In 2001, I was on a plane traveling back home from an international trip. On the final leg of the journey I sat next to a young man that had an appearance that seemed to promise an interesting conversation on the hour flight from Chicago to Omaha. If I describe him dressed in punk style, that picture is adequate for this post.
As we lifted off the ground and settled in, his headphones on his lap piqued my curiosity. I asked him what he was listening to. He said, White Stripes’ new album, White Blood Cells. He gave me a condescending look when I said I didn’t know their music. Probably the same look I got when I moved to Nebraska and didn’t know who Bob Devaney was.
That was the extent of the conversation and he retreated into his music and I dozed off until we landed.
When I got home, I went out and bought that CD. (Note: I miss the experience of going to the head shop and buying music, especially LP’s. I had to wait until I got home to first hear it. That anticipation is lost in this generation.) On that disc was a brief song, LIttle Room. 0.50 seconds of music, half of it gibberish, but it’s been a core reference of mine to find courage to risk and create.
Well you’re in your little room
And you’re working on something good
I’ve been in the little room many times in my life, most notably was the 2 years leading up to the opening of bread&cup. Warrior and I recall the days of test baking cinnamon rolls in my small kitchen and packaging apple butter for the Farmer’s Market in my low-ceiling basement workspace. He would keep reminding me that we’re in the Little Room, working on something good.
But if it’s really good
You’re gonna need a bigger room
My longtime pal Dick Parr used to tell me “Shinn, I hope you struggle with your success.” This might seem like a back handed rebuke, but Dick understood what I was walking into. Every entrepreneur knows this. Success doesn’t come easy and if it does, I need to be aware. Quick success can be a seductive mistress. She can lead me away from the reason I got started in the Little Room in the first place.
And when you’re in the bigger room
You might not know what to do
You might have to think of
How you got started
Sitting in your little roomArtist: The White Stripes
Album: White Blood Cells
I have a feeling that Jack White understood this dilemma. He doesn’t always seem too comfortable with his success.
So here I am again. I’m back in my Little Room, working on something good. And it’s not just the projects I have on the board right now. It’s getting my heart back, redefining what life will look like for me in the future. It’s awakening to all that am inside. It’s working on my new identity now as a widower and not letting widower become my identity. The time has come for me to be alive again.