Chapter Seven: The Redirect

I met with a builder in the space, shared my floor plan idea with him, and waited a few days for him to come back with his bid. My negotiating books taught me that I have to have something called a BATNA. It’s an acronym for “better alternative to negotiated agreement”. Meaning, I need to have a decent backup plan if I don’t like the terms of the first plan. To have a BATNA, I needed another builder to bid on the space. Luckily the second builder is someone I know, and with whom I’m comfortable, because what happened while he was there in the space with me was shocking and embarrassing.

This is probably the fourth time I had been in there, and every visit requires me to email the management office so that the door is unlocked for me. This fourth time, I could tell that the first builder had been in the space without me because I could see markings on the wall where I planned to have mirrors hung and outlets installed. It was surreal to see my ideas penciled on the wall.

While we were talking about ideas, a woman poked her head in to ask what we were doing. We were in a building where two stories of loft apartments were above us. Built-in customers. She seemed excited when I told her I was thinking of putting a salon in there. I didn’t think anything of it when the second lady poked her head in and asked the same thing. I answered her confidently. Another future customer, so I thought. But, no.

She looked confused and sounded like a little kid when she said, “This is my space.”


She was timid as she stood in the doorway. She told me that she signed the lease the day before.

road closed.JPG

I had been in there for 45 minutes that morning. My drawings were on the wall. The building owner is the one who told me about it. The main office unlocked the door for me. These things were swirling through my head as she stood there scared, like I was taking something from her. But she’s the one who signed a lease. I knew I needed to leave immediately and process my emotions in private.

As I drove to work, I left a voicemail for the building owner to find out what happened. I was still stunned when an awareness became clear: “If you knew everything, you would be relieved and happy right now.” I knew God was talking to me.

I didn’t have any answers, but I trust God, and relieved and happy are better than shocked and confused.

I found out later that the building owner had been out of the country for the holidays. He didn’t know his realtor was showing the space, and his realtor didn’t know that the owner was talking to someone about it. Someone else leased it and that’s the hard stop in the middle of the road.

I wondered if, maybe, I should just put my focus back on where I was and stop looking to grow. Letting God lead is the safest path and He stopped me from going down that one. I was grateful and a little bit sad.

2018 was coming to an end and the new year showed up without much noise. All of my studying had brought me to this place of knowing it was time to grow, but I had no direction. Scripture was telling me to “take risks to multiply what you’ve been given”, and financial books were telling me to “take measured risks to build assets”, and personal growth books were telling me to “visualize what you want and create it”.

I knew that God stopped me, but it wasn’t a complete stop. It was a “not that one” kind of stop. So, I guess a redirect… But, which direction?

Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am.
— Matthew 16:24 MSG

Serena Woods