‘Self-trust is the first secret of success.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson
‘Most days are like digging for diamonds – sometimes you find a huge gem, but most of the time you just have fun digging in the dirt.’ Nancy Elizabeth Green
On 2/15/13 The Wisdom Tree opened its doors. It sure doesn’t feel like it’s already been a year! But through all the interesting happenings and all the long days of buildup and all the challenges that this year has brought we’ve made it through the first year!
No matter how much I read, talked, discussed, and explored growing a business there were many things that came up that I just didn’t know about. At first it seemed like every few days held a new surprise. (‘You mean I have to pay NC $200 every year for a business license?’). And it seemed like it took me over six months to figure out who was going to fit where and when. Schedules seemed to change weekly (a hard one to digest). Vendors/contractors came and went, often with little or no notice. (‘You’re quitting today? What about your class tonight?’) Things that I thought were completed were not once I looked closely at them, and weeks went by without the job finished. (‘I thought the flooring was going to done by the 1st, and it’s the 15th today’)
There have been challenges.
There have also been opportunities.
It’s all a matter of how you look at things, isn’t it.
I’ll be the first to admit that, even though I have been in retail/nonprofit management for many years and had run my own small practice, there were some challenges which brought me to my knees.
There were many many many more joyful times too. People stopping by with a cup of coffee for me. Friends showing up to help paint/put flooring down/merchandise. Someone who is a friend of a friend bringing me a red knitted turtleneck sweater to keep me warm through the winter. Vendors adding extra items to my shipment at no extra charge.
I’ve learned quite a bit in the last year. There are a few simple things which really helped me realize that challenges lead to the greatest opportunities for growth.
Listen to your intuition. Yep, I preach this to everyone I know – listen to that small quiet voice for guidance, trust that feeling, live in your heart. But I also have goals and plans, and at times I pushed through with these goals even though they didn’t feel comfortable.
You know, when you’re applying for a business loan telling your banker that you just ‘know’ the business is going to be a success doesn’t cut it. They want fact, figures, and plans. And they are an important part of any business structure. I know now that, even though I’ve got all those forms and plans written down, I have to be open to whatever direction spirit leads me. Even if it’s counter-intuitive. Even if it doesn’t make any sense. Even if a person is smiling at you and telling you something you want to believe is true but know in your heart of hearts isn’t.
I’ve always been intuitive, knowing what was going to happen (like who was going to be the next Miss America) or what someone was going to say before the event (suggesting we stop at the Dairy Queen for ice cream). Opening a business though taught me to be a little more ‘cross lateral’ – use my linear planning brain while listening to my intuitive spacial brain at the same time. I recently noticed that I when I do ‘business’ I use my right hand, when I do ‘spirit work’ I use my left! It’s integrating both sides that make us truly human.
Just ask. This was a BIG stretch for me. I was brought up doing everything for myself, and not expecting any help from anyone. I’m pretty independent! But once again I had to switch my way of doing things because I discovered first, that I didn’t know how to do everything (surprise surprise), and that I didn’t have time to do it all. I found out very quickly who I could turn to for help. The key was – I just had to ask. After I starting admitting that I couldn’t do everything people started offering to help! The support from my local community has been amazing.
But it’s more than just asking. It’s also about being open to whatever shows up, even if it wasn’t actually what you have planned. There really is no right way to do any one thing. And getting rid of expectations to leave room for opportunities.
It always works out smoother if I step back and let others into my life.
Take your time. This was one of my mom’s favorite sayings. I expected to get a whole list of things done every day and became frustrated when I wasn’t able to complete them. I originally thought that build out would take about 3 months, and we’d be open by Christmas 2012! The funny thing – once I took a step back and let whatever needed to done at the moment be done, that’s when things started to move forward more smoothly. By focusing on what was actually happening instead of what I wanted to see happen let everything move forward more easily. Sometimes putting away timelines and schedules created more opportunity for growth.
I know I can be very intensely focused on a goal. Completing a project or task gives me a sense of accomplishment. And the faster I finish the sooner I can move onto the next project, right? I’ve discovered that stopping every once in a while and just breathing gives perspective to all things. And there is a Starbucks right down the plaza – coffee break!
Trust the process. Really, I kept saying, trust the process? Then nothing would get done, right? NO! Whatever showed was what was supposed to completed, not necessarily what I planned for the day. There are days when I bend over backwards all the way to the ground and put my daily goals aside to let something else happen. For instance, every day people walk in the door that just need to talk. Here I am with my bulleted list of items to get completed today and I’m listening to someone’s problems! 99.99% of the time these same people will come back with a friend, or offer to teach a class, or bring me a piece of chocolate just when I need it. And bring their friends with them too.
So while I do have that bulleted list I now know that there are more important things than checking items off at the end of the day. It’s all about connecting people, and trusting that whatever happens is what I need to pay attention to the most.
I do still start each day with a list. Many times the next’s day list looks very similar to the one from day before.
The Wisdom Tree was started to give people the opportunity to feel at home with themselves, have a safe space for them to grow, and create a sense of community.
I think we’re doing a pretty good job.
Nancy Elizabeth Green
thinks that anything is possible. She loves to explore life with an open heart and a quantum mind. Come and enjoy the magic!