Expectations vs Reality (and a little office tour)
On Wednesday night last week, an ice storm hit the wider Denver area. It was a small potatoes storm when compared to what you might see in the northeastern part of the U.S., but it was enough to glaze over the sidewalks, cars, windshields and—this will be important to our story—the roads with a slick sheet of icy chaos.
I had two assignments lined up for the following day. Both for the same publication, but different in nature and location. One was at a school in Longmont (about an hour north of Denver), the other at a government facility in Aurora (thirty minutes due east). I was expected in Longmont at 9:15 in the morning. Which, given the road conditions and the distance to be traveled, meant I had to allow for a good 90 minutes of road time to get there. Just to be safe.
Disclaimer: This story will not involve my car being wrecked in any manner. If you know us and our cursed 2011 Prius, then you might have read this far and be expecting that we are heading toward a heartbreaking vehicular breakdown. I assure you, tis safe to proceed.
Before the day was through, both of my assignments would be cancelled literally as I parked at each respective location. (The first assignment fell through because the school at which I would be photographing cancelled classes for the day due to the icy roads. Unfortunately, the message announcing said cancellation didn’t reach me until I arrived. The second was just one of those things where the assignment came together late the evening before, and the pieces didn’t quite align as we had hoped. It happens.) It was an 0-for-2 kind of day in the small business boss life I now lead. And it got me thinking about expectations vs the reality of running a small business.
I entered this new gig with a whole slew of ideas of how it would go. I also entered this new gig with a lot of questions that I couldn’t possibly begin to imagine answers. And as with all matters in life, I had a fair share of expectations.
Let me give you a hearty for instance. When I made the plunge to full-time business running, I had grand expectations of myself engaging in lively phone and email exchanges throughout the week to discuss ideas, creative notions, jobs, contracts; writing up proposals for future projects; dreaming wild creative goals; all from the comfortable confines of my proper little home office.
But let’s zoom that picture out.
In reality, you’ll often find me sitting beside two racks of drying laundry in a corner of our second bedroom, hair a mess atop my head, flannel and yoga pants very much in rotation, waiting for responses to inquiries that I zipped out into the world. I sit there waiting, also, for inspiration to strike me for new projects, ideas, collaborations. Waiting, waiting, waiting.
The thing we all realistically know, of course, is that it takes time to build our empires. Whether those empires come in the form of entrepreneurship, travel, family, fitness goals. To climb these, our mountains, takes dedication, training, and several hundred small, deliberate steps. Those steps are unlikely to all be terribly glamorous, but they are necessary, and our perseverance is essential.
So even when I am sitting quietly in the glow of my little discount lamp beside all that damp laundry, a second (or third) cup of coffee at hand, my aim/wish/hope is to always have some form of work percolating along with me. That’s all we can really expect in the end, yes?
To paraphrase Picasso, inspiration must find us working. So whatever your mountains may be, let’s all get to it.
But wait! There’s more!
After I finished shooting those self-portraits up there, I thought this would be a good time to take a few pictures of my little workspace. It’s small, and yes, inhabits just one small corner of our second bedroom, but I cherish it already. The desk you see is a heirloom piece gifted to me from my mother several years ago. It used to belong to my grandmother, and is old and beautiful and carries the zest of history in every grain.
I noticed as I edited these images that I seem to have some sort of obsession with time. Watches, clocks, digital timekeeper as my screensaver. Hm. Any psychiatrists in the house who want to take a crack at that one?
These adorn one of my walls. The mountain print comes courtesy of the wonderful Jimmy Chin. I picked it up at a small, sort-of gallery my dad and I visited the other week. The other two are family photos. Isn’t my brother adorable in that old print? I don’t know why our little neighborhood comrade looks so aghast at his rock collecting, but I love it. And then of course, that’s me and my two sisters on my wedding day. I was trying to strike an alluring pose. I was failing miserably (hence the hysterical laughter). A favorite memory from the day.
One of our good friends brought back this icon for us from Russia when he covered the Sochi Olympics there in 2014. It has the most brilliant colors.
Thanks for being here, my dears!