No ducks on the weekend

Gross margin is a pre-occupation of any good business owner. Cash flow, overhead and return on investment are good words to throw around too.

The thing is, you’re not good. You’re phenomenal.

You’re not the kind of real estate agent that puts her face on her business cards. You’ve got an engaging vlog, a high-powered Facebook page and have cornered the market on small, mid-century colonials for recently married couples in your town.

The only way we become phenomenal, instead of just good is by pushing through the dip. (The misconception is that we’ve got to make the leap, but it’s not that easy. Getting to the other side is a long, painstaking process. It’s not a thrill-enducing, short burst of achievement.)

The way we make it alive through the dip is by keeping the edges of our paper clean — by preserving the negative space in our lives.

This is the kind of margin phenomenal people are pre-occupied with.

Margin is what allows me to write a 5,000 word article. Margin is also what allows me to work down a 5,000 word article into the 500 words it should be.

Margin is the discipline that allows me to shut down at 5 p.m. and not work the weekends. Margin is also the fine line that separates activity from productivity.

Margin give you the option to volunteer your time to those in need. It also keeps you from spreading yourself too thin.

My editing professor asked that we not take our class materials home to work on over the coming three-day weekend.

“But, the only way you can do this is by being prepared to do this,” he said.

What he was saying is that he’d love for us to take a break — he even said taking a break allows us to do our work better. But, the only way we can take a break from studying and working is to study and work ahead of time in determined preparation for the holiday.

We’ll only be allowed margin if we get our ducks in a row first. The next step is to do something with the ducks. And, then, set the ducks aside.