Last night I had to teach two back to back classes. Four hours of teaching about the reality of entrepreneurship. It was the perfect ending to the perfect storm. Straight off the back of an awesome but intense 10 day trip to NYC, I arrived home late Thursday night to find a near impossible challenge awaiting me.
A project in which every single element that could have possibly gone wrong had gone wrong. A project that should have been complete two weeks ago, but that I watched fall apart from a distance. A project that had me waking up at 5am every morning in New York to find missed calls and panicked WhatsApp messages. And all along I had this inkling feeling that it would end like this. That it would get to a point that I would have to take on the challenge single handedly.
So I dropped my bags on the floor, ate some dinner and went straight to bed. Friday morning came around too quickly, with no room for jetlag or a debrief from NY. Up at 6am moving machines & fixing metal moulds with guys who answer the emergency call to help out. Facebook video calls with a fucking super hero in Malaysia who won’t hang up until your Precious Plastic machine is fixed and you’re ready to start production. Phenomenal human beings who show up and get stuck in with you for a few hours because they’re starting to recognise just how colossal this task is.
Sitting on the floor of the entrance to the studio surrounded by the chaos and knowing that there’s only one way through.
Friday ended at 1.30am and Saturday kicked off at 6am with a run for more supplies and hands covered in burns.
A day against the clock. With a ridiculous mission and the knowledge that I couldn’t stop until it was complete. A realisation that, when you run your own business, it will ultimately come down to you. There isn’t an option to sidestep the job. To tell the client that you can’t do it. A recognition that you chose this path and now you have to walk it.
Saturday ended at 3am and Sunday kicked off at 6am. The jetlag either forgotten or perhaps working in my favour at this stage. A four hour window to get the job done and no room for mistakes. A blend of loud music and Gary V podcasts. The smallest glint of hope - that this might actually be possible. Enough at least, to keep pushing.
And at 9.30am, when I handed over the last bag of medals, still warm from the injection mould to be delivered to the client, just 30 minutes before the medal ceremony began, I lay on the floor and took a long deep breath. Somehow the impossible had become possible. Somehow the job was complete. It wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t pretty but it was complete. 400 Precious Plastic medals hand made, hand cut & hand delievered. A 50 hour window with 8 hours sleep.
I slowly began clearing up, sweeping the plastic and shifting the machines. Packing up the gear with a need for the job to be completely finished. To be able to walk away knowing it was done. No mess left behind, no task undone.
At 12pm on Sunday I got home, had a shower and climbed into bed. My alarm woke me at 4pm from a deep sleep and I looked at the state of my tiny house. With bags fresh from NY all over the floor. Laundry spilling out and a whole trip to unpack, physically and mentally.
And so it was at 5pm that my class began. The first of two classes that night. The reality of entrepreneurship. With a cohort of 23 people just about to start a business.
I put my notes aside and laughed. “You guys wanna hear a story about what it’s really like to be an entrepreneur ?!”
Sometimes the perfect storm will arrive. At the very moment when you think you can’t handle it. With a force that feels like it might sweep you up and make you disappear.
Sometimes the challenge feels so immense that you question whether you can face it. Every single element that could fall apart has fallen apart and now it’s on you.
Here’s the thing about the perfect storm: It’s perfect because it’s here to show you that you are capable. That you have it in you. That you will find a way.
I laugh often about having Rocky as my alter ego, but in moments like this, I am grateful for it. I am grateful for the tenacity, the resilience and the drive that my experience has gifted me.
I am grateful for the grit and determination. Because once I stop feeling sorry for myself, for being angry at the whole damn situation, then something else kicks in.
It’s not graceful. It’s not pretty. It’s full of curse words and burns. It’s unstoppable and somewhere deep inside, it relishes the opportunity to show what’s possible. It loves the fact that it’s me vs the challenge. That no one is racing in to save the day. That life isn’t a Disney movie where the whole gang shows up at the last minute to make it happen. This is me on my own at 2am doing whatever it takes.
And so thank you perfect storm. I am exhausted but I am grateful. You reminded me who I am and what I’m capable of.