Hello, friends. How has 2015 been for you so far? Still getting everything in order to make it the best year ever?
I am. This week, I’m working through my Power Sheets for 2015 and found that I needed to just write out a lot of the baggage I’ve been carrying around. What started as a list of what did work and what didn’t work in 2014 combined into one lesson after another.
So, here is my story for 2014 in all its messy parts — and in all its blessings. Hoping it might help just one person out there reading it and maybe to spur some change for yourself.
After writing all this out, I feel quite refreshed, just like how I’m approaching 2015. I’ll follow-up later this week for some goals for 2015 and I highly recommend you check out Lara’s Goal Setting series over on her blog.
And, here we go….!
Lesson #1: Life will always go on and I don’t have keep up with the hustle that everyone else seems interested in.
I started 2014 with the best of intentions. I knew our little baby girl was going to add an additional element to juggle and the time leading up to it I really embraced the coming time. I was mentally prepared for her and the affect on our life. Or so I thought…
Fast forward 10 days after her birth and I called a friend on the phone with giant crocodile tears streaming down my face. I was worried that the world would forget about me and my business. That I would be left in the dust and the world would continue on without me.
Yes. It was a big, selfish sob fest.
Looking back, it may seem silly to some to have these thoughts, but I had so much of myself wrapped up in constantly moving forward, that sitting still freaked me out.
It was a good reality check, and after a few words of stern advice from her, I have to say it was the best thing a new mama could have heard. It really set the precedence for the rest of the year.
I kept her words in my head. You will go away for awhile, and it’s okay. When you come back, it will be like you never left.
Fast forward to the Spring, and momentum had picked up around here. I was on the path of blazing many, many trails. Our office days we were like busy bees as we prepped for the launches of new services, new product lines, and Inspired.
Naturally, the pace started to wear down on me. On the outside, I probably looked incredibly confident. Everything was moving forward as it should. My always-planning self felt exhilarating to be mapping out the year of goals, tasks and metrics. But on the other hand, I was growing weary. The demands of being a new mom, working two jobs, being a boss and leader…I started to deflate.
There’s a certain gusto of energy that comes after a new baby. It’s as if you’re trying to make up for lost time. Or maybe it’s trying to reclaim your identity back? I’m not sure. In either case, it ended with me calling another friend who prayed with me on the phone. More tears. I was needing clarity but knew from earlier in the year, I was just trying to keep up with some sort of competition that didn’t really matter.
At that time, I decided I really despised the word hustle. I was wanting more heart and less hustle.
Lesson #2: Chasing things is incredibly exhausting.
Lesson #2.5: Pause buttons are good.
(are we sensing a theme here?)
Another blessing from this year was the gift of my heart saying “pause.” After I accepted the position with Studio Calico, it was timed with a week long vacation at the beach with my family. Man, did I need that time to stare at the ocean more than ever. From October up until the past few weeks, I put everything on pause. All the things I had wanted for so long – to prove I could grow a business, to be a boss, to even reaching six figure sales – I checked them all off and it all still felt empty and not fulfilling.
For the first time ever, I knew it was finally time to put on the brakes. I was searching for a lot of answers that my futuristic looking self needed but at the same time consciously knowing I just needed rest.
I trimmed off some extra things we were doing in the business, that while great income producers, needed a lot of extra time supporting and my heart wasn’t fully in it. I pulled back from a lot friends and ‘the outside world’ (i.e. the internet) and just sort of went through the motions. Waiting.
Waiting to know when it felt right again.
That time finally came again in the days after the new year. I can say the rest has been so restorative. I’m grateful that business still hummed along as I sorted things through. Sometimes you need to step back to get your groove back and that’s where I’m at.
In this time I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to just focus on my family again and the parts of my life I had been neglecting for a long time. I have a desire to work creatively again in many new ways. We also have some wonderful clients and projects underway that started in 2014 that I’m ready to give again to.
I think I was five years overdue on the pause button. I’ll be more aware of them in the future and not shy away from fear of what pausing things can do.
Lesson #3: Keep your race with yourself. Just trust it will work.
This race I keep referring to – there’s one place it worked. The race with myself instead of against the competition.
