This is a personal one...
"Oooh... That's a pretty bike!" My eyes do a girly twinkle as I'm looking up at a root-beer hued beauty that is boasting an orange seat and affixed to the wall.
"Ya?... that's a dirt jump bike!"
Immediately my enthusiasm balloon deflates and floats off on the breeze.
Immediately I stand in my heavy body and let the 10 sec dream of owning the beautiful bike go.
Immediately I do what I have always done.
Immediately I allow myself to create a limitation.
"Oh, well.. that's not the bike for me"
She stands there, she's tilted back on her heels, her hands are in her pockets and her eyes are wide and brown and serious.
Now I'm mad. I mean how dare she?
I'm turning 40 next year!
I've been overweight my entire life!
I'm trying to be a grown up business owner!
"Yet"... she says. As if I would ever fly gloriously through the air on a dirt jump bike.
To say she hit a nerve was an understatement. It was not the first time she had done this to me...
A small moment with Pepper Harlton, one word, one small word, has become a stormy tale in the what the power of suggestion has done for me.
As a woman and as a business owner.
The word "yet" has deconstructed my self limiting belief system that the cynic in me uses as a warm and fuzzy blanket when it is being threatened with growth and expansion.
Pepper is the owner of Shift Happens Bicycle Repair
Which happens to be right next door to Frickin' Delights Donuts.
Let me tell you about the first time this young lady "hit a nerve"
I hadn't rode a bike in years...
But I'm doing a lot of things these days that I have never done.
When we decided to buy the little shop in Devon and realized we were about to drastically reduce our commute to work, we decided to go next door and buy a couple of bikes.
My only experience in acquiring a bike has been a trip to Canadian Tire, I remember the banana seated beauty that was blue and white. I rode a hand me down CCM mountain bike that my friends brother sold me for $75 and I was tipped a Gary Fisher mountain bike by a client I drove around Jasper for a few weeks, I rode it 3 times and sold it to a young man who looked like he was going to have way more fun with it then I could ( I also needed to pay rent..) I bought a gorgeous Skyblue Linus Mixte a couple of years ago and rode it several times before making the decision that it was not the bike for me.
We picked a day to walk over after we closed shop.
I walked in confidently ready to buy.
We popped over, two doors down from us in the building. We were greeted by Pepper's mother and business partner, Judy Harlton.
"Hey Guys! Whats goin' on?'
"We came in to buy bikes today"
Now I walked in with this preconceived notion of what I wanted. I had a checklist in my head.
My list was very practical.
I needed a bike that was great for commuting.
I needed a bike that would be safe for my big body, which meant proper brakes and many other things I thought a person of size would require ( I couldn't picture myself on a normal sized person's bike.... hello self limiting beliefs)
I just wanted something simple, nothing flashy or complicated.
We stood outside looking at mountain bikes with Judy when Pepper emerged from their storefront. Hat turned back, hands in pockets, quiet.
A few moments later we were on a couple of Norco Mountain Bikes
My legs took hold quick. I immediately felt a rush of energy that felt like childhood summers chasing my little brother through ravine trails as a kid. My face was hot with a grin only the pure rush of joy could manifest.
It was a bit over my budget and I already had it in my mind that I was only going to have these few moments to have fun on it. We turned back and were prepared to take this whole bike buying experience seriously now. Again, my list was all about my "practical needs" after all.
"How was that?" Judy has a huge smile on her face, it was like she was really happy to see us riding bikes, which made us really excited to be buying bikes in her shop.
I go through my "list" again with her... Maybe she didn't get what I was looking for?
That's when Pepper emerges with a bright orange Brodie Bruzza
and Judy is unlocking a Brodie Loki from their display out front.
I shoot Cory a "Why aren't these broads listening to me?" look.
He shrugs, but I knew he had been eyeing up the Loki and wanted to give it a try.
My head was spinning. This bike was not practical, It looked like something an experienced trail rider would want. It looked like it would have way more fun in someone else's possession, not me. I wanted a bike that I was actually going to ride! I wanted a bike that MY PRACTICAL OLD BUTT was going to ride back and forth to work.
