Aspiring to be unexpected, how I stay inspired.

The risk of burnout is a real problem for small businesses owners, but ironically it isn’t one of the top eight reasons Forbes says small businesses fail. Frankly, if you’re able to check off vision, niche, business plan, marketing plan, action, commitment, follow up and consistency – you’re probably exhausted but too stubborn for an actual nervous breakdown.

Anytime I leave town for a day or two I am reminded of how important fresh perspective is. Staying creative requires constant influence, gathering pieces of things that we love and bringing them together to create our own unique experience. 

It’s like Austin Kleon says in the book Steal like an Artist, “Imitation is about copying. Emulation is when imitation goes one step further, breaking through into your own thing.” 

And what King Solomon (I think) wrote in Ecclesiastes, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a case where one can say, “Look, this is new”? It has already existed in the ages before us.”

All great creations are collections of someone else’s life experiences, and it is so easy to inadvertently put blinders on and miss so many opportunities for influence. And no, living through other peoples’ social media posts do not count.

As many who follow the business know, my husband is a firefighter. His work schedule made for a lot of time spent apart over the years and when he was off, we usually had some other kind of hobby that was also a job, so we got good at making work road trips into date days. As a news editor, I was able to grab my laptop and mobile hotspot and work from the passenger seat while he hauled goats, picked up livestock equipment or whatever project had us on the driving for the day. But lunch was always the destination. I can honestly say we have traveled most of the state eating everything from roadside to fine dining. 

So this week, when he asked if I wanted to tag along on a work trip for a couple days with him, about two hours away, the answer was absolutely.

I found the most adorable airbnb, dropped him off at his class and headed straight to a coffee shop I had been wanting to visit since I became fast friends with the owner on Instagram. Revive Coffee is the kind of place where you can sit down and feel the peace – and not just because they are literally in the middle of the redwoods and cave mountains. Their third wave coffee roasting style is absolutely on point, the patrons are as loyal as the company, and the food is crafted with the kind of details any foodie appreciates. Like the chard in my veggie and bacon breakfast burrito- literally no one does that and they totally should. 

After that I got to stop and say hi to my brother who I don’t see often enough, and headed back down the mountain in time to think about grocery shopping dinner. I was able to pick up nearly everything I needed from two local places, The House of Beef butcher counter, was loaded with local meat, game and poultry, and I came home from Oakdale Cheese and Specialties with a months supply of Gouda, fresh baked sourdough, cheesecake, jams, olive oil, nuts and pasta (all hyperlocal of course).

There are amazing people doing remarkable things in every town. That’s the thing I love about what we offer in Dixon. It used to be unexpected, just as I’m sure it’s unexpected to have a specialty coffee shop in Tuolumne, and Dutch cheese made just outside of Escalon, to have a little local organic market and now restaurant in our little town. But it’s the inspiration we bring in from other places that we hope to share with the people who come to visit us. I suggest living like a local wherever you go, it’s the best way to experience the best each place has to offer.

Aspiring to be unexpected, how I stay inspired.

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