kendi and bryan’s dream report: week six

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Be The Business Owner You Want to Be


You might remember the above print ad from American Express. It came out about 3-4 years ago. That’s Tina Fey, sitting scared underneath her desk, underneath her mess with her daughter, half-clothed in the midst of it all. Why of all of the thousands of ads I’ve seen in those past 4 years did this one stick with me? Because one day while perusing through magazines with my mom, she lovingly laughed, pointed to the article and said “This will be you someday. I can’t wait.” Now my mom did not mean this as offensive. In fact, at the time I took this as a compliment. That would be me as a mom some day, I said to myself with a laugh.

Fast forward to two weeks ago. I’m tired, my brain is tired. I can’t move and I can’t think. We’ve got laundry coming out of our ears, my desk looks like I work at a paper factory and we don’t even have a working printer so tell me how that is possible. I kept escaping to the nearest coffee shop to work. I didn’t want to be in my house anymore. I had turned into Tina Fey. Ok — I had turned into the Tina Fey in the ad. Do you really think I’d be writing this post if I’d turned into the real Tina Fey? Uh no.

I’d had it with myself by the end of that week. I woke up that Saturday morning and I started to clean. Bryan looked at me and he knew I was a woman possessed. He stayed out of my way and vacuumed whenever I silently pointed to an area and grunted. Not only was I cleaning our house, I was cleaning our house out. I cleaned out cabinets, drawers, bookshelves. Anything that had creeped in while I wasn’t looking and blocked the way of my thinking got tossed. I tossed many forgotten treasures into a box and drove 30-to-nothing to my local Salvation Army and said goodbye forever. (Included in this box was a tea pot set, mismatched vases, ugly pillows and an extra copy of “Drop Dead Gorgeous.” Don’t ask.)  By the end of that day, I was exhausted, but as I looked around at my calmed down surroundings, I was back home.
My natural tendency is to be messy. But regardless of my habits, I can’t stand to live in mess. I can’t work in clutter, I can’t work in chaos. Most importantly, I can’t start a business with these life habits. If I can’t keep my life in order, then how can I ask someone to let me keep theirs in order? I had to look at my home as if it were my business headquarters, because that’s what it is. I asked myself “if you walked into this business right now, would you hire them?” The answer was no. I rejected my own business! But the truth is I CAN keep my business in order, I CAN keep our clients business in order, I just wasn’t doing it.

I ran across a similar theory in the book The E-Myth Revisited (a book Jess has talked about before). Here’s the part that gets me:

“Your business is nothing more than a distinct reflection of who you are. If your thinking is sloppy, your business will be sloppy. If you are disorganized, your business will be disorganized.”

I can not expect to be the business owner I want to be until I change. My business will look like whatever I want it to look like, because I write the script, I make the story. If I don’t like where the story is going, I can change it. That’s the beauty of a small business, heck of life. If you don’t like something, change it. I was done with being messy, so I changed. If this is the way I want to run my business, this is the way I must live my life.
It’s been a week since the small but significant overhaul. Our house is still clean and clutter free. My brain is free to work again on our business. All week I’ve worked perfectly in my clean space. Who knows? I might even look into Feng Shu next week. And someone, somewhere is hopefully enjoying our extra copy of “Drop Dead Gorgeous” while sipping tea out of a polka dotted tea set.

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  1. kelsey

    Great post once again, Kendi. I am a fairly messy person as well, and I definitely have my mini freak-outs like you did when I clean on a rampage. Here’s to keeping our houses clutter-free!

  2. Britt

    “Your business is nothing more than a distinct reflection of who you are. If your thinking is sloppy, your business will be sloppy. If you are disorganized, your business will be disorganized.”

    Very good point. For some people, this is a personality thing and can’t be changed. But I think if you realize your weaknesses and delegate to someone who is strong in that area, then your business can be successful. Unfortunately, some never realize their weakness or want to give responsibility to others.

  3. I’m cracking up because this sounds just like my morning! I’m preparing for a big two day trunk show and my apartment looks like it’s exploding with gemstones, metals, gift boxes, etc… The first thing I did when I woke up this morning was start cleaning. I’m still tidying- this is my break 😉 Reading this just gave me motivation to keep on cleaning! Here goes…

  4. I have so been there…time and time again. Somehow the stuff keeps on accumulating.

  5. Anja

    I can so see myself in your post, Kendi!! even though my thesis is not a new business, it basically is supposed to level the way for my future and currently it is my full-time job as well as my biggest time consumer.

    Just recently, I had a similar reaction and just kicked out everything that came into my view. Now my flat is clean as it could get and studies seem so much easier.

  6. This is such a great post. I can totally relate. I love the quote about how your business reflects who you are. It is something all business owners should take to heart. I really need to clean my condo this weekend 🙂 It must have been such a good feeling for you!

  7. Jill

    great post… many days I feel like that Tina Fey picture too. 🙂 The joys of motherhood…

  8. Gina

    Great points. I am messy by nature, but when my house is a mess I cannot work. I cannot concentrate.
    Last week, I did the same thing – and ended up with a car load of junk for Goodwill. Too much stuff!

    Having less, but more important, items really helps me to stay organized and clutter free…which is hard when clutter is so natural to me!

  9. Kelley

    Love it. Great job on tackling the clutter and the mess! I always feel more creative and productive when I have a clean, clear desk in front of me.

  10. Leili

    You go, Kendi! I’m a big fan of clutter-purging. You said anything that “blocked the way of my thinking got tossed” — good for you. I find so often that physical junk gets in the way of mental/emotional clarity…or perhaps it’s a symptom of mental fuzziness adding up.

    I’ve enjoyed reading your dream reports. Looking forward to your upcoming remix!

  11. Last year I got to work on some decorating projects for creatives starting their own businesses (whether or not they were full-time). The first thing I had each of them do was purge clutter! Even if you like to work with lots of tactile inspiration (ie: piles), you don’t want to be sifting through clutter to get to it. It’s how I start a weekend of serious business work too. Gets me in the right mind-frame and it helps to remove distractions too, like craft projects, or I’ll be tempted away from boring financials.

  12. Piper

    So interesting that we’re going through similar things…I realized at the beginning of 2011 that I needed to get myself organized…and fast! I tend to work in piles until those piles get out of control and then I wonder why I can’t think clearly! My mission is to be more organized so that I can stay on top of things better…but darn if it isn’t hard to declutter and get my stuff together! Nice to know I’m not alone – you’re doing awesome!!

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