It’s All about The Journey

“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” —Benjamin Franklin

It’s Sunday morning and I am sitting on my deck.  My companions, the squirrels, are running from tree to tree chatting.  Diesel (my fur baby) is barking and making his own moves, trying to determine the best way to get the squirrels and the birds.

It took me while to make the decision to begin blogging about my decision as minority female, over 55 to become a business owner. Would there be anyone interested in this journey?  I believe there are others like me, seeking the courage to take this step.

This is my “Why” post. 

Why did I decide to start my business? 

Freedom – This is an interesting aspect of starting your business.  There is the dream of setting your own schedule, saying no to people you don’t want to work with, working from your deck, no boss dictating what you can or cannot say. There is the reality of budgets, brands, messaging, netweaving (not networking), strategic planning and the list goes on.  I needed, longed for and passionately desired to experience freedom so I could do all the work involved in being a business owner.  Freedom to dream my dreams and move them to my reality instead of someone else’s.

Resources – Please understand that becoming a business owner is more than making money. It really is about spending the money to gain the other resources needed to carry out your mission.  It is the “other” that fuels me every day.  Those other resources include the ability to expand my circle of influence, to build a team of experts equally passionate about affecting change in low to moderate income communities and last but not least to create a team committed to executing successful community engagement activities.  These are the resources that I want at my disposable as a businesswoman.  I think about this every day; systemic changes, leveraging my voice and providing a platform that elevates the voices of a vulnerable community. What I absolutely know is this, how I use the 24 hours I am given daily will determine if, when and how I obtain these identified resources.

Legacy – As we age, we begin to think about what will we leave behind.  Now, some people are not concerned about this. They feel that it doesn’t matter and they live in the now. I am not one of them.  I believe that if I pour into people, my voice will echo in generations to come.  Creating Sandboxes for work and play allows me this opportunity to connect and build this legacy.

My Why?  Having the freedom to dream,  the ability to garner the resources to move from dreams to reality and the creation of my legacy.  AG’s Sandbox is the vessel I use to operate in “My Why.”

What is your Why?

The Possum Post

A Possum seems an unlikely partner to begin my business with, especially if you know how much I dislike possums. 

Let me begin by sharing my history with possums.  I first met these marsupials as a child growing up in rural Alabama.  They were never pretty and many people tried to convince me that they were good “eatin.”   I encountered a family of possums that took up residence in my garage.  The mother was very clear that I was disturbing her and the kids.  She hissed at me and my mind, she readied herself to leap and attack.  So, I had the garage torn down. Not only because of the possums.  I thought that eviction would rid me of unwanted companions.  No, the wise mother found a much better location; underneath my back porch.  She and her kids were friendly. They would sit on the steps of the porch to say “hey” in the morning. They would also climb on the roof where they could peer into my son’s room and glance into our nocturnal family happenings on occasion.  By no means were they snobby tenants.  I, on the other hand, never envisioned becoming a landlord.  I called the animal patrol people and paid a ridiculous amount of money to have the family removed from the premises. 

I recently had the privacy fencing replaced in my backyard for a number of reasons including my desire to earnestly begin gardening. Guess who I met one morning lurking about as my fence guy was doing his thing?  Yep, a possum.  I freaked out.  I did not wish to share my space, especially my garden with any living creatures, possums included.  How did I keep them out?  I talked to experts, I talked to my friends as well as business associates.  The answers were summed up as follows” you share your space”. “Your dog will scare the majority of them away.” What threw me the most was those who advocated for the possum.  Yes, they informed me that the possums had value and contributed in a meaningful way to the ecosystem.  Their presence would make my garden better.  Hmmm, do I give up gardening or do I learn to share my space with fellow creatures including the possum?

Here it is, the connector sentence.  The possum represents my fears.  The garden represents my business.  Remember I encountered the possum as a child, this is the place where my fears about being a business owner took root as well.  These same fears followed me as an adult.  They lived with me as I began my career.  They hung out in the background sorta like the possum in the garage.  I didn’t realize they were there because I never took the time to explore every aspect of my life closely.  However, one day I started thinking about what’s next in my life and began to explore the possibilities; aka the garage.  There I came face to face with some of my fears aka the possums, hissing, and getting ready for attack.

I tore down the garage but the possum came closer to my more intimate space.  The same oftentimes occur when you confront the surface fears in your life.  The confrontation leads you to the deep down scary ones that you have been ignoring all your life.

Despite the possum (fear), I still wanted my garden, (business).  Can I grow a business while facing my fears?  Will these fears consume my beautiful business in its infancy stage?  What is the noise about the possum being beneficial to my garden?  How can fears help my business to grow?

Great questions with some surprising answers.  After I researched the possums, I did discover that they too have value to the ecosystem.  They can contribute to the well-being of my garden by keeping other critters away, they consume other living things that can bring harm.  Are they still scary looking to me? You bet, I am sure however that I don’t look warm and fuzzy to them either.  We have reached an agreement.  I recognize they have a place in this world and they will show up whenever possible in my surroundings searching for a place to fit in.  I determine my level of interaction with them.

So it is with my fears, they too have a place on my journey to becoming a successful business owner.  They keep me from making unwise choices in some instances.  They force me to grow in self-awareness.  This is a huge benefit very similar to the possum consuming other creatures that can destroy my garden.

American Actress and Film writer, Tina Lifford summarizes the importance of self-awareness like this “when you know yourself you are empowered when you accept yourself you are invincible.” So yes, fears can eventually empower me as possums can consume unwanted creatures. 

Fears are unlikely business partners.  Their presence forces me to seek opportunities for growth internally and externally.  My growth increases the capacity of my business.  Very much like my garden, the growth of the Sandbox will feed me and others.  I am not inviting you in Ms. Possum nor your counterpart Fear…I do however acknowledge your presence and I will choose how I respond. 

Oh yeah, thanks for the contribution.  I have learned from you to simply do what you were purposed to do.