Like any entrepreneur in any moment of time, I currently have a lot of to-do’s: a prep list to make for the kitchen shift on Sunday, getting organized for some marketing/tabling hours at a couple gyms starting bright and early Monday morning; brainstorming for a grant I am applying for; recipes to input into a new software system; an email to finish for Sunday morning — and please, don’t get me started on the receipt organization and uploading I am very, very behind on.
But despite all the big and little to-do’s that take up time and space in my brain, I want to write this with the goal of continuing to practice sharing the weight of my thoughts instead of overthinking them to myself.
Since late summer, I’ve been trying to share a look beyond the business or some personal thoughts about the business in the weekly menu-round up/newsletter.
At first, it was fun and enjoyable and created an outlet for me to share (a very small percentage of) what goes on in my brain. I was coming off a summer of fun and joy and the best version of “balance” — one where work didn’t consume me like it had been for most of the previous 2 years of my life. It was a summer of building back capacity of more energy, more clarity, and more being. Capacity also meant more self-awareness and more creativity. I wanted to capture that and share it through these small writings.
But over the course of September, my capacity dwindled and, once again, I was running on fumes. There was no longer energy available to think clearly, let alone articulate my thoughts into appropriate words for an audience of current or potential customers.
Last week, I mustered up this in the weekly email: “when I’m in the midst of what feels to me like a challenging season, it’s tough to share thoughts that I haven’t completely sorted out in my own brain — but if I were to do my best to describe where my head’s at, it’s feeling torn between what I want for the world and what I want for myself.”
When I sat down to write, I was feeling the urge to share something, but I wasn’t yet sure how to say what I wanted to say, and as you read for yourself up there, I kept it vague — but even getting those murky thoughts out in the open allowed me to feel lighter and less alone with them. Then, I read a post by @prettybyher about the challenges of small business lately, which further normalized my not-so-optimistic cycle of thoughts.
In its simplest form, I’ve been analyzing the decision to remain open as a business. While you might be shocked, it’s not the first time I’ve considered this. Since opening in 2021, it’s always felt hard to maintain this business with energy and enthusiasm, but 2023 has led to giant waves of questioning: is this actually what I want?
Do I want to think about the hundreds of ingredients I need, if I have them in stock or when I need to replenish them?
Do I want manage carefully and still witness the inevitable of food waste?
Do I want to go through rounds and rounds of hiring and training?
Do I want to use an entire day’s revenue (maybe two) for a dishwasher repair?
Do I want to continue to to feel like I’m not nurturing my friendships, or spending quality time with my family members, from my cousin’s babies to my 90-something-year-old grandparents?
Do I want to feel like it all comes down to me, and only me?
Do I want to keep struggling to find, and enjoy, time for myself?
Do I want to, for the foreseeable future, think about finances as a major factor in every decision, from a single takeout meal to time-off for a trip?
Do I want to, for what feels like the foreseeable future, live without the capacity to fully show up in other parts of my life?
Can I possibly have the three and be the mom (someday) that I would be proud of?
Is this the best use of my strengths?
Can I keep doing this despite an evolving identity?
The answer to many of those questions is no, and yet I am still left with the question of all questions: is this actually what I want?
Turns out, it is still what I want.
I want there to be an eatery that I would trust for nourishing, quality, seasonal and healthy food that fills the gap we have in Kitchener-Waterloo. I want small businesses to exist in our community because a world without them is a world with less interaction, less connection and less humanity. I want to be a business of strong values, and a place where guests to feel comforted by the music, welcomed by the environment, nourished by the food and appreciated for their visit. The three is what I want for the community, and businesses like the three is what I want for the world.
But — what do I want for myself? That, I am still sitting with.
I’ve put in a lot of time, effort and energy up to this point, but the vision hasn’t yet been brought to life. I feel done, but I’m not done.
So, here we go…back to the drawing board in another attempt to align what I want for the world, and what I want for myself. May the rollercoaster continue.
As always, thank you for being along for the ride.
a photo taken during a full day catering event in September 2023