I recently spent the weekend at a lake in Michigan with my family. We had a great time hopping between the paddle boat, pontoon rides, jet skis, kayaks and the sand bar. I had a great time but since my kids are still small, I found that I was constantly in between getting their lunches, snacks, applying and reapplying sunscreen, putting their life jackets on and off and refereeing the occasional fight about who had the big shovel first. One afternoon, I decided to take some time for myself and went out on a solo kayak excursion. It was beautiful outside - 80 degrees, lovely billowing clouds and a light breeze.
I decided to venture to a part of the lake that I didn't normally take my kids. The wind was blowing lightly and I was paddling against a small current. As time went on, I found the wind was picking up and I had to actually start fighting it to try to make it over to my destination. Despite being in good shape, I found that I was getting tired fairly quickly and starting to get a bit upset, and I kept telling myself, "just get there ... just get there." As I took one more hard swipe in the water to get the kayak back on course, I realized that I was letting nature get the best of me. My goal in taking this little adventure was not really to get to that side of the lake. I just wanted to be out by myself and enjoy a new part of the lake. But here I was fighting the current and trying like crazy to get to my destination, for no particular reason.
At that moment, I glanced up and noticed where the wind was trying to take me. I stopped paddling and let the kayak drift for a few seconds. I was being taken to a part of the lake I had never been to before. It wasn't where I had intended to go, but it did fit my idea of seeing a new part of the lake. I decided to follow the waves instead of fighting them. I ended up being out in the kayak for around 45 minutes exploring a different area of the lake than I had intended. I ended up seeing several birds and some interesting vegetation. And it was quiet! A rare thing in my life as a mother and business owner. If I had fought the waves and just kept trying to get to my destination, I would have missed the whole point of my trip, which was to get out and explore by myself. The goal wasn't the destination, it was the journey.
I see a parallel between this experience and being an entrepreneur. When building a sustainable business, it's important to know when to put up a fight and when to let things unfold naturally. Many times we get our heads stuck in a rut and think, "Just get there ... just get there." We rarely stop to realize that we can actually meet our goal with a newer, better, fresher and more natural journey which has "magically" appeared. It's up to us as entrepreneurs to recognize this and decide if we want to take the natural path or just fight to stay on a course that may not make sense anymore.
Sometimes the journey is very different than we expected. Following our intuition is something that women do particularly well. However, sometimes even the most intuitive female needs a little reminder from Mother Nature about who is actually in charge!
© 2011 Meredith Liepelt, Rich Life Marketing