Thursday, September 13, 2012

We Build...and Rebuild That

No number of compliments, accolades, reorders, contracts, ooohs, aaaahs,  or verbal pats on the back can compensate for one nasty phone call, one irritated email, or one dissatisfied client.  A won/loss record of .600 sends your team to the World Series; batting .400 lands a player in the Hall of Fame.  Its a rare year indeed when the team coming out of the Final Four has run the table. business, as we all learn eventually, statistics like these make for lonely days and nail biting nights. 

'Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail may stop the postmen from their appointed rounds', but neither are they excuses for flowers that are too little, too big, bloomed out or not colorful enough.  Selling service, personality, expertise, or creativity is all for naught if the so called factors out of your control take over and change the equation.  Dealing with Mother Nature is a fickle and frightening enterprise. cover all the bases you can.  You double down on...or the case may be, on numbers.  Perhaps ten percent overage is enough, but let's be safe as long as there's still a margin to be had.  After all, a deer might run through, followed by all the canines on the farm.  A straight line wind might play grim reaper and windrow a hundred pots against their neighbors.  These occurrences are not hypotheticals; they are data points on the graph of experience.

There isn't a safety net in this small business. 'Don't look back.  Something might be gaining on you,' is the admonishment of Satchel Paige.  With the admission of imperfection comes the wedge of vulnerability.  Someone, somewhere, is growing, and selling, and trying their darnedest to make a living too.  Maybe someday it will be easy and we can all get lazy and fat and dumb and happy.  

Or maybe not.  More likely, we will continue to scrape and worry and use all the means at our disposal to grow row upon row of mums as perfect as soap bubbles but durable as basketballs. We'll sweat in the summer and chill in the rain.  We'll admire our handiwork marching four by four in the slanting golden light of autumn.  

Yes, indeedy.  We have the cuts and scars and pulled muscles to prove we built that.   Not only that, but we'll pick up the pieces and build it all again if we need to.

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