It's a lil' bit funny, this feeling insiiiiide...
It’s funny, isn’t it?
I don’t know actually…it didn’t feel very funny when I tested positive for Covid last week and it felt to me that Laid Bear was over.
I can’t keep doing it on my own.
I am missing 5 days of brewing.
We are not growing as fast as I want.
No one likes it.
I am going to close the doors and that’s the end of it. We had a good run. Cheers. See you later.
That is how I felt inside. And that feeling inside me projected out to my external world. In reality, I wasn’t very well, I was tired and I was pissed off that I was ill. Thats all. But, I felt really lonely and was telling myself this story that my being ill was detrimental to the business and therefore the whole operation was failing.
A box of Lemsip, a few nights of 12 hours sleep and bingeing (again) the whole of Brassic later, and the funk lifts. I don’t know what’s worse, being off work and worrying about it, or the day you go back into work feeling better, and have the fear about finding your rhythm again after not being there.
Working alone, for me, it’s the latter.
I go down to the brewery, I don’t know where to start, it feels really intimidating and I am already thinking thats it, we made a go of it, but this is never going to work…this negative mindset creating a narrative that inside, I start to believe.
Then, a penny dropping moment.
I read something written by my business hero David Hieatt, founder of Hiut Denim. To be fair, anything he writes its like gold dust. He wrote a piece about 24 quotes that have acted as a compass for his life. Turns out the one I needed came from Jim Rohn:
“Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better.”
It really stopped me in my tracks.
I reckon, I spend about 80% of my life at Laid Bear wishing it was easier, wondering why it’s so hard, and listing all the processes, things, people that could be better.
What if I was better though? In fact, from memory one of the other quotes David refers to is that questions are more interesting than answers…and that is also true.
Funnily enough, after sitting with that for a bit, the week ahead of me started to look a bit different post covid/self sabotage.
We have been accepted onto the Natwest Growth Accelerator programme for the next 6 months, and I went to the first session on Wednesday this week. It was very, ahem….Spiningfields (if you know, you know) and the afternoon session was focused on Mindset.
Couldn’t have come at a better time to be fair. Handy, that.
I know that my shit mindset, breeds more negativity than anything else in our business, and I am hoping that by taking this Natwest opportunity seriously and showing up, my mindset will improve. Then, from the inside out, I will be better.
Everything’s connected. If you haven’t read Kae Tempests’ manifesto, On Connection, I highly recommend it. Off the back of sitting in a room with 60 other entrepreneurs and realising that I can do better, I check our instagram and noticed we’ve been tagged at Bloom & Brew in Ormskirk. I won’t lie, I had to google maps it (its in between Liverpool and Southport btw). So, there we are. Laid Bear travelling out of Manchester into the arms of yet another awesome independent store.
On Thursday, I completed what can only be described as a mass exodus at the brewery, trying to wrestle a 200L fermentation tank out of the fermentation room, distributing the starter that was in there into anywhere that was free, cleaning the tank, dismantling a 20kg SCOBY whilst also taking out all of drainage grates and deep cleaning them and the drain on my hands and knees, lining them with mesh to try and win the battle of the fruit fly, and putting a new brew on for my now dinner-plate clean tank.
As Anna clocked off from bottling for the day, she hugged me and said, Mamma (my pet name), I don’t know how you do it. You are so patient and you work so hard.
I nearly cried. Thank you Anna. Thank you for acknowledging. Maybe I am not doing such a bad job after all. Sometimes you just need that little reassurance. Helps with the positive mindset stuff, for sure.
A problem shared is a problem halved. To lift my week up another level, I was fortunate enough to meet Liam, the founder of Steep Soda this week. I invited him over to the brewery, because I felt like we should meet. We both produce craft soft drinks in Manchester, and his unit is 2 minutes away from us.
Turns out, I am not alone.
It could have been really easy for Liam and I to put each other in a box labelled ‘competition’ and not ever meet. Why do we need to?
I can be a cheeky so-and-so at times though, and thankfully Liam is a sweetheart, so our brewing schedules aligned (yes, thats a thing) and we got to talk about all things small biz, brewing, carbonation, bottling, canning, wholesale, struggles, growth, staff and essentially 2 hours worth of common ground.
It’s good to talk, he said as we parted.
Can I give you a hug, I said.
We are plotting something exciting for the future too.
I have another meeting on Monday to discuss a VERY exciting collab project on the horizon also. The aforementioned Steph does not recognise the Steph at the end of this week.
It’s all a gamble is it not? Thats the fun of it. If I can adjust my inside feels, hopefully it will project something positive on the outside.
Who knows, the gamble might pay off?
Will. Will pay off. Damn you mindset.