What I learnt about business from a washing machine.

Alex Skyrise

A surging slew of water, froth, fabric and soap writhe against each other, jostling for a position that doesn’t exist. They wrap and coil around, within and against one another with a reckless and singular momentum, a pair of jeans has one leg slapped against the glass while the other is twisted amongst a mash of indiscriminate green and red cotton. I peer into the front loader washing machine – a wet pantomime of indiscriminate movement. Ultimately it’s a fruitless and taxing dance, an arduous voyage towards a required conclusion. In the end the clothes are clean and the result will come but its the entangled mess of the journey of the wash in which I found myself pondering my own situation. Like a plastic bag zigging and zagging in the air to every shifting note of wind, in business there are days where you feel like you are simply being dragged along by the violent current of other peoples actions and intentions.

It’s like you’re a voluntary passenger on a rollercoaster that’s broken free from the tracks and landed in the middle of a six lane freeway – or a single sock in the thrust of a fresh cycle in the washing machine.

There are days during which I tap directly into the most rich vein of fast flowing creative juices, while there are others where I stare at the wall for long minutes at a time, attempting to prick that same vein to invite and unleash the cascade of inspiration. It’s as if it exists in a spring deep inside me, sometimes it trickles beautifully to the surface for me to bath in it’s glorious riches. Other times however, I need to unveil a full scale mining operation, as I desperately dredge my mind in search of that precious yet illusive spark. Regardless of whether or not I find it, the comforting thought is that, unlike a sock in a washing machine, my journey is ultimately determined by what happens within and not by the surrounding world. It doesn’t matter what happens to me in an external sense, my greatest and most important assets exists within a deeply incased vault inside me.

There are days in which a client will contact me with news they no longer require my services, the proverbial pulling out of the rug, leaving me flat on my face and feeling like a Persian Rug salesmen in the midst of a closing down fire sale. It’s funny how easily you can allow these business set backs to subsequently feed into everything else orbiting your personal world. Suddenly every relationship you have appears to be laced with a poison tip. You gear yourself towards a negative outcome in every aspect of that day, the ensuing manifestation is a grey cloud over your head that can hover for a while. That is until the next day – when you establish a brilliant working relationship with someone else. Just like that, the grey cloud disappears, replaced by a bright shinning sun. Everyone is your best friend again and the world is yours for the taking once more. Being young and inexperienced in business, I expected this – but what I didn’t account for was the sheerly intoxicating feeling of both extremes. The all encompassing highs of starting to work for a truly exciting client, while the desperate lows of missing out on a similar opportunity – both feelings spill out from me like blood from a punctured femoral artery. As I collect experience and awareness, these extremes will naturally start to plateau as I understand that every rug pulled out happens right before a hand extends to help you back to a place further along the road and vice versa. Long term, the freight train of emotion is unsustainable. Like clothes in a washing machine, our emotions are often being thrown together into a swelling soup of external and internal factors, they clash and mix with everything around it, seemingly being battered beyond repair by everything in it’s proximity. Again, the comforting thing for me is that when I simply slow down and take a second to realise that I’m ultimately the one holds the reins, the water and the soap are stripped away to reveal a very simple path forward.

The advice I would give to someone just starting in business – be patient and back your ability and your idea. It’s easy to let doubt sink it’s fangs into your vulnerable early business flesh. You are a prime and easy kill for the predatory perversions of self doubt, hesitation and regret. Once you realise that you can invite these necessary emotions out from the cold and bring them inside – you can dine with them and use them to fuel your creativity, your motivation and your desire.

For now, I am absolutely enjoying this relatively wild emotional ride I’ve plunged myself into. Even the lows are times in which I have learnt much about myself, about where and how to derive inspiration and motivation. During the highs I am learning to be humble and appreciate all that I’ve worked to achieve and all that has been gifted to me to allow the existence I enjoy.

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