What Do I Want to Keep in This Garden?

When I was working on music in the Bay Area, I realized that being a musician wasn’t what I expected. There was a Facebook post on my feed from my fraternity brother saying that his roommate left early on a lease. I responded to his post, and at a blink of an eye, I was living in Hawaii.

Before living in Hawaii, I was always hesitant to trust people. I was conditioned to be cautious of others, which is the protocol for growing up in an urban environment. That perspective slowly withered away the longer I stayed in Hawaii. People were just genuinely nice without any sort of mixed incentive. This allowed me to open up more and inspired my new and not yet discovered business adventure.

This perspective has taught me a lot about the patience of letting your business practices grow. I took on a full-time job when I first moved here. It granted me a lot of tools to learn about business optimization, but then I was suddenly let go a few weeks before my wedding. The event was an abrupt and devastating hurdle to conquer. Even up to now, I still confront the complicated emotions associated with being let go from a job. I’ve learned how to separate feelings from experience and listen to my natural inclination to experience variety. It allowed me to build a new “garden” which would ultimately be the foundation for my business.

When visiting the Bay Area, my dad shared with me that he somehow grew a pineapple in San Jose, CA. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. It didn’t grow as big as it could’ve in a different environment but it still grew. Photo Credit: D. Ramos

If we’re looking at the analogy of the garden, it takes a lot of work to prune things without letting weeds grow. I knew that my knowledge of business optimization was something valuable, so instead of interviewing for another company, I decided to offer my services directly to customers.

At the first phase of my business, I was prepping the soil and planting all of these seeds. I was networking with different companies and building relationships, and those connections led to my first customers. Being a business consultant is valuable to the community, but that, of course, will come with some challenges. I have always been good about talking to people, but that doesn’t always convert into customers. Problems don’t necessarily mean that you’ve been letting weeds take over. It helps you discern which elements work for you, and to make sure you’re taking care of the plants that are taking care of you.

My business is now growing to a point where I have to decide what I want to keep in this garden. It’s going to be hard work taking out all of the weeds and taking care of the plants that need my attention. What will always remain in my business is integrity and empathy. I’m proud to say I’ve integrated those two values from my upbringing. Everyone’s time deserves to be valued.

There was never a set of instructions on how to conduct a business. I now understand how business owners make decisions, but that journey took a lot of risks and a lot of trust. Those challenges are what helped me build this garden, and I’ve learned to engineer a garden where all of the plants in it get to share the sun.

Project Management

Importance of Perspective

A popular meme that can be found by googling “What a customer really needed”

Solution Development Life Cycle (SDLC) consist of steps that are used by developers to plan, design, build, test, and deliver solutions. The basic steps seem simple enough, however, challenges will be presented. Above shows a comic poking fun at everyone’s perspectives.

The plan for the customer is to have a seat that can swing on a tree. As you can see, there are different interpretations. We must take the time to iron out differences. For example, stakeholders must provide clear, purposeful input and feedback while utilizing the expertise of each person (designer, programmer, sales, etc.).

Not all blame should be put on the stakeholder, though. Looking through each panel of the meme, every person involved in a project is guilty of being excessive in different ways. As a team progresses through each step of the cycle, there will be new factors and variables that could affect the original idea. That is why it is important for a stakeholder to not only provide input during the planning stage but offer feedback until the solution is delivered and approved.

Sometimes we just have to laugh about our differences and celebrate when we provide exactly what’s needed. Other times, maybe we need to be conscious about eachother’s strengths and weaknesses.

Do each panel remind you of any team members? Do you need help working together? Let’s talk story, holler @ me.