Inspired 2014 was a success for me in every sense of the word. Being the fifth production of it, I had fine-tuned things from every previous lesson learned. This was by far my biggest production yet. Every aspect we planned and detailed out just came together almost exactly as I had imagined it.
But during the planning process, I’d sometimes lift my head up and start to see other new workshops and conferences were popping up. As you can imagine, it would just lead my head down the wrong path. I had ugly feelings and thoughts and I hated feeling that way — it went against my ‘cheerleader’ nature. I want everyone to succeed and wholeheartedly believe there is room for everyone is the great wide world. But, I’m human and weak. I recognized the self-defeating nature of comparison and was determined to keep my head down and focused on all the good we could offer at Inspired and the lives we could impact of women and moms like me. When I stayed focused on the good and the energy in what I was doing, it was like magic. I’m so entirely grateful for every speaker, attendee and team members that played a role in it coming together.
As I stared up at the waterfall, knee-deep in fresh creek water, surrounded by friends while a large group was back at the retreat having small group conversations or learning to watercolor paint…I thought to myself, “you did it.”
It taught me that sometimes you have to keep your head down, run your own race, do the hard work, and just have to trust that it will work.
And it did.
Lesson #4: Only you can define your definition of success.
For years I had my identity placed in the idea that my success was always linked to leaving my corporate job. My entire goal was to replace my salary with my business income. That was success! But the truth was, I had a really great job. A job that provided me with lots of other stimulation that my creative job sometimes lacked. I had incredible luxuries working for this agency and a great group of people I worked with for almost 9 years. Quite frankly, I was also pretty damn good at it. It’s no wonder that I could almost never leave it.
But I did leave it and as I navigated leaving that work family behind and the identity of my formal self, I felt lost. Here I was placed in this amazing new job and opportunity and at the same time I didn’t want to lose my own sense of self or for outsiders to think I really hadn’t made it.
I wanted to hang a sign around my neck that read:
Hey! I like my new job AND I still have a pretty great business! I didn’t sell out!
I had to pull together my new definition of success.
In this new identity, I feel like I’ve been placed in a unique position that doesn’t have a voice today. I have a job that I’m actually not trying to leave (keep in mind, that has been my thought process for 8 years!) and the luxury that comes along with that has finally come to sink in. The opportunity to redesign my business to truly fit my passions and align them with the amount of time and energy I have left is an amazing gift. The work that I am doing by day is really fun and exciting and supporting everything that makes me excited about creative entrepreneurship – now that I’m working for a small (but also big and growing) creative business.
I feel really compelled to share more of my story and expertise in juggling business with family obligations – and even a full time job – in the year ahead.
Lesson #5: God does amazing things.
When I first became a mom five years ago, my interest in God started to grow. However, it has been my participation in the Making Things Happen conference the last two years that has really played such a big role in all this. As I was surrounded by friends like Lara and other women who openly talked about their faith, it was inspiring. To see the example by so many friends of placing their hopes, their weaknesses, their failures and their dreams in God’s hands has been life-changing. Slowly over this time, God has been revealing more of His grace each day. I’ve prayed a lot of prayers and one really important one to me was answered just a few weeks ago as we joined as covenant members at Providence UMC ,on the very same day we baptized Kayla.
This growing faith has been awkward at times but right all at the same time. I’m like a curious school-ager asking lots of questions and discovering new wonderful things. Everywhere I turn, I feel like a person or message is waiting for me at just the right time. Lara, Nancy and Ashlee have been a source of encouragement from afar via emails and texts at social media and such great examples in turning faith completely over to Him. Jenny saw I was looking for a daily devotional on Instagram and reached out to me to say she wanted to gift it to me. That little book has been a blessing each morning since I received it. This past October, I was struggling with parenting issues and I met Casey who spoke directly to my heart in all the promises God had for me as a mother even when I feel completely ill-equipped. I shared with Kristin how badly I wanted a church home and for our family to have God a part of our lives. I never thought the reality would happen so fast, but it did.
God is so good. I’m looking forward to growing my relationship in 2015. I can see how every lesson learned above was all pointing to this one right here.
So here we are in the first week of 2015! Can you relate to any of the above lessons? Are you using Power Sheets as well? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.
Looking forward to putting some goals down and tending lists prepared later this week. It’s going to be a fantastic year.
Thanks for reading if you’ve made it this far!