It is not easy to walk away from a business that took 15 years to grow. It started as a paper catalog of kitchen items from Latin America and Mexico, and then morphed into a brick and mortar store, an online store, and then a long haul commute to a store I built in a city 250 miles away. I really worked hard.
I see a lot of young entrepreneurs online, which is who I was 15 years ago. They are giving it their all, as I did. For me, it didn’t work out. No one ever knows if it will. Once your marketing dollars are paid, will you make a profit? Will your numbers be in the black? I had hopes of financial success, and gave up a lot of material things and family time to make sure the business would succeed, but it didn’t.
I always think about the Aesop’s fable of the fox who couldn’t reach the grapes, and he walks away grumbling that the grapes were probably sour anyway. His incessant leaping rendered no profit.
But if we imagine that the fox in the sour grapes story is a vixen (a female fox), Aesop may have ended the tale with a different moral. How we portray the characters of dogs and foxes is different than how we think of bitches and vixens. Vixens always seem to get what they want, no matter what. A vixen would never have left an unreachable cluster of grapes, grumbling about wasting her time. A vixen would simply go look for another bunch of grapes. And, she wouldn’t look for a lower branch, but perhaps go for the grapes that everyone else is vying for.
What I learned from 15 years of dedication to a retail store is not satisfying. So I am back in my kitchen at the ranch. I am learning better lessons in what I am doing now, which is story telling through photos and words.
The other effort that I have dedicated myself to has been my marriage, and today is our 29th anniversary. We have 3 wonderful sons, and they are everything. Who says I didn’t profit from my time spent? I believe the path to career success has lead me straight back to my home kitchen, and to the dinner table where we raised our family.
The leaping vixen has reached some of the grapes she wanted, but not all. She just has to find another way.