Posted in business, Grace, Life's Lessons, Rant

The Partner You Need (ie. . . not the partner you want)

I’m not the partner you need? I mean, I know I asked, but I REALLY hoped that wasn’t going to be your answer.

So these dreams are all for not? Everything we’ve been talking about over the last 2 weeks? 6 weeks? Years? All the breakthroughs we’ve had in our relationship? Was that just for you? Did I have a role in this too? Was I at home with the kids, working a job in town, toeing the line at the restaurant, what? Where was I in this?

So, today was your reminder of why we shouldn’t be in business together, huh?

I’m the problem then, huh? I’m the one dragging you down?

Your mistake is believing you need someone like yourself to be your partner. You don’t. You need the opposite, ME, to do and enjoy all things you don’t do and can’t stand. Yes, anyone could do book work just like anyone can wait tables. That’s not the point. You don’t need a ‘yes man.’ You need someone who thinks differently and will tell you’re being an idiot when you are and who also has different gifts and talents to augment your own highly developed and specialized skill set.

This really doesn’t sound like the problem is all me here does it? The more I write and then read and then re-write, the more it is obvious to me that you hold no respect for me in the industry and, by association, as a business partner. I am not perfect (and sometimes only just passable in some things I have to do for the business) and I don’t know everything. You seem to though. Dang it! Every stinkin’ time we have this stupid old argument, you always seem to know best and nothing I say or do or know or think measures up. Your way or the highway?

I don’t see it. I think what needs to happen is you need to learn to work with me and I with you. I am not your opponent. I AM ON YOUR TEAM. I have your back. Every stinkin’ time. I am in your corner. Your Dad didn’t believe it of his wife, will you? I want you to succeed and be happy. I want us to succeed and be happy together, both at work and at home. We are all on the same side.

I like working with you most of the time. I would rather spend the rest of my life with you in any endeavor we chose than anywhere else, doing anything else, for anyone else.

I feel like you are so close to being that team captain that leads the team to nationals that I can taste it. I see the big win at the end of the season of back breaking work and commitment and I want it! I want to trust you. I want to see you be the man and leader you were intended to be but left at the wayside 10 years ago. I want to follow you. I do! I just don’t trust you 100% yet. Is it OK for me to be cautions? Is it OK to ask and question and analyze? You see fear, but I see caution. And I have had a lot of disappointments in my life when I’ve trusted others to lead. The only way I know to protect myself is to be cautious. Slow it down. That was my only tool in my arsenal when dealing with my parent’s leadership. As a pretty much a powerless minority partner, the only control I had on their leadership was talking and questioning and talking some more. I didn’t have a veto. I am feeling that way again. Like my role is again to slowing down the train enough to ask where we’re going and who’s coming with us and how are we paying for it. Is that what you mean when you say I am holding you back?

But do you see how far I’ve come? Can you give me that? I have come so far in my relationship with you! Even in the last 6 months, I have opened up and learn to trust you in ways I have never trusted and exposed heart and soul to anyone. Ever. Can I have some grace too? Can we have a learning curve here? One day of reality and everything we’ve dreamed for the last few day is tossed to the wind? I think I deserve more than that. More importantly, I think WE deserve more than that.

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Posted in business, Emotions, Grace, Rant, White Knight

Still Waiting

I did it again.  

Here I am waiting for him to do what I think he should before I step out to do what know I should to do.  

I dance around minor issues waiting for him to take the lead and then I am frustrated when it’s not done or not done how I thought it ought.  Really all I want (ALL I want, ha!) is to be loved and appreciated for what I do well and supported where I am weak.  

Isn’t that all anyone wants? 

We are all striving for that same sweet spot.  That place where you are using and developing your gifts and talents, hopefully making a living while doing so, and then being surrounded by family and coworkers who understand what you love and do well and encourage you in it.  Can’t I have that?  That’s not too much to expect is it?

