sent an angry email when I thought I had gotten ripped off by a friend. Instead of taking the time to understand the numbers better, I just reacted. I assumed the worst of my friend, and I hurt her. I regret that.
Why was I so quick to judge and so knee-jerk in my responses? Did I think I needed to have all the answers right there on the spot? Was I afraid that I’d appear unprepared or unqualified if I didn’t react immediately? And why did I think she would take advantage of me? I know now that behaving so rashly limited my success. I’ve realized it takes both confidence and humility to respond to someone upsetting you with, “You’ve given me a lot to think about.” Even saying a simple, “Hmm. I’m not sure about that yet,” can be an appropriate and diffusing response. Getting the last word in is only necessary in a hip hop battle.
It wasn’t until I released control and began to trust people that real growth (and success) truly began. And when I say “real growth” I’m talking about my company growing, my family growing and, most importantly, my sense of my own potential expanding. It’s a big step, but important step to learn to delegate and to allow people to help you.
Who I Am Now & Where I’m Going
Confidence is a tricky thing. It’s the thing you need most to succeed, and yet, you can only really learn about it through failure. I learned to take my time, listen carefully, and wait until I have all the information before I respond. That’s growth! (Or basic adulthood?)
My big picture goals now involve scaling up Listed Treasures to be able to serve more clients more efficiently. We’ll keep the same business model, but grow it exponentially. This is a scary amount of growth! I know it’s the right direction, but I wonder how I’m going to “get it all done”.
How Am I Going To Get It All Done? could be the title of my memoir. The thing is, though, from all my life’s gaffs and blunders, I now know exactly how I’m going to get it all done. The only way I’ll achieve my goals is to lean on the talented people I’ve hired. And not only that, I have to get out of their way so they can perform. That means letting go, trusting, and placing my confidence in them. My team regularly provides encouragement, calls me out when needed, and ensures I “pace” my dreams with what’s realistic. It’s only fitting that I do the same for them.
Now I call my team and tell them how thankful I am for them. I infuse my work and home life with the question: what kind of neighbor, friend, parent, daughter or boss do I want to be? I focus on being a leader, and telling everyone, and not just on Thanksgiving, how grateful I am for the opportunity to learn from them.