It was Eleanor Roosevelt that said “Do one thing every day that scares you.” I must admit that it’s not a maxim that I live my life by unless you include the daily chores of changing a nappy, entering my boys’ bedroom or asking my wife to explain the scoring system on Strictly. Despite this, I get where the historic First Lady was coming from, essentially if we challenge ourselves and succeed we grow as a person. If we fail, we learn more about ourselves and become better equipped to succeed at the next time of asking.
Starting your own business is one of those areas where you are constantly being challenged in a number of areas where you are a complete novice. No one starts their business because they love numbers and spreadsheets (accountants excluded) but it’s an area that you need to get to grips with in order to facilitate your actual love, the business that you are growing.
Something that has scared me has been my boiler.
I remember picking up my van back in June this year. I’d just had the kitchen fitted by a wonderful company down in Bristol called Tudor Trailers. Ashley was giving me the tour of the van and how everything works. The bit that I can remember with the most clarity is Ashley showing me how to light the boiler. It’s only a water boiler for hot water, the kind you see in any café or similar facility, you fill it up with water, turn it on and then a short while later, boiling water is dispensed. Ashley told me the trick to lighting it: you don’t repeatedly turn the knob off and on with that familiar k-thum, k-thum, k-thum until it lights, you gently turn it until you feel some resistance and then k-thum followed by the woof and blue flame!
For some reason, it stuck with me but it was fairly useless at the time as I had little intention of serving hot drinks until I had got to grips with my crepe griddles, until now! Bonfire night was approaching and it was cold. So cold that I considered wearing socks in bed: fact. People would want hot drinks and wouldn’t fancy joining a queue for crepes only have to join another queue to get a hot drink. It was time for me to get to grips with the boiler.
I read the booklet, the instructions might have well as read “turn it on, boil water, turn it off when finished.” I remembered with clarity what I must do. I gently eased the knob round, found the resistance and k-thum. No woof though.
I tried again, consoling myself with the fact that it hadn’t been used in 4 months if ever. K-thum. No woof.
One more time. Same result. Mild panic was starting to set in. I’d bought 600 tea bags! Not the cheap ones either! I remedied to re-visit the problem once I’d lit my crepe griddles, off I went to turn the gas on. D’oh. Of course, the boiler wasn’t lighting without the gas on.
Or should I say ‘lessons’. I’d put off using the boiler to focus on crepes but that has undoubtedly lost me money because I could have sold a hot drink to every other person buying a crepe. An expensive lesson.
In short, don’t put things off because you’re a little nervous or fearful. Remember that fear is the path to the Dark Side.
By the way, if anyone can help explain the scoring system on Strictly Come Dancing, I’d be very appreciative. I don’t understand why the judges give a score if the public then have to vote. Surely one of those elements is superfluous? My wife just rolls her eyes when I raise this issue.