steve duross - entrepreneur. craftsman. artist. musings on running and growing a small business

falling is not an option

if you've ever read this blog, you might know that last summer i climbed a medieval castle situated on a dormant volcano above a little town in Austria. in hindsight it sounds much more dramatic than the actual experience. however, though fixed rope and double safety clipped, had i fallen it could have been disastrous. the trick was to find balance. feet firmly planted, clip, clip, climb. don't look down. check side to side. see that the other climbers were okay, get balance and move on. i had no idea at the time how much of a lesson it would be for the year that is now unfolding.   in an airplane that is experiencing turbulence, it has been remarked that you've got nothing to worry about as long as the flight attendants look calm. new ventures like the yoga studio or the salon experience quite a bit of turbulence. as a seasoned flier of the entrepreneurial nature, my adrenaline rises with the pitch and roll. i must love this otherwise why would i continue to do it? but not everyone shares my enthusiasm. at times i wonder if i've forgotten the journey. what was it like the very first time? or the second? by now i expect life to be full of alternate realities but there is no way i am going to pitch off the side of a mountain. it's all a part of the thing that happens when you stand both metaphorically and literally 432 meters above the valley floor hanging on a rope willing yourself not to look down while you're getting your footing before you climb. now apply to opening a business.   a few years back when we had our brief (albeit eventful) sojourn in Haddonfield, we realized that a little soap store in a little town was going to do well enough, yet not well enough to warrant the amount of energy expended. life can be a bitch sometimes but we rolled with the flow, reabsorbed the store and emerged stronger than ever. part of the success was in seeing the reality of the situation. to go back into the flight analogy, think of Haddonfield as an aborted trip with an emergency landing. now many of the passengers are a bit jumpy about flying. i don't think much about it because that's the job and we landed safely so what's all the fuss? this is the part where i wonder if i'm just a little dead inside.   life is good. business is good. we are blessed. things roll for a while and everything is smooth but when you expand and grow, especially opening three new ventures in three months (batshit crazy..) nerves can get frayed. maybe i go a little dead inside just to keep the fear at bay. everyone else is doing a stellar job but thinking that if they could do more, things might go faster. it never works that way. things go in their own time and six months down the road takes six months to accomplish. i forgot what it's like to be at the beginning. for those standing at the place where the journey has just begun. they appear to me as frazzled by the long hours and the responsibility and the worry of "what if.." that place is no longer a part of my journey. it can never be. in some ways it never was. i never had anyone who would catch me if i fell. i only knew that if i fell i would get pretty banged up. i've had minor tumbles in my professional life. mostly bruises and broken bones that mended. sometimes fast. some more slowly. but always where the bone was broken it became stronger than before.   here is what i know: we learn. always. we adjust. if diligent about perception, we become more sure footed. we begin to focus on the moment. we don't look down. we don't worry about getting ahead of ourselves. and eventually we will look back and remember that falling is not an option.