Have you ever seen your life flash before your eyes? No? Me neither.
But I have had the closest thing to it. I used to jokingly call these situations "brushes with death". But it's funnier than it sounds.
It all started with the sound of a summer tire bouncing onto the driveway.
I was just about to head out in the car yesterday when I realized my 4 summer tires, all on rims (super heavy), were still in the back seat. It's snow tire season!
I really wanted to get those heavy, filthy things out of the car - I needed my back seat. I've removed tires from my back seat dozens of times. No big deal, right?
So I opened the back door, grabbed the first tire and started rolling it into the garage. As I turned my back on the car, I heard the familiar sound of a tire hitting the pavement. Boink.
Now, on a normal driveway and on a normal street, on a normal day, that sound would not have struck fear into my heart. But we just recently moved to the top of a hill - our lane way leads down to a very busy, steep street.
Yep. That tire very quickly started down the lane, with me running after it.
As it approached our grassy knoll, I felt confident I could catch up to it.
The tire bounced a few feet in the air when it hit the curb, gained speed and kept going down the hill. As I ran behind it, the tire gaining speed, I could see the oncoming traffic on the street and the tire heading towards it. Not good.
Then the rogue tire hit another curb at the foot of our lane, where the lane meets the street. Was it going to veer to the right and into oncoming traffic or head left, down the steep sidewalk leading to another neighbourhood? Panic!
The tire hit the second curb, at the foot of the lane and bounced at least 10 feet in the air, changed direction, and headed down the sidewalk, away from the busy street.
My relief only lasted about a second, until I saw two guys leaning against their truck, chatting, and two houses at the foot of the steep sidewalk. O.M.G.
Then, a miracle. The tire took a sharp turn to the left and careened into the woods.
I was so far behind it at that point, I was pretty sure it was going to crash through someone's house at the foot of the hill. Truly terrifying.
I was incredibly relieved that it buried itself deep in the bushes. It was so far in, I decided to just leave it there for now, lower my heart rate and fetch it later.
When I caught my breath, I started thinking about the complete lack of control that I just experienced. As someone who likes to be in control as much as possible, I realized that being in control isn't always something that you can...control!
I'm more relaxed when I'm in control. It's my happy place.
Do I always feel in control in my business? Nope. Do you? There's just so much to do most of the time and I'm sure you're doing too many things that you are either not good at or you just don't have time for.
And every time you delegate or outsource you lose a little more control. But you're actually swapping control with trust! And letting go of some control can lead to growth.
My hunch is you'll never be fully in control anyway. I mean, who feels in control all the time? Certainly not when you are chasing an out-of-control tire.
But you can feel more confident if you have some key things in control. Do you have an accountant you trust, who meets deadlines? Do you work with people who share your values and are trained well? Are you staying in regular communication with your target market?
Take control over what you have power over rather than wishing you could control the things you can't - like the weather or the direction of a tire bounce.
If you have the right people hired with the right values shared, a clear vision of your "why" and what is expected, you can still have a lot of control but not 100%. That leaves room for trust.
Focus on what you CAN control. Get good at processes and training so you can trust that things will be taken care of.
Aim for complete trust, not complete control. That leaves room for growth.
And please avoid living on a hill, near a hill or anywhere that isn't flat.
The Small Business Guide
Kim Houlahan is a marketing consultant who loves helping small business owners improve their marketing.
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