Reaching for the sky

by | Jun 12, 2018 | Change | 0 comments

I had a lovely day today as I had meetings with two very strong ladies to talk about a collaborative project I have in planning. The conversations we had were amazing and inspiring. 

One was a working mother who was diagnosed with a life altering condition about 18 months ago. Having undertaken quite aggressive treatment to halt the progress of the condition, most people would be taking it easy, possibly metaphorically licking their wounds and trying to get back to ‘normal’. This amazing lady has done nothing of the sort. Instead she has taken on small business ownership on top of her full time work. In fact she has come back fighting, and from first impressions, appears to be thriving on it. 

The second was an energetic entrepreneur that I first met when she walked into my office a few years ago. She was looking for a job. Any job. Just something that would pay her and give her a visa so that she could send money home. Time moved on and I left that office and about 18 months ago she contacted me and became my first client in Dubai when I reopened my practice. She had the germ of an idea for a business and wanted some mentoring. I watched as her plans became more concrete, and she was ready to launch her product on the market. However, just weeks before the launch date of her e-commerce site some bigger players came in ahead of her with much higher marketing budgets, gobbling up share of what was rapidly becoming a saturated market as they went. This could have caused many to stumble and give up, but not her. She took her ideas and turned them on their head, moving her market place to another country and morphing her platform into something different, but just as new and exciting. 

Both faced obstacles and challenges to their plans, their lives, and grew stronger from it. 

It reminded me of the metaphor of a broken vase that I read in a book recently. This vase is valuable and sits in a prominent place in your home, but one day you accidentally bump into it and it falls, shattering as it hits the hard marble floor. While vases often have at least one large piece intact when this happens, allowing you to start piecing it together again, possibly gluing it together in gold so you can wear your scars with pride, this time the vase is in a thousand tiny fragments. 

So what would you do?

Do you painstakingly try to piece it together with glue or tape, to make it look at least a little like it did before? Do you give up and throw the whole lot out? Or do you look at the pieces and find a new way of creating beauty, by piecing them into a mosaic or using them in another way? By doggedly trying to recreate the past, you can end up with something that is just a shadow of its former glory, vulnerable to breaking and with constant reminders of what was and never will be again.

However, by accepting that things will never be the same, but that you still have the ability to make something new, you can come out stronger, more resilient and more determined to enjoy life to its fullest. 

My energetic entrepreneur has taken the pieces and moulded them into something vibrant and exciting and is already looking at new projects to start, taking with her the things she has learned. As we parted today she said, “They say you should reach for the sky, but I don’t want to. I want to go further than that.” I have absolutely no doubt that she will.

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