After much contemplation, study, thought, prayer, and discussion, we made the hard decision to close down our yard care business forever. How do I feel about it? Honestly? Heartbroken. Devastated. And relieved. I hate those bittersweet moments.
The intention with this business was always to replace Robb’s full time job. But without a full time manager, this business could never profit enough to support a full time manager. Catch 22. Our lack of resources, coupled with some vast and unexpected expenses in 2010 left us with little choice. We can’t run faster than we have strength. And we can’t purchase fertilizer with our good looks.
The truly fascinating thing about this whole process has been looking back on the last three years, at what we have learned, not just about business, but about ourselves. We learned that we are capable of much more than we thought. We learned that we will do vast amounts of things for each other. We have learned that our family still comes first. We have learned that we are able to handle personal relationships in appropriate ways. We learned that while failing hurts, (and hurts bad,) it strangely feels like a kind of success when you look at it a certain way.
Ultimately, all things are emotional. For me, the real emotional issue was about finishing what I start. I have never been good at this. I am great at starting things, and terrible at finishing them. It’s one of those things that gets under my skin. I hate that I have this tendency. So, I am highly motivated to finish, to complete, to succeed. This particular incomplete makes us remember all the other embarrassing failures of our past; the rental property that was foreclosed, the vending business in which we lost several thousand dollars, the speculative real estate investing experience that ended in a short sale, the trashy rental we still own and can’t afford to sell, and numerous other blood-sweat-and-tears efforts to change our current situation into our dream situation. But this one was by far the biggest, the most public, and the most painful.
But God is good. The moment of reality for me was the morning after Ryan broke his toe. He was having a hard time walking, I felt like I needed to keep him home from school and get the foot x-rayed, and Ryan was adamant that he attend his 3rd period class to present a big project he had been working on with a friend. His grades have been such a struggle, I knew there was no way I could say no to this. Nevertheless, he needed some help getting to school, and I was supposed to be at a business networking meeting. I had worked really hard in this BNI group, passing referrals to other members, meeting with them one-on-one to get to know their businesses better, developing relationships, and attending my meetings faithfully. Missing this meeting was a big deal, and felt like it’s own failure, separate from everything else. When I made that decision, to miss the meeting to stay home and be with Ryan, I knew this one important thing about myself… that I would never be able to fully dedicate myself to anything that would keep me away from my family consistently, or would force me to neglect my children. This is a mark of pride, and something I feel quite good about.
I feel okay. I feel good, actually. Strong, confidant, certain that our decision was the right one. I’ll miss Scenic Yard Management, and I won’t. And for that peace, I thank God.