Rebuilding after the Ship Wreck of Loosing a Business
Closing our shop was one of the most difficult decisions we have ever had to make. In facing the myriad of feelings of the aftermath, there was one that surprised me: relief. The reality is that it felt like we were on a sinking ship. We did everything we knew to keep our operation afloat but in the process we jettisoned a lot of things that were important for our personal and family health. The relief came from getting off of a sinking ship and getting a chance to slow down, repair, and rebuild. In the months following our close we have been on a journey of reconstruction to recapture some things that were thrown overboard and to strengthen some foundational structures that cracked under the weight of entrepreneurship. The following are some of the things that I have done to rebuild after closing.
- Facing our Ship Wreck: I have been taking time to grieve and really face our disappointments. As we began to see the writing on the wall for closing and were processing that decision, I had a dream one night that I was standing in the graveyard of my hopes and dreams. There was a grave for our stillborn son, for the sad ending of my time in Zambia, for our son’s tragic accident, among others. I woke up heavy and feeling the weight of disappointment creeping in to suffocate. The reality is that despite my faith and hope, I have faced a lot of deaths. What am I to do with all of that? My sister in law is an Enneagram coach and I learned that I am a type 7 that tries to avoid pain http://www.nichecoachconsult.com/. That has been my M.O. for a long time. This time instead of trying to just look at the bright side of painful things I have allowed myself to really grieve and face the disappointments of so many hopes put to death in this decision to close. It was a real death and it is painful and deserves to be mourned.
- Repairing our ship: I have sought healing resources and community to gird up and repair broken places. There are so many resources out there for healing, I personally found a tremendous resource through Dr.Barbara Lowe’s Hearts Returning Home course https://heartsreturninghome.com/ . Dr. Barbara is a licensed psychologist who is teaching psychology tools with faith to reconstruct our “heart homes.” My husband and I also joined a small group to go through Emotionally Healthy Spirituality https://www.emotionallyhealthy.org/ It is amazing how these two things together have hit on so many themes to bring a reset for both me and my husband.
- Facing the Limitations of our Ship and Crew: One of the biggest lessons through the courses above has been to slow down and make peace with our limitations. I can look back to a pattern that began in my youth of over-commitment. For many years now I have felt like I get up and begin running and don’t stop until the end of the day. I have felt like a cell phone that never gets recharged. In this season we have begun to rethink our realistic limits with young children. I have also started taking breaks in the morning, mid-day, and at night with the natural rhythms of exhaustion instead of pushing myself through with caffeine. We also take a break one day a week to recharge, re-center, and re-connect with the people we love. As a result I have more energy to make it through the day and am much less grumpy and irritable towards my crew later in the day.
- Repacking our cargo and packing our priorities first: Many have seen videos inspired by Stephen Covey of putting the big rocks into your life first https://youtu.be/zV3gMTOEWt8, but I had trouble putting that into practice once we started our own restaurant. Let’s face it, the restaurant took over and a lot of important things began to take a back seat. In this season we have been taking time to put our big rocks back in first. Having our children home for school has been really challenging for me, but once I started writing them into my schedule and putting my time for them and my husband first, things have been much smoother. Instead of feeling like my kids are an interruption, I have built time for them first then put work in after that. I have found when the priorities are in first I actually get more work done and everyone is happier.
- Re-charting our course: Closing the shop was not what we expected. We are having to re-chart a new course for our lives. Of course the temptation to abandon the journey altogether has been there. As we faced closing I felt like my “dreamer” was broken. I was given the advice from Ericka James, https://erickajackson.com/, to look at your heart not the numbers and begin to plan from that. Instead of abandoning heart, I decided to adopt a new strategy of listening to my heart and then follow through with planning. In this season I have taken the time to really begin to write down my dreams. As a visionary I have such huge dreams that it has helped me to get the plan out of my head and onto paper, then divide it into stages, and focus on the first step. What is the step that is right in front of me? I will start and focus there and then will let things unfold and re-chart the course as needed with my new map as a guide.
So here we are taking our first step by building out the website and getting our products online. We have also begun to blog, which has always been a goal that we never had time for. Coming soon is our monthly subscription service.
Thanks to all those who have been on this journey with us; especially investors, staff, customers, vendors, family, and friends. We miss our customers so much, but hope you’ll board this new vessel through our online products and we’ll see what destinations are in store for us as we re-launch.
Hope you guys had a Happy Thanksgiving! Miss you all very much!!!
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving Gene and hope you did too. We miss seeing you at the cafe as well.
This is such an awesome testament Ashley, thank you for sharing it with us. We miss you guys every. single. day. Sending you all much love ❤️
Thanks Lisa for your kind reply. We miss you all so much as well.
Beautiful blog, Ashley! Thank you for taking the time to put months of process into words; I’m sure others will be encouraged (in addition to me!). I’m so glad to see this new website up and running! Blessings and love to you all.
Congratulations on your new journey!
Wishing you much success! ❤️
Yay! I was just telling someone about your business yesterday! Glad to know you all have reset and are up and running!
I love the blog… and I know this takes time. You inspire me (as always!) Continuing in prayer for you both for direction, peace and next steps to unfold. I have just finished my e-newsletter and I am praying you will get some ‘hits’! Love you guys.
Thank you so much Marsha!!