I began writing a blog post yesterday (really I did) and just as I got started, the power went out. This was the second time in the past few weeks this happened, which was unusual because prior to that, we had kept power for years.
One would think that I would have really been upset, but for some reason, I was not. I had just filled the orders that arrived overnight and the post was going to mostly be about some new things that I am going to work on in the future. Nothing that I can't discuss later on.
Lately, I find myself being a bit overwhelmed. While I am continually pushing to help our business grow and work on new ideas, I find that when I do achieve success in these areas, I have to be watchful of the consequences. (I am using the term "consequences" in a positive way, not in the usual negative sense that we sometimes associate with the word.)
Growing a business usually means that there is more responsibility. If one isn't watchful, it is easy to lose control of things and allow the business to run you. While the thought of having a great idea, implementing it, and then being wildly successful with it is enticing, I have seen many a friend lose everything as a result of not being prepared for success and moving too quickly. Like most anything, it is better to grow slowly and teach ourselves to evolve with the changes that the new successes can bring. Otherwise, we wind up with feeling overwhelmed and not being able to fulfill our commitments – both to ourselves and our customers – and in some cases we wind up losing everything by allowing things to spin out of control, or worse yet, burning out. It is something that needs to be seriously considered.
The past year has been good to Keith and I. Both of us have found new and successful avenues for our company. Some of them are self-supporting and others will require additional time on our part. I feel very fortunate that in this economy we are able to say that our business is steadily growing.
But as a result of this, there are days when we feel a bit overwhelmed. I can only speak for myself here, but I have seen it in my partner as well. More patterns, and products equals more customers and emails, equals more mailing, paperwork and time. Again, I am not complaining, but only stating facts. I know that I have many followers who also have their own small businesses as we do and I find comfort in knowing that they experience the same things. Some deal with them better than others and unfortunately, it is the demise of those who are not prepared to handle the growth. I don't want that to happen to us.
Above all, I never want our quality of products or service to suffer. We always pride ourselves on doing the best job we can on our designs and I believe that is why it is so easy for us to promote ourselves. Neither Keith nor myself are great at selling ourselves, but if our products weren't results of our best efforts, it would be impossible. You have to believe in yourself in order to convince others to believe in you. I know if I was not happy with a particular design, there would be no way that I would be able to sell it to anyone. I am sure Keith feels the same. We both realize that there are lots of places where people can get free designs for both scroll sawing and painting, and we need to make sure that our designs are worth paying for. They have to be better. Otherwise we wouldn't last another year.
So I believe the answer is to be aware of things and learn to back off sometimes. Not completely, mind you, but in the places that you feel you can.
For years I blogged every morning, seven days a week. I love writing my posts here because through them I have met so many wonderful creative people and it is a great chance to keep in touch with you all. It has become part of my daily routine, like brushing my teeth in the morning or having coffee.
But lately, I find that I have had so many responsibilities that it is sometimes better to back off and skip posting for a day. I especially find it more difficult to post when I am working on new things that I am not yet ready to reveal. I could spend the entire day working on them and feel that I have nothing of substance to share with you the next day. I don't want to post just to post. I think that would be boring for all of us.
So if you see me posting a little less, it isn't because things are slowing down, but rather the opposite. I can assure you it doesn't mean that I am being lazy and sleeping in, but probably moreso that I am busy catching up with emails, packing up orders to ship out, or having fun designing new projects to share with you. It is all good.
Yesterday we had a wonderful and quiet Thanksgiving celebration. It was just Keith, his mom and I (and of course, our three cats!) It was a far cry from earlier in my life when there was the busy time of having dinner for a huge amount of people. Our lives have settled into something that is very different than that. There are times when I miss the bustle of crowds and big parties, but mostly I am happy right where I am. We had a dinner of turkey, stuffing, two pies, home made cranberry relish and a vegetable. Even though the power was out until about noon, I wasn't in a panic. I knew that if it didn't return, we would just go with the flow and find something good to eat. There was little stress in the day, and while I missed my own children and their families, I felt content in the little family I have here. I read many posts on Facebook later on of people who were exhausted and overwhelmed yesterday. They were gearing up for a hectic month ahead as well. You could already feel their stress. It made me wonder if it is all worth it.
I am titling this entry "Less is More" because as I get older, I find that more and more to be true. We live in society that seems to be driven by 'having more'. Bigger and better are unfortunately the benchmarks for success. But are we really successful with more than we can ever handle or enjoy? I don't think so.
To me, being successful is leading a productive life that makes me happy. I want to contribute to the world by teaching and inspiring others to find ways to be creative. In my experience, when one learns to be creative, their accomplishments raise their self-esteem and help make them happier overall. From cutting out a plaque on the scroll saw to painting an ornament or learning a new drawing technique or creating a beautiful needlework piece, they all create a positive self-image. We need more of that in this world.
I hope you all had a wonderful day yesterday and an even better one today. I hope you agree that slowing down is the key to being able to actually enjoy your world around you, for we never know just how long we will be here.
Happy Friday to you all. Have a beautiful weekend.
<div>SLDK398 - Self-Framing Give Thanks Plaque Pattern by Keith Fenton</div>
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"