It took 10 seconds for me to realize... I wanted that Bruzza. I didn't care. My body was comfortable, it was like the bike wasn't even there. My legs pumped below me, my arms felt engaged yet relaxed. Within 3 minutes I was off course riding through a field. I felt speed, wind, air, sun, bumps and the resistance only a grassy meadow can provide to each pump of the pedal. Screw everything practical, this thing was fun.
So what does this all have to do with Donuts?
Why am I finding it so important to tell you about Pepper and bikes?
I've hit a wall. After 9 months of running the shop I'm feeling lost between 2 worlds.
I visualize it as if I am walking along a shore.
On one side of me there is land.
Land is safe. You can see everything coming your way, you can breathe, you can walk or run, you can take shelter or bask in the sun. On land is where I see my past as an employee. I could see my paycheck coming, I could manage risks, pick my shifts, pay my bills, plan a vacation, call in sick when needed. I could create limitations, about what I could afford, what I could do with my time off...
On the other side of me is the sea. On the surface you can see for miles. You can buy a boat and manage your risks with skills as a captain. Below the surface there are so many unknowns, razor sharp coral, sharks, currents and jellyfish if you're the cynical type. There can also be friendly dolphins and colorful fish, turtles and friendly surfer dudes.
Right now I'm on my ship and I'm a captain walking along the shore. I'm getting ready to untie the rope and take my ship out to water and wave good bye to land for a while. I'm preparing myself for a life that is not encumbered by limitations. For the first time I am creating my own rules and learning to follow them with my own discipline and structure. I'm experiencing a freedom I never believed possible.
Growth has always made me uncomfortable as a person. As an entrepreneur, it's necessary. I've embraced the word "yet" as my saving grace these days. Growth without grace and embrace is pain. Pepper has taught me to trust that what exists for me today can be accepted. Only in that acceptance is where I can grow. It is a simple, yet powerful concept to let go of limitations. It's liberating to accept that I am imperfect yet capable. I've realized that living with so many limiting beliefs has prevented me from experiencing life as an entrepreneur with joy.
I ride my Bruzza as often as I can.
When I do? I experience joy.
Pepper had the intuition to put me on a bike to enjoy the ride. That is exactly what I needed. Pepper had the intuition that day to pull me out of my own limiting beliefs about a dirt jump bike and by using the power of suggestion, she hit a specific nerve.
I spent days thinking about "yet". It had a ripple effect wash through my brain and surge through my veins. It pulled thoughts about my age, weight, rules, relationships from my mind like they were poisons. It forced me to look at myself and question where and why I was always creating limitations for my life.
I'm celebrating my 40th birthday this week. I'm celebrating by leaving the shop in my staff's hands so that I can get on a plane and celebrate with pure joy.
That is growth.
That is trusting.
That is letting go of limitations.
That is the power of suggestion.
That is allowing another to use their intuition and experience when you're a patron in their shop.
Entrepreneurs are my favorite breed. When they are filled with passion, it infuses everyone who supports them with joy and inspiration. I have a number of entrepreneurs I cannot wait to introduce you to with my experience and my writing.
I chose to write about Pepper first. I chose to write about a woman who always challenges me out of my own cynicism. She does this for many. She asked me one day, "Why do people stop in my shop after their done work? or visit everyday just to chat?"
"Because of you... you're magic"
The truth is... She has created a space for people to feel that anything is possible.
In her own passion and joy, she challenges you to have fun and play.
As a woman bike shop owner, she faces limitations in her industry, but she does it full on and with enthusiasm. As a coach, she challenges people to do more than they think they can. As a person face to face with her, she will challenge you to see your world as filled with possibilities and opportunities even if you really don't want to.
She is a community builder.
I went into her shop to buy a bike one day. What I ended up with was a friend, an ally and a simple mantra that has left me with immense personal growth.
That is the power of an entrepreneur with passion
Maybe there is hope for me... Yet.
Thank you Pepper.