Early Birds and Big Dreams

April 24, 2016

Business Journey

It’s 5:15 a.m. and I’m eating toast before heading to Canmore for a morning breakfast meeting. Yesterday, we just launched the new Canmore Folk Music Festival website and artist lineup. It was nerve wracking and exciting at the same time. We have been waiting over a year for this and we are so happy its time has finally come. However, there is an element of oddness to the whole experience too. We have come to realize that our brains and bodies want to celebrate each of these launches, these small victories, and take time for a deep breath, relaxing in the knowledge of a job done well. Also, it would be nice to take the time to help the client enjoy the moment as well. But, that is really tough to do right now with such a small and intense team.

There is no moment to pause and breathe and take it all in. It’s comparable to being in a really long hockey game, really intense bursts with only short breaks to grab a drink and rest before we are thrown out there again. With a team of four (three full-time, including us) that means we each play a lot of minutes. We keep scoring goals and killing off penalties, but so far there isn’t much in the way of intermissions, let alone end-of-game breaks.

With a team of four (three full-time, including us) that means we each play a lot of minutes. We keep scoring goals and killing off penalties, but so far there isn’t much in the way of intermissions, let alone end of game breaks.

I think the key may be to make this more like an eco challenge-type adventure race. Where we are talking about multi-day treks through highs and lows. Where you need to pace yourself, rest, eat, navigate and enjoy each moment along the way. There are no intense sprints. (Okay there are probably a few, that’s unavoidable.) But mostly the days are about covering ground, and sometimes just putting one foot in front of the other. The funny thing is, this is a great metaphor because you are doing something you love and surrounded by amazing scenery and people. And, no doubt, it will probably be one of the hardest things you will ever do. The blisters, cuts, exhaustion, and fatigue. The navigation mistakes, missteps, falls and climbs. Those who make it to the end are the ones that know each of these things is just part of the journey, part of the fun. You embrace these experiences, rather than trying to avoid them.

If you have ever ran a race, especially a marathon or something like that, (or even done something that requires training of some kind), you come to an epiphany. As you get closer to the moment of impact, you realize that while the training was about the physical work you needed to put in, in the end your success will most likely be the result of your mental game. You were training your mind, not your body. That’s how this feels.

I am so excited and intrigued by the work we do everyday, always incredible challenges I can’t wait to get my hands on. But, I also feel more mentally exhausted than I ever imagined. I haven’t figured out the magic formula for balance yet. How to build, create, exceed and grow while finding the time to stretch, recover and rest my mind.

Those more experienced mental business builders might have some tips…if so, what do you recommend? What has worked for you? The key, that I see poking over the horizon, may just be the cheesy cliche “to enjoy the journey and make the time to breathe, celebrate, and just take it one step at a time.”

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