Deep pools of hot, salty liquid drain down across the coarse, weathered flesh. Damp hands wrestle each other like two walrus’ vying for the affection of a judgemental suitor. The mind sets off like a rat up a drain pipe, thoughts fragment into pathways that twist and coil, intersecting but never forming a clear way forward. Doubts rear their visceral tendrils, drilling their way into every movement of mind and body. The right leg moves at the speed of light, up and down, up and down.
The heart rumbles, thumps and chugs with the directionless momentum of an ageing washing machine, pumping blood with a ferocious propulsion through every vein, capillary and fleshly filament that comprises your physical make up. Eventually, you gather the courage to take the plunge, to silence the neurotic co-pilot in your mind that slams the brakes every time it thinks you may end up looking silly in the eyes of others.
No, this is not a description of the male bodies physiological response to asking for someone’s hand in marriage or waiting for the footy scores to load on their iPhone.
A sweaty index finger strikes the key and your inner most thoughts ricochet through space and back down into the finger tips of an unknown number of digital portals.
I’ve just posted a blog.
A piece detailing deeply personal thoughts that could be potentially damaging to my business, a thorough memoir dissecting a trend in society that I surely despised. Moments after releasing this razor sharp societal deconstruction, it feels like a wild fire comes roaring up my neck and takes over my face.
What have I just done?
Like someone had plunged their fist into the pit of my stomach, grabbed a handful of my entrails and slowly twisted them in their grip – I feel sick in my core. I could feel the tension spread like food dye in a glass of water, the epicentre soon bleeding into everything around it.
I delete the blog – hoping no one had the chance to read through it before I sent it onto the digital scrap heap with a dozen ill advised and unfunny status updates from 2012.
The walrus’ disentangle, the fire goes out, the heart returns to normal operational capacity and the tentacles of consternation recoil back into the abyss from whenst they came.
I’m once again in my safe zone with that feeling you get when it’s raining outside and you’re in a warm and comfortable bed.
This was an early experience within my first 12 months in business – one from which I learnt a lot.
There is a certain threshold you cross when it comes to running your business, when the initial excitement melts away and leaves you with the stark realities of what it is your doing. Let’s call it the honeymoon period for lack of a better or more creative title – where the little thing’s don’t seem to matter, you’re having such a good time that the cracks are papered over to be fixed another day. Well, when that other day comes, you realise the cracks are ubiquitous and wider than you cared to fathom, they need some serious Salley Sealer action.
There is a feeling of delirious freedom that becomes inextricably mixed with more than a dash of unbridled terror, forming a cunning cocktail designed to challenge you in a way you’ve never been before. The realisation that you’re 100% in control of the wheel that will drive you to financial success or ruin is at once an exhilarating ride and a desperate and lonely gut punch. My experience with the above mentioned blog can be broadly applied to a year spent running my own business.
One of the great thing’s about being a business owner is the mindset you have to adapt to survive the emotional pounding you receive from all the highs and lows.
Learning that your ability to acknowledge your own ultimate complicity in every success, failure and everything in between that you experience in business cannot have it’s importance oversold.
In April when I agonised over a blog I thought would result in people losing a degree of respect for me and my business, I slid all too easily back into the safe zone. Back into the place in which I needed to be liked, absurdly I was placing control of my business venture in the whimsical hands of perception – both my own and that of others.
As the year has worn on, I’ve come to realise with a degree of clarity that the safe zone is no place to be in business, it provides a warm and comforting shoulder to lean on when what you need is be poked back into the yawning chasm of challenge, it provides an unhealthy shelter from the storm of risk and reward.
It’s ok to piss someone off.
Stepping out and confronting the uneasy feelings you get when you’re not sure what will come of an action is not an easy thing to do – especially when it comes to your livelihood.
Coming face to face with these anxieties and acting despite the little co-pilot in your mind tugging at your sleeve begging for you to veer back under the covers, out of the rain and into the safe zone – is no small task. In my first 12 months in business, I learnt that harnessing these emotions is simply a necessary step in maturing as a business owner and in attaining clarity of thought and of action.