Follow the brown signs
I thought I might share some non-brown-sign related thoughts with you today in the absence of any brown signed attractions filling my waking hours. It has been a funny day, well, an enlightening one at least. I knew things wouldn’t be normal when I burst out crying after reading The Man, Richard Branson’s morning blog post entitled “in it for the fun, not just the money”. The Man describes the drive and motivation behind starting out on your own, and this was the sentence that started those little tears a-comin’:
“I don’t think that many businesspeople start their business with the idea that they can make a lot of money. Most people feel that they can create something that is going to make a difference to other people’s lives – that is how they start their businesses.”
Recently I have been spending a lot of time working out website ideas and trying to write a professional business plan so that, after all this time, I can at least try and make a little bit of money out of the passion that is my brown tourist signs. I have found though that the longer I spend time on these tasks the more I have felt my passion dwindling, my motivation beginning to slide and a hardcore fear and paralysis setting in.
I don’t want to admit it to anyone out there who might want to invest in me, but I’ll be honest, I really don’t want to make any money from my pursuits. The only thing I really want to do is inspire people to notice the multitude of diverse and amazing things that we have under our noses all over Britain, to see the people and passions that have inspired these attractions to open in the first place and enjoy and enrich all our leisure time by visiting them, talking about them, being part of and appreciating all these brilliant places.
Mr Branson’s blog made me cry because I totally and utterly get what he is saying. Money was never the motivator for me, I want to change people’s perceptions of the humble unnoticed and ignored (even sneered at) brown tourist signs, push them into the spotlight if you like, sing their praises and show just how great they are. They are my passion but when I start struggling with the age old problem for the need to make money my focus changes and that’s when I find myself becoming completely skewed off my path.
I have to keep steering myself back there (it’s a bit pot holed and definitely not tarmaced) but when I’m completely honest it’s the only road I am happy walking, so the temptation to leave it for a smooth, straight and impressive shiny road which might make me some money may be tempting, but what’s the point if the passion isn’t there?
So today has been emotional, mainly involving me trying to keep sticking to my road and telling myself that by totally pursuing something that is in your heart that you are already winning, even if (and this includes my father, with whom I had a long conversation about this today today) it may seem to others that I am failing (he actually said those words). As much as that conversation might have hurt (bad) it makes me only more determined to stick at what I am doing. Screw jobs I don’t want, settling for something I know is wrong in my heart and not giving something a crack if I know I’ll think about it and regret it forever if it means I have “made it”.
Thanks but no thanks Dad, I’m going to carry on stumbling occasionally on the uneven ground and picking my way through the weeds on my own little path for the foreseeable future. It might not look very impressive to you but I’m walking it anyway I’m afraid, only veering off when I see a brown sign (there are a lot down here let me tell you), and hey, they are totally part of my journey, they are the journey so that’s absolutely fine by me with me. So, I’d like to thank you Mr Branson for making me weep today.