Last night at midnight in the biting cold, I hunched over and lit the mortar fuse and dropped it into the launch tube. I ran back to the porch and looked towards the sky. A loud boom and up it went, twenty-five feet before it hit the power line, bounced back to earth and exploded a few feet above the ground. It was close enough that I was sure that one of the sparks had shot up my nose.
I had a project that I was working on this past year that turned out not too differently than that firework last night. Significant time was put into it, above and beyond my normal work. Huge expectations. I was exhausted and stressed out for a number of months. After hitting obstacle after obstacle, it was obvious that the project needed to end. So we killed it and I was relieved and sad.
When fully charged I come up with a handful of business ideas every day. After this one died, I gave my brain a holiday. For a number of months I hardly put any thought into new ideas or pursuits. I needed to rest.
A few years ago, my friend and mentor Chris recommended a book to me called Acres of Diamonds. It’s a story of two enterprising ranchers. Both have aspirations for life and both had vastly different ways of pursuing success. I came away reminded that opportunity is everywhere, and often right in front of our noses, though we are far too easily convinced otherwise. It’s a short book and I highly recommend you check it out. You can read it for free on your Amazon kindle or on your computer. Here is the link to it on Amazon. (*Just read the first half of the book, as you will get his point. The second half is repetitive and weird.)
After that, I poured myself back into buying and selling appliances on Craigslist. Over the weeks and months that followed, I realized the next stage of growth was to become an expert at fixing appliances. That has led to significant growth in the business.
Before I set off the errant firework, I couldn’t find the launch tube. I’d lost it. I wanted to impress my friends and put on a good firework show for them. So I scrambled around my garage and found a plastic shop-vac tube and pounded it into the ground in the front yard as a launcher. After the failed launch, I bent the tube outward and tried again, this time filling the sky over our street with colorful sparks. It was so cold outside that most everyone was back inside and missed it.
This has been a repeat story in my life. I often try to take the good and add something to make it spectacular. So often though, it ends the way it did last night, with regret. So as I walked back into the warmth of my house, surrounded by friends wishing each other a happy new year, I shook my head, yet again,with a small tinge of regret. We didn’t need the fireworks.
So, my 2013 New Years Resolution: To not lose sight of what’s right in front of me. My family, friends, community and business.
Much success to all of you in 2013. Just don’t be surprised to find it right in front of you!