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Embrace The Mess

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I used to be a teacher’s assistant at a pre-school for many years, and noticed that children were at their best when they were able to create a mess. Before you are tempted to cringe, I find that the best mess is one that provides them with the tools to engage in open ended activities. Provide stations where they can engage in free play with boxes of legos and another station where they can paint with watercolor. It was at this time, their genius was most at work.

                Years later, as a parent, I discovered again that my kids were at their best when they were provided with open-ended activities. Wooden blocks gave way to mansions, castles, and gardens. A blanket, folding chair, and stringed lights turned magically into forts from invaders which they deftly defended with paper swords and paper airplanes.

                Somewhere after childhood and before adulthood, we subconsciously learn that open-ended activities was a thing of the past. “Do something constructive.” We would hear our elders say. Or, “the devil finds time for idle hands.” Yet, I’m learning that it is in the mess that sometimes we experience the most growth. The time we may have nothing to do but to wait for the next stage or the next instruction, we are stuck sitting on our hands and we at first become uncomfortable. Then, we start to just play. We play with our imaginations which we sometimes allow to remain dormant in the crevices of our mind. We start to use our creativity to construct purposeful objects like those forts or swords.

        As entrepreneurs, there are a lot of gray areas and open ended activities where we have to create something out of nothing. Before you find a rhythm, you discover what is most important and what can be left off for another day. You search for your rhythm and figure out which day to focus on the big picture activities and which days you focus on the nuts and bolts like paying your bills. You slowly realize that batching works and to reserve the mornings for your creative activities. You start to gain confidence cold calling and have started to identify the types of individuals your need to grow your team. As time goes on, you are no longer pretending to be an entrepreneur. You have experienced enough triumphs and disappointments to know that you are an entrepreneur, for better or for worse.

        However, none of this would have taken place if you never embraced the mess. At some point, you realized that you had to get comfortable with the unknown, the discomfort and the unpredictability of entrepreneurship. You shook off the desire to sit and contemplate starting a business. You did it and you kept moving forward, while knowing that it won’t be perfect, but that perfection eventually comes by doing the work consistently. 

Do Now:

  • Lean in to what part of your business needs now. If you are starting your business and you are in the beginning stages, I will urge you to figure out how to become profitable. The sooner you can become profitable they more likely your business will be sustainable. So, if you are a service based business, engage in ways to increase your customer base.

 

  • Find your identity as an entrepreneur and be truthful. Here at Veranda Financing, I realized that my company will never be the typical brokerage company because I have more of a creative slant. So, you may notice I write articles and relate them to movies, Disney World, Girl Scout cookies and other unconventional metaphors because that’s how I see business. When you are true to yourself, you will eventually attract your type of clients.

 

  • Be comfortable with the mess. No one can predict what will happen tomorrow but we can plan for the future. Whatever you are nervous about in your business try to find ways to mitigate that risks. We can only manage the risks, we can’t eliminate them.   

~Christine Mills

Christine Mills