<sigh>

My current frustrations stem back 8 years and did not start with my husband.  He is simply next loved one in line who doesn’t seem to appreciate my gifts and talents.  And that sounds SO selfish and I feel so badly about myself for even thinking that but that doesn’t change the reality of it!  

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a shadow of woman who can’t stand up for herself buried in the kitchen slaving away without thanks.  I am a strong, independent, and skilled woman who has been stuck in a business where I have to work in areas I strongly dislike and go unpaid and unappreciated in areas I enjoy and am good at.  I can only pay the barest of attention my area of responsibility leading to half heart efforts and  rushed presentations.  No wonder my family doesn’t know how good I am.  They’ve never seen me give 100% to anything much less what I am good at and love doing.  I live my life at 50% most of the time.  How sad is that?!  We are called to live up to our fullest potential not languish in mediocrity.  And notice I said they don’t ‘seem’ to appreciate me.  My love language is also encouraging words so only hearing once in a blue moon how well I do something, does not a happy woman make.

When the ownership structure changed a year ago, I had hoped it would be my time to shine and grow.  There would only be two of us, I thought.  He’s my husband.  We’ve worked together almost the entire time we’ve know each other.  We’ve shared the same frustrations with how things were run under my parents leadership. We’ve commiserated over their treatment and lack of appreciation for all that we’ve done for the business.  I understand his gifts and talents.  This is it, I thought!  I will finally have someone on MY team.  We’re going to do this thing together.

And . . . still unappreciated and unpaid for almost everything I actually enjoy doing and even the necessary tasks suited to my major gifts and talents are low priority in my partner’s world. I have and continue to support his incredible personal growth over this last year of ownership. He has had an amazing year and truly come full circle.  His skills compliment mine almost exactly with us able to cover almost every business need between us.

I even understand where the frustration comes from on a sociological point of view.   I am a INTJ and he is a ESFP – complete opposites in how we process the world, how we interact with people, and how we find joy and renew our energy. (BTW – the INTJ personality type is one of the rarest and most interesting types – comprising only about 2% of the U.S. population. INTJ females are especially rare – just 0.8%.). 

I prefer solo and small group activities and need alone time to rest and renew.  

He is full of personality and gains energy from being a social butterfly. 

I think about what might happen and remain introspective while he focuses on the now and observes those around him. 

I am not overly sensitive to the feelings of others, valuing the process or goal more than the individual while he values his relationships and happiness of those around him above all. 

 And finally, I prefer clear rules and structure and closure while he relaxes and wants to keep his options open and wotk on the fly.

See what I mean!  

Our strengths are completely different and I watch us repetitively fall into that marriage trap.  You know the one. We all do it. Reality is, when you marry your complimentary opposite, you consciously have to keep yourself from resenting the strengths in your partner since they will usually be your weaknesses and nothing shows off your weaknesses better than the mirror that is your partner.  There is tremendous power in a relationship like this.  Not everyone gets the complete package between only two people.  There is also tremendous vulnerability in a relationship like this.  No one is a better mirror for what you’re not than your partner, especially one with such different strengths.  Sometimes the reflection is something we’d rather not see.  If you let your weakness and resentment of your partner’s strength control your relationship, you will spend your marriage trying to pull your partner down rather than helping build them up into the person they supposed to be.  This is what I observed between my Knight’s parents.  Their personality types are a half turn apart from us, yet they too are complete opposites.  But instead of the husband appreciating the incredible woman who was his wife and letting her strengths add to him, he spent his entire life repressing her so she couldn’t shine any brighter than him.  If he’d let her, if he’d believed she was on his team, if he’d loved and appreciated and built up his wife, she would have made his life joyous, fulfilled and blessed as she blesses everyone around her.  As it was, she put up with him for 40 years.  The best 40 years of his life that’s for sure.  He know exactly what he’s missing and the knowledge that he, and only he, is the one that drove her away.  She is an amazing woman DESPITE him not WITH him and certainly not BRCAUSE of him.

