Monthly Archives: July 2016

A Rant about “I Can’t”

I’ve been hearing the words “I Can’t” more in the last couple of months than I’ve heard in years. I’ve been trying to figure out how to respond and finally just decided to take a “Mike Rowe” approach and just say it. Here’s why the term “I Can’t” falls on deaf ears with me.

Back when we started our seedling business venture, we made less than $1,000 per month for about two years to get it going. What that looked like was:

I worked our business from about 6am until noon sometimes earning nothing all day. Shelley worked part time at a home health company for $7.50/hr in the morning then watched the business in the afternoon. I caught a nap around noon and went to work at Lamberts Café as a cook for &7.50/hr from about 3pm until somewhere between 10pm and midnight. (Imagine that if you know Lamberts Café very well. One day they had 54 tour busses scheduled during my shift)

I can’t even explain what it’s like to manage a household budget for a family of 5 on less than $1,000 per month. At one point, one of my teenage daughters rebuked me and said that I needed to “Get a REAL Job”. Six months at Lamberts got us through the start up period of our business. Another year got us to the point where income was at least “steady”. Another year got us to the point where we weren’t living on hot dogs and mac&cheese.

I admire those who can get a smart enough business plan together that it’s an overnight success. But I have yet to actually meet one of those types! The fact is that our “Green Light Moment” for starting our business was about 15 years ago now. We are enjoying some of the fruit of it today but there was NOTHING sexy about getting it started.

Would I go through this again? Absolutely! Thinking back, I don’t ever remember saying “I Can’t” at any time. Maybe that’s the magic ingredient that entrepreneurs possess. A stubborn refusal to believe that they can’t do or accomplish something.

If life offers us anything, it’s opportunities. Opportunities don’t come with operation manuals or success guarantees. My opportunity wasn’t even much of an opportunity. It was more of a desperation decision in the face of economic and financial hardship.  I basically took a few skills that I possessed and pounded and forced them into something that resembled an opportunity.

If you are thinking that life needs to change, don’t expect the change to have much in the way of guarantees other than change. You make those guarantees happen through good planning and execution. If you plan on hanging on to the term “I Can’t”, don’t bother with attempting to change, because you know what? In the words of Henry Ford ……….

“If you say you can or if you say you can’t ………..You’re Right!”