I am the eldest of 3 kids, and being the eldest I subscribe to the stereotypical firstborn paradigm of obedience and over achievement. You know the type. When my dad says "jump" I say "how high?" while already in the air.
This has been a theme of my life as I've gone through university, grad school and then found the society prescribed job at a big company.
In fact I've never really stepped off the rail until a series or random events and people that came into my life influenced me to dive off and start a business.
Sound terrifying? It was.
But here's the thing. My younger brother, unlike me is a free spirit. He lives by his own tune. He's the guy that stops on the side of the road to rescue a stray dog and then keeps it at his house for a week before he can find a home for it.
He's the guy that hid his winter tires in the shower so that my dad wouldn't find out he was too indifferent to get them installed for the winter.
And yet his goofy relaxed way of approaching life seems so refreshing to me, the obedient one.
So which is better?
This is undoubtedly a loaded question. Would my brother ever slowly become more rigid like myself as he grows? I hope not. I love his free spirit.
So if I can go back to my business for a moment I must ask myself "what do I love about it?" The fact that I'm free perhaps? The fact that I wear all the hats?
I think yes, I AM the mad hatter and it is GLORIOUS!
But now we're growing. There's more moving parts. And I need to be able to teach others to do what I do. The best way to do that is to implement some structure into the chaos. This allows me to form a team that understands their accountability to each other. This allow space for them to feel valued and to grow and learn.
Sounds great right! You can't have too much of a good thing right?
If that's true then I should keep adding more structure and more rules! Even as I type this I cringe. We are small and flexible. We are free! We are better then those larger companies and their rules.
And yet, chaos if left unchecked diffuses the original purpose and dream of our organization. We need to define those boundaries and allow innovation to exist unhindered within them.
I can't be the mad hatter forever. I must slowly give my hats away and let someone else run their own dinner party.
But...I can create Wonderland.
It's not my way or my brother's way. It's both coming together to create something spectacular.
I smile as I say that because even with small doors and secret keys and crazy characters Wonderland is...well it's wonder.
And you can't help but smile when you think of Wonderland.
So that's what I'll build.