Just after starting Domoto, I was invited on a fairly impromptu trip to the Grand Canyon with several of my close friends. I had never seen the Grand Canyon and really didn’t have a desire to. While I badly wanted to spend time with my friends, having just started my company I was reluctant to go. There were so many things I needed to focus on. I feared that such a trip might stop my momentum and cause me to second-guess my decision to leave my previous agency job. I still needed to figure out a way to attract new business, find a work space other than my dining room table, and make ends meet without draining my meager savings account. A trip was a luxury I really couldn’t afford.
When we got out of the car at the Grand Canyon I didn’t know what to expect as I made my way to the rim. What I saw was both amazing and, for a person afraid of heights, absolutely terrifying. I am not generally a person who scares easily so I tried to focus on the majestic scenery, but I couldn’t help but look down. Even despite my best efforts, the dark depth of the canyon drew my attention, then kept it for much of my visit. I imagined how easy it might be to lose my footing and plummet into the expansive depths below. I imagined hitting branches, bouncing off boulders and being pecked by angry birds as I invaded their airspace. This thought prevented me from venturing close to any edges, nor to the most exposed points that jutted out and offered the most dramatic views. At that moment, I came to realize that the feelings I had peering into the depths of the canyon were similar to my exciting yet stomach turning decision to start a business – the most risky and scary thing I had ever embarked upon. I thought about how starting a business was like jumping from the rim of the canyon, then trying to build an airplane on the way down before going SPLAT! Perhaps because of this realization, I delved into Domoto with renewed ferocity once I returned home.
Fast forward ten years. Somewhat surprisingly, I was invited to the Grand Canyon AGAIN – this time by my parents and family. The timing could not have been stranger as it coincided nearly to the date of the previous Grand Canyon trip I embarked upon after just starting Domoto.
When we got to the Grand Canyon I knew what to expect but not how I would react. Would I be as frightened to explore the canyon as I was ten years ago? The answer was no. This time, everything was different. I was not afraid. My trip was not overshadowed by visions of falling into the canyon and this time I did make my way out to the exposed points that offered the most scenic views. This time, I was able to appreciate the expanse of the canyon, rather than just its depth. This time, I was able to take everything in with greater appreciation for what I was seeing, embracing the rugged beauty. More than anything, I’ll remember the color of the sky at dusk and how the canyon below reflected the brilliant oranges, purples and splashes of magenta as if becoming one with the endless sea of color.
Ten years can offer a lot of perspective, a lot of growth, and far more clarity. Ultimately, ten years changes the way you see the world and your place in it. It started by taking the risk that became Domoto – making the leap off the rim of the canyon, struggling to build one’s airplane and maneuvering that plane so that it could begin to gain altitude, thereby avoiding going SPLAT! on the canyon floor. In ten years, our Domoto team has been fortunate enough to have constructed our airplane. It was built by the trust of our clients and the efforts of our remarkable team members. It has been improved through collaboration with our partners, strengthened by our experiences, our challenges and our ability to overcome them. And it was tested by completing hundreds of projects, learning valuable, transferable lessons along the way. We also got a little lucky. Is it still possible for the airplane to crash? Absolutely. That element of fear will never go away. In fact, it helps to fuel the plane. However, we like to think that it is more likely that our plane continues to climb higher and higher.
We’ve left the depths of the canyon behind, but will never forget what it has taught us. We now seek more expansive views from a higher perspective. We will grow smarter. We will become braver. And we will seek to solve bigger challenges through our unique understanding of branding and sustainability. During the next ten years and beyond, we expect our airplane to be able to do more and more until it ceases to be an airplane and is instead transformed into a space-fairing rocket ship. We have gone from fearing the floor to peering up at the sky, wondering just how far we will go.