It’s a new year and we are seeking to grow in new ways. I have been thinking about blogging for a long time but have not been able to really figure out what to talk about. Now I have many things to say and to be quite honest, I have been cautious of speaking out because there seem to be so many voices that the noise is overbearing. But I do know that my heart from the entrepreneur spirit is driving these words. So I hope that these words might help you and your business when you are faced with hard times.
In fact, just recently our business went through a hard time. When we started this business nearly ten years ago in Florida, we were surrounded by some of the greatest friends and talents that we have ever known. We worked as a team and I had such high hopes for our future together. Then, in 2010, my mother passed from cancer and our world shattered. My wife and I moved back to Colorado to be close to my father and sister. To describe what impact her passing had on me personally would take a book to explain. Maybe someday.. but as it relates to our business, it was like starting over. Friends who I had grown up with had moved away like I did. And the place that I grew up in had gone from that “small town” feeling to one of the fastest growing cities in the USA.
Everything had changed and my wife and felt alone and back at square one. Fast-forward to 2017 and we found ourselves gaining strength and open and ready for the next step of growth. We have always been people who believe in the power of team because Together Everyone Achieves More. As much as I have wanted to bring the original “Dream Team” from Miami to Denver, I knew this was not realistic. However, we found new hope when new friends and some old friends from the past surfaced as possible partners for the next step of the journey.
Unfortunately, however, it didn’t work out that way. The thing is some people believe that business isn’t personal or perhaps they don’t realize it. But we believe this to be far from the truth. Especially for small businesses. Many small businesses put everything they have into their business and it affects every aspect of their lives as it does with us. Because of this fact, finding harmony with others is vital when expanding the team or partnering with others. Though we thought we had found this trust, harmony, and unity, the truth was we hadn’t. In fact, we found the opposite. This was truly hurtful and disappointing.
I’ll write more on this in upcoming blogs but the business lesson learned is this: oil and water don’t mix so be careful to make sure that build your business with those who share the same values that you do.
All in all, we are still standing and the best is yet to come, but in light of MLK day, our story does speak to the division that can sometimes exist between people. Our struggle to find unity with others is a microcosm of the struggle that our country is facing today. Though it was a hard thing to realize that those we sought to partner with where not a good fit for our business, the ability to co-exist with others that are different from us is so important.
The color of skin is not an issue in our story but it is worth pointing out that the wisdom gained through this challenge and the many challenges of entrepreneurship would not have been possible 50 years ago because the business that my wife and I run together would not have been impossible in past America just because we are different shades of skin.
As hard as some of our business challenges have been, they pale in comparison to the social challenges that existed back then. Social challenges that made the American dream seem impossible for so many people of color.
However, we have gained ground. Just as our business is still striving, so is America. Though there are still challenges in our business, we will keep building. Though there are challenges in America, we will keep contributing. We will keep believing.
It’s truly a blessing to be able to “struggle” in our pursuit of happiness. I want to thank those who have fought and died to give us the freedom to fail forward doing something that we love to do with people we love and chose to do it with. I want to thank those who believed in the dream that America could one day be better than the America they lived in, where it seemed as if the only freedom they had was to dream of a better day.
So the struggle continues but the dream lives. I’ll close this out with one of my favorite quotes by Dr. King.
“We Must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.” So even in your disappointing experiences never lose hope in your dream. Never lose hope in people. Never lose hope that it will get better. And never give up hope and faith in God.
This will be our best year yet America.