The obligatory panic attack

While heading to the finish line of the MiniMarieTea pilot pouch, I’ve been all over the place with my mind.

Sh*t is getting real I guess.

All (dazzling pretty and tasty) ingredients from my great organic farmers have now arrived. I’ve got the works: gloves, a hygienic suit,… I even have my personal tea scale to weigh all ingredients and fill these out onto the packaging.

I’m all ready and geared up to the maximum and have now started wrapping up the tea bags.

I’m making 150 boxes of 20 tea bags each. Yep, I’m filling 3000 tea bags. All by myself. Including a double knot in each bag. Every bag is handled and filled with extreme care.

I guess I mean business.

I’m thinking it will take me about 2 weeks, because I’m not doing this all day long obviously. But actually, it is quite soothing to be so in touch with a product you created and love. It’s my happy moment. Although I might throw a little tea party when I’ve filled up tea bag number 3000 😉

 

Then all I need to do is finish the packaging template and print it. (Well, that sounds more simple than it is, but ok…)

When the boxes arrive, I will need to fill them with the tea bags of course, but that won’t take too long I think.

 

This brings me to the fact that I’ve had a panic attack last week.

I suddenly wanted to change it all. I briefly considered running off to a warm and exotic country as well. I would earn money by working on a local herb farm or something, the simple life. Why going through all this trouble anyway, right? Yep, a full blown panic attack.

You see, I came up with this really amazing new name for a kids tea brand (which I can’t share with you just yet, as you can understand) last week and suddenly I thought of changing everything. Order new tea bags, packaging, branding, the whole lot…it had to be that new name… panic hit me thinking about all the stuff I needed to go through in terms of efforts, money and time to change all my plans around. Then the quitting and running off to a warm place far far away popped into my mind.

Then good people started talking sense into me (thank you, good people, you know who you are) and I managed to turn this fall back into something uplifting: the plans for my second kids tea range -after MiniMarieTea- are born!

I guess I realized it’s exactly what entrepreneurs do, they never stop thinking, re-thinking and creating. So hey, the future looks bright again. 🙂

Anyway, my inner circle stopped me on time and got me right back to the heart of the story; it is MiniMarieTea. It has always been MiniMarieTea to begin with and that’s the one and only brand this whole journey and company should start of with. It’s my story, it’s my heart. It embodies the soul of the company and products I want to create. It reflects all the right values and mission. It sets out the right foundations. So, sigh, MiniMarieTea it is. Obviously.

 

Talking about the values, mission and foundations of a company:

Last week I saw this inspiring documentary “Change makers” with Ricardo Semler, talking about how his successful companies all thrive by the non-hierarchic type of leadership.

It’ exactly how I see my little company. No waste of time on ego and positions. No masks. Authenticity and Honesty are key. You just ask your questions to a co-worker that you think might have the answer. You don’t automatically step towards somebody higher in rank. You think, feel and act for yourself. You love your job and are proud of what you do because you get the autonomy to do it. Because your participation matters.

Also, you get to keep your quality of life. A major must have, to be a happy co-worker. Not all of us can thrive on helping somebody else fulfill their goals and company dreams, but if you can do that and get to keep your personal life in balance, I bet you’d love the work you do. It’s all about balance. Why shouldn’t a co-worker be able to go pick his kid up from school, recharge and get back to finishing the goals of his job later on? We all benefit from charged workers.

Point is, if goals, values and mission are clear and shared by everyone involved, the company works. Values before skills. I still praise this.

You see, I work from 9 am to 3 pm these days. Don’t call me lazy just yet. I am super productive 6 hours a day. (Studies show that you can only be productive with your brain approximately 4 hours a day, the other down time is essential to process and be able to use these 4 hours to the maximum). I keep full focus exactly because they’re 6 hour working days. Not only am I on top of my game during these hours, I’m a happy camper too. Because this rhythm allows me to focus on the personal essentials too. I get to do the school/daycare runs daily. I’m grateful for being able to be one of those parents waving at the school gate when the bell rings. You should see MiniMarie’s face. It’s priceless. The morning rush is inevitable. But it’s doable. None of us are stressed out, because we’re not losing time in traffic jams and because we’re happy with the work we do and how we do it. Don’t get me wrong, we’re tired, always. We have two toddlers, we have obligations and bills to pay, we’re normal 🙂 but it is a different kind of tired from the tired I used to be. It’s a better tired. I feel useful and fulfilled. All the useless noise is erased.

