When you’re young and think you know it all you have a hard time seeing why people, particularly those in charge, act the way they do and why the little details are so important. Lately I have found myself thinking about life and how stuff like this eventually comes full circle.
A few months ago, my family and I suffered the loss of my aunt who was extremely passionate about her family, her business and her employees. The day that she passed, a million questions ran through my head…Why? How? And what is going to happen to her beloved business of almost 45 years? I was then given the news that she entrusted me to take full responsibility to continue what she had started by taking over the business. What do you do when you learn this kind of news? You accept the challenge, pick up the ball and start running. As I accepted this challenge, I heard my dad’s famous saying that he has told me since I was young, “The sun will go down tonight, and come back up tomorrow morning.” Although it was hard, it was the truth that the world, my family’s world, would automatically go on without this very important member of our family. You may think that sounds harsh, but I’m the daughter of a mortician…it’s a fact of life.
It has been about three months since I have taken the reigns of the business and I am now starting to see the validity in my aunt’s orders and reasons. I now understand why the things that 16-year-old me thought were no big deal ARE actually important. I try to put myself back into the shoes of my current fun, carefree and sometimes hyper young employees, and the truth is I have probably been guilty of complaining about the exact tasks and duties that they are expected to complete during their shift. My aunt would always lecture me saying that she would NEVER ask someone to do something that she has not done herself. I absolutely LOVE this motto and agree 110 percent that an employer should know what it is like to work from the bottom to get to the top. Scrubbed tiles on my hands and knees? Check. Taken out multiple bags of heavy trash? Check. Whatever the task/duty is there is a 99 percent chance that I have done it before and would have no problem doing it again. I am grateful that I had to work my way up the totem pole and, although I was family, never received special treatment.
Some of the things that I say to my employees now I had more than likely heard before from my aunt. This is what has caused me to see the full circle. It’s crazy to think that I was once young and carefree, and that now I am sitting in the office at the business working to build a legacy of my own. Of course, I could not be successful without my wonderful managers, shift leaders and employees. I also owe a BIG thank you to my co-workers and boss at Wheelhouse Creative for working with me while I adjust to this new lifestyle. I truly have the best of both worlds!
This is not just a lesson for young entrepreneurs, but a lesson for everyone out there working hard to be the best they can be. I am looking forward to learning more and more as time goes on. I will close with this reminder, “Be kind to everyone on the way up; you’ll meet the same people on the way down.”