20 January 2013

An Object In Motion At Rest

For the holidays, I decided to rely on the good old physics law that an object in motion tends to stay in motion, at least until acted upon by some outside force. I hoped the trajectory I set in 2012 would hold over through the holidays--the trajectory of progress that I have made in spite of not going to school or getting any community business education going yet.

During my long break, I sewed, I photographed, I read books that had no useful purpose. I attempted to spend more time in the now and less time thinking about the future and how to make it take shape.

Before the holidays took hold, I attended a networking event, an introduction to the Social Enterprise Alliance here in Nashville and their business plan competition. I met some amazing women: one who runs an hispanic newspaper and a catering business, another who is writing a book to encourage single mothers to start their own businesses while she runs her business sewing formal gowns and working a separate job in marketing, and yet another woman who has just started a farm to supply locally grown food to restaurants while she also practices law. They were all a bit intimidating but also inspiring. I told them about my day job and my dream of starting a program of community business education, and one of them asked if I planned to teach the classes myself.

"Oh, no!" I answered. "I need to find people willing to share their expertise for little to no cost." Finding these people, I explained, is one of the keys to the program's success. It's also proving to be one of the most challenging aspects of getting started.

During my break from just about everything, I did some self-exploration to look at whether I truly have the entrepreneurial guts to start a program on my own. The answer seems to be that I may not, at least not yet. Looking at the Nashville Social Enterprise Alliance business plan competition web site, it became obvious to me that I wouldn't be ready to move forward with the prizes--branding from a marketing company, startup money, space in a local incubator--even if I somehow pulled off a win. I am a facilitator, and I always do best bringing together existing programs, products, and needs with wants. I know how to make things happen and can see how to make things work more efficiently and more cost-effectively. Understanding my level of risk aversion and recognizing I currently lack a team to help me move forward can save me from spending time running down the wrong path. Creating a team was one of the reasons I want to pursue the Masters in Civic Leadership at Lipscomb, but I can also attempt to create an organic team of existing groups of people that may turn out to create a workable program such as I've described in past posts and not have to start a whole new business on my own.

If I sound vague, that is with purpose, as I have to keep some things to myself while I attempt to gather resources together.

In the meantime, here are the things I've learned in my quiet time:

  • I have to know myself before I can sell myself. I have to know exactly what I want before I can go after it successfully. I also have to recognize my strengths and work to those strengths. My strengths probably won't look exactly like anyone else's.
  • Every waking moment does not have to be work. If I'm not at my job, I don't necessarily have to be working on, or thinking about, my side projects. Letting go of constant planning has been quite the relief.
  • Peace can be found in the most stressful of places, but sometimes peace takes work, too: work not to think, not to plan, work to be still.
Being the type of person who spends most waking hours planning, organizing, and doing, I can never rest for long, but it's been a great mental break to step back from the big picture and spend a few weeks learning to appreciate the moment and all the little things that happen within it.

Some tee-tiny moss growing on a wall by my house, which I noticed during a sunrise.

1 comment:

DcnMarty said...

The beginning of wisdom is knowing yourself. You have vision. It's not necessary for you to do everything. It may be more important for you to facilitate others so they can do it.

Your vision and passion are your strengths. Use them to help others accomplish what needs doing.