A friend once told me that a skill in life is to learn to bend like a willow. It counjured up images of a beautiful tree flexing and moving in the prevailing winds.
Fast forward a while, I am approaching six months in business and fretting a little (I was warned all indi business owners fret) about my business model in action not being the same as my business plan on paper.
I am having a fabulous first six months, I have been lucky to pick up amazing work through contacts and word of mouth however I find myself worrying that I have yet to do much sustained networking or pitching. I had in my head an image of how I would bring in the bacon and the reality was quite different. It freaked me out a little.
One of the things I decided I needed when I went out on my own, apart from office space and an accountant to keep me on the straight and narrow and out of Mulberry was to engage a mentor. I chatted through my anxiety with Bruce my mentor, I explained that I was unsettled that I wasn't operating in a way I had anticipated.
He smiled at me, he does that a lot and kept quiet... he does that a lot too. And I filled in the gaps. I said that I felt I wasn't operating as a new business owner as I wasn't pitching and slogging to win work. He simply asked me if I was busy. I replied that I was not having a holiday until at least October as I was busy and furthermore I was busier than that damn business plan predicted in its Excel cell hell. He then asked if I was doing work I enjoyed and set my business up to do. Yes I replied, not pulling pints but creating great comms & PR.
Then he told me that I needed to pat myself on the back and all I was doing was adapting to my reality. I should look at my business plan more as grid reference points and less like a SatNav. As long as I am heading in the right direction and get to the right destination why does it matter how I get there. I can choose a boat, a plane...
So the willow tree came to mind. I could be rigid like an old oak and almost make myself follow a path just so I could tick the business plan or I could act like a willow and enjoy the ride from place to place.
This tree is thriving. It is well nourished and growing strong roots.