I don’t want that for my marriage.  I don’t want to be the one unappreciated nor do I want to be the one tearing down my partner so I feel better about myself.  I don’t want to be happy DESPITE that special someone.  So, what do I need to do?  I don’t know for sure.  I do know that if business can afford it, I should not be doing what I hate.  What’s the point of that?  After 8 years (and 1 just the two of us) we should have this figured out.  If the business can afford it and we can afford it personally, both areas of our life will only benefit from me immersing myself in work that I enjoy.  And he shouldn’t be my boss.  That’s not healthy for a marriage.  If the only way he can work is to control it all, let him.  He’s good at it.  And I can trust him to take care of both our customers and the bottom line.  Why am I even in the middle of that?  Why put myself in a position to resent him?

Now to get my uncommitted, social butterfly to PLAN this all out!  

Good luck

Posted in business, prayers, Weddings

Near Wedding Disaster (i.e. giving thanks to God)

Weddings are supposed to be a jumping off point of a young couple’s life together. Whether traditional or trendy the couple (particularly the bride) is emotional vested in the ceremony and what the event means. Even the most minor of ‘hiccups’ on this special day could ruin an otherwise perfect experience. Who hasn’t seen or experienced a bridezilla moment at one point or another? It has always been my greatest fear to be the perpetrator who instigates one such bridezilla moment. Being a organized person and experienced in event planning, I would have liked to think that I think of everything and plan for every circumstance. Today, however, I was humbled.

A young couple who frequents the restaurant asked us to prepare a portion of their wedding reception menu. They would be taking care of the appetizers and one of the entrees. We would prepare and deliver two other entrees, the starch, the salad, the bread and dessert including a sheet cake for the cake cutting. Here’s the kicker. The couple wanted the meal delivered, hot and ready to serve to the Yachats Lions Club. Simple right?

Well it should have been. Earlier I had entered the town of Yachats into http://www.googlemap.com in order estimate milage for the couples reception estimate. It was 75 miles, an estimated hour and half drive. Today, I arrived at the restaurant with time to load everything as well as giving myself (at my husband’s suggestion) an extra half an hour drive time to deal with Saturday traffic on HWY 126. Just before leaving, I printed off exact directions to the reception site with the street address the bride had given me. But wait . . . these directions say it is TWO AND A HALF HOURS to the reception site! The Yachats Lions Club is apparently in Otterrock! Serveral more google map searches later, a frantic but fruitless look for a wedding party phone number, and a vague recollection of the bride mentioning something about Otterock, I rush out the door with said google map intructions in hand already forty-five minutes behind my new schedule.

As I speed along, I reasoned with myself. “Ok. I’m scheduled to arrive a half an hour before the ceremony. I’m only forty-five minutes behind. I’ll get there fifteen minutes into the ceremony and no one will notice I am late,” I thought. This reasoning alternated with “Oh God, please.” Please get this slow car out of my way. Please don’t let me miss my turn off again. Please make the road straighter so I can go faster. Things like that.

After a missed highway connection in Corvallis I arrive in Otterrock an hour later than the agreed upon delivery time and 344 4th street, Otterrock, Oregon is nowhere to be found. Not a single local knew of a 4th street OR a Lions Club in Otterrock. With my father talking me through a detailed google map description of Otterrock I arrive at 4th street and find myself on a deserted deadend road with no Yachat club in site. I have no choice but to disregard http://www.googlemaps.com and go with the logical assumption that the Yachats Lions Club is in Yachats (not Otterrock regardless of what google says) an hour away.

By this point, I had worried myself out. There was no way to make this better. “I’ve ruined this couples wedding,” I thought. Appetizers will be gone. People will be just waiting around for me to show up. The bride will be frantic. If one digruntled customer tells ten about their bad experience, what will 120 disappoined/impatient/streesed wedding guests do? Have I just ruined by business reputation forever? WHAT CAN I SAY TO MAKE THIS OK?

Two hours late for my delivery, I pull up at the reception site. I see assorted guests standing outside, most with a drink in hand. I take a deep breath and pray one quick prayer. It was a simple prayer. “Please, God” I prayed. “Give me the words to make this right and give me peace.”

