2014 - a message to myself
This post is brought to you by a dream I had last night. It was the poster child's poster of anxiety dreams. I was charged to create a patio for one of my best clients. It was outside, but also his bedroom. The ground was a little unsteady so we had semi trucks hauling in mountainous loads of gravel to stabilize and flatten things out so I could get my magic patio hands on it. When I got to the job site, with just little old me and my trusty assistant, it turns out that it was actually the size of a few football fields and the weight of the gravel trucks had caused a huge class five river rapid to spring up in the middle of the whole thing. I was supposed to build a bridge over the rapid and a patio in a sinking field of mud on the other side of it, so you know, no big whoop. The budget you ask, only $5000. Oh, and where would you like me to put your bed?
It actually ended better than any other anxiety dream I can remember having. By the end of it I told him that I didn't know how I would go about doing this, and that I didn't have the skills to build a boardwalk in the middle of the rapid. I battled with myself to find the strength and vulnerability to tell him. There was sure to be apocalypse on the horizon when I admitted my inadequacies, but it went alright and my limitations were accepted, wholeheartedly and tenderly. Note to self! Yes, these are the exhilarating dreams of a business owner.
So out of this comes a few personal reminder notes to myself moving forward into the new year. They relate to my work, but are also personal. As all business owners probably know and lose lots of sleep over, the waters get very murky between business and personal identity, especially with us sole proprietors. My self worth becomes wrapped up in, or rather twisted and contorted around the success of my business.
1. Without failure, there is no success, so suck it up and put the ego in the backseat. It's okay to not get it right. Most of the time, no one even notices. If they do, it's still okay, and I'll do my best to make it right. Usually a smile, and admittance of mistakes, and a little more elbow grease will fix anything. Without trying and failing, there would be no trying and succeeding. I hate to break it to you, but unless you are an insane overachieving prodigy, you will make, build, and write things that invariably suck now and again.
2. My work is important. I've used importance as a barometer for my work and jobs all of my life. Is what I'm doing really making a difference or helping someone? Being able to afford landscaping is a privilege and sometimes it feels frivolous to me. I have to remind myself that creating a space for someone to feel good in will inspire them to be happy, better people. Contributing to a portion of someone's happiness is an honor and "important."
3. Stop being so serious. Things are always better when I can laugh at myself. Nothing is the end of the world, absolutely nothing. This one is simple. There is an amazing life waiting for me at the end of every work day. Let things go, stop thinking about the books or how the project will get done, and settle into the rewarding simplicity of good living.
I am doing exactly what I want to be doing, what I feel is my calling, at least for now. The phrase, "my calling," is so deeply rooted in my existence and my soul as an animal who walks upon the earth. Whoever came up with this term probably didn't know how many people would get intensely hung up on it and lost. We are searching for "our calling" whatever it might be, all of the time. What if I have a better calling, or a higher calling? It's a black hole really, with not a lot of benches to sit upon along the way and reflect on the things that have actually been accomplished.
If my business were to become a nonviable option, what would happen to my sense of worth? Financial bottom lines aside, honestly I would be quite devastated to have given so much heart to something that "failed." These are the problem statements, the ones I hope to shake in 2014. If it all ended right now, I still did good things and gave a handful of people really great spaces to live in that will hopefully make them happy for many years. I'd also be willing to bet that I'd discover something just as fulfilling to continue on with.
I hope I don't eat my words in 2014.
Happy New Year to you and good luck with your goals!