As I look at this crazy journey of bringing a bar born in my farmhouse kitchen to store shelves across Canada I am both humbled and honestly still in a bit of shock! Six years ago our local grocery store took a chance on us and put GORP bars on an end cap (that’s the coveted shelving unit at the end of the aisle), and we are still there to this day. . .and in many more stores across the country. . .plus soon to be CHINA if you can even believe it?! We can’t! It’s been hard, I won’t lie.
To be honest it’s still dang hard!
There is a long list of people and retailers that took a chance on us and helped us build what I hope will be a company that makes an impact in people’s lives as we attempt to remind and honour each other with the messaging that the best things in life are FREE! Nature and Community. In this way we hope to combat depression, encourage mental health awareness and to just plain inspire people to get outside, move their bodies and have adventures.
All that being said (as she steps off her GORPY soap box;) I have an equally long list of all the mistakes I’ve made along the way. From learning to navigate social media and posting things that while well intentioned, ended up angering some folks. .. oops! To major mistakes in entering markets that were wrong for our brand and ended up costing us. . .BIG OOPS. And the list goes on to include personal mistakes in learning how to manage a team, learning how to coach instead of “boss”, not reading the fine print. . .oops! My oops list is LONG and perhaps deserves a few more posts to describe the lessons I learned through it all!
What I do know for certain is that I am still here, struggling, but here! We are right in the middle of taking a chance on China and the Middle East, and as we negotiate our way through all the red tape I’m thinking to myself “This could actually be the greatest risk I’ve ever taken. . .who do I think I am??? Selling to CHINA? Saudi Arabia?? Is this the next decision to make the OOPs list?” The fact is, I’ve learned to embrace the “OOPS” list, for as long as it is, the list of things I now know for certain is equally as long! Perhaps I’m paying for my education in real life mistakes instead of with tuition fees? Yesssss. . ..let’s go with that! In the end, I’d rather not wonder what “would have happened if?”. . . and in order to do so, I have to be comfortable with the fact that living like this is risky! After all. . . .”FAITH” I heard a pastor say once, “is spelled R-I-S-K”. While I strive to operate in faith in my personal and spiritual life, I also embrace it in my business life. Keeping my ears open for direction, while taking steps that scare me. I don’t always get it right, but I’m learning to bounce back quicker, wallow for shorter periods, and to be totally cliché. . .get back up on the horse IMMEDIATELY. . .and when you are 5 feet tall. . .that’s a feat! Lol!
To be totally serious though, I’m not encouraging foolishness, but learning to live with uncertainty has certainly forced a level of personal growth that I don’t think I’d have experienced otherwise. It has brought things to light that I didn’t know were inside of me and needed to be worked on. The benefits of a bit of pressure and sometimes even crisis are that they cause your character flaws to rise to the surface, and provides opportunity to see yourself.
Your belief systems are revealed in times of trial, and it can be a beautiful invitation to heal.
Some may say. . .”why, that sounds like she’s a glutton for punishment!”. . .and to that I’d say. . .”why yes, yes I am!” I truly believe the more honest you are with yourself, the more grace you have for others, and by taking risks and being willing to fail you give yourself the opportunity to grow, improve and to establish what you truly base your self-worth on. As scary as that is. . .when you give yourself the grace to figure that out, by default you will invest into other people like never before. . . .it’s what I believe makes this adventure here on earth burst with purpose. Lead with love and remember the best things in life are free. . .but that doesn’t mean embracing them is EASY, that would be SO boring!
So 2015 started out with some unexpected and pretty cool honours for GORP:) A few weeks ago I got an email saying GORP had been chosen as Company of the Year by the Manitoba Food Processors Association! Crazy?! I've been at this a long time. . .but still feel pretty new on the scene since we've only been "officially" on the market for 2 and a half years. . .it felt surreal and pretty heart warming to be noticed by your "neighbours". . .if there is one thing you can be sure of in life, it's that you can't fool your neighbours! They know exactly who you are. . .what a boost and much appreciated sign to keep on putting one foot in front of the other!
The second surprise was being chosen by the readers of Get Out There Magazine for Best Sports Nutrition food of 2014! I feel like GORP is like a tiny little "David" in a GOLIATH marketplace (and an intensely competitive one to boot). . ..I know our marketing budget is probably laughable compared to most of our competitors (what's half of nothing again?. . .oh yeah;). . .so this was especially rewarding. . .power to the people. .. and on that note, THANKS PEOPLE!!!!
It's been a contemplative/overwhelming season for us. .. .what's on my brain is SYSTEMS analysis and finding a way to grow smart and stay small. . .I don't mean small in sales or distribution. ..but what systems do we implement and what culture activities do we need to come up with in order to honour our customers as we grow. . . .the last thing I want is to be your typical "corporate entity". . ..granted we are a long way off, (so says my banker;) but hey. . .I'm a blue sky long term visionary. . .can't help myself;) So here I sit on this Monday morning. . .a to-do list longer than my arm and a big blank whiteboard waiting for a brainstorm. . .
Let's hit this week hard and remember to BREATH. . .JOKE. . .and find a few moments of PLAYFUL in our day. . .so easy to let the grindstone wear us down. . .sooooo this sounds like the perfect time to issue a challenge. .. .sometime this week. ..pull a prank on a co-worker, family member or kid. . .or whoever is in your vicinity. . . beware. . .you might just make someone's day. . .at the very least, there will be smiling involved;)
Greetings! Today is our BIG NEW website reveal AND the. . .re-start of my blog, which has been seriously neglected for the past year(ish)!
For those of you new to GORP, welcome here! To my old friends and blog followers. . .thanks for your silent and not so silent support over the past years:) 2015 is going to be epic and scary. .. but it will mostly be about connecting with COMMUNITY. . .(which is my word of the year, but more about that next post!)
We are beyond excited about all the surprises and plans we have for connecting with our customers in more meaningful ways. . ..between contests and some awesome swag coming down the pipe. . .we look forward to rewarding our loyal customers for being such awesome advocates of our little company:)
Go on and sign up for our newsletter between today and January 31st and we will email you a 40% off coupon code:) A one time deal. . .don't miss out!