I’ve spent the last couple of years in this jewelry business setting up all my systems: email, social media, website, inventory tracking, on and on and on. This has been great and useful and necessary.
It’s also been a crutch.
You see, I worked in IT for 15 years building and maintaining systems: email, websites, inventory tracking, and many others that would bore you to death to hear about. Systems come easily to me. They’re an intellectual exercise. There’s no soul-searching, heart-rending challenge to them. If I mess them up? Well, that’s just some time and money, a little bit of brain power out the window. That’s external to me, distant.
But making art? Ho boy, that’s a huge chunk of me I’m putting out there! That takes guts. And soul. If I fail at making my art—whatever form it may take—if no one likes what I create, that’s where the hurt lies. That feels like my spirit has failed. That’s internal to me, intimate.
It’s been much easier to hide behind the mechanics of technical systems than to put my inner spirit on the line. It’s been much easier to rely solely on the feedback and desires of other people to direct my steps than to put my own designs out for people to see. That’s hiding myself away, keeping myself from criticism, distancing myself from the hurt of falling.
I have a tendency to hide when things get really hard, when I might get criticized by negative feedback or just plain silence. (How in the world did I make it through all those critiques on art school?! Oh, maybe I compensated by choosing a career in IT. Hmm…) I also tend to equate falling with failure. Is it failure when a toddler falls on their tooshie? Isn’t that simply part of the learning process?
Maybe it’s my mid-life crisis talking—I’ll be 45 at the end of the year—but I’m tired of hiding. I’m ready to take risks: heart-pounding, gut-wrenching risks. (Metaphorically speaking, of course. I won’t be jumping out of planes or running with the bulls anytime soon.)
I made a good start by quitting my safe job to start this business a couple of years ago. My comfort zone definitely changed with that move! Now it’s time to push further beyond this new zone that’s become comfortable for me.
That’s why I’ll be cleaning out old inventory to make way for new designs. I’ll be getting rid of old materials I don’t use but felt guilty about buying. I’ll be discontinuing certain designs that have run their course.
And I’ll no longer be hiding behind systems. I mean, I won’t be abandoning systems; I’ll still need to redesign my website, and rework my Pinterest boards, and work on Etsy and website listings, and create emails and social media posts, and take photos, and write copy… But creativity will be the priority!
So, it’s time to move on from the safety of crawling and to learn to stand without a crutch, to be ok with falling, for without falling, there is no standing. It’s time to get it through my head that falling doesn’t equate to failure. The failure would be in giving up on learning, giving up on trying, giving up on falling.
Here’s to not giving up and not hiding!