Many entrepreneurs say business is a marathon, but they are wrong; it is an ultramarathon or a Triple Bypass which journeys over Juniper, Loveland, and Vail Pass. Although it appears that these are solo journeys with the athlete as the focal point, the reality is there is a support team, family, and coaches/mentors that make all of this possible. Simon Sinek states, like these races, “There are no winners or losers in an infinite game; there is only ahead and behind.”
When Wember was formed, I was thirty-one years old. I was reminded how young I was when, time after time, I would be asked in meetings if my father was joining; I would kindly say, “Not today,” but never told them he was a pilot. I grew a beard to try and make myself look older, and now I am shaving it to try and look younger. I correlate the lifetime of Wember with some significant life events. My mom passed, and my eldest son was born approximately two weeks before Wember was started, and through the years, our journeys have correlated.
My son and I were newborns exploring and learning every day. I relied on others to navigate this new venture, and it was both exhilarating and terrifying. For four years, we found our feet and learned the basics of my marketing, contracts, and leading projects. For him walking, talking, and navigating new environments every day felt like a new challenge. This phase ended up in the great recession just as things were seemingly getting easier.
Then comes middle school, middle school is the worst. As he struggled to make meaningful connections, I mirrored him with hiring and training staff. Nobody wants to be your first, and for both of us, it was a lonely time. When we did get there, it wasn’t always the best choice, we didn’t know it, and honestly, we were happy to have the interest and someone to take a chance on us. As time went on, our worlds expanded, and we found our places, his in music, joining the School of Rock and eventually performing on the biggest stage in Colorado, Red Rocks, when they opened for Film on the Rocks. “Testify” (Rage Against the Machine cover) School of Rock Denver House Band at Red Rocks – YouTube We, too, were landing bigger projects and continued to grow steadily. As we entered our high school years, the pandemic descended upon us.
The high school experience started strong; our posses were established with close relationships with people we trust. These bonds grew during these trying times for both of us. Isolation, uncertainty, and concerns were at the surface. Normalcy was gone, and we all had to recreate ourselves to keep things going. Check out our blog on The New Normal: Virtual Interviews – Wember Inc. At this time, Wember was a team of twelve with many project managers with a tenure of over ten years. As we looked into the future, there was the reality that he was going to college, and we had done everything we could to get him here. He now had to do bigger things. Our team was doing more bigger things, too, and much of it was on their own. The next level of growth was evident.
Letting go is the hardest part of all of this, and turning over something you made, shaped, and loved to others is just not easy. The reality, it is natural and the right thing to do. I think about the quote in Shawshank Redemption “Some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are too bright, and when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice, but still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty now that they’re gone.” The plan from the beginning was to be employee-owned, and knowing when your team is ready to start that process, it’s up to you as the parent and or leader to set them up for success and then celebrate their success. We are not done, and the transition similar to college is easily four years. Plan ahead and remember it’s not a race; it’s a journey.
Paul Wember, President