The Practice

“In my craft or sullen art
Exercised in the still night
When only the moon rages
And the lovers lie abed
With all their griefs in their arms,
I labour by singing light
Not for ambition or bread
Or the strut and trade of charms
On the ivory stages
But for the common wages
Of their most secret heart.”

-Dylan Thomas

When I first listened to the podcast conversation with David Hieatt, the Co-founder of Hiut Denim Company, I was reminded of the film Kinky Boots in which the plotline of the entrepreneur that tried to save a company, turned into a company saved the entrepreneur. Similar to the protagonist of the film, David sought to reinvigorate a town and it’s master jeans-craftspeople and found his life reinvigorated in the process.

This past week I read a passage alluding that love is a much wider stance we take that listens to what life is teaching us. In remaining open to what’s around us, we can meet life in a way that fills us up in ways that working fervently towards a goal, with a narrow focus and shallow bandwidth, can prevent us from receiving. 

Unless you grow, your business won’t grow. When you grow as a human, your leadership changes. What matters to you changes. Your way of being changes, which changes how you show up to your life and for others. When you grow, you free up those around you to grow as well, including your team.

We can show up with the fullness of our weary and broken hearts alongside our gumption (or whatever gumption we might feel is left in us), and learn about ourselves. We can suspend our ways of thinking long enough to change our mind and mend our hearts in the process. We’ve seen it time and time again with entrepreneurs willing to look at work as a place to achieve their fullest selves. 

When we show up in the artistry of our wholeness, we do so like Dylan Thomas writes in the lines above–not to be noticed, yet knowing that we can make a difference where it matters most. “Not for ambition or bread | Or the strut and trade of charms | On the ivory stages | But for the common wages | Of their most secret heart,” he writes. 

Perhaps, along the way on our entrepreneurial paths, we can show up for people as much as we showed up for the profits. Perhaps, we can show up not for what we think we’ll get out of something, but open ourselves to receiving greater lessons from the experience. Maybe we let our psychic armor down long enough for something to get through to us. Perhaps we pull the wool back from our eyes and see ourselves and our lives more clearly, free of self-deception and delusion. 

Then, it doesn’t matter if you’re fixing a broken lawnmower, building a fast-growing company, parenting, working on your relationship, or making art. Holding that stance of love reaps heaps of benefits in ways you might not have imagined. You may experience something different in your inner workings. You might find your breath, your presence of mind or heart or voice, your worth or discover something else you’ve misplaced or been missing for a long time. Our own commitment to the relationship of this magic in our lives is a gift that keeps on giving. 

From there, life’s situations can work on us. We can find opportunities to grow in our work and our roles in life. We can listen differently, communicate better, know what to do with our anger, and face conflict with grace. We learn to get curious, to wonder what’s up for us, to wonder what it’s like for someone else, to find empathy, and to find our own two feet on the ground and our sovereign place on this earth. 

Think back over the past 6 months, or past 12 months, or even back when you began your company. Who were you then? Who are you now? What do you know differently? How do you know differently? How have you grown?