Phree to grow UP

“I went to the Westfield today,” I said.
“Oh yeah it’s great in there. We went in there before remember?” my aunt asked.
“I do, but I think I remembered like 3 floors. I remember the French pastry place up there.”
“Oh yeah it’s bigger than that. And Nordstrom, that alone is 4 floors.”
     The Westfield is a mall in downtown San Francisco. It’s comparable to our famed King of Prussia Mall, only instead of being sprawled across acres and acres of suburbia, it goes up and places its mark in the sky. It’s four  stories high spread across one city block, and Nordstrom which is on the 4th floor spirals up another four stories.
“It reminds me of our big mall back east, King of Prussia. But King of Prussia goes out instead of up.”
“Oh yeah Baby. Here you can’t go out. You have to go up.”
     So readers, that’s what this post is about. It’s about going up.  It’s about how do you plan to deal with a real finite boundary. Do you fold? Do you stop? Do you turn back? Or do you go up?
Many of us are taught early on about the importance of planning. In part we are taught by experience.  Think about it.  As children our days are planned. Our parents set an alarm that wakes us. We go through washing up, brushing teeth, putting on clothes, eating breakfast and leaving the house at a certain time to get to school by a certain predetermined time. Our school days are planned by our teachers. After school may be planned by both parents and those whose care we find ourselves. At some point in time, for many between 5pm and 7pm, we eat a meal.  Not long after we are then sent off to bed only to get up and do it all over again five days a week for umpteen years. We live planned.
     As we get older we continue to live planned lives but we are also graced with the knowledge of the purpose of planning and given more opportunities to plan. We are told that we have to have a plan. We are asked where we want to see ourselves in 3, 5, and 10 years. We have unspoken plans that we mull over in the back of our heads of where we are supposed to be in life by 25, 30, and 40 years old.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to make a mockery out of planning. Planning is good. In fact if you read older posts you will read praises about planning and how it is integral to success. But here’s the thing- things don’t always go as planned. And, if you don’t plan with that reality and tenacity to re asses what you have, where you’re going, and how you’re going to get there with what you have or get what you need, you will fail.   
     I’m a city girl. On occasion I enjoy the whole green grass, trees, dirt, and rocks, but never for too long.  What I like about cities is that it takes planning. It takes several minds, often referred to as civil engineers, to look at a finite space and see how they can manipulate it into being a thriving living metropolis. Typically what they do is they build up.  Philadelphia in terms of the geographic city limits has not increased. We have not acquired new land. However, population density has increased. We’ve acquired new people.  Yet somehow, we fit and it works.  No building out, just building up.
     There will be times when we pursue goals that some things will not increase. Ask any start up entrepreneur and they will tell you typically money does not increase. Entrepreneur or not, we all know time never does. It’s been 24 hours and 7 days for a long time now. (I have petitioned the Higher up for an 8th day. No answer.)  Other times things will increase- orders, clients, demands, costs, etc. We will have to choose how we are going to make it work. We will have to choose to look beyond our initial plan and re adjust. We will have to see where we can build where we may not have considered before.  
     So what does building up look like particularly if you’re not a civil engineer building 8 story shopping malls in cities? Well I think that will vary from person to person. But here are a few suggestions.
  •  Learn. Take classes at your local community college to gain new skills or strengthen your skill.
  • Read. Take a trip to your free library and peruse the shelves. Maybe you need a biography. Those are great. Lots of people before us had less than what we have and have done extraordinary things. Maybe you need a self help book. There’s no shame if you need a a little extra support.
  • Barter. Maybe you offer your skills and abilities to be helped or taught by someone who has skills and abilities you want to develop.
  • Collaborate. Don’t host the next whatever you are thinking of hosting alone. Do some research and team up with folk and co host.
  • Talk it out one on one.  We are often told to network and network. We attend mixers, have 5 to 7 different social media accounts, and so on and so on. But maybe you need to just meander in various parts of the city  or outside the city and get to know shop owners on a more intimate basis.
  •  Listen. There are hundreds of free discussions about anything from finances to going green to the mechanics of writing to fabric making hosted in the city. Go to a few and hear what others are doing to go and grow up.
  • Be fruitful and multiply. I’m excited to take some graphics that I’ve used on tees and creating stationary and notebooks. It will address a different market, is monetarily feasible, and is still a way to take the brand up and out into a different direction.
  • Take time to imagine. Every now and again just take time to roll out the red carpet of “what if?”walk up and down it. Stop and pose at different ideas. Allow yourself to be captured, even if momentarily by an idea you may not have considered before. Allow yourself to revel in what you come up with.
      I’m excited about 2012. I’m excited about expanding. But this time I’m not thinking about growing out, I’m thinking about growing up. The sky is the limit, but you only get to the sky by going up.

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