“Ain’t nothin’ gonna break my stride, nobody gonna slow me down, I got to keep on movin’,” that’s a pretty accurate description about how I feel about Cookie Text right now.
Though if you know that song reference, you’ve just revealed that you are as old as I am.
For those that are unfamiliar with the lyrics, it’s a quirky tune from the ’80’s that starts with the singer dreaming about sailing to China. That part is relevant to our business as well. There were days during the past year that felt like I was on a slow boat to China.
Time for a Change
In October, when the Cookie Text business’s birthday is upon me, I always take time to think and review all that has transpired in the previous year. This time last year I was doing just that and came across a TED talk that brought about a big change in me and my business. It was a piece by spoken word poet, Sarah Kay, called “If I should have a daughter…”
In this talk, Kay speaks of what lessons she would want to share with her daughter were she to have one. Something Kay would want her daughter to know is that she won’t be able to rescue everyone. Knowing that her theoretical child will be like herself, Kay believes that the girl will want to fix things and make everything better for whomever she meets. That’s something I could relate to for sure, the drive to make everything better for everyone.
At one point, Kay explains to her daughter about days when everything goes wrong, like a day “when you step out of the phone booth and try to fly and the very people you wanna save are the ones standing on your cape.” We’ve all been there I think; we are trying to help someone but can’t because they won’t let us or they are getting in the way?
When you step out of the phone booth and try to fly and the very people you wanna save are the ones standing on your cape.
It got me to thinking. Who or what is getting in the way of CookieText soaring? What is holding the company back? What is our major road block? With all the hard work I’ve put in, what is in the way of things really taking off? What needs to change in order to really make this company a success?
The Man in the Mirror
Again and again I pondered, who is standing on my cape? For several days I came up blank. Then it occured to me, the person in closest proximity to my cape was guilty.
The person stepping on my cape was me.
Sure, from an outsiders perspective, I was working hard. I was pulling long hours, juggling work, home, and family and getting it all done. But the harsh truth was I wasn’t doing it very well and was often narrowly escaping disaster.
The reality was I was ignoring the painful truth right in front of my face: I was no longer driving the bus, I was clinging for dear life to the bumper.
I needed to change. I was my big barrier to success.
So in this past year, one day at a time, I’ve made better choices for myself, my company, and my family.
I picked up my running shoes.
I put down the beer.
I eliminated distractions and found sources of inspiration.
I read books and found mentors.
I started running a company instead of getting through the next day. I hired some people and did the gruesome task of parting ways with one. I even approached all the math that is so crucial to running a business that I had dodged for far too long.
I accepted that if Cookie Text was going to fly, I was it’s vehicle, and I needed to bring my very best self to do the job. In the past year I made every effort to do just that. I needed some work, so I took charge of me.
Just as Kay’s fictional daughter can’t save someone that is sabotaging the helper, I can’t run a successful company if I ignore it’s barriers to success. Facing the fact that I was making personal choices that were affecting my business in a negative way…let’s just say that was less than fun.
Change is hard, and the hardest part of change is the beginning. I swear in the beginning of trying to change you enter some horrible time warp where everything slows down, you can’t see any difference, and nothing will accumulate.
Then you blink, it’s suddenly October a year later, and you’ve hit a stride. All that effort, it’s so worth it. After the beginning, time flies.
I’m living a healthier, happier, more balanced life. I’ve got a great team of happy people working together at Cookie Text and things are running smoothly. I love my job, I bring my best self to work each day, and the sales are growing each month.
I’ve hit a groove, Cookie Text’s path is wide open and “ain’t nothing gonna break my stride, Nobody gonna slow me down, I got to keep on movin’…”.
“A year from now, you will wish you started today.” ~Karen Lamb