Every time I travel, I download a book on my Kindle, close the airplane window, and set aside the flying time to completely devour my latest read. On my most recent trip home, my book of choice was The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines, the stars of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper.” Even though I probably don’t have a design bone in my body, I love this quirky couple and couldn’t wait to find out more about their story.
As an entrepreneur, there is something innately comforting about reading the story of another entrepreneur, especially a pair that decided to risk it all for their dream and their family. It’s so easy to glorify working for yourself – the freedom, the creative opportunities, the unlimited possibilities. However, too few wanna-be entrepreneurs take the time to learn about the stress, fear of failure, and burden that owning your own business can bring.
When your business is your everything, you have to fuse together the person you are at work and at home. You don’t have the luxury of “clocking out” and leaving it all at the office. Throughout the last two years of my venture, I have noticed my inability to check out, and I often resort to a state of being where my happiness is dictated by how my business performs. In hopes of breaking this pattern, I seek wisdom from others who have already blazed this trail and done it with poise.
What I have learned, time and time again, is that the only thing that separates the entrepreneurs who inspire us from the ones that don’t is perspective.
Every business owner has, at some point, experienced both success and failure in varying degrees. Some become the Zuckerberg’s of our generation, and others go belly up in a few months, but the ones we learn from the most are those who are able to take their experiences and share them in a way that inspires us to keep dreaming. For example, much of Chip and Jo’s story is that of struggle and barely making ends meet. But, in the midst of it all, Joanna Gaines wrote this:
“I always thought that the “thriving” would come when everything was perfect, and what I learned is that it’s actually down in the mess that things get good…It was such a blessing to find myself thriving in the middle of the pain. Unless you find a way to do that, there’s always going to be this fake illusion that once you get there–wherever “there” is for you–you’ll be happy. But that’s just not life. If you can’t find happiness in the ugliness, you’re not going to find it in beauty, either.”
In business and in life, it’s so important to decide to thrive, regardless of your circumstances. No matter what your dream is, you will have great days and bad days, but the perspective you bring to the table is crucial to your coworkers, your family, and most of all, you. If you are in the midst of a business endeavor or considering branching out on your own, remember that you choose how you handle your circumstances.
Your ability to thrive amidst the challenges will be the legacy you leave behind, and it will carry more weight than any profit and loss statement ever could.