I talk a lot about how being a runner prepares me for running my own business.
However, as the temperature gage on my Honda Civic hit 24 degrees the other week, I realised that what prepared me most for starting my own business was being on the Transplant waiting list for 3 1/2 years. How does this correlate you ask? One word, uncertainty.
Every day on the Transplant list is uncertain. I had to learn to live life, even though the background soundtrack on loop was, will I get the call today. I learned to accept that nothing I could do could control whether or not that call came, I had to stop waiting, and I had to continue doing. I had to watch other people prosper and not be resentful. I had to accept that sometimes the call came but that it just wasn't the right time for me. I had to readjust my life plans and accept that life is what you get, not necessarily what you want, or think you want. And finally, I learned the true meaning of gratitude when the call did come.
It's hard for me to explain the transformation which occurred in my innermost being on the list but I do know is that without this time, I would never have opened Kaffe O.
If you cannot cope with not knowing what each day brings, seeing your sales figures fluctuate with the weather, seeing your customers try out the latest new place, phone calls out of the blue at random hours of the day with the most random issues, figuring out what the VAT man is owed, finding another piece of kit broken which you're going to have to get fixed, staff leaving out of the blue, a huge community event happening which you knew nothing about but which all your customers are at...then don't even contemplate the small business owner route.
Whilst thankfully the majority of the population will never have to wait on the Transplant list, I think the most important question a person should ask themselves before they take the self employment route is....can I embrace uncertainty? If the answer isn't a definitive yes, then probably best to go back to your desk on Monday morning or you will be miserable most, if not all of the time.
Within the last two weeks I've taken steps to try and regain my composure to help me deal with all the uncertainty the self employment world has to offer. It's crazy to think I dealt with the uncertainty of whether or not I would get a call to say that an organ was available better than the effect of a mini heat wave in May on sales.
So I'm trying to regain some perspective and control by attending a mindfulness class, making time to do some running in the mountains and being much more social with family and friends.
A very wise man said to me we all get two lives. The second life starts when you realise you only have one. So by all means follow your dreams, but be prepared, really prepared that there is nothing certain, but uncertainty.
Oh and PS- If you believe in Organ Donation- then here’s the link to become an organ donor- and don’t forget to tell your loved ones your wishes. I will never be able to truly express my gratitude that two families did this for me.