On top of making our small business dreams come true, Paige and I both work other jobs. Paige, a full-time marketing campaign manager for a medical software company, and me, an employee for a local brew pub. With Paige working in the day and me working mostly in the night, it was difficult for us to get on the same wavelength for MCREY. I kept running into Paige’s bedroom asking questions all throughout her work day and as I continued to shake the boundaries, our patience and communication began to plummet.
Paige would get irritated at my frequent entrances and inability to do things independently. I couldn’t understand how she didn’t have time for my inquiries and why she didn’t want to be more involved. Turns out, neither of us were correct in our assumptions.
One day, I had a full to-do list of tasks I needed to complete for MCREY: editing video footage, writing posts, making edits to our social media accounts, and finding a screen printer for our upcoming order. However, throughout the day, I continued to hit roadblock after roadblock. Our video footage was exponentially more complicated to edit than I planned, something wasn’t working on our social media accounts, and I struggled to connect with screen printers and find the varying info they required for a quote. By the end of the day, I was ready to extract my brain from my head and lay in bed till it was time to sleep.
But before that operation, Paige and I checked in with one another about how our days went. I described to her the agony I encountered trying to complete my to-do list and Paige simply replied with a knowing grin and said, “What you just experienced today is what I do every day at my job.” I felt an immediate shift.
In that moment, I gained a new respect and appreciation for my sister and her ability to balance our business and her job. Her frustrations towards my frequent entrances and questioning weren’t a result of her lack of interest, it was a result of an energy imbalance. Paige has a certain amount of energy each day in which she carefully distributes among her several tasks to ensure each is benefitting from her full attention. My intrusions would disrupt this balance and rather than Paige being able to give energy to the task at hand or the one I would be asking her about, we would waste time and energy on our unnecessary confrontations.
After experiencing this shift and describing it to Paige, she was grateful for my acknowledgment and also understood that often business decisions can not be made by one of us, but must be made together. With that, we drew new lines in the sand and set up a system of boundaries and communication that worked for us. Now, certain hours of the day are reserved for our jobs and if we have questions for the other during those work hours, we communicate through text or email so we can respond when convenient. We put double-sided signs on our door knobs with one side saying, “Welcome, please knock first” and the other, “Please do not disturb” so we know when it is okay to enter the other’s workspace. Additionally, we schedule weekly meetings (i.e., Campfire Chats) to allocate time for reconnecting and ensuring we are on the same page. These changes have changed our company culture drastically and we find ourselves being much more respectful and understanding of one another.
You see, each one of us is kind of like a kaleidoscope. Through our lens, we see so many different shapes and colors as we take in the world around us. But what if you were to look through a new kaleidoscope? Someone else’s kaleidoscope? What shapes and colors do they see? How would you see things differently after looking through theirs? It's the same with perspectives. From the day we are born, our journey is unique. No one else will live the same exact upbringing or the same exact experiences as yourself. Though such a beautiful part about life is our individuality, it can also create strain in trying to understand other people’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
But once you take the chance to look through someone else’s kaleidoscope, you allow yourself the opportunity for deeper understanding and connection. Which, isn’t that what life is really all about?