As some of you know, we here in our house welcomed the week with a change. What we hope to be a change for the better for our family. And while I fully expected to sit down today and write about the details of that change, for a variety of reasons I am not ready to do so. There have been a few twists and bits of info along along the way, that today I find my gut feeling a bit uneasy. Whether it be simply my own resistance to change, or something more, for now I feel like the best thing to do before sharing details, is wait it out until I can be sure it is indeed good news to share.
The twists and turns of this transaction, combined with other events happening in my life right now, has me pondering...
I've had several "dream" professions over the years. Some that will probably always simply remain a dream. Some which I fully believe are obtainable endeavors. From owning my own coffee shop, to owning my own quilt/yarn store, to being a massage therapist, to freelance work, to being an independent yoga instructor...what hit me today is not how those things are different, but rather how they are connected. I was thinking in the shower this morning (as you know the shower often provides a good place to ponder) what all these "dream" jobs have in common is me owning my own small business.
I have over the years been firm about the fact that I am not a "business person". But what I'm realizing is that my definition of what a "business person" is has expanded over the years. As a result of that expanded definition I can very much see myself in the roll of small business owner these days. Possibly even in the roll of small business activist.
Living in a small, yet vibrant and progressive, town has opened my eyes to many things. Including how rich a community is in which to live when small, locally owned businesses are flourishing. Small businesses make it their business to respond to their customer's needs through the best customer service possible. Their customers are: neighbors, fellow organization members, parents of a child's classmate, teammates on the city rec league softball team...the list could go on and on. When you own a small business in a small town your customers are a face and a name first and foremost. Small businesses depend not only on the product they sell, but also on their connections to the community to keep their doors open. And, if the business is lucky, profits often do not much more than provide a modest living for the business owner's family.
I'm not saying big business doesn't have its place. After all I find peace in driving a safer, more fuel efficient car thanks to the innovations and developments big business dollars has afforded the automobile industry. I'm thankful for the millions of dollars, often provided by big business and foundations funded with big business profits, that have gone into cancer research and medical innovations that helped my brother when faced with dealing with his own cancer diagnosis. And let's not loose sight of the generous big business owners who as philanthropists have touched millions of lives with their community enhancing gifts...libraries, theaters, school endowments...the list is long.
That being said, I'm having a hard time with the big decisions facing our governing body these days not believing that big business (and often its focus on the ever important bottom line above all else) has out grown its proper place in society. I can't help but draw the connection between how the distribution of wealth in big business (a few big wigs at the top benefiting from the hundreds/thousands of workers needed to produce or provide whatever the business is selling) mirrors our society. While democracy in theory is a fabulous thing, the fact of the matter is there are very few in a place of power who are responsible for making decisions, and many, many, many more who will be more personally affected by those decisions.
Hind sight is 20/20, and I wonder if we as a society knew 100 years ago some of the things we know now, how might our lives look different? Maybe they wouldn't. What I do hope is that those of us with dreams of being a small business owner, and those who currently rely in their small business to provide a living, can continue to believe that small businesses in our communities can make a big difference. That owning a small business will continue to be a way to make an honest living while providing products or services about which we are passionate to our communities.
I for one plan to continue dreaming...