The Luke’s Diner Empire

Originally shared via my email newsletter on January 5, 2018

While indulging in some Gilmore Girls over holiday break (is Gilmore Girls anybody else’s TV comfort food?) I found myself fist-pumping in camaraderie with resident bad boy, Luke Danes.

Not just because I, too, am my small town’s resident baddie. (HA.)

But because we’re on the same page with our outlook on growth.

A family friend left Luke a hefty chunk o’ change in his will, to be used for one purpose and one purpose only:

To expand and franchise his small-town diner. To build an Empire with a capital E.

Great news, right? Super thoughtful gift?

There’s only one problem: Luke doesn’t want to expand. Or franchise. Or do an-y-thing more than what he’s currently doing.

So he’s got this conundrum.

On the one hand, there’s The Luke’s Diner Empire…that comes along with insane pressure to grow, to push, to chase.

On the other (spatula-clad) hand, Luke’s really happy with his cute little diner — and his life — just the way it is.

And that dilemma hit me square in the Type A control center of my brain.

Because in this entrepreneurial world of ours, if you’re not pushing forward, it feels like you might as well be moving backward at a million miles an hour, right?

Like unless you’ve got insanely ambitious goals, you’re lazy. If you’re not growth-minded, you’re dead in the water. At least that’s how it feels for me.

Society tells us that staying still isn’t sexy. Or motivated. Or “successful”.

Call me a cynic, but I kiiiiinda think that mentality has to do with a consumerist culture that profits on people wanting more, chasing sexy, and never feeling fully happy.

*deep breath*

Whelp. I’m not buying it. Figuratively or literally.

Because if I’m honest? I don’t want to franchise my diner, either. At least not right now.

I don’t want growth for growth’s sake.

I don’t want to be all about that #grindlyfe.

I don’t want to “sleep when I’m dead.”

That sounds like Anxiety City.

I just want to keep loving on my little diner. And my awesome diner regulars. And to keep showing up and doing the work that I actually like doing…and see where that takes me.

I want depth, not breadth, in 2018.

If you’ve got massive dreams for the year ahead, all the more power to you! I’ve had years like that and it’s so exciting to be in that high-energy flow.

But if you’re like Luke and I, and you’re craving something a little slower, that’s awesome too. The capital-E Empire life just isn’t our cuppa tea right now. And that’s totally okay.

Grab a backwards baseball cap and join us at the bad kids’ table. We’ll be heatedly discussing how there is NOTHING wrong with intentionally keeping your diner small. Simple. Manageable.

It doesn’t mean you’re lazy, unmotivated, or any of the other gross words that might be floating across your brain when you don’t have “dominate everything” splashed across your 2018 planning sheets. K? (Giving myself a pep talk here.)

Maybe it means you’ve outsmarted the “chase” mentality that’s causing so much chronic stress and unhappiness in western society.

Orrrrrr maybe it just means you’re an anti-consumerist cynic. 😉

Which I — and Luke Danes — kind of love about you.

Here’s to WHATEVER your goals are in 2018 — whether big and exciting or small and steady (or binge-watching the new Gilmore Girls season in exactly one sitting.)

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© Whitney Ryan LLC

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