I figured out how, to have time, for our ‘someday’ stuff…

As my young and skinny brother-in-law Max, was smashed in between our back door and a huge freezer, I had to smile, and ask him to smile for a picture 🙂

2014-05-01 19.36.47He was probably smiling, because he’s just a fun, exuberant guy. I was smiling because we were in the middle of our dinner shift and the printer was spitting out a food order ticket.

I was laughing inside, because we had undertaken another ‘project’ right in the middle of our working evening at the restaurant. I decided it was the perfect time to install a set of casters on our freezer, so it could be moved more easily for cleaning. I once again, threw a big monkey wrench into the middle of an otherwise perfectly smooth moment of work-time.

See, we had just fed the first wave of guests, and there was a little slight lull in the action. At any minute we could have been bombarded by a couple groups or several couples coming in to eat with us all at once.

Perfect time to start a ‘have-to-finish’ project, like installing wheels on the freezer.

See, several months ago, last summer even, when I began working full time at the Brand’N Iron, I would have been terrified to suggest we do something like this in the middle of the dinner shift. Now it is more normal than not.

That is why I was laughing to myself. I was seeing myself in a new understanding. A more developed relationship with my work, with our team. I am a pusher. I will ask too much. I probably ruffle some feathers with these kind of requests. I see something now though, that I didn’t used to see.

In the middle of everything, at the wrong time, is the perfect time to get things done. Starting projects, not when the coast is clear, and we ‘have time’, but whenever a mere moment is created to do so. I see now, that when we are already in some action, it is easier to re-route and begin a new action, or add-on to the existing energy.

If we wait for a ‘perfect time’ and do it later, when we don’t have so much going on, it never gets started at all.

You can tell, I hope, that I am beginning to generalize. You can see, I’m not just talking about installing casters on a deep freeze. I’m not even talking about rearranging the kitchen, swapping the door hinges, creating a new burger recipe, completely changing our Prime Rib cut offerings, inventing our own shredded spicy chicken, sending Chad to pick up another new piece of equipment, remodeling the bar, or redesigning the way our scheduling process works. Yes, these are all little ‘projects’ that we have done, just in the last several weeks, in the middle of doing other projects, and they are specific versions of this idea. Yet, they are only examples of the larger concept at work.

There is never a ‘good time’ to do these things. We never ‘have time’ to get them done. We rarely even, and I mean super rarely, plan ahead, make all the decisions and then execute our steps till the goal is reached. That is soooo far from how we do things.

BUT, we are making progress. Lots of it. We are constantly in a state of change. We are always pushing our own envelope and recreating as we go.

I remember many years ago, in a world far away. I lived in the ’employee’ or even ‘victim’ mentality. I used to be so good at recognizing all the reasons why this kind of operating procedure was wrong. I used to be able to articulate exactly why it was bad reasoning and even bad business, to make these sweeping changes on the fly. Why wouldn’t it be so much smarter to get a group together, of the best minds and people involved. Make decisions and plans together. Then work out ahead of time, the best, most cost effective and easiest steps toward the desired end result. I could see all that in my mind as the ‘right way’ things should be done….

HA!!!!

Fast forward to today. I am involved in groups and meetings. I rarely, rarely, see decisions that are real, challenging, changing and creative, being made in this fashion. It just doesn’t happen. To find something a group can agree on, things get watered down, they become palatable to all. With many personalities, tastes, motivations and causes, I haven’t seen radical changes, come from these situations.

Now that I have new experiences, more responsibilities and yes, more skin in the game, I have a new outlook on the way to proceed. Finding the smallest moment to make a decision to start an action, any moment, is the very best time to do it. Lately, I have used the dinner hours, or ‘middle-of-something-else’ times to make things happen. Usually, it is when we have the most help on hand. We already are in work mode. We have all the moving parts at our disposal. And the very best thing about starting a ‘have-to-finish’ project, in the middle of everything else, is that no matter what, it has to get finished.

We are so much more capable than we give ourselves credit for. We have so much more time, energy, talent, skill and smarts than we think we do. The owner mentality, the doer, finds any necessary way to make it happen. I am so thankful, that I have had the opportunity to see this side of business life. I want to be on this Team, that is willing to try things. I want to part of a Crew, that can juke and adjust and dance to different beats. I want to go to work at a place that is willing to expand into more wholeness of itself, even tiny by tiny bit. One caster wheel at a time.

I am glad too, that this place is not filled with people, like I used to be. I couldn’t work with bunches of me, sitting around and telling me, so smartly, how we should be doing things differently. Flapping lips instead of working to make positive change. Sure, it still happens. Sure, I slip back sometimes too. Instead though, of making it normal to be ‘prudent’ and ‘take measures to avoid risk,’ we charge ahead. We try things. We are willing to fail, and get up and try again. We are willing to risk messing up, if it might make things just a little better in the long run.

I was proud to see young Max, squished up against the door. He was willing to try his best to help. His big brother Chad, was down on the floor, fiddling with the threaded studs on those casters. I couldn’t make them work. He did. As the ticket printed, our customers were being taken care of by Kagen. He laid a burger on the grill, dropped a chicken-fried steak down to cook. We were making progress, and handling our business all at once. It was beautiful. I appreciate our people. I appreciate getting to work with them.

No time is a good time. Perfection is an illusion. There is absolutely no way to ‘have time’ for our ‘someday stuff.’ We must make the time. The tiniest chunk of it. Just starting. Just making the first move, is the best move. If somehow I forget to remember this, I will hopefully refer back to this post. I will hopefully get my own message, that NOW, is when everything happens. We Make it all happen, if it is going to happen at all. Just like entrepreneurship itself, that is one scary and deliciously thrilling truth.

Sincerely,

Aaron Nichols

Those who thrive do the things others won’t, so that they can continue to do the things others can’t.” – Dusan Djukich