By Kim Flynn
What kept me glued to this corner of Netflix was a particular thought pattern that climbers and business owners share. “Yeah, it happens. But it won’t happen to me.”
As humans, we love a story of redemption. The hero falls, and then after brushing herself off while music plays through a montage, she gets a pep talk from her friends, tries again, and heroically rises to unparalleled success.
My story unfortunately doesn’t have this storybook ending. My story instead reflects what life actually feels like after failure; bumbling around with missteps and self-doubt. Even though I don’t have an “ending”, maybe being in the middle and sharing what it is like to be in the middle is also valuable.
In 2020 my business of 10M revenue, 3 locations, and a team of 60+ closed its doors due to Covid. It was devastating. It felt like a death; I grieved and processed it like a death.
In the months that followed, my drug of choice was watching documentaries. Climbing documentaries. There is an entire genre of films interviewing climbers about why they climb, what they climb, and who they know who has died climbing. At the end of one of the documentaires, the filmmakers reveal that the star of the film himself had died during post-production. A lot of people die climbing.
Climbers don’t expect to slip.They don’t expect to fall into a crevasse. They don’t expect to die in an avalanche. But they frequently do. They don’t fully accept that they can fall, in fact, until they are in mid-air.
Similarly, I thought that with enough talent and gumption I could pull my business through any situation. I didn’t expect Covid. I didn’t expect to close my company doors and go through bankruptcy. I didn’t expect to try to cover Christmas for a family of six with a single Amazon gift card. I didn’t expect to have to borrow money from my 15 year old son to buy groceries.
Fast forward a bit and we can again pay the mortgage and even go on modest vacations. From the outside it may seem that I have recovered, but I have not found my way, yet. I am in the middle of the journey, not the end. I have fallen into a crevasse, lost my water bottle and broke a rib, but I am on my feet. Not limping back to safety, but limping back onto the mountain to try again.
One year to the date of the close of my previous company I launched a new business, Card Salad. This is my first product-based company. I have learned how to set up manufacturing, what supply chain issues look like, and now, I have a basement stacked full of inventory. While I used to have a large team and a corner office, today I work on an IKEA desk with my dog. My story as it is now isn’t heroic, redemptive, or montage worthy. But this girl will rise again.
Kim Flynn currently hosts the podcast Habits for Humans and is attempting to be successful with her new business venture Card Salad. She lives in Salt Lake City with her hubby and four kids. Follow her journey at CardSalad.com