My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #415: Difficult Decisions

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 07-29-2011 12:47 PM 1247 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 414: Some Benefits of Diversification Part 415 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 416: The Next Scroll Saw Lesson is Posted »

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 ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

6 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4183 days

#1 posted 07-29-2011 01:06 PM

”I did come to several decisions about my business”

It seems to me that this past month or so has provided you with several opportunities to fine-tune your business plan and clarify your vision as to where you are headed.

Circumstances and challenges have come into your life to head you down your right path. Not everyone is so lucky or perhaps I should say that not everyone is so ready to see, to hear, and to take the time to analyze one’s self and one’s path.

Way to go. It’s been a great summer for you!! :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2943 days

#2 posted 07-29-2011 01:14 PM

It has Debbie, and that is why I feel I like to share them here. It would be unfair of me to only speak of accomplishments that I have made without giving insight to how I achieved them. I try to paint an accurate picture of what challenges and circumstances are involved in having a business such as mine. Writing here has helped me tremendously to be introspective and take a long look at things. In a way, it helps me slow down and be aware of my path. It is all good. If others can learn by reading of my experiences, all the better. :)

It has been a good summer and year. I mentioned to Keith yesterday how at another time in my life this may have derailed me. Now it makes me feel empowered somehow, as doing what you feel is the right thing should.

Thank you for your support! Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4183 days

#3 posted 07-29-2011 01:51 PM

and this is where (in my journey) I smile and say “thank you for the challenges”.

the quote about lemons and lemonade come to mind. Many people get stuck on the lemons and forget to make the lemonade.
You could have a lemonade stand, you have been so busy making lemonade! :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3059 days

#4 posted 07-29-2011 02:30 PM

People get fed up with dealing with those further down the food chain, who cut corners to make a fast buck. I know not all people of integrity survive in a tough market but I tend to agree with you that I’d rather have pride in myself and my actions than all the money in the world. What is money? A promise ( to pay the bearer the sum on demand). Promises are easily broken.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View huntter2022's profile


275 posts in 2638 days

#5 posted 07-29-2011 03:07 PM

There is alot times I hear , and sure you have heard . “I should work for myself ” It is not as easy as it looks(used to have a Home repair bus. I ran on the side) . it can be very stress-full and hard to make the best decisions . The biggest think is friends some think because you are there buddy , friend , pal , you can work for free , Relatives are the worst I think to work for .

But Honesty and living up to your standards is a big key
Keep up the good work Shelia , If your not happy with it you will not succeed

I agree with Martyn

-- David ; "BE SAFE BE HAPPY" Brockport , NY

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2943 days

#6 posted 07-29-2011 03:27 PM

Yes Martyn. In the end it is only ourselves and our thoughts. If we have been lying to ourselves all along, we are left with a liar. My only regrets in my life are when I am not honest with myself and make bad decisions based on what is ‘expected’ of me instead of what I really believe I should do. And even from those instances I have learned valuable lessons, so they aren’t really regrets after all. Just part of the process.

And David – ‘freinds’ can be the worst if we allow them. True friends know how hard you work and wouldn’t allow you to work for them for free. Family shouldn’t either. Drawing a line isn’t always the most popular decision, but it is necessary in order for your business to survive.

Take care, Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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