We have a family mission statement.
I know it sounds a little corny, but when you have a behavioral scientist for a wife it makes all the sense in the world.
Early on in the summer, right after I left Deschutes Brewery, Staci and I took a little trip (sans kiddos) that we referred to as our ‘retreat’.
You know, in order to plan our future brewery and all. Well, we did OK until we realized the true reason we left our children with my parents for a few days wasn’t to come up with a business plan for the coolest little brewery I could imagine, it was to ensure that we didn’t mess up one happy family as we moved through this next phase in our life. Brewery or not, we place family before anything else. That’s our deal with each other (and our deal with you, too).
In Staci’s wisdom, she saw that if we had a way to check ourselves, we’d be setting ourselves up for success in the crazy months that were to follow. To get to the point, we came up with this:
Bullet points for our future success!
It’s been a tool that we use, both in jest and in seriousness, to keep centered on enjoying our current place in the universe. With this little bit of background, I bring you to the present time in the life of my family. The brewery project is going strong. I am focused on (sometimes ridiculously so) on a whole bunch of random facts, numbers, dates, names and places. Things dominate my thought processes: labels, pumps, service agreements, barrels, contracts, walls, customers, ceilings, floors, drains, septic systems…I won’t go on, even though I get a sick pleasure from it. The rest of my family is in another world which I brush up against or fall through from time to time. Sometimes gracefully, sometimes like an angry wind! We all know the goal…it’s getting there that is confusing. And stressful, when you throw in retirement funds and other people’s money. Last week, when I realized that my time table was off by a couple weeks, I kinda got a little weird. Some might say ‘no pain, no gain’ but no matter what I can’t be pooh-poohing the family mission statement!
I tried to fix my situation by calling up a long-lost skill that I learned while at Deschutes. No, not brewing wisdom or how to clean draft lines, but the creation of cost-analysis spreadsheets. I spent the better part of 3 days fixating on a cost-analysis spreadsheet where I included every single item involved in bringing this brewery to the point of being able to sell beer. It had hundreds of items and quite a few functions. I must say that I am extremely proud of my spreadsheet. I will use it most likely for years to come to track financial stuff for the brewery. Stuff for the people with badges and authority, yes, but also for me as well.
As highly as I think of this spreadsheet, it also is a document that represents my Big Freak Out During Brewery Development. It’s right there for me to look at. Evidence that I could have spent two more weeks on that thing and made it truly world class. Like an “Eat your heart our Marc Rogers” kind of thing (Marc is DB’s accounting whiz. He taught me everything that I know). I had told myself that this information (what I was buying and from whom) was needed NOW because I was going to spend the next week ‘finishing out the brewery’. Walls, ceilings, floors (along with countless smaller projects). When the first week ended with little more than tape separating these things from one another, I began dissing the family mission statement by my actions (some simply caused by lack of sleep, so ya know). Not my proudest moment(s). I needed someone to lean on, but while I can ask for directions, I’m not so good at asking for help. My dad (Apothecarian #1 as far as you’re concerned) showed up and spent a week helping me attack my numerous projects and duties. From troweling walls, painting ceilings, building a deck, moving equipment, etc., etc. etc. he came to work. Every day we’d get up and see Staci and the kids out, eat breakfast, bust ass until lunch, eat, then work into the dark. After he left today, our space and the brewery are looking just the way they should at this point. The project is more than achievable, it is. We’re doing it and not looking back. The next few weeks are going to be stressful, difficult, and weird. But after the quiet support that my father showed me, I’ll be able to enjoy them regardless of the ‘what-if’s'…especially the weird.