The Secret Path

Last week my 98 year old mother-in-law, Joan, travelled interstate to hang out with her sisters, who are 100 and 96. Joan has lived alone in a large rambling house in the outer suburbs of Melbourne since her husband died 50 years ago. She plays competitive Bridge every week and regularly wins the “red spot” with her young 80 year old partner, Anne. Twice a week she also looks after the nine year old daughter of a neighbour who has to work late.

Joan is generous, self disciplined and fiercely independent, qualities I am sure have contributed to her good mental, emotional and physical health. She wouldn’t hear of us driving her to the airport, insisting on catching the shuttle bus. She also does her own housework, though she gets a little help maintaining her large, beautiful garden. Often she’ll sit out the back by her lily pond, reading a book and enjoying the sunshine, flowers and birds.

While Joan was away, my wife and I did a little cleaning and maintenance around her house. Behind the pond is an elevated grassy area, surrounded by blackberries, large trees and flowering bushes. In the middle is an old, slightly crooked Hills Hoist clothes line. As I was mowing around this area I noticed a small section of concrete near where you enter. I returned with a spade and broom to investigate.

Discovering something old and beautiful

Scraping the grass and dirt revealed more and more concrete. Curious, I dug, scraped and swept away more of the dirt and grass to gradually reveal a beautiful, old weathered path leading all the way to the clothes line. I felt a little like an amateur archeologist as I stood back admiring my mini Machu Picchu!

It’s a wonderful feeling discovering something old and beautiful. It’s the same feeling I get when, in those moments of quietude and clarity, I remember deeply felt goals. Why I started my business. Why I married my wife.

We seem to fill our lives with so much noise and clutter. And feeling we have to keep up with other people’s noise and clutter, we lose sight of those deeper motivations that bring us back to who we really are and what we want out of life. I had to laugh at Christmas when a busy friend was complaining she had been finding it hard to find the time to read her new book called Rushing Woman’s Syndrome.

It’s interesting how much pleasure I got from rediscovering Joan’s secret path. I hope this year you are also able to rediscover something timeless and important that will bring you a greater sense of joy and purpose.

Navigating the franchising path

Speaking of paths, if you are on the franchising path, in particular if you have a role supporting franchisees, please take a look at our newly released Franchise Operations Professional Development Program. I’m sure you’ll discover something interesting and useful to help you and your team successfully navigate the inevitable ups and downs of the franchising journey.

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