No, this isn’t a Nike ad. This is a pep talk. For you, for me, for anyone who needs a little encouragement.
I recently saw an image on Facebook which I forgot to save and can’t find again, but it said something like “Make Goals. Keep quiet about them. Then go out and smash them”.
This was jarring for me. Working with small businesses, I’ve heard so much about accountability, and utilizing external things to keep you accountable. While I understand the concept, and I understand how that could be attractive to a lot of people, it doesn’t work for me. I don’t want to answer to someone else. I don’t want to justify myself to some external force. And this simple phrase, to simply set a goal for yourself and to yourself…and then do it. Yes, it requires self motivation and the ability to be honest with yourself, but it removes the weight of other people’s expectations. It removes the need to justify.
I have an uncommonly high level of self awareness, the trick is harnessing it to be an encouraging force rather than allowing it to be obsessive. I can set a goal and focus on it without being forced to…if I want to. My husband will tell you otherwise, but if that goal is staying away from chocolate, dammit I don’t want to!
I’m modest by nature. Shy, even. Quite shy. I’m an introvert and I’m okay with that, thank you. Which is why I’m so bad at sales. I have the hardest time showing someone something and saying essentially, “I made this and it’s excellent – you wanna buy it?” So the notion of keeping myself to myself is quite appealing. I can do this. By myself. With most of the communication done through a computer screen.
Now, I own a small business, which I operate in a couple of ways. My LLC is the umbrella, and I refer to what it does as “design services”. I work as an independent contractor, but I also operate micro-businesses, including my newest, Seashore Design Studio. This is not my first jewelry design company. My first was successful on a small scale in a particular niche, but I burnt out. During the time I was doing that, I worked as a production assistant for a company that is stocked worldwide as well, in addition to working “a real job”.
I love creating things, but it always felt frivolous. I’d walk into networking events, often one of only a handful of women, and nearly always the youngest, and introduce myself as a jewelry designer. Needless to say, I didn’t make many worthwhile connections.
When my daughter was born, I more or less shut down my initial jewelry company and have finally made the decision to let it go entirely. Onward and upward. Then a few months ago, I got back into the game. With encouragement from some amazing artisans and dear friends I took a plunge into something I’ve wanted to do for years. Forget stringing beads, mama is metalsmithing now. I wondered at first, was it a waste of time? Was it worth the investment? Was there a place for more jewelry in an already over saturated market?
But I decided to do it, and only a few months in, it’s already been an amazing journey. I started small; learned the skills and felt the market out. And while I haven’t had incredible success, I’ve had enough to indicate that yes, people are interested. Which is nice, of course. With each small success, I quietly map out my next goal and work towards is.
So what is it you want to do? Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to sell your photography or your artwork? Do you want to get a better job?
Do it. Just do it. Not for anyone else, not for bragging rights. Do it for yourself.
Now I’m not saying you should take a blind leap. Think. Plan. Make reasonable and attainable goals, then once you hit them, set the next one. Sometimes, you won’t succeed, but that’s okay; correct your path and keep moving. And if you do succeed, give yourself an enthusiastic high five and keep rockin’! I believe in you, and you should too.