The purpose of this column is to always be supportive and motivational in my comments to small business owners. I feel a kindred spirit with small business owners because we think alike. It's been said that entrepreneurs march to the beat of a different drum and I whole-heartedly agree. Some of us hear the rat-a-tat-tat of a marching band's snare drum keeping us in step and methodically moving forward, while others hear the free-spirited, totally syncopated and mostly improvised, "in-a-gadda-da-vida-esque" drum beat that stirs the soul while reinforcing the psychedelic sky under which we find our inspiration. Whether we run our business like a military-like field commander or like an avant garde, go-with-the-flow bohemian, we all want the same thing: to learn from our mistakes and create a successful business. Today I'm going to talk about the little missteps that cannot be corrected.
I'm a seasoned Business Coach, which simply means that I've been around for a very long time. Business coaches don't ever offer advice to their clients. Business Coaches take the experience they have gained over years of trial and error and use it for learning opportunities to anybody who will listen. Most of the experience shared comes from the standpoint that, "I've made mistakes and I don't want you to make the same mistakes as me!" If you will allow me, this week's article will be a bit of a tribute to an extraordinary woman we lost recently and a bit of me sharing with you in such a way that helps you avoid a lifetime of grief.
On July 8, 2021 I was driving into work and expecting a "typical" day. The "typical" day in my world means that nothing will go as I had originally anticipated. I was driving to work when my phone started blowing up with texts and phone calls. It seems that one of my sisters had passed away suddenly, and nobody knew what to do! All of the people whom I thought to call immediately were in the same state as me; shocked, bewildered and confused! The first thought that comes to mind when you get a call like this is, "you're kidding, right?" Disbelief is the prevailing sentiment and it takes a very long time for it to even sink in.
My sister, Rosemary, had turned 70 in January and was, seemingly, in good health. She had been an educator for nearly 30 years and had been an influencer of many young lives. Rosemary was bilingually endorsed, she held two master's degrees and an administrator's license. She taught at almost every level there was from elementary all the way to high school. She taught in the public schools, private schools, at the higher education level and even in the prison system. Most recently, my sister taught on the Native American Reservations near Grants, New Mexico and was getting ready to start teaching 7th and 8th grade English and Language Arts at the Haak'u Community Academy on the Acoma reservation.
Rosemary and I both had busy lives which centered around our jobs, our children, our faith, and our communities; Sometimes, but not always, in that order! Like most people I know, we led busy lives but we always thought there would be a tomorrow.
"Hi Steve, it's Rosemary! Give me a call when you have a chance." I can still hear her cheerful voice, tinged with happiness and enthusiasm, that always made me feel a bit sad that I missed her call. I knew that she understood that I would call her back tomorrow. Unfortunately, in our fast-paced, hectic world, sometimes tomorrow never came. Time, projects, tiredness or laziness took over and I justified it all easily.
I knew that my sister understood my drive for excellence. I knew that she understood the pressures that I put upon myself to be more productive and to get more done than the day before. I knew that she understood that I had every intention to call her back. I had every intention to make time for her, after the job was complete.
This week I will attend my sister's funeral and I will take the time to pray for her soul and for all of her friends and family mourning her loss. I will pray for forgiveness and the hope that she finally understands what my true intentions were. I wish I could go back and change the times I didn't call back.
My sister and I had a great relationship and, when we saw one another, it was like no time had passed between us. I usually called her back and everything was good. However, I can say that the one or two missed opportunities that I let slip away will be in my mind forever. I should have taken every chance I had to heart!
To my Entrepreneurship Warriors: You work hard every day providing for your families and making sure that your employees can provide for their families. You burn the midnight oil getting it done and you burn the candle at both ends trying not to get burned.
Take some time this week to call a friend or family member whom you haven't spoken to in some time. There is no promise for tomorrow but today could be the last time you ever get the chance. If you want to chat you can always call me at 575-538-3785 or email me at email@example.com