Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Alabama to work with local communities through Maestro (the downtown software we created). It was great to feed off their enthusiasm and excitement. It was fun to talk about issues they were facing, offer insight to what had worked when I was a director, and to spend some quality time with people who were genuinely trying to make their communities better.
It reminded me of how important it is for me to spend time out of the office, in those communities, and with those people. Don’t get me wrong, I love my team and I am honestly excited to get to work every day. However, it is good for me to see what is going on in those communities for myself, not just hear about it on the phone.
We’ve been fortunate that our software continues to gain adoption and is growing coast to coast. However, when that happens I find myself spending more time doing the sales process, helping with technical support, and handling any other number of things that require my attention. That’s the way it should be, but it is good to get back to those communities every once in a while to remind me why we built the software in the first place. I also get new ideas and their energy is infectious (can we use that word during cold and flu season? Too late!).
If you think of your passion as a fire, you have to feed it to keep it from dying out. Sometimes that fire is still hot but it is burning under the surface and we need to turn the coals to get the flames roaring again. Sometimes the fire is in jeopardy of extinguishing itself all together, that’s when we need to throw a new log or two on the pile to keep ourselves warm.
For me, this trip was restorative and was a great reminder of keeping my passion fed. In business when things are successful we tend to be pulled further away from our original idea or goal. Things like hiring and training new employees, dealing with legal issues, accounting, hr, logistics, and countless other things pull your focus. They are important and they have to be handled and sometimes (maybe even often) you are the person who has to handle them.
That doesn’t mean that you don’t need to get back to the passion every now and then. Even if just for a few days or a few hours. For you it might be walking the manufacturing floor and jumping into the production process, working the register, or answering the phones to talk to your customers. Whatever connects you to the reason you started in the first place.
Taking time may seem frivolous or a luxury you can’t afford. The truth is, it is important for not only your health, but the health of your business that you stay connected to your mission and ensure that you don’t lose sight of your goals and the time you spend will inevitably pay dividends for you in many ways. So what is your passion? What are you doing to do to stoke your fires this week?