Sometimes we have days that we would just prefer to forget, even though in the end when we look back on them we realize that they were a functional part of our lives. We know that without these types of days, we wouldn’t be experiencing any growth and things would become stagnant. They are not always pleasant, and many times are downright painful, but they are a necessary part of life that we have to endure on our road to success.
I have not always been good at taking a stand. Many years have gone by where I allowed others to take advantage of me. I despise conflict and I do what I can to avoid it and keep peace and harmony. Unfortunately this sometimes means allowing things to happen that I wouldn’t normally condone in order to avoid conflict. It seems to work for the short term, but in the long term it builds resentment and ill feelings and finally when things reach the breaking point, it isn’t necessarily a big event that finally pushes me over the edge. It only takes one small event to send things tumbling down like a line of dominoes.
If I have learned anything over the years, it is that being true to yourself and your own instincts is something that should not be negotiable. The realization has come to me that the more we suppress our own true feelings and actions and needs, the more miserable we are. I see evidence of this every day among others who are unhappy in their lives. Be it their jobs, where they live or even their relationships, I think that in most cases the core of their misery has something to do with them not being true to themselves. I find that I am no different.
It is one thing to want your life to be peaceful and happy. To an extent, we all seem to compromise at times to achieve harmony in our lives. That is a good thing, and not something that we should be ashamed of. Compromising is a healthy way to get along with others and show our willingness to empathize with them, and understand what burdens they are carrying also. It follows the Golden Rule of ‘do unto others . . ’ that we have been taught throughout our lives.
But what happens when this behavior is not reciprocated? At what point do we say enough is enough and reach our limit?
Sometimes in business we walk a very high tight rope. In order to be successful, not only do we have to please our customers, but we also have to please those in our business environment. Many times it is a delicate balance between the levels of business and although each one depends on the other in order to survive, there are times when one or the other flexes its muscles and the balance is upset.
These are extremely difficult times for business. Especially for those which sell non-essential items. I have found in my life’s experiences that hard times can bring out the best in some and the worst in others. It seems everyone is ‘good’ when things are going well. But when things are difficult and uncertain, there are some who panic and fight and do things that wouldn’t be thought of as ethical in order to survive.
I can tell who is doing well and who is not among the many companies that I deal with. I can see it by how they behave. I don’t need any inside information or need to listen to any gossip within my circle of woodworking friends, but there are definite signs there for all to see if you choose to look hard enough. Sometimes you don’t even have to look very hard because it is screaming at you right in front of your face.
As an owner of my own business, I am required to make all the major decisions myself. While this is very freeing in some ways, it also brings with it a tremendous amount of responsibility.
I am often asked the simple question of what it takes to start one’s own business. I find that I am often taken aback by this, because many times it is asked as if I could answer it in one sentence. It starts me thinking of all the interwoven circumstances that I encounter on a daily basis and of all the years it has taken me to figure things out thus far and there is no one simple answer that I can offer.
In glancing back at what I have written so far today, I realize that I am being vague and not quite focused. I truly apologize for that, as it was not my intention to write a post as such. Some circumstances were presented to me yesterday that pretty much affected my entire day. They aren’t what I would consider ‘disastrous’ bit neither were they pleasant. I don’t feel that it would be appropriate to discuss them, but I spent most of the day and the evening thinking about things and evaluating my situation and business in general. It was not what I would consider a ‘good’ or productive day in the typical sense of the words.
However, I did come to several decisions about my business and therefore the day was not wasted. I realize that if I stick to my own principles and continue to do things with honesty and integrity, then no matter what the results I will know that I made the correct decisions. I may not survive, but even if I do not, I will know that in my heart I was true to myself and made my decisions based on what I feel is right or wrong and I will be able to live with that. After all, what would be the victory in surviving in a business if you had to lose your own sense of self in the process? It would be an empty life for sure.
So with that said, I will get on with today.
Times are tough. Life is difficult sometimes. It is part of living and in some ways, the hard times in our lives also help us to feel alive. When life knocks us down, we have two choices – to stay down or to pick up and move on. I am picking up today and looking forward to what the day brings. Call me a fool, but I am sure it will be something spectacular.
We follow where we focus.
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"