Life is good. Really good, actually. Something interesting happened after work tonight. I drove down the dirt road where a lot of my best ideas come from--window down, puppy alertly sitting shotgun, feeling the sun on my arm as it dangled down the door of my truck, and I was kind of reeling from a busy day. I got to work around 7am, didn't have time for lunch, and finally rolled home into my driveway at 7pm. I was feeling happy, but exhausted, which seems to be the normal half-zombie state in which I navigate life lately. I think about my friends who have babies and really little kids. They have the same look in their eyes. We're all tired. I don't have kids, though. I have a business. A good one, with passion and momentum and hundreds of details. The good stuff in design--what makes something really special--is all in the details. Nothing can go unnoticed. Tonight, I was too tired to ride my bike, so I curled up on my back porch with a dog named Eddy and an author named Ed Abbey.
It was nice. I sat on my porch and looked around. I could see the rocks under a tree where in July, I buried my dog, Scout, who was my absolute best friend and most loyal companion for the last ten years. I joke that I bought him his dream house, and then he died a few months after we moved in. It's like he knew he was finally home. I listened to the running water that flows through my yard, aptly named Scout Creek. I could hear a frog. I would love to know what it looks like, how big it is, how green it is. I haven't seen a frog in Montana before. My new puppy, Eddy, likes to sit with me here. This is our spot. We like to look and listen and be next to each other. Life is simple in moments like these. Life is shorter than we usually think about.
In this moment, I decided that I'm reclaiming placidity.
Calmness, like every other state of being, is a mindset, and we all get to choose our mindsets.
That's one of the best things about being human. Ultimately, we can't choose what happens, but we can always choose how to react to it.
Historically speaking, I'm a calm, confident, creative person with a love of going outside, going fast, and going big. My business, Wheelie Creative, has grown a lot in the last few years, and on a personal level, I'm feeling it. I care so much about the products we create, and doing so with grace and passion. Growing my business is a lot more work than I ever anticipated, and it's great work. I love our clients. They trust us with their brands. They seek our expertise for how to have a successful season or how to take their latest product to market. It's a huge compliment, and I could never take that trust for granted. It's really special. I get to work with amazing entrepreneurs and employees and athletes, and I'm honored every time someone signs a contract with Wheelie.
I do well in stress. I know that if I'm tumbling off Mag7 in Moab, tomahawking through High Life in Crested Butte, or scrambling to meet a massive deadline just because I said I would, fear isn't helpful. Neither is flailing. Placidity wins every time. I get that. So in these of high-action moments, I choose calm.
Sometimes, though, I let overwhelm win. As emails pile up in my inbox or ideas are slow or subjectivity starts to creep in, I let myself be reactive instead of proactive.
Email is such a reactive system. Sometimes at work, we have these days where we react to our inboxes instead of dictating how to organize our day. I'm so guilty of that. I'm trying to work out a better system for email, something that politely puts us more in control of our time without leaving our clients hanging. Stay tuned. But until then, what I can do is choose to be calm, to take them on one click at a time.
In an interview, I recently asked interviewees the goofy question, "Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or one hundred duck-sized horses?" It's a funny thought, so people laugh and answer naturally, but it really reveals if you prefer taking on one mega problem or a bunch of smaller problems.
I'd take the horse-sized duck every time.
My most recent duck is to make huge change in inclusive marketing within the outdoor industry, particularly regarding marketing to and making products that include women. It's time. And this doesn't feel overwhelming to me. It feels necessary.
Somehow, though, 40 emails before noon rocks my world. Duck-sized horses.
Tonight though, I remembered what it is like to sit and do nothing. I've been so extraordinarily caught up in the details of my business, the acquiring, the personalities, the letting go, the considering, the creating, the constant problem solving, and the inside jokes. I love Wheelie Creative.
I also love choosing to be calm in my reactions.
I choose to remember that life is short.
Play fetch. Ride bikes. Dive into lakes. Get muddy. And make time to do nothing on the porch.
Being stressed out is a choice.
105 Wisconsin Ave.
Whitefish, Montana 59937
copyright 2017 Wheelie Creative Design, LLC.
621 Kalamath Street, Suite 180
Denver, CO 80204
I can't recommend Wheelie enough. Our website launch was almost too successful, and we could barely keep up with the amount of orders we received as soon as we announced the rebrand. They are ah.MAZING!"