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.)Â 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.