Plan “B” Sucks

I know it’s been awhile since my last post, but I was waiting for something really exciting to write about. I got tired of waiting and, on reflection, I realized that even though I haven’t hit the goal I wanted to by now, there was quite a bit to write about.

I like going back through these blogs and re-reading the about the events I’ve chronicled so far. It’s not vanity-at least, I’d like to think it’s not-because I don’t feel like I’m an exciting or terribly interesting writer. But looking back reminds me that even though I haven’t hit the mark, I’ve come a really long way.

Our training in Mary Kay is excellent. I like to read blogs and articles from well-known and admired CEOs who are sharing the secrets to their success, what steps they took and what obstacles they’ve overcome to be where they are. I have to say that most, if not all, of what I read from them is what we’re being taught already in Mary Kay. I’ve picked up books on the secrets to business success, inspiration and how to keep your momentum up. Some come at it from this angle or that, but it basically all boils down to the same things and when ever I read the articles, I’m struck by the fact that it’s really nothing new.

One of the things we’re taught at our training center is that the business has cycles. There’s the top, which is where everything is exciting and your enthusiasm is through the roof. This point is usually where your sales are good, you’re getting new team members or you’ve achieved some goal. Your excitement attracts new customers and team members to you so naturally, you just know you’re unstoppable. Things are going according to plan. On the bottom end, you feel stagnant and maybe a little bored. Maybe your sales are in slump and you’ve lost some team members and you’re wondering why you aren’t like so-and-so who seems to have it all well in hand. What we’re taught and warned about is that this happens to everyone. If we read too much into it rather than realize it’s a natural part of the process, we will be tempted to believe we aren’t made for this business and it’s easy to throw in the towel. The point I’m leading up to is that owning your own business is work, and work, no matter how much you like what you do, is not always fun.

When I quit my day job and launched my efforts at doing this full-time I was so excited.  I just knew that I would make director in about 6 months and be a car achiever before the year was up. This was entirely possible, but that wasn’t my journey. I had some learning to do. But…

I’m more confident than ever that I will be everything I’ve set out to be. This year has had some seriously scary moments and times of wondering if everything was about to collapse on my head. Yet everything has been slowly, but steadily moving forward. I made Star Consultant last quarter and I’m going for four quarter star this year. I managed to be in the top ten in our unit in sharing and sales for last year.  I had no idea I was in the top ten of anything.

Before this year I felt like I was bound in golden handcuffs. Golden handcuffs are what seem like security but are really things that keep you tied up in chains. For example, my sister (Sorry, Mandie) took over my job at the preschool. This was convenient because it gave her a bit more money and allowed her son to have a reduced tuition to go to the school and it gave her free after-school care at the very place she worked. Seems like a dream job, right? Uummm……No.

When I talk to her and ask how it’s going, she tells me how crazy the class is. Being a pre-school teacher takes a very specific kind of person, but even if you have the patience and flair for it, taking care of 16 two-year-olds every day, full-time can wear you down. And it barely pays a living wage. If it wasn’t for the lower tuition and free after-school care for her son, she wouldn’t make it from month to month. So she went to school and studied hard on top of working full-time, sacrificing her whole Saturday and time with her son every weekend to get her EMT licence. She graduated and started looking around for an exciting new job. She soon discovered that the higher paycheck she’d receive as an EMT wouldn’t cover the amount she needed to keep her son in school and pay for his afterschool care which she’d lose if she quit her teaching job. She decided that she needed to go to school for nursing, but unlike the EMT course, she’d need two full days a week to go to school. When she went ask for a reduction in hours to be able to go to school, she was told she was needed full-time and she couldn’t be spared. Golden handcuffs, friends. It was just enough to keep her afloat, but only barely, and, at present, no way to change that.

That’s what I realized when I broke those chains off my own wrist. It’s the old saying “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” that’s been so true for me. I could still be in that job, telling myself that I needed to be patient and wait for this business to take off, but the reality is that I needed to break away totally to do what I needed to do.

And that’s what I face when I let myself believe I can’t do this. It means going back to never quite getting ahead. Paying the bills but not much else. Feeling frustrated, over-whelmed and tired. And for what? What will I have at the end of it all? Working for someone else is like renting a house verses owning one. You pay and pay your rent but you never get to own the place you live in and make your house your home. When you work for someone else it’s their world, their rules and they decide what your work is worth.

The American Dream means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. My understanding of it is that you make your fortune, own your own home and live the life you want to. The people in the early years of this country believed that if you worked hard, you could be anything you wanted. We built this country to guarantee that right to any who wanted to give it a go. Back then, most people were entrepreneurs. Plan “B” was working for someone else. They understood what still holds true today: “Plan “B” sucks.

 

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