One Scoop at a Time

"Do small things with great love." -Mother Theresa

Last week, our friends opened a new ice cream shop in town. It is so great!

With school back in session, they were in need of some adult I offered to take a shift.

It wasn't hard to say yes. I get SO excited when I see people following their dreams and making them a reality. I love to help.

AND as an entrepreneur myself, when things feel hard...I often fantasize about the opportunity to work for someone else. To simply...make coffee...pour beer....or scoop ice cream- just to serve customers without having to think about all of the back-end planning and systems of support.

So this was my chance to try it out :)

It was almost meditative, using a completely different set of skills and providing some great insight into relating with customers/ clients.

Here is what I loved about it- being on the front-end of this business:

-It was so clear what we were selling. Ice cream. People only came in wanting ice cream.

-We offered samples. They could try as many flavors as they wanted. How cool.

-When they made a decision....I knew what to do. Get them their ice cream.

-The processes were simple.

-Prices were clear up-front, so asking for payment was super easy too.

Now, without a doubt the owners are dealing with much more dynamic processes on the back-end. Hiring, scheduling, ordering, and learning in a new space how to create it to function most effectively. And...they are rocking it. One scoop at a time.

So, whether in life or business....I think this story highlights some important key components/strategies to achieve and sustain a vision:

1. Structure provides freedom: Where can you create easy processes in life or work to take the guess work out? In my family- we've instituted "chores day" in an effort not to have every day be chores day. This gives us the freedom to play or relax on other days...even if there are still chores to do :) Having a daily routine for maintenance of daily work tasks, health, environment, or connection. At the ice cream shop- there are things they do to "open" the store and things they do to "close" the store. Do you have a morning or evening ritual?

2. Being clear on priorities, expectations and boundaries in the moment: Its so easy to feel like everything is important, every day. Living on a farm and running a business, being an active member of the community, and staying connected with family, for me, can feel like triage sometimes. I have learned that each day- different priorities rise to the surface and others will fall. I have to trust the people around me to do their part- and focus on what is most important each day. This is particularly tough when a child or animal gets sick, a client is in crisis, a family member is hurting, or a mighty wind takes down a tree into your parking lot! Much like triage in an emergency room....sometimes we need to prioritize the "acute" important and urgent over the proactive, long term strategies until its handled. At the ice-cream shop- at one point we had a line of 15 out the door....we scooped and scooped until they were all served. Then we took inventory of ice cream and set the team up for the next day. We promptly locked the door at closing time- to ensure we had the time to close down the store. Do you give yourself permission to pivot when a higher priority emerges? This might mean closing down "shop" to take care of your own needs.

3. Honing in on strategies and capacity to be present: When there is a lot going on, I can have a tendency to zone out when others are talking to me. It really bothers me when other people do its something that I try to be conscious of. This played out at the ice cream shop...when I thought I could remember several orders at once and then realized I had to double check several times. I finally honed in on how many orders I could keep straight to stay efficient. I know this sounds simple...but think about it. How many big conversations or priorities can you track at once? What about taking one thing at a time? Being present with who is right in front of you.

So- who knew that scooping ice cream could hold so much insight?

One of my mentors said..."how you do anything, is how you do everything".

I think I'll take that one scoop at a time.


Jen Visitacion is an Executive Leadership & Business Coach who is passionate about helping creative entrepreneurs and community leaders step fully into their leadership capacity, own their unique talents, and Lead the Charge! to create the change they want to see in their life, work and community.