A folktale, supposedly Chinese, tells of a farmer whose only plow horse ran away. People in the village commiserated with him, but he was an easygoing guy and would just shrug his shoulders in resignation and keep working.
Then the horse returned from the hills, with several mustangs following. The farmer and his son roped them, and soon were training a small herd of fresh and energetic new work animals. The villagers clucked their tongues in envy.
Not much time went by before one of the horses bucked, kicking the farmer’s son and badly breaking his leg. Again, this aroused the sympathy of the locals.
While the son was healing, the emperor’s army came through the town, conscripting young men. Since the son was not able-bodied, they passed him by. He was able to stay with his father and regain his health.
This story asks, what is luck anyway?
When you own your own business, all kinds of unexpected events can throw off your schedule, your budget, and your carefully-constructed plans:
- A competitor opens a location uncomfortably close to your store.
- Prices for supplies hit a bump, and suddenly you have to choose between maintaining profits and retaining customers.
- Reimbursement plummets for a service you’ve provided for decades.
The entrepreneur’s life involves endless adaptation, adjustment and reacting to shifting conditions.
It’s much like some of the events I’ve experienced with my family in the last few months. My son got accepted at a private high school on a generous scholarship. This is definitely good! Getting him to school and basketball practice added 6-8 hours travel and transition time to my already-crammed entrepreneur’s schedule-you can imagine how good that was!
I decided to move closer to school, and a realtor offered to sell my house. My kids and I spent a ton of time cleaning up 12 years’ worth of accumulations; of course this meant complete Stress-o-Mania.
The house sold very quickly, which seemed like a good turn of events. Next though, we took a detour into the world of real estate law in a dispute over the sale contract.
As you might already be guessing, it didn’t end well.
Now we live in the same house, but with less money than when we started. Still, it’s cleaner than it’s ever been since we moved in, and we got rid of a bunch of old stuff.
So, good? Bad? Who’s to say?
What’s your story of fortune and the wheel of chance? As a business owner, taking a roll-with-the-punches attitude is a necessity. If you let setbacks get to you, or worry about decisions after you’ve made them, it distracts you from your focus on the future.
If you can move on after misfortunes and mishaps, and simply tell yourself “Well, that was pretty much awful, but it’s over now,” this allows you to look ahead despite adversity. Owning a business can be a source of great satisfaction and reward, and it will always involve challenges and tests of your character. This doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong, it’s just part of the experience.