Rethinking Square One: Why Starting Over is B.S.

Business is not a playground gameFace it: sometimes business sucks. Something we’ve put a ton of effort into craps the bed and we’re left with no choice but to scrap everything and…

start over. Go back to square one. Ask our buddy for a “gimme.”

Business (and life as well) is a funny creature that tends to shake foundations juuuuuuust when we’re hitting our stride. It’s the source of locker room grumblings, water cooler gossip and what keeps my massage therapist in business. After getting bitch-slapped by life last week and feeling that I was going to (yet again) have to start over, it finally occurred to me: we never, EVER, start over.

Now, before you all start wondering if my business imploded or I’ve broken-up with someone (no and no), I’ll just say that last week was a series of events that snowballed into one big ‘ol stick-my-head-in-the-sand-and-don’t-want-to-come-out-until-2010.  We all have those weeks on occasion. This one gave me a moment of clarity that’s the topic of this week’s blog.

Starting over is bullshit. Total horse crap. Grade-A fertilizer material and the stuff of which self-help books are made. While I’m sure that I could parlay this blog into a book deal that would fly off the shelves and into the hands of whiny businessfolk far and near, I’ll sum it up in a few sentences. Refill your coffee and have a seat.

We never start over. No matter if you’re a sprinter coming back to the starting line to run yet another race, a businessperson with a company that’s folded, a guy who just broke-up with his gal or a chef in the kitchen ready to make another pecan pie after the first one refused to set-up and resulted in a pie shell of hot pecan soup (not that it’s ever happened to me…whistling). Every experience gives us an invaluable set of tools to bring into the next go-round.

It’s time we start appreciating the tools and quit bitching that they’re in a blue toolbox because we had our heart set on a red one.

While it’s impossible to go through life without a base level of expectations, they really are the mother of all disappointment. Yeah, it sucks that things didn’t turn out the way we planned, but in the Target store of life, we’ve been able to fill-up our cart with a litany of useful thoughts, experiences and feelings. As life throws us those occasional curve balls, we have to watch the cashier scan them one by one and then present us with the damage. I say pay for your mother lode with enthusiasm! Whip out cash and take ownership of it all right there. Then take your baggage, roll it happily to your car and…

hop on the back of the cart and go for a ride.

Hell, you can even yell, “Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” as you scream through the parking lot on your plastic hot rod.

Bottom line: there is no “starting over.” Not in business, relationships or all the other that life brings our way. There are, however, awesome opportunities to take on new tasks and adventures with your loaded-to-the-hilt blue toolbox.

And guess what? No one’s going to even notice it’s not red.

16 comments
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quinncreative
quinncreative

We take ourselves wherever we go. We can't be a drunk in Peoria and move to Tucson and not be a drunk anymore. It doesn't work like that. I'm always astonished that in our culture we seek "closure" and "get over things." Nope. Doesn't work like that. We keep showing up in our lives with our baggage. And we need baggage--who wants to know someone without a past? We define ourselves by our experiences. It's how we grow. Brava, redhead, brava.

quinncreative
quinncreative

We take ourselves wherever we go. We can't be a drunk in Peoria and move to Tucson and not be a drunk anymore. It doesn't work like that. I'm always astonished that in our culture we seek "closure" and "get over things." Nope. Doesn't work like that. We keep showing up in our lives with our baggage. And we need baggage--who wants to know someone without a past? We define ourselves by our experiences. It's how we grow. Brava, redhead, brava.

ewok
ewok

can you say bail-out? Honestly, I thought you'd take this rave towards bitching out those in charge of the bail out - perhaps a part 2.

ewok
ewok

can you say bail-out? Honestly, I thought you'd take this rave towards bitching out those in charge of the bail out - perhaps a part 2.

Illuminati
Illuminati

Great article. But let me ask, all those do-overs as a kid, did they count?

Illuminati
Illuminati

Great article. But let me ask, all those do-overs as a kid, did they count?

Ken Grindall
Ken Grindall

Embrace-able stuff, that. Good read for me today, Erika... thanks. I'm in that big pool of fresh layoffs, and blogging my way through uncharted "starting over" -esque territory. As a 14-year copywriter now on the hunt... it's amazing to look at all the tools I've got. I feel better already. My last gig was in south Denver; I've settled in and hope to stay, as the area/climate pretty much rock. Wish I could find more meet-ups for writers and other creatives, though--all the ones I run across are for web tech guys. I now follow your blog on facebook! Watch for the occasional blog-noob question, eh? Cheers, Ken from "Copywriter's Got Game"

Ken Grindall
Ken Grindall

Embrace-able stuff, that. Good read for me today, Erika... thanks. I'm in that big pool of fresh layoffs, and blogging my way through uncharted "starting over" -esque territory. As a 14-year copywriter now on the hunt... it's amazing to look at all the tools I've got. I feel better already. My last gig was in south Denver; I've settled in and hope to stay, as the area/climate pretty much rock. Wish I could find more meet-ups for writers and other creatives, though--all the ones I run across are for web tech guys. I now follow your blog on facebook! Watch for the occasional blog-noob question, eh? Cheers, Ken from "Copywriter's Got Game"

Jon
Jon

Yep. That's probably why there's so many bloody bags and chains that I'm lugging around w/ me a la Jacob Marley. Now if I could just figure out a way to lighten the load... I gave up on "starting over" a long time ago.

Jon
Jon

Yep. That's probably why there's so many bloody bags and chains that I'm lugging around w/ me a la Jacob Marley. Now if I could just figure out a way to lighten the load... I gave up on "starting over" a long time ago.

jrbechthold
jrbechthold

and therein lies the beauty of learning from our mistakes... hopefully.

jrbechthold
jrbechthold

and therein lies the beauty of learning from our mistakes... hopefully.

SINgleGIRL
SINgleGIRL

Very timely advice for me. I'm going to try to embrace it, dammit.

SINgleGIRL
SINgleGIRL

Very timely advice for me. I'm going to try to embrace it, dammit.

JRMoreau
JRMoreau

Reverting to a past state is less than honorable, I agree. Regression is pathetic. Changing your goals and moving forward towards something new and exciting, now that's where it's at. :-)

JRMoreau
JRMoreau

Reverting to a past state is less than honorable, I agree. Regression is pathetic. Changing your goals and moving forward towards something new and exciting, now that's where it's at. :-)