I recently realized that I was being dishonest when I said I thrive on change.

I mean, I came by my dishonesty honestly… in some areas of my life, it appears change is my addiction. And being the CEO of Oiselle is my drug of choice. 

Especially in the start-up phase, my appetite for change and learning new things was off the hook, and I was constantly seeking to master new skills: product development, forecasting, logistics, events, sourcing, factory vetting and visits. Along the way, I took huge, change-driven risks. I leveraged my house, raised capital, hired and fired, shlepped a bajillion boxes (including when our warehouse was on the second floor of a building with no elevator), selected suppliers, sourced partners, negotiated rates and terms, moved office locations, opened a retail store, and grew The Nest from a team of three to thirty people. 

But recently, I took a moment to think hard about all that change, and what was under the hood for me personally. What I realized, and what kind of surprised me, is that I also have an almost obsessive fixation on routine. In fact, there are things I do every day, and have done every day, for more than twenty years. Twenty. Years. For a self-described change lover, that’s pretty mind blowing.


Every day I…

  • Read a paper newspaper. We get the Seattle Times (for the hubs) and the New York Times (for me). The way mobile technology is going, we’re going to be that old couple down the street that still gets the paper newspaper. Ermagerd! the kids will all say.
  • Start the day with the exact same breakfast: drip coffee with half and half and two slices of whole grain bread with butter and either jam, honey, or egregiously expensive Frog Hollow Meyer’s Lemon Marmalade. Buy some and thank me later.
  • Buy a second cup of coffee on my way to work from Starbucks: Grande Pike Place drip with enough half and half to make it a good khaki color. 
  • I run. Well, almost every day.
  • I floss

During that same time frame, I've lived in the same neighborhood, opted to stay married to my righteous hubs, rarely changed cars, resent having to buy any kind of new household appliance, and only had the nerve to get my first tattoo earlier this year.

So do I love crazy, dynamic, entrepreneurial, fast-growth change? Yes.

Do I also love consistency, routine, and sameness? Yes.

Do these things not only fuel each other, but potentially allow the other to exist? I believe so.

And so it is with humility that I say my greatest achievement might not be daring greatly, but rather committing daily. 

“Go fast, take chances” has long been our company mantra. But for me, maybe it’s “go fast, take chances - but only after you sleep in your own bed, have coffee, read the newspaper, and go on a long run with friends.” It's a good life, I'll take it!


November 07, 2016 — jbarnard

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.