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The pizza chef: There’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not a train

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not


December 1, 2008
By Diana Coutu

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Years ago my husband and I were lost. We had gone through a financially painful separation from a franchiser that never finalized into a legitimate franchise, but we bore the brunt of it. It was our fault, we shouldn’t have trusted these individuals, and had we done our due diligence, we would have seen them for what they were. Sometimes you can get so caught up in a dream, that you miss the red flags of reality. We consulted a couple of lawyers who each said, yeah sure you got a case, but do you have up to $20,000 and up to 2 years to see it through? AND, more importantly, do they have any money if you win? Knowing there was neither we had to walk away. But mentally, we couldn’t let it go, and went back and forth from anger to wallowing for too long. We were each working between 70-80 hours a week in store, on the floor, never mind running errands and picking up food and supplies on our ‘day off’. HA! Some day off. We were burning out and our sales were slumping.

Years ago my husband and I were lost. We had gone through a financially painful separation from a franchiser that never finalized into a legitimate franchise, but we bore the brunt of it. It was our fault, we shouldn’t have trusted these individuals, and had we done our due diligence, we would have seen them for what they were. Sometimes you can get so caught up in a dream, that you miss the red flags of reality. We consulted a couple of lawyers who each said, yeah sure you got a case, but do you have up to $20,000 and up to 2 years to see it through? AND, more importantly, do they have any money if you win? Knowing there was neither we had to walk away. But mentally, we couldn’t let it go, and went back and forth from anger to wallowing for too long. We were each working between 70-80 hours a week in store, on the floor, never mind running errands and picking up food and supplies on our ‘day off’. HA! Some day off. We were burning out and our sales were slumping.

p20_tunnel
 Though it may seem far off, there is a light at the end of most tunnels, and an effective business coach may be able to help you reach your goals.


Debt was accumulating daily. We were living off of credit cards. Looking back, it was one of the worst things that we could have done. But when you’re in that kind of situation and your only focus is survival, you can rarely see options. We had been hit with a deadly blow and we weren’t recovering. It wasn’t long before we developed a ‘poverty mentality’. We were angry, disgruntled and knocked out. Our dream had become a living nightmare. I used to joke that I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, but most days I thought that it was a train heading 100 miles an hour for us.

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We put our failing store up for sale. But who in their right mind wants to buy a failing pizzeria? We got a few tire kickers, but no offers we could live with. We tried saving money everywhere we could, and we put in even more hours on the floor. I seriously contemplated getting a second job, but with little time or energy left, it was ruled out. Burning the candle at both ends, it wasn’t long before we were at our wits end. Anyone out there who is in business with their spouse (or close family member) knows full well that you can’t leave work at work – especially when things aren’t going well. This was the kind of stress that’s often fatal to marriages, partnerships and lifelong friendships.

Through it all I knew in my heart of hearts that there was a bigger reason for all of it. I knew that we were supposed to learn from this hardship, realize what was truly important in our lives. I knew that things could change for the better, if only we kept at it. But if you’re on the wrong track, it doesn’t matter how long you stay on it, or even if you run at full speed, you’ll never reach your desired destination. Plus you’ll hate the journey and it’ll wear you down rather than rev you up. I got very sick of it all. I was willing to do just about anything.

Then one day I found a mentor. I found the better track. I read books, and luckily the more credible experts I studied, the more I got it, and did it, and things changed. My husband and I identified that we weren’t appropriately named so we changed our name and raised our prices. A business coach helped to steer me to a better path, to the path that I wanted to walk. He showed me that the path to lead me to all my dreams has been there all along. I just couldn’t see it. We joined a mastermind group. Through this mastermind group, we’ve were exposed to better ways of thinking, easier ways of getting things done. We network with some of the brightest restaurant marketing minds in North America. In a small group you truly have the mastermind principle at work. And a good business coach will work very hard to keep you up on the latest information and then help you figure out how to use it. They’ll send you stuff or show you something and say ‘I think you should know about this, give it a try’.

It’s not rocket science, but it does help you find the answers to your life’s big questions. If you’re tired of working so many hours without rest, if you feel like you’re in a tunnel, if you know in your heart that your life wasn’t meant to be this way, then perhaps you too will benefit from a coach. You only have to decide right now that you’re going to change your life, and then follow through with help from people who will keep you on your right track. People who have walked the path and can show you from experience. All the best athletes have great coaches, even when they weren’t at the top of their game, why not business people too?

Truth is, before I hired a business coach I didn’t have a life. I had a job that barely paid me. I didn’t have time to come up with award winning recipes because my creativity was stifled. If you had come into my life eight years ago and told me that in five years I’d need to expand into a bigger location, and I’d be representing Canada competing internationally, travelling all over the world, coaching other pizzeria owners and franchising my own concept, I would have told you to stop sniffing the model glue. It wasn’t that I didn’t want all that in my life, it was that I didn’t think it was possible from where I was standing. Thank goodness I hired a business coach who helped open my eyes to possibilities and showed me the road to success. As it turns out, there was a light at the end of the tunnel and it wasn’t a train.


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