Sunday, May 19, 2019

Working Out and Knowing How It Worked Out

I believe if something grabs my attention, I need to pay attention.  That’s why I asked the bartender if I could take home the paper copy of their menu. Printed at the top was this quote:

Maybe this won’t work out. 
But maybe seeing if it does will be the greatest adventure ever!”

The menu is hanging on my refrigerator.

Why does this speak to me on such a deep level? What does “won’t work out” mean? Doesn’t that sound pessimistic? Like you’re planning to fail even before you get started?          

Does “won’t work out” mean if I try something and it doesn’t end up the way I think it should, that it wasn’t worth trying?

That’s what we tend to think. We avoid trying because the outcome is uncertain. And when something is uncertain, we fear being judged by our decisions. When we try something new, we don’t know how it’s going to work out. And to other people, it might appear that it didn’t work out if we decide to stop doing this thing.

With this type of thinking, we’re missing something—and this something is really important. This something is freedom from regret.

That’s why “working out” and “knowing how it worked out” are two different things. And the most important of the two, the reason to get started, is to know how it worked out. It’s also the most certain. If we start, we’re assured of learning how it worked out. If we wait to start until we’re sure it will work out, most of us won’t get started.

Knowing how it worked out is what keeps us from feeling regret in the future about what we didn’t go after. Instead of imagining how great something could have been, we’ll know. We’ll have a complete story.

When my children were 3, 5, and 7, I started a children’s clothing business—designing, manufacturing and distributing two clothing lines/year to boutiques across the country. And then, after being in business almost four years, I decided to close the business.

I knew this was the best decision after speaking with another company that started their business a few months after me. The owner said he was setting his alarm for 15 minutes while he slept on his cutting table. Then getting up to go back to work. Wow! Both he and his wife had worked for Calvin Klein before going out on their own. They knew what this business took to succeed. I knew I didn’t want to sleep for 15 minutes on my cutting table. I knew I wanted to be present during the precious years of my young children. And so, I finished the season and closed the business.

So, what do you think? Did it work out? To you and others, it might seem like it didn’t work out. I tried to open a children’s clothing business and I failed. But to me (and that’s who really matters to me) I didn’t fail. The only way I could have failed is to not try. If I hadn’t tried, I would still be thinking I could have been really good and had an amazing life as a children’s clothing designer.

Instead, I got something even better. I got the knowledge of knowing how it worked out. I got my full story. And I had an adventure along the way—exhibiting at the International Kids Show in NYC, winning the most creative booth competition, seeing my clothing in storefronts, catalogs, and magazines. I have no regrets about not trying. And with the experience and knowledge I gained by being in business, I have no regrets about closing the business.

Is there something you have been putting off because you’re afraid it might not work out? Instead, shift your thinking to “knowing how it works out” and get started on your next adventure! 

Copyright 2019. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

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