Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Business Plan that Works

I was raised in the shadow of the everlasting mountains of Utah County. I was not born in Bangladesh. Still, I perceived myself an exotic, poor child of the slums...that's the drama in me. When the BYU group "Lamanite Generation" visited our elementary school, I would tell people for weeks that I was "part Navajo." When you have seven brothers and sisters you feel like your house is a third-world country. You find ways to disappear into other worlds, if only in your mind.

In hindsight, it was the absolute best training ground for my imagination and that's something I have always needed, as a theatre director, and always relied on. Without it, I would not have a career. I would not be able to visualize the play or musical in my mind and then communicate that picture to my cast and crew. Often times the entire play comes alive like a movie in my mind and I just follow along. It feels like plagerism sometimes, just copying down what has already appeared in the television of my mind. I thank my mother (and dad) for my vivid imagination.

I was brought up by a mother that was firmly committed in staying home to raise me. That was her job. We started coming in 1964 when she could have ridden the tide of women's rights but she didn't need to in her world. Other women would run for President, so she didn't have to. Other women would burn their bras... on her behalf. Other women would step on the moon, she often stepped in other things. She didn't judge her role to be any greater or lesser than someone who had a chosen to go into medicine, law or business. She went into all three.

She was/is the President of a small corporation. We weren't exactly her employees, (though on Saturday's I always questioned that) we were her product line. And since everything we became reflected on the acts and decisions of the President of the company, she was very serious about her product. She wanted to make sure, when she finally put it out on the market, that it would sell, if you know what I mean. She didn't want the product line stuck on the shelves for years and she wanted to make sure, the product itself, was a contribution to the world, and not a burden. If you know my incredible brothers and sisters, you might say... how was it done?

Things she did for her "employees":
  • She kept my Dad in as the CEO for nearly 50 years and counting, that wasn't easy in itself.
  • She built a trusted network for us by giving us seven siblings and raising us with rules.
  • She taught us how to work and expected us to work for the "business" until we had been accepted to college. That was, in her estimation, the only way to get out of the business. (Start your own.)  
  • She taught us how to be self-sufficient. When people look at something I have made or done and they say "is there anything you can't do?" I thank my mother.
  • When things got tough, she taught us to have faith in a higher power. She may have questioned that power herself, but I never would have known. Even when her husband was tending to the rest of the flock, she got us to church, without fail every single week of our lives.
  • She gave us "earned vacation time" which we always took together, and still take together. In fact, even today, if we have a day off, where can you find us all? At out mom's house.

I could go on and on. It is that kind of business sense that I hope to apply to my own children someday, should the fates allow me to "raise a business" of my own. It is that kind of contribution I hope to someday make to the world. Her role, magnificent. Her influence, priceless. Her contribution, infinite.