A follower recently mentioned in an email to me that my blog may discourage some people from choosing to go down this entrepreneurial path. That's certainly not been my intention. It got me thinking though. Information from someone who has already gone through something that is brand new to us can seem a little daunting, maybe a lot daunting, maybe even negative or downright discouraging. So why would anyone in their right mind do it?
I had the experience myself this week of feeling a little discouraged by the experience and wisdom offered by some peers in the industry. I honestly don't think they intended to be discouraging. One had been in the specialty food industry for more than 25 years and is very successful by anyone's standards. But he had weathered a lot of ups and downs in those 25 years, and shared what he wished he had done differently. He shared what he had learned with the hope, I believe, of helping our road be a little less full of pot holes.
But here's the thing...
Sure, business is business. And the specialty food business is a business and there are rules in business and defined ways to measure success, blahdy blahdy blah. What's your gross margin? What's your multiple for valuation? What's your product velocity? No one goes into this intending to be blind to all that, but we ought not to go into it blind to the less tangible measures of success either.
I'm reading Eckhart Tolle these days. His message is to live in the moment, don't judge it, don't label it, don't resist it. Just let it be what it is while being present for whatever that is. It doesn't mean you can't have fun planning for the next moment, as long as you don't expect your happiness to arrive at some future point, because it will never arrive. You will always just be in the present moment. This idea has been a great comfort to me. It's also transformed how I think about success.
How you measure your success should ultimately be up to you. Even before reading Eckhart Tolle I had decided that my idea of success in life is to enjoy myself. And for the most part, I do. I want to get up when it's my day to open the shop. I look forward to learning the next thing I need to learn, and to creating and planning and to making people feel good with our cookies. People are in a good mood when they leave our shop. That sort of thing goes a very long way.
Whether we end up putting our kids through college with this business, or selling it, or going broke, I know one thing, that we are enjoying the ride, and that's enough.