There is just something about anniversaries.
Think about it … Wedding anniversaries have you looking back through life with your partner — recalling the excitement of the engagement, the joy of the day and all of the ups and down that your road together has taken. Your child's birthday has you remembering the wonder of that little imp growing inside kicking its way through the night as you try to sleep, the wonder of the birth and all the firsts that follow: Rolling over, steps, words, even first soccer practices. Christmas Eve is another anniversary of sorts for us ... we were reminded by my uncle this year that 2013 was the 80th consecutive gathering of my mother's side of the family on that day … and the memories flowed ... all of us sharing events of Christmas Eve's past from Santa visits to talking about family who are no longer with us physically, but are most certainly forever in our hearts. But, there are other anniversaries that aren't as pleasant … and often times those are the ones we learn the most from.
Five years ago today marks the day when my dance partner landed in a wheelchair and I have learned much in that time that can be translated into five lessons that can be used for any occasion.
|Day 10, the Big Guy's first attempt at standing||.|
1. Newton was right … gravity will win every time. In other words, there are those who know more than me and you about a great many things. Use their knowledge, take it to heart and apply it to whatever it is you're trying to accomplish. If you don't know how to set up your web page so that it will generate the most traffic for you, find someone who knows the game and can help you make it work for you.
2. If you can't use tools well on the ground … don't think that when you're 15 feet in the air that God is going to magically grant you the ability.True, the Big Guy was and always will be lousy with tools. But when I saw what he was accomplishing through sheer determination, I knew that I didn't have any excuse not to follow through on something that had been a long unfulfilled dream … I went back to school and, three years after his accident, I graduated with my bachelor's degree.
Know your craft (tools), but never ever stop learning. Whether you do it formally by going back to school, by attending seminars or by using the vast amount of knowledge available on the web, read and learn from the experts who have achieved success doing what you do or want to do. There will always be new ways of doing things and new ideas that can help you do what you love faster and better.
3. Don't try to do it on your own. While the Big Guy was in surgery, I didn't want to bother anyone so I sat there alone. The Chaplain at the hospital chastised me and waited while I called my sister. It was 9:30 p.m. the day after Christmas and she had her own little guy, but she immediately brought peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and stayed with me until the wee hours of the morning until he reached post-op.
What you do, whether as part of a team or as a solopreneur, will ALWAYS benefit from networking and talking with people who not only do what you do but also have expertise in fields that you may need in the future. And, more often than not, they are happy to share their knowledge and talk about what they do. Use your contacts, join professional organizations, go to Chamber coffees and use their experiences to help you through yours.
4. Preparation is key and be ready to improvise. There was much that had to be done to prepare for the Big Guy's return to our home … a ramp had to be installed, doors widened and supplies purchased. There is no way our home will ever be handicap-friendly. It's 100 years old and just wasn't built with those kinds of accommodations in mind. But with some improvisation, we've managed to make it as comfortable as possible.
|After 3 years of physical therapy, |
the Big Guy can walk with the aid of crutches.
The same can be said for your business. Make your business plan … but be prepared to change course, improvise or even grow when the time comes for it. When Business A who has been your longest running client decides they can have someone do the work cheaper (though not necessarily better), make sure you have Clients B, C and D rolling as well. Or when Client B who has always used you for short marketing pieces contacts you to help write an RFP for a potential new client, be prepared to move forward in that new direction as well.
5. And, finally, never EVER give up. The experts initially told the Big Guy that he wouldn't walk again. His response? He had two daughters to walk down the aisle! Through sheer hard work, will power and help from above, he can not only walk using crutches … we continue to celebrate another anniversarial tradition … our annual New Year's Eve dance to Etta James' "At Last." And, while we'll never cut the rug like we used to, I still get that chance every year to look up at the man who works so hard every day to make the best life possible for me and our kiddos.
Your business, your craft, will always experience the same ups and downs as your life. Friends and clients will come and go, roadblocks will be put in your path and disappointments will happen, but no matter what situation you face, by never giving up and always doing your best, you can be guaranteed with some form of success.
From our home to yours, wishing you a very happy and successful New Year.