As I write this post I'm on location of our latest micro market install and a lot of things are running through my head:
1. I wish I had coffee (something that I think about far too often on any given day).
2. I can't believe how far we've come. Some days it feels like no progress has been made but every time we launch a new market I'm reminded of the first market we installed.
On the first install we had no idea what we were doing. We didn't know how to install a kiosk or security cameras. We didn't know how to input items (on the first one we spent HOURS on location inputting items that had been overlooked). The first install was scary, overwhelming and had far more go wrong than go right.
Today's launch went smoothly minus one thing: we didn't have any stored value cards to register people to the market. The cards are a pretty important part of the system in that they allow employees to use cash, earn promotions and fully access the new Company Kitchen mobile app.
Without the card employees can still make a purchase with a credit/debit card but isn't the full experience that we had geared them up for.
3.5 years ago (we'll just say 4) when we installed our first market I would have freaked out about this. I would have been an uncontrollable ball of anxiety.
Today however, I apologized to my contacts, offered a solution (donuts and CK card registration tomorrow [cards are being overnighted from Kansas City]) and stayed the scheduled time to educate employees on how to use the system with a credit/debit card.
I'm slowly but surely learning not to freak out about things I can't control especially in a field where I sell snacks. In other words, as my mom likes to say "we aren't brain surgeons," meaning no one is going to die if we run out of diet coke or if a launch doesn't go as planned.
That's not to say I don't care. I still care a great deal about the relationships we have with our customers, especially my core contacts. I understand that our performance affects them and I want our relationship to be a positive one. However, it does mean that as I grow older I'm starting to better understand how to be a friend to myself, how to give grace to myself, to not beat myself up over a mistake.
On a day to day basis it doesn't always feel like progress is being made but when I take a moment to look at the bigger picture I'm happy to say that our markets (from install to launch to the way we pre-pick and the products we place) have evolved a lot since that first market.
And although some days I still feel like the same person I was 4 years ago on some days I get small glimpses that I'm also capable of changing for the better.
On a podcast I was listening to this morning, the host mentioned that he thinks a lot of people wait to start a project until they think they can do it perfectly. But the truth is you'll never start if you're waiting on perfection. Instead he said you should just start. Start your podcast, start your blog, start your business, start your dream now. Don't miss out on what you can do now because you're afraid of not being the best. Accept the imperfection and learn from it so that the next post, project, launch, etc. is better than the last.
I'm really glad we didn't miss out on the last 4 years of markets, even if the learning process has been messy at times. And true to learning from experience, I know that I will never not have stored value cards again for a launch.
My hope for you is that wherever you are at in life today, you can embrace it. You can embrace your imperfection and you can extend yourself some grace.
And if you're waiting to start something until you feel more qualified stop waiting. Start today. Don't miss out on all that imperfection has to offer.