When we first started this business, I drove myself crazy about every mistake... I missed this deadline, I didn't properly schedule the batches, I should have pitched the Father's Day sets earlier, I shouldn't have butchered the name of the Eiteljorg Museum gift shop on their voicemail... (I mean, can you blame me?)
In 2013 (when Outlaw Soaps was founded), every "teachable moment" I had was labeled a "mistake."
It felt like I made every possible mistake in our first years of business.
It used to keep me up at night - all these mistakes that were sure to doom the business and ruin our lives - until the total weight of all the mistakes crushed me entirely.
Yes, in the first couple years of Outlaw, I was a flattened piece of road-kill.
In 2015, I realized that I could be crushed under these "mistakes," or I could recover them as "teachable moments" and move on.
In the wake of an unexpected (and unwanted) outcome, I should evaluate the misstep, register a change of tack, and move forward.
Very few mistakes are fatal on their own.
Very few things are as fragile as they feel. We are born to be survivors (literally and figuratively). If we can live to fight another day, we have come that much closer to winning the battle.
Businesses, like relationships, are rarely ruined by one bad decision. I have studied entrepreneurs and business practices for the past eight years, and I learned that if a business is built on a sound foundation, it isn't easy to topple. More often, it is weeks, months, and sometimes years of small missteps that compound into a state of weakness.
Without the discipline to analyze our missteps, we continue to make the same mistakes. If we analyze our missteps, they become an opportunity to find our footing, regroup, and make different decisions next time.
I have made many missteps over the years, but thankfully, none of them have been fatal.
I am grateful to each Outlaw who has stayed with us over the years. You have given me the opportunity and grace to grow, and I (as well as our 20 employees) thank you for that.