A business owner watches his inventory for a number of reasons. One reason might be to see which items need replenishing. Another may be to determine the value of his assets at any given time. He counts every widget on the shelf, multiplies the quantity by the value of each item, and the result is the measure of his assets on that given day.
But a smart business owner doesn’t just count things up and do the math. He looks at what kind of inventory he is holding carrying and whether or not that inventory is the kind that will profit him in his next selling cycle. There’s nothing more detrimental to a business than a stash of product that just won’t move. It takes up room in the warehouse and loses relevance in the market. The longer it sits, the higher its cost and the lower its value. That’s why retailers put everything on sale at such a deep discount after New Years. No one wants to carry dead weight on their balance sheet after the holiday spending spree is over.
For me, this is one of the critical keys to my recovery: getting rid of the weight I carry that no longer serves me. Something that may have looked sexy when I acquired it, may now do nothing more than take up space in my life and in my psyche. This month, I was forced to take a good hard look at some of that inventory again.
Six years ago, I was terminated from a job that I had held in various forms for close to twenty years. As part of my compensation, I had been given a stake in all the assets we developed. It was a small one, but over the course of few years, it grew to be worth a pretty penny and I was confident that it would serve me well as a retirement plan. Then the recession hit, the value of the assets plummeted, and the most expensive person on the payroll was kicked to the curb - me. At the time, my former employer tried to buy back my stake in the company at a ridiculously deep discount, but I held on tight. I felt betrayed and I was not going to give up what I’d earned without a fight. Every once in a while, I’d get a tiny check in the mail from them and when I opened it, I would savor the revenge of making them sign a check to me, however insignificant or small it may have been. And it’s been six years now, of dragging around that proof that all my hard work wasn’t for naught.
A few weeks ago, a financial situation forced to take a fresh look at that inventory again. For the first time, I looked at what value it held for me today. Would it benefit me going forward? Finally, I was able to see dead weight for what it was. I discovered that all the “assets” I held onto as evidence of my accomplishments, were simply stale goods, taking up space in my life and giving weight to my resentment. It left no room left on the shelf for the things that are important to me today, and there was a clear price I was paying to keep them.
So I held a fire sale. I offered all of it up, at a deep deep discount, and I offered it to those I resented for trying to take it away from me in the first place. In one fell swoop, I cleaned out my stockroom and gave a huge heavy block of resentment back to its source. I don’t know exactly how it’s all going to turn out yet, but I’ve let go of the results, and it feels good. It feels manageable and light. It will take me many years to pay off the debt that’s related to those assets, and resentments, but I guess amends are something that just have to be chipped away at, at whatever pace we can afford, mentally and financially. What’s strange is how holding on did nothing, literally nothing but keep me stuck in my resentment. I wasn’t sticking up for myself, I was sticking myself to my past.
I guess I’m finally learning that letting go is not magic, it’s just practicing my steps, and trusting in the process. And thank God for that, because I know where to go to shop for that kind of magic these days.
Photo credit: www.istockphoto.com/07-02-12 © marekuliasz