As a human being, as long as you're still breathing you should always be learning more about yourself and the world around you. In 2017 some things about who I am were made more obvious, like my ability to sacrifice what I want for the greater good of the team. But I discovered once and for all that there is little glory in being a martyr.
1. There are many ways to skin a cat.
This is one of my mom's favorite sayings and although I have no desire to contemplate the many ways of removing skin from a cat (yuuuuccckkk!), I know that this applies to all things. Everything is figure-out-able, as Marie Forleo says. I learned this year that I can earn more in 2 hours by teaching design workshops than I earned all week at a job I didn't love. So why was I suffering there? Because GUILT. We live in a society that teaches us that if we aren't Superwomen bringing home the bacon and frying it up in the pan, which means a "real job," then we are not making a contribution. That guilt weighs heavy when you have a partner. On my own, I did what was best for me. In a relationship, I always want to be fair and balanced and if that meant working a "real job" beneath my level of education and talents just so I didn't appear to be home chilling all day while my partner toughed it out, I was willing to suffer.
So I juggled. Full-time job, motherhood, and my business.
But I learned that I could grow my business, Jypsea Leathergoods, as far and wide as I'd like with new wholesale accounts which would also make my life easier. Packing and shipping retail orders is a lot to handle after working all day for The Man then cooking and cleaning for your family. But it didn't have to be! I could just not sell retail anymore and focus strictly on wholesale! Or I could just run my business full-time and leave my day job. Options! But that GUILT kept me trying to do it all and gaining very little traction. If you want different results, you have to do something different. I knew this but just the thought of being at home making pretty things and just spending a few hours a week teaching design workshops seemed selfish until...
2. When Priorities Change, So Must You.
If you remember from past posts, I got pregnant and married this year! That changed everything. When my man became my husband and no longer my boyfriend, a deeper level of our bond was formed. He wanted me to to stay home with our future baby boy. No daycare or nannies. Of course, I felt the same way since I had stayed home with my daughter until she was 3 1/2 years old. Today she is 13 and well beyond her years in intelligence and I believe being her first educator as a stay-at-home mom is what gets the credit. But the GUILT didn't subside. It wasn't until I talked to other women who had left their professional careers to be stay-at-home moms and work-from-home moms that I came to the conclusion that I had been drinking the Kool-Aid for too long! Where do my loyalties lie? With my family or with the world and its unattainable goals of perfection. I met a woman who helps out her family financially as a henna artist. She stays at home with their two sons and hosts henna parties to contribute financially to her household. The same evening I chatted with a guest at her party who designs clothing from home for the Muslim community and beyond. She is also a stay-at-home mom of 2.
Later in the month, I was a vendor at an event in NYC hosted by Time Magazine. Networking with many other entrepreneurial women of color helped me see how normal it was to choose to help your partner and contribute financially to your household without running yourself ragged out in the world. If you have your spouse's green light to stay home and run your business, you don't need validation from the world. Period.
3. Inspiration is only an art class, visit with friends, or a book read away.
It's so easy to lose yourself after spending so much time putting your needs last. You forget what makes your heart sing. Your senses become numb. You just become a workhorse and a servant of your family.
Creative people MUST create. It's just a spiritual mandate. SO I got busy! I took some new classes like an amazing fiber arts workshop taught by Makeba Laurent. Best. Class. Ever! I rediscovered my passion for fiber arts and how I never even knew it was a career path although I have portraits I've made of leather and fabric just because my heart lead me to do so. But now that I know that being a fiber artist is a real thing, watch out world! :D
Also, this month I challenged myself to doing a daily DIY project and sharing the instructions via Instagram as #12DaysofDIY. I also spent a good amount of time with my besties. Thanksgiving dinner, a trip to the theater to see "The Color Purple--The Musical" plus shopping and dinner in our hometown, Newark NJ, was so good for my soul!
And I dug into a book that I've had for 2 years but never cracked open called "Beyond Booked Solid" which gives you many practical ways to scale your business to find more free time and/or create more streams of income.
Going from feeling stale to completely rejuvenated is only a matter of simple choices. So get out of that rut, girl!
*Bonus Lesson Learned:
Once you find out what you are lacking, you fix it immediately.
For me, since I've been home I found it difficult to find structure. So much of that though had to do with timing. I left my day job around Thanksgiving. We are now in the week following Christmas so its only been about a month and the busiest month of the year with design workshops I hosted and products to ship to stores, Christmas decorating to do, volunteering, and of course shopping and family time. Trying to create a regimen and not just be pulled by the obligations of the day was making me feel like a puppet.
But I met with a girlfriend who is spiritually-inclined, as am I, who gave up her job as a teacher to home-school her 2 sons. We discussed my transition to working from home. During a full moon ceremony, she helped me name and release the ONE thing that I felt was holding me back: DISTRACTIONS. Then I created a Vision Board of how I want 2018 to look in every aspect of my life. I took a few online workshops to learn more about some of the things I want to accomplish and how to most successfully execute them. And, I purchased a pretty calendar and created a daily regimen blocking off time for Jypsea Leathergoods, time for the gym, time for my new hobby: fiber art, time for marketing, time for volunteering, and time for my big projects. Every goal is specific and measurable with a time frame and/or dollar amount and/or alliances attached it so that executing is more streamlined.
Ultimately, we don't want to leave this planet knowing that we had more to offer that could have changed the lives of others for the better and not have done it. I don't expect monuments named after me (LOL) but my legacy should be that I used the gifts I was given to benefit others. I can't do that if my well has run dry! This is my life and I have every right to design it to meet my spiritual, mental, and financial needs.
I've accepted that being the woman I know I really am is always an option.
We learn, we grow, we adjust, we CONQUER.
How has 2017 changed you for the better? Please let me know in the comments!
Happy New Year! Wishing you prosperity, good health and happiness in 2018 and beyond!