I never dreamed of being an entrepreneur, and I certainly didn’t know what it would take to start and run our own business. When I look back on it, starting this business was simply the result of seeing a need, thinking how could I be a part of the solution and taking action. As it turns out, that’s exactly what an entrepreneur does: 1) see an opportunity/need, 2) plan a little bit, 3) try to do something about it.
"Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it." - Maya Angelou
One of our common sayings around here is “all the things”. Whether we’re planning our week, or trying to remember what needs to get done today, either Eric or I will ultimately utter “all the things” (typically with a mix of excitement and fatigue). The truth of the matter is at times I’m overwhelmed by "all the things".
Shortly after starting Hands & Feet, I quickly learned that I'm not as organized as I once thought. I also learned that I'm easily distracted (picture the dog from the movie ‘Up’: “Squirrel!”). I needed help with being able to focus on the growing list of opportunities and activities on my plate.
One of the most powerful tools that we've implemented in our business is EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System). It has helped bring structure to our business with respect to creating our vision, the critical projects/activities (rocks) needed to accomplish our vision, and the weekly tasks (to-do’s) necessary to build momentum. As my list of to-do’s has grown, EOS has helped bring clarity to what takes priority. As a result, I’ve gone from being overwhelmed by "all the things" to only being overwhelmed by "some things" :-). Just kidding...or maybe not.
The second change I've started to implement has been more challenging: delegation (ok, so it's more of a word I've added to my vernacular). I've come to the realization that if I want Hands & Feet to be successful, I can't do it alone. As you may remember from previous blog posts, I like to be in control. This stems from the fixed mindset that if I don’t do it, or can’t do it, I'm a failure. Thankfully, I now know this is a lie. The more I delegate (no matter how difficult it is), the more I realize that it's ok to ask for help. Even better, I’ve also come to learn that allowing others to help enables them to share their gifts and fulfill their calling, and that’s pretty awesome to watch!
"Focus on the powerful, euphoric, magical, beautiful parts of life and the universe will keep giving them to you." - Anonymous
I think Susan would agree that the work we’ve put into launching and growing Hands & Feet has produced the most powerful, euphoric, magical and beautiful moments of our professional lives. We’re also experiencing the generosity of the universe, as it continues to give us more and more of these moments. The challenging part is that most of the time these moments show up as work, effort, projects and new opportunities to chase down. Another thing that is becoming obvious is that it never stops - and sometimes it feels overwhelming.
In the early months of Hands & Feet, Susan and I had a running to-do list that we used to help organize the activities we wanted to get done each week. The primary goal of many of these activities was to spark some interest and garner the attention of others in an effort to create the first little bit of awareness around what we were doing.
Think about it like lighting matches in an effort to get a little fire started in the hopes of drawing some attention to what we were doing. What we’ve started to experience in recent months is the response to some of these early signal fires has not only drawn some of the attention we wanted, but it has started to sweep us up in a powerful blaze of momentum.
To be clear, we are both loving it - even when we’re tired, frazzled and find ourselves asking each other what day it is. However, we’ve had to get much more intentional with our time and energy to help guard against getting lost in the forest of things that need to get done.
I agree with Susan that one of the smartest decisions we’ve made has been to start using EOS (also known as Traction). In short, EOS is a set of simple processes and practical tools that keeps us focused on what’s most important to our business, and aligned on the vision we’re chasing with Hands & Feet. At all times, Susan and I know what we’re working on (and why), how it connects to achieving our goals, and whether we’re on track or need to make a course correction. In short, it’s a great defense against “all the things”. We’ll share more details about EOS in future blog posts.
"You have been assigned this mountain to show others it can be moved." - Anonymous
Starting our own business has been awesome - and frustrating, and exhilarating, and irritating, and magical. Trying to make a dent in ending childhood hunger in the United States. Trying to build an apparel brand in an incredibly competitive industry. Trying to balance being business partners with being married. Trying to convince retail stores, big companies, and event planners to give us a shot. Each of these are huge challenges by themselves - trying to accomplish all of them often feels overwhelming. Despite “all the things”, we can’t imagine ourselves doing anything else right now. Our hope in sharing our story is that we encourage you to start, or keep going, or to try again in your own pursuit of the magical moments the universe has planned for you.