A Rose By Any Other Name…

February 23, 2007

This week started with a great distraction, so I really don’t know why I needed another one. I was tied up with my new computer, getting programs installed and documents moved over and figuring out how to move address books. I’m even moving some of my household chores (like keeping up with the bank accounts and credit card) to this new computer because my wife uses our “home” computer to do her work, and she’s on it ALL the time. Our “home” computer will be mainly her “work at home” computer. And my new computer will be my business computer plus my household management computer. I am the CFO, after all—the Chief Family Officer. So, yes, I had a great distraction already this week.

So why did I come up with another one? It may be another excuse for delaying some aspects of getting my coaching and consulting practice set up. It may be remnants of old doubt wondering if this really is the right path for me (I’m sure it is about 99.9% of the time). Or it may be my sometimes uptight, just a little too compulsive nature. But I feel like I have to have a business name decided in order to move forward.

I have an S-corporation already. It’s been established for many years, originally set up to run the child care center. So it has the name of the child care center, The Knowledge Store, which was always an odd name to me. My mother bought the center when it had been open just nine months and had less than 35 children enrolled. She kept the name because—well, because it was new and just being established, which would have been a better excuse for going ahead and changing the name.

We would get phone calls at the center from people looking for a bookstore. Frequently. Honest. But now the center has been sold (4 years next month), the note is paid off, and the S-corporation is an empty shell. My mother is retired, so she signed her share of the empty shell over to me. I am planning to run my coaching and consulting practice through it.

But it’s called The Knowledge Store. Bad as it was for a child care center, even one with a widely respected preschool program, it’s even worse for coaching and consulting. “The Knowledge Store? What are you, a Know-It-All?” When a client pays for my services, I want the name to fit what I’m doing. I don’t want him to look at his credit card statement and ask, “What the heck is a Knowledge Store?”

I want a fun name, like my computer’s name—Apple. I appreciate whimsy. But when I suggested “Whirligig” or “Calliope,” my wife grunted like Marge on the Simpsons. She said the name should bring to mind what I’m doing in my practice. I thought “whirligig” pretty much sums it up right now.

But she’s right. I need to stay on point. I want a name that reflects what I’m doing, helping people discover their core nature, their gifts, and find a community to welcome and nurture them. The word “tribe” resonates, but it’s kind of trendy, and when I put it with other words it sounds like a music store, like “Tribal Voice.” I like “seed” because it speaks of potential waiting to sprout, and of a design already inscribed. I like “root” because it’s an underlying structure that is stabilizing and brings life. I like “heart,” which has a meaning similar to “core,” but can’t figure out how to use either one of those words without sounding corny.

When looking for a name for my business I meditate on the specifics of what I want to do and how to explain it to other people. I try to imagine the words from the point of view of a person feeling a little lost or lonely and wanting to connect with people who see her as a treasure.

I look at dictionaries for word meanings and original sources and flip through the thesaurus. I flip through the thesaurus! It’s a great adventure when you’re working hard on saying something in just the right way. Whatever name I choose, however well it explains my practice to others—heck, even if I just stick with “whirligig”—I know this process is helping me refine my core mission and how I will express it in my practice.

May You Find Your Tribe and Join Their Song,

Steve Coxsey

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