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A personal loss

As some of you may have heard on my personal Facebook feed or on my personal blog, my family and I recently lost a beloved family member: my just-turned 16-year old nephew who passed suddenly and quite tragically in a terrible car accident on July 9, 2010.

The entire week of July 12-16 was one big blur for me. I can’t remember ever having cried as intensely and as often as I did during those 5 days of sheer hell and sorrow.

Some time after that blurry week, I can’t say I’m back to 100%. My heart is still broken, my spirit is fragile and I still feel sadness on a day-to-day basis.

Despite the loss and the mourning, dare I say that business – and life – must go on.

While I was “out” that one week, it was clear that life and business do in fact go on, despite any need for a personal pause. Emails were still pouring in. Calls and text messages too. And project or proposal deadlines still loomed around the bend.

A business lesson

Sure, clients are empathic and colleagues are compassionate. Yet regardless, clients, partners and team members still have needs and wants and your business has to roll with those punches;

something much easier said than done when you are a smaller biz vs. a corporate giant with departments full of personnel and resources.

Getting through that week was *super tough* … no lie. But once you near the end of the funeral, burial and formal “saying-goodbye” process, you find yourself at a significant crossroads:

  • Option A: go crawl under your blankets and cry a new river for the next 3 months
  • Option B: go make the MOST of your life; cherish every nano-second you are alive and maximize your time here on earth, for as long as you are here and for as long as you can

Perhaps if I had been the parent of the lost child, I may have immediately opted for Option A. Thankfully, I am super-blessed to not be in my sister-in-law’s shoes and can more readily opt for Option B.

Picking up the pieces

And it is with that spirit that, through all the tears and painful heartache, I returned to my small business on Monday, July 19.

In preparation for my refreshed vision and motivation to live up to Option B, I determined (amongst many, many other things too personal to share here) that my small business is a large part of who I am, what I do and how I live.

As a result, I spent an entire day on Sunday re-organizing my home office. I must have tossed two bags worth of trash and polished every surface area visible to the human eye, cleaning out shelves and drawers of meaningless stuff acquired over time.

The following morning, I sat quietly in front of my computer and wondered what MORE could I be doing for my own business to maximize my footprint, my services, my offerings and my overall value to everyone around me.

I looked up and saw the July 2010 calendar pinned up on my wall. How ironic that we often think we have so much time to do things.

The calendar “assumes” that you readily have many days ahead. Life often, however, does not make such assumptions.

I returned to work being extremely mindful of time.

Time that is here now but absolutely not promised an hour from now.

Time that we so very often take for granted and do nothing extraordinary with.

I won’t bore you with the details of all I was able to jam pack that first Monday back; but I will say that I did push forward various business projects and professional endeavors I had been procrastinating on for more months than I care to admit.

At the end of that Monday, I could look back on that specific set of business hours and defy sadness with high productivity, renewed inspiration and refreshed motivation.

I am hopeful my efforts to propel my business forward more than ever before and my attempts to milk any and all value from the 60-minutes of each hour when I am not at rest will yield some positive, meaning results over the next few months.

Image: April Burton, Creative Commons

Mayra Ruiz is founder of Ruiz McPherson Communications, a social media influence and digital marketing service based in historic Charles Town, West Virginia. With more than 15 years of hands-on marketing, communications and PR experience, Mayra leads her clients forward on all aspects of creative direction, online promotion and marketing communications with innovation, passion and gusto.  When offline, Mayra enjoys “old fashioned” non-techy stuff like cooking, sewing and collecting vintage treasures from area antiques stores. She can be reached at www.twitter.com/mayraruiz or www.twitter.com/ruizmcpherson (her marketing practice).


    1. First, my sympathies on your terrible loss. But what a great post! We so often get lost in the mundane aspects of our work and lives. And forget to savor what we have right now and use that for our immediate benefit – to grow, to create, to heal, to move forward. Thanks for the reminder.

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    2. Condolences for your loss, Mayra. And Bravo for your response. Thanks for sharing this, it is a touching reminder to make the most of what – and who – we've got.

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