Survive entrepreneurship without throwing sandwiches at people

5e12da5801f2b25c402e26940fce84fdOne of my first jobs in the real world was in food service. Dairy Queen, actually. I thought it was a pretty good gig since I was reentering civilian life after a few years in military. It was easy, relaxing, and I was surrounded by good people. The paycheck was decent, so I really had no complaints beyond my ever-present hatred of t-shirt style tops and polos. What can I say? They are just cut wrong.

One day a lady came in that appeared to have some sort of beef with the world that day. She snapped at everyone, customers and employees alike. The manager turned as she shoved her way to the front of the line, so he took her order at the spare register. There was a collective sigh of relief from the staff, while a groan of indignation collectively released from the customer side. Still, we all realised it was necessary to just get this woman out of our building before someone went down.

Life has an odd way of twisting though and she stayed. She stayed long enough to change her mind a whole of 3 times. It was no wonder when the newly minted 14-year-old went to load her bag that he grabbed the wrong sandwich. As he handed it to her with his bright baby-faced lit up in a grin, he wished her a better day. She glared at him, but he just went back to happily checking the screen, checking the tickets, loading bags and trays to take them where they went. She studied him for a minute, reached into the bag, looked at the sandwich wrapper. Eyes narrowed. She unwrapped the sandwich, and threw it at him with a scream.

We all stopped. Stunned. Silenced. Even the people at the drive through stared in wonder and horror.

There are better ways to deal with stress. 

Upon entering the world of serious business ownership (a one girl operation that only affected me was not that serious in retrospect), generates a lot of stress. Thus, in this month I’ve held 3 jobs, gotten ill, had a flooded apartment (x23), ran around like an idiot trying to find a new flat, found a new flat, and have been packing. To top off all those normal stresses, Insanitek’s cofounder, Ali, is being effectively held hostage and under house arrest in Saudi Arabia for what the King views as treason. All because he, as a minority, tried to better his life while the old king was alive. Thus, when I got my order at a local pub wrong, I thought of the lady that threw the sandwich. And laughed.

My beaten up memories

My beaten up memories

Some people deal with stress by retreating into their favourite vice. Video games, books, alcohol, cigarettes, picking fights. Pick a poison. Pick a few. I’ve seen it all in my time from cocaine to sleeping off the stress. Hell, even better, sling paint at a wall, give it a pretentious name, call it art, and sell it. After all, if a seven-year old girl can splatter paint a canvas and get $50K out of it, we can do the same in the name of stress relief.

My fiancé’s method is to dodge things with the help of video games to pass the time. Me? I pull out my old, beaten up shoes, put my earphones in with a cheap MP3 player, and go for a run.

These shoes me more to me than just a run. They signify comfort. The sole of the shoe and the bed is moulded to my foot. I slip them on like slipping into a close friend’s living room for a cuppa tea and a heart to heart. Yeah, they look ragged, but I think of the miles they have taken me over the last couple years and grin. Swampy back yards, forests and streams, elliptical trainers, hard patches of urban tracks, even more than few dozen walks to the post office. They are the memories of the last few trying years while I put a stake on my dreams for this science and research incubator.

They remind me of how far I’ve come.

Next month is also going to be Hell.

My last day of the Kaplan quarter is today. I can’t say I’m not relieved with all that is going on, but just because I have 7 hours of my life back every week for 10 weeks doesn’t mean it will be a productive 7 hours regained. I’ll be packing, moving, cleaning, unpacking, moving things around in the new place to feel like home. I’ll be trying to learn new routes to the places I need to go. My shoes will carry me through it all like an old friend always there to support me.

This is a key point to any entrepreneur’s journey. To survive the madness, you’ll need to find an outlet that doesn’t just pass the time in avoidance. The survival tactic has to put you at ease, help you confront your fears, and give you strength. It also has to reconnect you with yourself and your mission. With these facets taken care of, you’ll be able to tackle all the obstacles in your path no matter how insane things get.

You’ll also need something socially acceptable to protect your own reputation — because no one wants to do business with a crazy person that throws sandwiches.

In this day in age it’s fashionable to do yoga, take dance classes, take art classes — or really any other class. It’s fashionable to meditate. But it doesn’t matter what is in vogue. You could use fishing as a way to reconnect to yourself and purpose. To survive the turmoil that comes with entrepreneurship combined with life, find something that provides the healing that you need. Even if it’s fishing.