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  • Writer's pictureThe Cambridge Dog Lodge

The Bill Goat Gruff Scenario

So, this morning, I had a billy goats’ gruff moment. I was billy goats gruff and I met a nasty man on a bridge and I am realising he was a troll.

What happened was, I was on a bridge and there was no space for him to go past me. He initially stopped but then decided, this big horrible troll of a man, to force me to reverse. I tried to stand my ground, but the more I tried to stand my ground, the more I got upset. And the more it wound me up. I made a bit of a show of myself really and I got out a couple of times and asked him to reverse and I said to him ‘I don’t understand why you wont reverse!’ and I got more and more wound up.

And the more I got wound up, the more he fed off it, and the more he became mean. So, I got back in the car, called him some names. (Panicked afterwards thinking what if he had a dash cam and he could see how I looked, and recording me, and I found myself feeling so foolish) Then I reserved. Called him some more names. Then he laughed at me some more as he drove past.

I drove away and burst into tears.

And it was horrible. And I just wanted to run away and curl up in a ball.

But now I am thinking about it, I am reframing it for what it was. He was a troll, on a bridge, I was a GOAT and it said a lot more about him than it did about me. Even if I was being a bit silly. But it made me really think about what was happening and what does happen as a sole trader, or as somebody who runs their own business: who do we turn too in times like this?

I am lucky enough to have friends who have their own pet businesses and experience the same things, and a family who love me very much. So, I cried and shouted on the phone to Ben, and told another very kind dog walker who knows me very well and I know him very well and understands. Even when I am being stupid he says don’t worry about it, I understand. They got me through it.

But it just shows if I worked for someone else, if I worked for a business or company, I would have HR or line managers or colleagues to turn to who would help me. But as a sole trader, as a solo business owner, you have nobody. And it is very lonely and it can be very hard. It’s exhausting because you have no back up to get through those moments. If you are lucky you will have other trusted business owners and a family member to get you through. It does not help straight away, but eventually it gets you through it and it gets you to understand that it is ok, even if you did look absolutely ridiculous (and there is possibly a recording of you somewhere) but you know, I was having a moment and I was very upset and that man was very cruel.

I spend most of my day driving if I am not walking, and I let people out, and I reverse for them and I do all sorts of things, I am very courteous. I just decided I was not going to reverse on that bridge and it was detrimental to my wellbeing. Maybe I will think differently next time or maybe I will still challenge the troll.

But please next time you use a business that’s only got one person and they take care of your every need, and your every whim, they try to do absolutely their level best to do everything you are requiring but one day they refuse or are seeming a bit off, just think about what they might have been through that day. It might not have been done on purpose or they have to do it for their own wellbeing, or boundaries, they might have had a really hard trial of a day.

We are very proud of our little businesses, and we do try our level best. Most go above and beyond. We haven’t got anyone one other than ourselves to fall back on for support inside the actual business. It is us, it is on our shoulders, and there are plenty of trolls out there to upset our day, and we still do keep going and be that billy goat gruff to give everyone the best service we can provide.

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