The Joy of the Paddleboat Ride
I recently had the joy of riding on a paddleboat on the Mississippi River. At the first opportunity, I went to the back of the boat to watch the paddle move through the water. It was a powerful scene, as these large red paddles churned the water down into the water then back up again moving thousands of gallons of water. As I was standing there a couple of my colleagues came to join me. We all are enjoying the site when one of my colleagues asked, “How long has running the business felt like that?” You see, while we were watching the paddles churn the water we were still not going anywhere. We were still tied to the dock.
I very much agree that living the day to day of business owning it feels like you are paddling and paddling and churning and churning and not getting anywhere just tied to the dock. But let me propose an alternative thought, what if every day you were getting somewhere? What if every day you were a little bit smarter, a little bit more strategic, and a little bit wiser? What if every day you came into your business growing? What did you learn? How did you grow? How are you going to get better?
What about the days that you look at your accounting books and you are wondering “can I really keep the doors open?” What do you do to learn and grow and do better? What about the days that are just boring or uneventful? What are you doing to learn and grow?
Growth or even understanding of how to run our business is a process. Some days are a step forward, but most days are a scoot or a shuffle or a little lean toward growth and understanding. We have to fail and make mistakes to see what works. We have to learn from others and explore many ways people have done things and pick out what works for you, your people, and your culture. Every movement toward growth is movement. Successes, failures, experiences, people you interact with, people you read about, research. They are all movement toward growth. Growth in you as a business owner, growth in the business, growth in your people. Yes, I agree, most days it feels like your paddles are in the water just churning and you aren’t going anywhere. Take hope. Each day is a little scoot to where you are going and someday you will find yourself there, asking yourself, “What’s next?”
Human Resources Manager