-Posted by Isaac
A couple weeks ago I told you I'd try to dig up that old Wittenberg magazine article. Well, I couldn't find it. I know we had a few extra copies, but I guess they're buried somewhere or got thrown away. However, we've got the cover shot framed and on display in the honey house:
It looks like they did that article about eight years ago. Mason is a toddler and Maizy can't be more than a few months old. We were farming side by side with Becky, and I was teaching school 'on the side.' I bet I've walked by that picture a thousand times and never really thought about it. But in this post, we do some reminiscing.
Here's the video that accompanied the article:
Back in September I was asked to speak at a Wittenberg function where they had a panel of maybe ten alumni entrepreneurs sitting in an auditorium and sharing their thoughts about business and creativity and... whatever. Two of the guys who made that video, Bob and Ross (Ha!) were sitting right up there with me.
I was delighted to see that I had missed the memo about panelists wearing formal dress. The men were wearing suits, the ladies were all dressed to kill. I wore jean shorts and tennis shoes. Oops. (And the sad part is, I left home thinking maybe I was looking a little too nice to represent my chosen profession. I mean, I had a collared shirt and I was wearing socks!)
After the initial embarrassment wore off I was able to take some of it in. It was engrossing and insightful. An inspiring hour and a half. Especially the question and answer session. Most of the speakers were involved in some form of consulting, so they had highly refined communication skills. (I took care of the "whatever" questions.)
One theme that I kept hearing was how often everyone on the panel had failed. Over and over, they failed at something, changed, tried a different route, failed again... and those years of striving for something, those many failures and setbacks and scars added up to something that sort of resembled a successful business.
I took it in. I thought about it on the way home and I've been mulling it over since. It's all about baby steps. Day to day, failure to failure. Baby steps. You've got this overarching goal and you don't know exactly how to go about it, but you sort of work your way there over time. I remember my Grandpa Barnes once saying something to the effect of, you need to do something every day. You don't have to do everything. You don't even need to be successful at it. But you have to do something.
Baby steps. Grandpa Barnes was a wise man. When I watch that video from eight years ago, I think about where we were with the bees, where we were with the business... where our life was going ... the fact that the honey house didn't even exist... nor two of our future kids...
How things change. For the better! Despite all the failures.
One of the present day baby steps I take on a weekly basis is the honey delivery trip to Columbus. I'm not in love this half-day task, but it's one of those many jobs that must be done. (People need their honey!)
I grumble about it, the time spent away from the bees and the projects, but it's really not so bad. Driving up there at least gives me a chance to reminisce-- I used to be in a classroom at this morning hour. Teaching science. Years before that, this early hour brought more science, but I was the one getting taught-- Wittenberg geology. And in between those two treacherous waters, I navigated about 27 different jobs and quasi-careers.
And the thing is, I'm pretty sure that my experience isn't unique. We each have our own course of baby steps to follow. To fail, to rethink, and to step again.
And just where do you think you're heading?