Monday, April 28, 2014

2 Ways My $5 Ring Can Change Your Business

My flea market "valuable" ring recovered
A few months ago, I noticed that one of my favorite rings was missing. I could not find it in any of the "usual" lost locations. I'd give up on finding it.  Since I got it really cheap at a flea market over 5 years ago, I decided not to obsess over it and move on.

How delighted was I to find it today! But it's reappearance has so much more symbolism than recovering a favorite old accessory. It is another sign in my life about my current path as an entrepreneur. There are so many questions in my old battered ring. When did I lose it? How did I not see it before? Was it in the pile of snow that just melted less than 30 days ago? How did it lose it's shape even more? I did come up with two powerful and timely messages in this ring:

You Assign Value

This $5 flea market ring was one of my favorite purchases ever. I loved the ring and the woman I bought it from. I remember it like it was yesterday. She had long dreadlocks and smelled of patchouli. She complimented me on my "gorgeous" kids and told me she made most of the pieces I saw before me.  I reviewed many pieces before I decided on the silvertone ring with the cloudy blue stone. When she said it was five dollars, she quickly let me know that the stone was not real nor was it real silver. I just asked her if she'd made it. She threw her head back and laughed loudly while confirming she did but that it was a test piece with no value. She went on to tell me it was one of the first pieces she ever made and she never really liked it. In that moment, I wanted it even more. I didn't know why at the time but I do know now.  I was in the early stages of starting my business when I stumbled across this stand. While she attached no value to her test piece, it was very valuable to me. It represented her independence and her success as a jewelry maker. And I wanted to wear it. Ironically, it is one of the rings I get the most compliments on when I wear it and that is why I was heartbroken when I lost it. I bet that flea market vendor has no idea the value I've assigned to something she easily parted ways with.

You Get What You Look For

This morning, I was not looking for anything. I took the dog out as I normally do. The windy rain made me keep my head down versus my normal viewpoint. The dog stopped in her normal place to pee and this time something slightly dull yet shiny caught my eye. It was the frame of the ring. I recognized it before I could bend down to pick it up and the story from above rushed back to me. But where was the stone? I reviewed the section where I'd found the ring pretty carefully but did not see it. And because I did not want to relive the hurt of "losing" the ring all over again, I tossed the dingy ring frame into the garbage heap. It is garbage day and I was right there. Then, suddenly, I felt compelled to look again, look more closely. I did not just review the immediate area where I found the frame but the entire patch of land surrounding my mailbox. Within a minute, I found the mud covered blue stone, not even buried in the grass but sitting slightly high and in the open. Are you kidding me? I thought with a giddy smile. This was my beloved ring and now I have it back.

This is a perfect metaphor for my work life right now. I have lots of remnants of projects and proposals out there as a steady corporate gig is coming to a close. Ever so often, I catch myself worrying if I'll be able to replace this income and replace when it dries up in less than 60 days.  Finding my ring lets me know I will. Why? There is value to what I do with my company. Every day, I am privileged to spread that work more and more. And every day, others are realizing that value but I had to assign value to it first. It is easy to doubt yourself and your business when you are a small service business as we are. Cleaning up that dirty old ring has value to me because it represents an entrepreneur who believed in herself enough to start something. Every time I look at it, it has tremendous value to me. It is a reminder of never giving up on my dream to revolutionize relationships on planet Earth.

Finally, you get what you look for. There is effort involved. Clearly, I could have just tossed the ring frame and come back inside or gone for my normal walk with the dog but I chose to look for the stone of my favorite ring in the grass. I'd started to pout about losing the ring all over again. I tossed it and resigned myself to not having something I wanted, even though it may have been just under my feet.  Just as I took the time to look for the stone and found it, I am taking the time to look for new projects within my network. Sure, there will be some extra effort over the next 60 days but without it, I have no chance of replacing the income that is about to dry up. Panicking. Complaining. Freaking out. All fine but none of those reactions will get me closer to my goal. I am looking to win and keep growing my business. I am looking to grow and employ more people, more often. And just like the extra few seconds I took to look for my ring rewarded me- I am certain my extra effort with my business will reward me, too.

Finding my ring, my favorite cheap flea market ring in the grass today is a sign of what great things are on the horizon for my business.

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