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  • Writer's pictureJames Lee

What's In a (Business) Name?

Updated: Feb 12, 2021

I took the entrepreneurial leap this year. Intimidated, excited, hopeful, and nervous, I stepped into the arena of building a business of my very own. As I have started to share more details of my consulting business with others, the question I expected most is "why did you choose to go into business for yourself?" The actual #1 question I have received is "what does 'Bear Wise' mean?"

If you are reading this initial blog entry, chances are you already know me, or at the very least you are aware of me through our shared interest or work in the service of seniors. If neither condition is true, then you just stumbled upon the company name or logo and it piqued your curiosity. Either way, I'm glad you're here. Thanks for reading.

Being a working professional - hell, a human - these days is tough to say the least. 2020 tried our resiliency, and repeatedly we have had to find reserves of strength that we thought were used up. I have been in the senior living industry for just over twelve years, and I have had my share of gut-punches, stumbles, and do-overs. I have also had my cup run over time and time again with joy, fulfillment, love of people, and deep satisfaction. As I embarked on my thirteenth year of this journey, I had a revelation: Resiliency is won in times of challenge not times of triumph. Wisdom is hard-earned.

Definition 1

Think of a time in your life when you have had to wise up. Maybe a parent or a loving teacher or concerned friend gave you some much needed perspective. Was the change easy? I doubt it. Are you better for having endured it? Probably.

There is actually a very wide space between knowledge and wisdom - between knowing something and owning that something. The distance between these two realms is your courage.

It takes NO courage to remain in the warm, safe place of ignorance, but genuine wisdom - the kind that can alter the course of your life for the better - the kind that violently unearths new levels of inner strength - that kind of wisdom comes on the other side of vulnerable courage. What's true of an individual is really the same of a company. Organizations, too, can gain wisdom through courageous acts of vulnerability.

One does not simply gain wisdom. *Insert Lord of The Rings Meme here* You endure the difficult process of earning wisdom. You don't typically enjoy it - you bear it. You endure it.

Bear Wise - a verb - to endure the pains of gaining wisdom

Of course, that is just my own term. It's entirely made up, but it rings true for me. I think it rings true for the clients I aim to serve: senior housing operators, SAAS companies, and new entrants and startups in the senior living space who are HELL BENT on doing things differently and better to meet the evolving expectations of our audience.

Definition 2

Bears are my 2-year old daughter's favorite animal. If she were my spirit animal (which, she kind of is) she would be a wise bear. Bears often symbolize independence, courage, leadership, and resiliency. If you are brave enough, you won't just be wise, you'll be Bear Wise.

And last but not least, there are enough businesses with descriptive names about serving seniors. I want for my work - my brand - to defy convention but be memorable. I want to bring novelty of thought, design, and intent to the honorable work ahead of us. I want to convey feelings of newness, innovation, and boldness to a field typically and inaccurately associated with decline, oldness, and frailty. Like those we have set out to serve, there's more to our profession than what people have come to assume.

To the amazing people who have been so encouraging of my newfound venture, thank you. To the many courageous entrepreneurs who have already paved way, thank you. I'm excited to be on this journey and to share it with you. While consulting will be my "day job" per se, I will be working feverishly with renewed gusto (that word there is for my good friend, Christy Cunningham, who is also on this consulting journey with her firm Gusto Consulting) to help create the future state of senior living. This blog will evolve, as will the learning content that I write, the workshops that I host, a book I have started to write, a podcast I am launching, speaking engagements I am booking, and a BIG moonshot aspiration of creating a new kind of senior living conference.

If you belong to the rebellious many who yearn so deeply to do better for seniors that you are frustrated about the status quo, if you want your personal work to be bigger than one company, if that courage is bubbling up to the surface to make your own, brave mark on this industry we love, and if you can bear it all... I'm with you. Please consider subscribing to this blog so we can journey together.

For an industry designed to make positive impact by doing good, I hope to have a clear yet profound joint venture with clients: Be Great at Good.

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