Into the Wilderness
I am enjoying the bounty making its way out of our farmer’s fields and the simultaneous experiences of surrender and exploration of this summer season. The process of surrendering is not always so graceful for us entrepreneurs and yet when we do engage in it, new wilderness pathways of thinking and feeling emerge and often feed our ventures well.
At the beginning of June, I led a weekend retreat that was primarily focused on generating opportunities to restore, reflect, create, and connect while immersed in nature. When asked how it went in the days following, I found myself repeatedly referring to it as a game changer. Folks would say, “Annie, what do you really mean when you use that term?” I couldn’t quite put my finger on it and yet it continued to roll off my tongue with pervading senses of ease and impetus attached. When I feel ease in delivering something it is an astute messenger for me, as it often indicates that clarity and purpose have shown up on the scene together, ushered in by grace. Impetus, defined as the force that makes something happen or happen more quickly, is an equally powerful messenger as it shakes me out of ruts of complacency and initiates trajectory into more aligned lines business models. These have become core factors at play when something reveals itself as “a game changer” to me.
Often when I am facilitating a Birds Eye course, I ask the participants to check-in at the beginning by sharing either an “ah-ha”, an “uh-oh,” or an “ahh” with the group that has occurred since our last time together. This is the time when their potential “game changers” are often revealed. They can appear as seemingly simple insights, such as when a single mom artist states, “In my time study this past week I realized that I am actually pricing my products in such a way that I am making below minimum wage” or someone who wants to open an innovative restaurant says, “I called someone who I thought of as a potential competitor, or mentor, that I have been afraid to reach out to, and found out that they are actually experiencing profound burn out and are looking for someone who may want to begin the process of taking over”. These discoveries inherently become game changers in their entrepreneurial journey. The artist discovers she can no longer devalue herself and her work any longer. Her business model has to change as a result. The aspiring restaurant owner is now given opportunity beyond anything he thought possible because of his vulnerable act of reaching out.
A game changer by nature means that as a result of this ah-ha moment, the rules of future play are modified or possibly scrapped altogether. As is often the case for me, I find myself “knowing” something before I can fully put words to it and yet when it is happening I begin to sense it as a pivotal point in the journey. This is what I experienced after leading the weekend retreat. If I was sitting in one of our Birds Eye courses that following week and was asked to share a current “ah-ha, uh-oh, or ahhh” I would say this: I almost didn’t host this retreat. I knew I wanted to, but the fear monsters showed up a few months prior to try to sabotage it and almost succeeded. Fear that nobody would sign up. Fear that I didn’t have the energy to pull it together. Fear that I couldn’t translate all of the amorphous internal language into palatable, cohesive content. And yet through the guidance of wise peers and colleagues, I was able to access the quiet, confident voice within that had the power to slay those fears, say screw it, and get busy piloting. There were some wilderness moments, both physically and metaphorically, that revealed themselves as potential game-changer conspirators along the way. I am still bringing voice to the teachings. I trust that they are rich as I experienced a deeper layer of authentic leadership, one propelled by the simple ethos of being me, and I know that our future offerings will be stronger as a result.
So for now, for you, as this summer season of surrender and exploration keeps revealing itself to us, the Birds Eye invitation is this: What opportunities can you create for yourself to set out “into the wilderness” in pursuit of the potential game changers that are awaiting you and your venture? And if you discover that you could use a guide in the process, I can say with fresh enthusiasm and a new sense of confidence, that there is no place that Birds Eye would rather meet you.