a great deal has been said and written on the subject of hustling. usually with a #entrepreneur and some faux wisdom like "have a backup plan". much of life is the shit we learned in kindergarten but chose to ignore as we got older.
i think most people would describe themselves as hustlers. enterprising? dunno. go-getter? sure, as long as you can have the weekends off and don't have to be responsible when it all goes to hell. sort of like taking the title of entrepreneur when you've got nothing really riding on the line. in many ways, we are all similar, however i like that in the dictionary, just below the enterprising definition, the word prostitute appears. it's is actually a better definition for what happens. doing whatever it takes to get the job done. i do my job because it needs to be done. not for glamour, or hype, or pride. to sustain often means staying alive to dream another day. we do what we must. this is what it takes to run a business. completely unvarnished.
we set goals. we all set goals. the bank won't give us a loan unless we cobble together some bullshit business plan that often bears no resemblance to the reality we face. we talk about our goals, trying to convince either ourselves or the listener (probably both) of what lies ahead. little of life ever works out as planned. but that's what makes it so wonderful. all the joys we have yet to conceive. if i had a nickel for every time someone told me what they would do "if". how many people actually do what they dream, and if they do, how many still want it soon after? i recently asked a friend who is considering starting a business, if at the end of the day, all you ever achieve is the day to day of your little business, can that be enough? the question no one ever wants to answer. defeatist propaganda. you have to believe in your goals 100%!!! boy, isn't that a load of horse shit. you have to actively live within your dream every day and love what you are already doing. otherwise it's a lifetime of buying lottery tickets you'll never win.
80% of small business survive their first year. 66% the second year. 50% the third year. only 30% of all new businesses survive ten years. so the question i would ask: is it worth it? if you're not going to get everything you dream of, is it worth it? for me the answer has been yes.
this october marks the 13th year duross & langel has been in operation. an ever evolving scheme that lets me play out the fantasies within my mind's eye. don't misunderstand. it is hard work. long hours. weeks, months, years. take your eye off the ball for even a short time and you find yourself scrambling to stay in the game. i chose the right profession. i have a good nose for aroma. i can also smell a turd from a mile off. sometimes i foolishly make the mistake of sharing this observation. people usually love my brutal honesty. ever notice that people just love brutal honesty except when it is directed toward them? still, it serves us well. and we can usually catch ourselves when we need a fresh perspective. the part i find most wearing is staff. staff can be a source of joy and pain. they can also profoundly effect the outcome of any day based on their give (or take) of precious energy. keeping all parties enthused by what we do is my hardest job. focusing on what's in front of me from the moment i walk in to the moment i lock the door. then on to the book-keeping or blogging or whatever. is it still worth it? yes, it is.
i spend a good portion of my life dreaming. i dream i can grow the business to where it can become a mighty brand. i dream of the salon taking on a life of it's own, paying it's own way and finding a wonderful person who can run it for us. i dream of my staff finding success. of joe grooming's success as a brand, and what might be achieved with future lines based on today's work. i dream of falling in love, traveling the world and reveling in what life has to offer. but if i wasn't already doing all of these things on a cellular level, nothing would ever be possible. i live into my dreams and goals now, in every moment on a micro level. success, in the financial (or traditional) sense, is elusive. most people trade in their dreams for someone else's. when the going get's tough. the tough don't get going. they flee, or whine, or both. for example, take love.
how many people reading this have love goals? who want to be married or have babies or just don't want to go through life alone? whatever your goal for love, you can achieve it but it won't be sustainable without that undefinable something we know as chemistry. what makes anyone think that the rest of life doesn't work the same way? chemistry is why some brands make it while so very many fail. chemistry is what happens when product blends perfectly with marketing in a marketplace ripe for that product. chemistry is what holds people together. what binds the universe. it is the law of nature. however business majors have yet to experience this, MBAs hope to find it when not falling into somnambulant corporate culture, and self-styled entrepreneurs have yet to learn that rolling up their sleeves and doing the work will most likely connect them to this phenomenon. chemistry is everything. look at the 50% marriage failure rate, (which does not account for the people who are too scared or lazy to move on with their lives). along the way, every day, we must fight to sustain the dreamer who drives us toward our goals. in all the compartmentalized areas of our lives. personally, socially, politically. by it's very definition, chemistry is about identifying how various matter interacts, combines and changes. it's synonyms are: affinity, attraction, rapport and spark. our physical, mental, emotional and (i believe) spiritual approach to our life and our work defines any attempt at success. anything less is pure dumb luck.
not long ago, a colleague approached me about my life. the jist was something akin to 'don't you think your life is kind of sad and lonely?' the actual delivery was devoid of the brutal honesty i have just distilled. but my answer is no. i am not sad. i am not lonely. though i do experience moments of sadness and loneliness, it is not is binary state within which i live. having the guts to lay everything on the line for one's dream is a purely selfish act. jane austin wrote in mansfield park that "selfishness must always be forgiven you know, because there is no hope of a cure". selfishly, i think it profound. why else would i have chosen to work on so many projects at the neglect of so many things others find important? if only with one's self, chemistry is a powerful thing to have set as your goal. the possibilities for outcomes are endless.
so i work and i travel and write and play and yes, sometimes i fall in love. with an idea or a concept, an ingredient, or a vision or a plan. and when i am not very careful, i fall in love with the worst possible men. yet still i learn. and i grow. and i dream of the things i'll be doing tomorrow.
not everyone who wanders is lost.