I received many responses from several of you yesterday regarding my post. I do very much appreciate all the useful advice and support, and I thought I would respond in general to many of the suggestions here in today’s blog. I spent most of the day away from the computer, as I wanted to take a break from it for just a while and refocus on some other things that I am working on. I think that proved to be a good decision, as I accomplished a great deal and once again I have a good and positive feeling about my work.
I found the “Cheese Book” that Dan recommended online and I did read it last night. I feel it was a simple, common-sense way to show what many of you have pointed out not only yesterday, but in the past. Yes, it is a simple story, but sometimes simple is good and although it certainly doesn’t encompass every situation, in general I think it is good portrayal of how things like fear of change can paralyze us.
It is odd how some people have such a deep fear of change while others simply thrive on it. I suppose that is the difference between people. While some people are uncomfortable with even the smallest variation in their regular routines, there are others who without constant diversity quickly become bored with their lives and seek out new adventures. I think that most of us lie somewhere in the middle of those two schools of thought.
I remember sitting at O’Hare airport in Chicago waiting for my flight to come here to Canada for the first time. I knew that my life was going to change that day, and I was terrified. There was part of me that was wondering if I was crazy for even considering moving to such a different place than I was used to, but there was also a much larger part of me that needed to do it – just to see what would happen.
It was at a time in my life when my son was just about grown and busy with his own life. My daughter would be coming with me (which didn’t work out exactly how I planned, but that is another story) and the opportunity was there for me. Of all the things that were going through my head that morning, there was one thought that stood out among all the others – if I didn’t go and see, I would always wonder what would have happened.
As you could imagine, many of my family and friends thought I was crazy. Most of those people were those that have lived in quiet routine for most of their lives and couldn’t imagine doing anything that would so drastically change their lives. I never held it against them, as they were used to what they were used to and I did understand even at that time that everyone is different.
My true friends and family (the ones who really know me) have always been supportive of my decision and have looked past their own feelings and have been there for me through the good times and the bad. Those close to me can attest that it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for me since coming here. There have been some battles that I would have never anticipated that would have defeated even the most stoic adventurer. But with the help and support of not only my family and friends from the states, but also my new friends here in Canada and my friends that I have met through my woodworking and job, I have not only survived these last years, but I believe I have come out stronger and a better person because of them. I am often asked if I would do it over again knowing how things would be and I can easily and without hesitation answer with a resounding “yes”.
Changes are good and necessary if we are to keep on growing. I believe that I wrote in one of my first blogs that I realized that everything in our lives is constantly changing. Perhaps when we run into most of our problems is when we forget that and try to continue on in the same way we have always have while the world around us is changing. I saw that in the Cheese story and I do believe it applies to our lives.
Have you ever noticed that the most resilient people are the most successful? Those willing to adapt and bend seem far happier in their lives and much less stressed out than those who are rigid in their thinking. Although many people believe that change itself is stressful, I am starting to realize that it is far more stressful to remain rigid in a world that is constantly shifting. Perhaps that is the root of much of the anxiety we feel.
Fear of the unknown has crippled countless people. Venturing into the unknown is something that most people hesitate to do. We all like our comfort zones and our safe places that we have worked so hard to forge for ourselves. But then how do we grow? How can we thrive if we keep ourselves tucked neatly in our own safe little place? I don’t think it is possible.
So I will look at these recent events in my business life as ‘growing pains’. Without discomfort we don’t always see the need to change. Perhaps this is a sign that it is time again to spread my wings and make some changes that will be good for me and my business. I believe I said last week that if things hadn’t gotten fouled up with the Skating Pond Vignette scene, I wouldn’t have contacted the new company and gained another distributor for my patterns. I was uncomfortable and unhappy with how things were going and those feelings forced me to take an action I wouldn’t have otherwise taken (and wasn’t altogether comfortable doing) and contact this large company and introduce myself and my work. And the results are very promising.
I spent yesterday working on gifts and painting. I didn’t want to dwell on things that weren’t going well and I wanted to focus on the positive aspects of my life. The sewing box is almost complete and I should have pictures of it for you tomorrow. I read the suggestions and advice from you throughout the day and I really thought about what each of you said. This site is full of insightful and intelligent people and I thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences with me and for your advice. I value the interactions and friendships here very much.
I find my thoughts shifting to those of planning and new patterns and teaching, and I am eagerly awaiting the show in March that will, I am sure, offer an array of new opportunities for me and my business. It is a good place to focus and perhaps one of the most exciting things about it is I don’t even have a clue what it will be like.
And I am not afraid. :)
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"