Sometimes when life gets crazy, some good old-fashioned work can take your mind off things for a bit. This weekend, Dean and I decided to take down an old fence. As we began the task, I was transported back 10 years- to the day we put the fence in. My father had reached a point in his life where he could no longer ride horses and he made the decision to give his stallion, Bucky, to me. I remember the excitement of putting in the fence- the shiny tractor we used, the many trips to Shurway Building to get materials and the anticipation of adding a horse to our family. It was a time of joyful anticipation. The work was hard and to be honest, we did not know what we were doing.
Building a business is just like building that fence. It’s hard work, in the beginning, we do not know what we’re doing and there is joyful anticipation as we work to create a place for our future work-family. Then time marches on.
Once that fence was in, we readied the barn, stocked up on food and prepared for Bucky’s arrival. The next 10 years were filled with all the joys of horse ownership. Taking care of Bucky, having long talks that you can only have with a horse and listening to that amazing greeting when we drove in the gate most days. There were tough times too, like affording the unexpected vet bills, arranging for his care when we were away at work, sloppy stalls and the scary times as he got older and we knew his days were numbered. We buried Bucky on our property 9 years after he came to live with us- it was a tremendously sad day- on one hand. On the other hand, that proud old stallion lived out his senior years being loved and taken care of- his 34 years were good. I could not bring myself to take down the fence after Bucky passed- at least not right away. Then time marched on.
Creating and crafting a business is like taking care of that Stallion- it is a labor of love. There are good times, tough times and sometimes businesses go thru very painful cycles- which brings me back to our fence project.
As we spent several hours taking down Bucky’s fence, I realized that as painful as the task was, the fence had served its purpose. The shiny tractor that helped plant the fence was replaced by the older, dented and worn tractor that helped dismantle it. The fresh lumber and fencing materials had turned into worn remnants of a time gone by. As we filled in the fence post holes and added the wood to the burn pile, I recalled the joy the fence brought years ago and was surprised to feel a bit of joy as we took it down; clearing the space for whatever the next chapter would be; because time marches on.
Taking down that fence is just like dealing with whatever hurdles we face in our businesses. We’ve got to remember our labor of love- how hard we worked and the many blessings that happened as a result. When times change or businesses run their course, sometimes we have to remove some ‘fences’ so we can clear the way for our next opportunity. We are dealing with some very difficult times across America right now and there are tough choices to be made for many business owners.
I hope you have an old fence or project that can take you back to a time when you worked your heart out for something you loved. And when it’s your time to ‘take down a fence’, I hope you find the joy in that part of the journey as well.
Time marches on and we are blessed to live in a place where we can turn any loss or situation into a new opportunity!