Don’t Touch That Couch!

couch

You’ve probably heard the expression “creatures of habit.”  As psychologists explain it, human beings are unique, complex and known to incorporate a wide breadth of rituals into their daily routines. These rituals – whether silly or serious – not only enable them to imbue their lives with a tidy sense of structure but also give others a sense of predictability on how they’ll react in habitual situations such as making breakfast, getting dressed, or cleaning the kitchen.

They’ve observed, for instance, that Janice always keeps the milk and cream on the right side of the refrigerator’s top shelf and the orange juice on the left side of the door. They’ve noticed that Jeremy always aligns the shoes in his closet with the toes pointing north. They’ve asked Lily why she folds her cotton dishtowel into a square and places it within the framed grout lines of the tile counter and she consistently responds, “It’s just the way I’ve always done it.”

There are good habits and there are bad habits. There are habits that have been ingrained since childhood (i.e., eat everything on your plate), habits influenced by parents (i.e., there is only one “correct” way to hang toilet paper), and habits we develop on our own as a matter of convenience (i.e., if I put out my clothes the night before, it will save time getting ready for work).

The longer a habit has been part of one’s personality, the harder it is to break. Likewise, the passage of time may even have rendered it impossible to remember why or how it started in the first place. If those long-term behaviors aren’t healthy or helpful, it tends to make relationships with people that are impulsive and spontaneous all the more challenging. I’m sure you’ve known individuals who waited until their forties – or even later – to finally get married and co-mingle their possessions. Unless there’s an “esprit de compromise,” things could get ugly the first time a partner suggests even the simplest nudge to the everyday routine or existing décor.

The same scenario can unfold when the owner of a one-person business decides to share office space with a fellow professional. Even if they’re not forming a partnership and are only looking at this as a convenient way to save on rent, share a receptionist, and have a kindred spirit to chat with on a slow day, they both need to consider whether they’re too settled into their respective comfort zones to really make it work.

Authors encounter similar challenges whenever someone says, “Hey, why don’t we write a book together?” Clearly they’re channeling their inner Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland and assuming that if the right kids just get together and go find a spiffy barn, the show will be a smash success. Sure it sounds like a great idea at the start, not to mention twice the fun and half the labor. When a pairing of kindred spirits exceeds their scribatious expectations, both parties can’t wait to work together again.

For the flip-side experiences, though, when you realize your business roomies aren’t quite working out, you have to deal with the pain of disappointment – and dissolution – in the very same way you’d pull off an adhesive bandage: as quickly as possible. Yes, there’ll be a major “OW!” that briefly hurts and then stops. In the best case scenario, you’ll still stay friends. In the worst case scenario, they’ll be out of your life forever…but you’ll still be able to move that couch wherever you want to because it’s back to being 100 percent yours.

*****

This month’s issue continues our showcase of entrepreneurial journeys and the epiphanies that made those dreams come true.

A Dog’s Way To My Heart – by Amanda Pravia

Breaking Into The Freelance Writing Market – by Rashida Tayabali

My Journey to Becoming a Wedding & Events Planner – by Courtney Lutkus

Swapping Bytes for Bites – by Sheryl Thai

An Ancient Business in a Modern Age – by Isabella Kleiman

Bubbles, Bling, and a Book – by Maria Nicola