Friday, March 26, 2010

Concrete Comfort

Storytelling. Art. Craft. History. Heritage. Roots. What thoughts do those words invoke in your head?

I think someone is trying to send me a message, in subtle, soft yet plainspoken ways. I had the fortunate luck to spend time with some friends (old and new) last night and engage in conversation that brought a lot of memories back to my immediate consciousness. One, that I have never shared, is from my childhood.

On a cool, clear Fall day I was playing in the backyard all by myself. I am the youngest of four, and often was left to my own imagination to occupy my time with hobbies, play or some other less constructive activity. I found myself in a familiar place - the backyard - shooting basketball, sword fighting with the tree and running around burning away youthful energy.

At some point in my backyard sanctuary, I decided to simply lay down, on my stomach, on the cool concrete. I distinctly remember turning my head sideways and pressing my cheek against that cool slab and feeling every little bump, spike and groove work its way into my skin. As I laid there I remember looking straight ahead and examining with my eyes the very surface, and the random artifacts of nature's litter, that was leaving their impression on the side of my pudgy face. I was completely and totally relaxed. I did not want to move. I thought to myself that I could stay there forever and be totally happy as a result. It was complete and total purity. No lies, no deceit, no greed, no broken commitments, no squabbling. Just simple, serene and absolutely within reach. Many years later, it is as clear in my mind as it was that afternoon.

Fast forward years later, and there I am in a downtown bar, with several young professionals, some staff and even a gentleman that works with a client of The Basement. As I was driving home this memory popped into my head, and I thought to myself, "Why the hell is this memory cropping up now?" I think it has to do with conversation I was a part of moments before. I was listening to one of my business partners talk to these young, aspiring guys about their new business, and what he and I went through seven years ago as we first started out. What was our motivation then, what is our motivation now? Why are we sacrificing? Why do we approach things in a certain way and what is their approach? Listening to these young bucks was a great exercise and something I should do more often. It brought me back to my entrepreneurial beginnings. To the approach we took when we first made the leap.

The reason behind the launch, is rarely the motivation for the landing. That is my conclusion. Was my desire to getting back to the core of our business driving this thought? Was the memory of that time in my life a sign of my desire to get to a comfortable place after seven years of steep ups and downs? Was the conversation of the evening dredging up desires to re-discover earlier motivations for the business?

I think I may know the answer to these questions, but for now I will keep them to myself. Not sure why I am feeling compelled to write this out on this blog, but in doing so I feel better for it.

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