Today I had “promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep,” when my ten-year-old (astronaut/aerospace engineer) son noticed it was perfect kite-flying weather. Spring break can be torture for an entrepreneur’s kid—and why did I start my own business anyway? So one of my business mentors (Thanks, Lynda Bishop) gave me some wise advice, which you might summarize as“Why don’t you go fly a kite?”
It would be hard to say who had more fun this afternoon, and it’s the best thing I did for my business all week. Here why:
I love my son! And he was overdue for enjoying one of the best perks of owning a business. I’m grateful for the sacrifices he makes for our business, and for his encouragement. Once he awakened me with, “Good morning, my marvelous money-making mother!”
“Sunshine on my shoulder makes me happy.” — John Denver. Yes, the song was schmaltzy, but it’s true that sunshine brightens more than the day itself.
Exercise is great for the brain and burns off stress hormones. (See my archives, “Are You Sitting Down?” April 21, 2008, for more about that.)
It was a even whole lesson in entrepreneurship. The body gets a break, but the mind “just keeps on ticking.”
- Launch is the hard part. Sometimes you need someone who loves you to hold your kite off the ground and help you run.
- A headwind is a good thing, a very good thing. Face it and run straight into it.
- Sometimes the wind takes a break. If you’re patient, it will come back and let you fly again.
- Bring along some extra business models. One of our three kites had an inherit design flaw, and wouldn’t “straighten up and fly right.” The other two were made for a day like today.
- Mo’ string is mo’ betta. One kite had 300 feet of line; the other only 100. The long one got nicknamed the Rest Kite. It floated around up there with only the slightest of adjustments. (Can you say “Working Capital”?)
- Some people prefer not to rest. They want the trick kite with the shorter string because it’s more fun. They might even want all their kites in the air at once.
- Only the kite is at risk. We chose a park that was bordered on two sides by power lines, one side by a freeway, and another by a major cross-street under widening construction. There was some chance that one or both kites would end up on the high wire or under a steamroller, and we agreed to enjoy the ride while it lasted. Whatever happened to our kites, we were safe on the ground. Turns out both kites lived to fly another day.
- A crash is not (usually) the end. In fact, if it was the external wind forcing a kite to the ground, and not the flyer giving too much slack, that same wind often picked up the kite even higher.
- Set a time limit for the day. I knew how long we could stay out before my darling Freckle Face would burn.
- We set a date for our next flight, giving us both something to look forward to.
Feel free to add to our analogies or tell us how you get out and regain perspective.
Text © Gwyn Nichols 2010