When our munchkins are off to bed around 7.30pm, I clean up and around 8pm I often restart my computer or do some extra blending, reading, tasting, thinking, noting, ordering, … but only because I want to, because it’s my little company. I choose, you know. I choose not to be that mum, reading her mails besides the bath with her toddlers splashing her under just to get her attention. 6am- 9am (yep, the early mornings are real….) and 3pm-8pm are exclusive family hours, or at least that’s the idea. Flexibility works both ways. That’s logical. So sometimes these hours vary according to family or professional needs. Obviously. Every day is different in life. But broadly this is how my week looks and  it’s this balance that makes me move mountains.

Let me be clear though, I’m a big believer of evolving needs and adapting your work-life balance to it. I’m not going to do schoolruns and 6am mornings for ever. I think my job should evolve with my life, you see.

And about that work-life-balance… Elke Geraerts has some very interesting thoughts on this topic; it’s counterproductive to see work as something merely obligatory and spare time as something fun. It leads to people filling up their weekends with so called funfunfun activities that don’t always make you recharge, if you’re honest.

Why not try to integrate life in work. Why not make sure you feel alive and happy while working, by for example making sure you get to do the school run in between a working day on Wednesday noon for example. Surprise your kid with a bowl of soup and some play before getting back to work, where you share the goals and understand the meaning of your participation in the company. Where your actions generate appreciation. A feeling you take home with you. It’s all connected. Neither should be a punishment. Neither should be just funfunfun. It’s all about balance, hearing and understanding people’s needs.

O and about that little company of mine… I’ve been dreaming away lately. Dreams don’t cost anything, and they allow you to design and shape what could be the future. I highly recommend it.

It’s been almost a year now since I’ve started this journey (?! Can’t believe that btw), I’ve been working in the living room, then moved to the kitchen table when ingredients needed to be tested more frequently, and finally I’ve turned a babyroom into an office. Now that my first product is about to be finished, I slowly start dreaming of an office outside my house. Working from home can be fun, but not every day, trust me. Or at least, not for me, I need to be able to separate that a bit more some how. I think it would explain what I do a little easier too, if i actually GO TO work, instead of being at work and not at that same time, always, you see.

It won’t be anytime soon though. I realize that. But I know exactly what my office and herbs storage would look like. I see Happy Waters (that’s the name of my little company btw) head quarters in an old barn in the middle of the fields, not too far from where I live. I’d love to ride the bike to work.

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I can see myself (and my husband, but he doesn’t know it yet 😉 ) painting and renovating an old barn, pre-loved by an old farmer, mowing my company grass and growing fresh mint tea outside the office for meetings and occasional mojito’s for celebrations of small and big victories and events, obviously. And I hear music in that barn. Good sweet music. I smell nature all over, inside out. I feel nothing but good vibes thinking about that happy place. Magic.

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O how I love the thought of this…. Think it, and you will navigate towards it… I sure hope this thinking out loud is navigating me right towards this goal…

Which brings me to this track by the way – Thinking Ot Loud–  it’s the favourite track of my little one, Jill Rosie, this track was big when she was born and I slow dance (or something that looks like dancing anyway) with her to these tunes ever since birth on a regular basis. My o my, she loves that little quality time. On top of that, it’s a song I sing out loud quite often with one of my dear friends in the car when we have kid-free-quality time 😉

So in short, this song puts a smile on my face every time I hear it. It also has the most beautiful meaningful sentence in it, which I very much whisper into my kid’s ear each time we’re slow dancing : “Your soul can never grow old, it’s evergreen.”

 

Ah and last but not least:

I’m so proud to say KBC StartIt has selected me as one of their newbies! (some sort of community for start-ups) Curious where this new collaboration will take us. Ready for the journey and glad to be on the team.

 

 

Love,

Isabelle

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