It was a nice fall day, the sun was shining and a warm southerly breeze was blowing. I sat on the bed of my truck waiting on my meeting. October in the Midwest can be all over the place as far as weather goes, so I soaked up the sun and warm air before it turned cold for the winter. I made sure to take in my surroundings and found myself walled in by cornfields on either side of me. I was waiting to meet someone to buy several stainless steel tables for my company, Start Right Foods, to use in our manufacturing facility. The gentleman I was meeting met me in a car that looked like it had been through Armageddon or was a vehicle used in Mad Max for a visual reference. I hopped into my truck and followed him through several cornfields and arrived at his house that was quite literally full of junk. I thought to myself in that moment…I am officially in the Middle of Nowhere!
Entrepreneurship leads you down many paths but more often than not it can lead you right smack into the Middle of Nowhere. Trying to figure out if your idea works or if your company is viable can be some of the hardest times. It can be easy to lose yourself in your work and forget what is going on in the world. But when you stop to look up from all the hard work and see nothing around other than the proverbial cornfields in life; it can be overwhelming and discouraging to say the least. I have spent many a day there and sometimes I feel like I am still there!
In my experience, being in the Middle of Nowhere isn’t the worst place to be. And often times it is being in the Middle of Nowhere that can truly shape yourself and your company’s potential success. It’s a time when most people give up and don’t make that critical decision or pivot, and simply give up. Giving up is the easiest thing to do after all. My Dad always reminds me, “Clint, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.” Indeed, he is correct, and that is why most people don’t do this. It is hard!
After digging around in a ton of junk, we cobbled together five brand new stainless steel tables! I was also given the choice of buying a few barstools, some old tires and a few plastic tables. I politely passed on all those! We have been using those tables now for about 18 months and they have seen us through some noteworthy progress. The tables themselves aren’t significant, but they represent a part of a journey. That journey has led me down a circuitous pathway. It has taught me to finally embrace being in the Middle of Nowhere because traveling through the Middle of Nowhere leads you to Somewhere. And Somewhere is often success and accomplishment!