It's Friday. Once upon a million years ago, Fridays meant the beginning of a busy work weekend for me. Now, they're a lot like any other busy work day to me. But...it's Friday and it got me thinking about the ol' bar tending days and one of the biggest lessons I ever learned that still applies today.
See, back then, I was working in this massive country music bar/ night club made up of three huge rooms and three bars, the main one large enough to require three bartenders on a busy night. The two most coveted spots to work, were the center of the main bar and the corner bar located at the center of the club overlooking the dance floor and stage where we had live music five nights a week. The least popular bar was called 'the Pit'. It was wayyyyy in the back with the pool tables and the 'mellow' crowd, tucked in the corner next to the men's room in, what I am quite sure, was once a broom closet.
Everyone started working there by paying their dues in the Pit. That's just how it was. So, I did too. Somewhere along the way, I moved my way up and before long I was one of two main bartenders who worked there, not counting the manager who also took bar shifts. I was done getting shafted to the Pit. Or...so I thought.
One Saturday evening, after having opened and worked happy hour by myself - guaranteeing me one of the two top spots for the night because that was basically Buffalo Club law - I greeted the rest of the crew only to be told I was getting bumped out of the good bar...to the pit. Not because I'd done anything wrong, but because the part-timers who showed up only for the busy nights were all a bunch of snotty, whiny, high maintenance bitches (Sorry, Carl) and their squeaky squawking about not wanting to work the dreaded Pit was louder than my under the breath grumbles as I grabbed my shit and stomped off to my corner.
At first, I was fuming. It was wrong. I had earned the right to work a good station. I deserved to have the advantage. I SHOULD have been the one with the best opportunity to make money that night, because I would be the one working the longest since I'd opened. But none of it mattered. Neither did the fact that the douche-bag who wound up in my spot not only hadn't deserved to get it, he also didn't have the skills required to tend to the stream of customers he was guaranteed to have that night.
Then, the general 'f*ck all of you' attitude I was so comfortably marinating in shifted. And I went from 'f*ck you' to 'watch this'.
I stopped being mad. I stopped thinking about the injustice of it all. I let go of recounting all of the things that were working against me and just detached. Decided it didn't matter. That it wasn't about what bar you worked but rather which bartender was working it. And I was working the Pit.
I ran a few drink specials. I laughed. I had fun. And guess what?! I outsold every other bartender in the building that night.
Here's why it matters now -
Especially in this business, where sales are often difficult to come by and a solid reader base is hard to build, it's so easy to get hung up on all of the reasons why we'll never make it. All of the disadvantages we have over others, all the ways in which we're screwed anyway because we don't have this that or the other and why it's all so unjust.
Amazon is out to get us.
So and so has it easy because they know all the right people.
Must be nice to have money to blow on advertising.
Who in the hell can afford a PA?
No one enters my giveaway.
I need more reviews.
I don't have enough likes on my page.
Facebook is hiding my stuff.
The list goes on.
The thing is, the more we focus on all of the things we can't do or change and why they are bound to stop us from reaching our goals, the more likely it is that they will.
Nothing can stop you from reaching your goals...except you. I'm not the genius who came up with this, but I'm posting it here and now, because it's still true.
When I started on this journey I had nothing. No advantage. No connection. No funds. No knowledge that would help me in any way. But I did it anyway. I'm still doing it. I have more advantages now than I did back then, but I'm still just plowing ahead, often times tripping over some obstacle and winding up with my face in the mud. Happens to all of us. This business isn't clear cut. There's no set in stone way to achieve success and then....maintain it. Because this business is new, it's evolving and therefor, so must we.
So, what can we do? How can we get ahead of the struggle? How do we fight back when we go from high sales one month to getting shafted to the pit the next?
We get pissed. We say "F*ck you. F*ck it all." We shake our mental fists at all the things standing in our way, and then we say, "Watch this" because we realize, we don't have to let them.
It's not about the business, or about money or about connections. It's about us. About our frame of mind, and about the things we're willing to give our energy to and the things we're not. That's what we can control. That's where we have a choice, whether we want to be the victims of our circumstances, the survivors of our situations, or the makers of our own motherf*cking destinies.
And I know which one I'm choosing.