First contact was nothing much. The two closest guys offer to help me carry. “Sure,” I said. In my mind I am thinking, “I could use all the help I can get!” We begin carrying cambros through the guests to the kitchen. I begin setting up the buffet while the guys continue to haul things in. Then the GROOM asks what he can do to help!

Miracle of miracles! No words were neccessary. Things hadn’t progress very far at all. The couple was still taking pictures. Appetizers were still out. The entree they were in charge of wasn’t even ready to put out yet! I tried to apologize for being late. Trying not to make excuses, I explain about the Otterrock address and found that they had seen the same thing online. (They, at least, had already had a physical experince with the reception site.) They ended up APOLOGIZING TO ME for the stress I had experienced! They love the restaurant. They stop by for brunch on their way to the coast everytime. They tell (and will be telling) everyone about us. I couldn’t have asked for (yet recieved) an easier situation than that. They let me know I can even be expecting a tip with return our equipment!

Now that’s an answer to pray!

Posted in business, Emotions, Life's Lessons

Joys of Small Business (i.e. family, money, and time off)

Dear small businesses owners:

You have my condolences and my congratulations. I never understood before my own business venture the hardships and joys of owning and running your own business.

* The never ending worry about money, staffing, and maintaining excellent customer service.
* The satisfaction of a happy diner, a gushing thank you letter, a successful event and regulars.
* The disappointment of a bad dinner service, a slow week, or money down the drain.
* The freedom to make you own schedule, take an extra day off, or decide the course of your efforts.
* The ownership of each success and each failure.

A family run business has its own particular hardships and joys. Everything is personal and work always comes home with you. Everyone pitches in when the need arises, yet much remains unspoken. Every success is more meaningful. Every failure is more personal. Relationships affect every decision for the good and the bad. It can be a deal breaker or sealer.

Here’s to you who take on business ownership, 

Who make your own way, 

And work the long hours after everyone else has gone home.

I pray the best for you. 

I pray that you get ahead far enough to retire or pass on your legacy rather than working full time until you are 90. 

I pray for your health, that your body can withstand the hours, stress, and worry of owning a small business. 

I pray the best for all relationships and family members involved that all survive the trials of running a business and all come out unscathed on the other end and better for the experience.  

I understand now.

Posted in business, prayers

The Burden of Finances ( i.e. The Grace of God)

Ever heard the statistic, “money is the number one reason for divorce in our country?” How about, “half of all new businesses fail within their first year?” Well, I have both a new business and a new marriage. I could easily become weighed down with the struggling fianances of our small business during these troubled economic times. Our personal finances which are based on the success of the business might also become a burden. Which one gets priority? Our paychecks on time or the business checking account? Luckily – or divinely rather – my personal finances have never had to be sacrificed for the business. In fact, my husband and I observed the opposite this month.

Coming off a very bad December in terms of business finances (the weather really did a number on us) we began the month of January already in the hole. Typically, January is a very slow month as people are recovering from their splurges the month before. Not very encouraging when you think about it. Something amazing happen – rather than the lower than average month we expected, we watched as the reservation book began to fill with special events and large parties. Our anticipated worst week was instead our busiest with 2 dinner parties, 2 luncheons and several larger reservations!

From the beginning, I knew that God had ‘greased the way’ for us, so to speak. Even getting into the place we now operate was all about doors being opened for us along the way. Over the last three years, our large events and caterings have always paid off right when we needed the money the most. A prospective employee showed up at our door right when we needed him (i.e. my husband to be). I suppose I have grown accustom to those small miracles God performs for me on a regular basis.  I take them for granted. It was quite a wake up call when my husband mentioned he’d been praying for the business and hadn’t I? No, actually, I hadn’t. I was too use to God pulling us through I guess I didn’t think I had to ask anymore. I’d like to say I remembered to say ‘thank you’ but that’s not always true either. God has met our finances in a big way this month and I pray he will continue to do so. We’re not out of the woods yet!