May 2016: Entrepreneur’s Edge

On mud, entrepreneurship and flowers

Joleene Moody

Joleene Moody

It’s May. (I’m sure you knew that.)

This is the time of year when I am reborn. I hibernate in the winter. But come spring, I grow new petals and my stem gets taller as I look up and drink in the sun. It’s lovely, beautiful, glorious May. And it’s a brand new season.
I used to actually dread when the show melted. I seemed to only see the mud and dirt left behind from the snowplows and big snow boots that trudged through my yard. You know those big, bumpy piles I’m talking about? Yeah, those. Those muddy grubs were my nemesis. For some reason I looked at them like remnants of the year before.

But not anymore. Now I look at them as an opportunity to overcome. I’m not afraid to stab my metal rake into the center of those earthy bumps and smooth them all out. Then I dribble a handful of grass seed atop it and wait. In a few months that destroyed mud bump will be soft, green grass. Funny thing — that’s exactly how running a business works.

I had a conversation with a woman who started her business just a few years prior. She sold consulting services. Sort of. She actually struggled with that part. She didn’t know how to sell without feeling manipulative or pushy. So she sunk. When she finally found a branch to grab hold of so she could pull herself out, she decided to abandon ship. She gave up. She never replanted or smoothed out the rough spots. Instead she just ran. When I asked her why, she said, “Because it’s easier to work 40 hours for someone else than it is to work for me.”

(Sigh.)

There isn’t a single entrepreneur out there who doesn’t sink in the mud from time to time. If we’re not sinking in it, were struggling to get out of it. Sometimes were in the mud for a long, long time. We discover that the only way out is to scrape and dig and crawl out ourselves. If we’re lucky, we might be offered a hand from a nearby adventurer who is willing to yank us out.

Nonetheless, this is where the bravest decisions are made: on the edge of your mud bump just seconds after you’ve emerged. It is on this edge where you have a big decision to make: Run away, or stay and be reborn. Running is most definitely easier. I don’t dispute that. But there is no glory in running. No growth. There is no sunshine or new petals. There is only more mud that gets thicker and thicker, even harder and crustier as the hot sun beats down on it.

Scrape and dig. Fight hard to get out. You wouldn’t be the first to fall in and get stuck and you sure as hell wont be the last. You will, however, be reborn. You will feel stronger and taller and braver. You’ll bloom brighter than before and all of the other flowers around you will gawk at your steadfastness. They’ll see your new petals and think, “Wow. I wish I had petals like that. But I don’t, because I ran.”

Don’t run. Stay. I’ll even let you borrow my rake.

Joleene Moody is a freelance writer, blogger and speaker who lives in Oswego County with her husband and daughter. Learn more at www.takeyourvoiceback.com. Her column appears monthly in NNY Business. Visit nnybizmag.com to read past columns online.