The big break.
I think every creative entrepreneur dreams of it in some way or another. A company to sweep in and offer big bucks for our small business. A millionaire speaker inviting us on their next tour. Making Oprah's book club list. Or maybe it's simpler than that, maybe it's simply connecting with someone who can "make" our next step happen.
No matter, the story remains the same. We're sitting around waiting for someone further along the path than we are to come in and save us from the hard work, the grind, the frustration, and rejection of building our dreams. Our very own Prince Charming.
I was in fourth grade the first time I found myself daydreaming of my very own big break. I had a genius idea for a peanut butter version of Easy Cheese: Easy PB.
I don't know if my mom simply grew tired of hearing me talk about it, or if she was genuinely interested in seeing the product reach the development stage but whatever the reason, she encouraged me to prepare a pitch for the product and helped mail it off to Nabisco corporate offices.
I have to give kudos to the folks at Nabisco (not to mention my mom), because several weeks later I received a packet full of coupons, coloring pages and the sweetest rejection letter a nine year old whose dreams have just been crushed could have hoped for:
"Dear Ms. Higgins,
Thank you so much for your wonderful letter. We think your idea is great, however all new products must originate in our Research and Development department...."
Years later, I mentioned the idea to my college roommates, if there was ever a time we needed a big break this was it. Easy PB became a bit of an indulgent obsession, fueled by copious amounts of time on our hands and the belief that this one project might bail us out of the student loan debt we continued to rack up while drinking cheap beer, eating bad pizza and bemoaning the dating prospects of 18 year old boys whose entire repertoire consisted of saying, "I'm a business major," while wearing plaid button up shirts.
We rebranded the idea as PB Blast, drew up a peanut shaped prototype for the canister and launched a marketing campaign that included e-mailing Oprah and telling everyone we met at the bar about our great idea. Strangely enough, you still can't buy pressurized peanut butter at your local grocer.
Unfortunately, I didn't stop relying on the big break 20 years ago. It's a theme that's interwoven itself throughout my entrepreneurial career, one that I've only recently identified as pattern. In the past month or so, I've spent quite a bit of time meditating on it.
I've realized that every time a potential big break fell through, I've found myself in a position to receive something far greater: big growth. Big growth isn't nearly as appealing as the big break. It''s uncomfortable, messy, and hard. And it's completely necessary. Becoming a successful entrepreneur involves a lot of dreaming and a lot of grit. I like to think that the Universe positions obstacles in our path for many reasons, but mostly so that we have the opportunity to learn as much as we can from each moment on this earth as possible.
And while the path to "success" would be so much easier if someone would just give us the damn big break already, the lessons, connections, strength, and confidence we acquire through big growth are what make the trip worthwhile.