What my Parking Lot taught me about Entrepreneurship..

Last Saturday I came home early from office. As I entered my residence compound and reached my car parking bay I realized that today was not the same.

Parking Lot Entrepreneurship Stevan Noronha

On any other day, I generally reach home late and always find cars parked both sides of my parking bay. And today after many months, I arrived early, to find the entire parking area completely vacant. This posed a unique problem.

Our parking lot is a bit narrow, we have to actually reverse our cars to park, but since everyday there were cars parked both sides I always had this reference point which was helped me park it in the right location and that too quickly.  Though there are these yellow lines which designate each individuals parking bay in our society, but due to non maintenance they can hardly be seen. So when the other cars are parked, it served as a good reference point.

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However today was a bit of struggle, since the bay lines were hardly visible and there was no other car parked on either side I had to do 3-4 iterations to get it right and to ensure its parked just right so that there is no inconvenience to both cars when they attempt to park later on. Once I did that, I collected my bag and just as I was heading towards the reception area, I looked back at my car once again to see if it had been parked right. And at that moment something struck which made me come home and write this blog (though posting it a week later!).  Really don’t know whether it’s relevant, there may be loopholes in the logic but I really could connect with this

This parking lot experience taught me a something on entrepreneurship.

If you look at it there are two scenarios one encounters.

One when there are cars parked around the parking bay that provide a reference point to position your car. The key here is to simply use this reference point and ensure you park it just right. You don’t need to think too much. It’s much simpler. The success is dependent on how well you have parked in relation to the other two cars.

What my Parking Lot taught me about Entrepreneurship..

This scenario reminded me of the time when I worked in the corporate world. Just like how the cars that are parked on either side serve as  reference points, in the corporate world too we encounter several such reference boundaries. These could be the corporate system one operates in or profile which is handed over at work. It could also represent expectation of one’s boss or simply colleagues around who you are constantly compared with.  And as corporate individual we spend most of time trying to fit in within these reference points .  Everything what we do is judged against this. We are given a profile  which serve as one reference point then we have to work towards fitting in and do our best with it. We hardly think or challenge ourselves if we can go beyond it, as confirming to this profile is the most critical thing since we are judged based on it. Ditto with bosses, we constantly try and work towards ensuring that we conform to our bosses’ expectation out of fear for rejection.   Our success lies in how well we can confirm to these reference point. One does not give much of a thought and all efforts are directed at ensuring one confirms to these reference point. You become more an expert of fitting it.  How much does one grow in such a scenario? 

The second scenario is very different. There are no cars parked in the bay, the lines are hazy. You have no reference point. You have to take your own call.  You take 2-3 attempts to get it right. Yes some people get it right first time the others after more efforts. However once you do manage to successfully park it, the satisfaction is higher as you managed to do it and you then become the reference point for others.

This scenario is a lot more like entrepreneurship which is a lone journey. There are no reference points here unlike what you saw in the first scenario. No office systems, No bosses, No Job Profile, No colleagues / friends who you compare with. Because you have no reference point you have to chart your own course. You are forced to think different. With limited resources you give it a shot and take that decision. You may get it right or miss it first time. You try again and again. And after bit of struggle when you end up succeeding you not only feel satisfied that you have done something different but you actually become the reference point, a source of guidance to others around who want to do the same. And therein lies the biggest satisfaction of all.

So the next time you see a empty car parking lot (which is rare sight of course if you living in a metro in India) do give it a shot in exploring this connection of the parking lot with entrepreneurship

Perspectives

P.S All Images used in this post are for visual reference only. These are not actual depictions.

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