This post isn't about the kind of sweat equity you might think of when you see a title like "the power of sweat equity".
This post is about sitting in the sand at the Outer Banks, in the sweltering heat and humidity, feeling the sweat slip down your face, your back, your legs.
That is true sweat equity.
The moral of this story is that I went on vacation last week. A vacation with family that was much needed.
When we don't take vacations, we deny ourselves the healing pleasure of just doing nothing. Even that is a misnomer. Vacations are a lot of work - there is preparation (new clothes or bathing suits, packing essentials, wondering what food to bring; checking maps for the drive down, budgeting your cash, remembering all the dog stuff because you wouldn't go on vacation with her, right?), there's anticipation, there's planning; and all of the work around who will pick up the mail, water the plants, watch the cats (if you have cats).
Once the hard work is done, the trip becomes something to look forward to. It becomes a retreat that revives and restores our energy.
We drove to the Outer Banks in one day. Long trip, yes. But, worth it. The three story house rented by three families, was more than adequate. Complete with an elevator (holy cow!), the house came with air conditioning, great windows with views to the street outside and small glimpses of the ocean.
Of course, the trip was mainly for the children. We put in our sweat equity to give them memories that will last a lifetime.
If, perhaps, in our desire to show the children new and exciting places in this great country, and to teach them the value of new experiences, we also learn and relax and enjoy, how great is that?
Magic is what happens when you use sweat equity
When I think of sweat equity, in a business sense, I know it means putting in the time and the effort. The long hours are expected. The great effort is necessary. Sweat equity comes of that time and effort, of believing in your idea, and then making it happen. When you become a part of it, letting the essence of your big idea, your dream come true, to truly live the dream, you allow the magic to swell in your heart and soul, where it will sustain you for many years.
We tend to lose sight of the magic when we're working those long hours. The sweat does stream down our faces, as we focus on creating the business we've always dreamed of. We create those products. We display them for all to see and offer them for sale. We attend workshops and network with others, to both learn more about how to be in business, and to connect with other entrepreneurs.
It might blur the true magic of what we've created. That sweat equity slipping into our eyes might make us think we're struggling too hard, not moving ahead fast enough, never approaching those numbers I talked about in this post, last year.
And that is exactly when the 'get away' retreat is necessary. The time for renewal and refreshing one's energy cannot be dismissed!
The time to relax and revive the magic, is not to be dismissed!
The vacation you keep putting off, might be just the boost you need. It's another beginning to that reinvention you've been working on.
Will sweat equity make the magic happen?
The short answer is yes.
The longer answer is, yes, if you want it to. As I relaxed on the beach for a while (I am not a beach person, but I couldn't resist going down to watch the children play in the sand and the surf), I stopped thinking about business for a good while. It wasn't my focus, for a whole week.
I knew I would have a lot to catch up on when I returned, but that worry wasn't big enough to spoil the joy of being with family in a different setting, where laughter and good food and time to read, or watch TV, or take a nap, wasn't spoiled by wondering what I should be doing.
The free time also allowed me to give the business some unencumbered time. Time spent on true reinvention.
I reviewed my purpose and my desire, in peace. What, I asked myself, as I watched the waves slam into the shore, sending the children tumbling head over heels, do I want to accomplish with Nurturing Big Ideas?
How, I wondered, as I walked the dog in the blistering heat (early enough that the concrete was not too hot for her feet), will I accomplish my goals?
For that matter, I thought, as I put my book down for a moment - having reached a passage that reminded me of what I love doing - helping women succeed online and offline, raising their voices, telling their stories - what are my goals?
Our vacation was full of sweat equity, if you look at it as a time for warmth and sun and freedom. The sweat we wiped away came both from the resort heat, and from our efforts to build family time into our schedule.
Perhaps we didn't work 'on' the business, nor 'in' the business, that week. Perhaps our sweat equity was more of the musing kind, where we breathed in the ocean breezes and thanked the universe for the means to be where we were.
In the end, we can return home to the sweat equity of building our business into something truly powerful, having taken the time to understand how important life, family, and fun is. Without it, no amount of sweat equity will help you.