In my opinion, one of the worst, day wrecking, gut wrenching, vomit inducing, mental breaking, nightmare of the epic proportions, is spilling my coffee. Just the mere thought of it has my skin crawling and begins to produce a visceral reaction that makes me eerily uncomfortable. knowing sips from the Heaven’s above will never be tasted. Caffeine that will not have the pleasure of being consumed and allowed to provide it’s reason for existence to the one who hath prepared or purchased said mug of pure joy. It is such a heartbreaking reality that in 2012 a paper journal was actually published for the American Physics Society Physical Review E, that has studied the physics around the spillage of coffee and what factors are involved.
You will likely notice in my writing that I tend to reference both personal and business struggles with examples to prove points and to illustrate my thoughts. To me, the two are interchangeable, as a self-employed entrepreneur, my business is me,I might not have a face meant for public consumption but regardless, my business is a part of my identity. Aside from my kids, it is literally the only thing I have left to call my own. I believe we also need to live out our personal lives with the intentionality, dedication, and integrity we show in our business and professional lives.
Full disclaimer, as a self-employed entrepreneur it is difficult to turn off. We are naturally hardwired to be on our little hamster wheel in our brain constantly running, constantly thinking, constantly dreaming of ways to grow our reach. It is not a selfish motivation, but rather a internal drive based around our external environment. My kids are my number one motivator. I know it is hard to switch from business owner to parent, or spouse or partner and leave our work outside the home. I will be the first to admit that this took me a long time to find the switch, and I truly don’t know if I ever really found it. It has to be a focused intention to shift the mindset from business to home. This is something that not many understand. It is a struggle that only entrepreneurs can truly relate. There were stretches of time where my phone and laptop were strategically left in the other room so I could focus that intentionality on my family. Being present with my kids was and still is the most important aspect of my life. Regardless of the activities we engage in, I want to focus my attention on them. As I mentioned, I am the first to admit this was not always an easy task, especially in the early days of business, when gaining clientele and a reputation was key to the eventual success of the practice. If a client happened to text or email at 1am in the morning, I would still reply, as it could be a client I could see tomorrow and could lead to several other clients, since word of mouth in my industry is the best form of advertising! Plenty of excuses and justifications for continuing to focus my attention on the job and not taking a strategic break when necessary. I am certainly fortunate that I am at a place in my business where I am not as concerned about tomorrow.
Juggling the priorities of being the sole provider for a family, a father, boss and leader in the industry has certainly had its challenges. It is equivalent to balancing stacks of plates in each hand while balancing on a tight-rope suspended above a creek littered with savage reptiles that haven’t eaten in weeks and at either end your obligations and priorities are shaking the thin rope under your feet demanding full attention and focus on one or the other. On several occasions I have dropped my plates and have fallen into the waiting jaws of disappointment and failure. I’ve either worked too much, or too little, I’ve struggled to put the phone down or have kept it off and missed out. I have pursued opportunity and been let down in the end. I have challenged and lost, I have a failed marriage and lots of debt, yet I have also been on the receiving end of grace and kindness of others, I have a steady and full clientele, my local Starbucks knows me by name and my usual is ready and waiting when I walk through the door.
As you eventually read the pages of my upcoming book, hopefully discovering a new approach to providing a balanced and productive journey, my hope is that you will become mindful of your surroundings in order to maintain a zen like balance regardless of what is shaking your tight-rope. If we can focus our attention on What is Next, rather than focusing on all your plates stacked in your hands. Much like the natural phenomenon, that was studied regarding the reasons why we spill coffee when walking, when we focus on the cup in front of us, our gait pattern changes and the abnormal biomechanics results in a change in the already complex motion of the cup and therefore will effect the spilling frequency and subsequent amount of overall spillage. Even though the goal is to enjoy the beautiful cup of God’s great nectar that has been meticulously prepared once we reach our seat at our local brewing establishment, we must first focus on each step in the journey in order to ensure that our spill to consumption ratio is not devastatingly skewed against us.
I hope you will join me in the journey of focusing on What is Next, and can save your coffee from spilling…. Because there truly is nothing worse than coffee not consumed!