Destination-Less Wandering: what happens when you close up your “dream” business

Nebulosity. 1919.

{Astronomy and the Bible. 1919}

I dug up our vegetable plot this past weekend in a soil/wheel barrel/digging bonanza. And let me tell you, it’s VERY rocky over here. Saturday, after attending a deeply saddening funeral, I threw my spade down over and over again in the soil, wanting to a) get shit done before the rain and b) work through the angst that arose during the day. Time and time again: rocks, rocks and more rocks. You wish nonetheless that your spade will melt into golden earth and things will get easier.  YOU’VE WORKED SO HARD… why isn’t it PERFECT ALREADY?

Truth be told: closing up the shop was one of the hardest periods of my life. And along with some other personal stuff, it created this thick fog that was so hard to cut through at times, it felt like I would never see the other side. Now that I’m 3 years removed from it, I can see that closing up that part of my life, made room for so many more things to come in:

  1. I faced my worst fear (not being perfect, not “succeeding”) and turned it on it’s head by being able to overcome it- if that’s not a life skill, I don’t know what is.

  2. I got an amazing MBA at the fraction of the cost of an Ivy League School

  3. I developed new skills (writing, social media marketing, business strategy) That I would have otherwise never been able to hone

  4. I learned that I love partnership & collaboration

  5. I discovered that enabling creativity, which almost always leads to joy, is a prerequisite in the projects I take on now.

  6. I WOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN MOTIVATED TO START LOOKING FOR A HOMESTEAD IF I WAS AT THE SHOP.

Now with a few more notches on my entrepreneur belt, I can see the shop more for what it really was, rather than what I wanted it to be. In my eyes, (Annabelle, I can’t speak for you, but I think you felt similarly?) E&A, the brick and mortar shop, was the stepping stone into an empire of projects that would inspire and connect people in their everyday lives, by way of products and experiences. Books, wallpapers, stationery, creative retreats, furniture, bed linens.. I mean I saw no end to what that brand could offer.

So while it became clear that running the brick and mortar side made zero long term sense ( I was blessed to have two people around me that were able to see that clearly, while I could have gone on blindly) that desire to offer people creative and whole hearted experiences and products, well that one is still surging strong inside.

Design is partly a manifestation of that desire. However, the project specific nature of the work is kind of limiting.  Since the outcome, really only benefits the client, I haven’t figured out how to get a broader reach for the work I do, in an authentic way.  The positive impact of creating a home that reflects a client’s values and functions? Getting that right is a truly uplifting experience, but, getting a home to that sweet spot of past renovation and well lived in, it’s a slow process that can take at least one year- something design television FAILS at mentioning!  And since we’re being super honest, my head pesters me with insecurities like “it’s just about choosing curtains and making things pretty”, which I intuitively know is wrong, but the doubts get me down sometimes, specially when I’m not on the lookout for them!

Recently, I feel like every hour brings about a new *amazing* idea: I’m going to be an illustrator, I’m going to exercise horses, I’m going to be the star of a design tv show (that was actually on the table but didn’t work out!) I’m going to make & sell my agendas, I’m going to raise pigs for a living, I’m going to host creative retreats and sell caftans to everyone, I’m going to start a braided carpet collection, I’m going to write a tell-it-how-it-is book on homesteading for the city folk, I’m going to do all of those things AT THE SAME TIME, YAY!!

Um, you can imagine how tired my brain is since it’s working that way about 10 hours a day!

What I keep on telling myself is that while I’m in this weird uncertainty period, I shouldn’t dwell too much on the outcome of any of these projects. This is my time to work on myself, hone my skills, develop new ones and keep writing.  Sometimes it’s nice to wander around without a real destination, specially when wearing a caftan.  mbdwoun-ec003-h-1675931_0x420 peter falk

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3 thoughts on “Destination-Less Wandering: what happens when you close up your “dream” business

  1. Love this. You both inspired me! it was certainly not a failure, you just changed direction. Never be married to the outcome. As Picasso said “Find what you love and give it away.” It will all come back to you in an unpredicatable way.

    1. Oh I totally know in my heart of hearts that it wasn’t a failure!! I feel so blessed to have met so many INCREDIBLE women and had it not closed, I wouldn’t be where I am today! “Never be married to the outcome”… Let’s make a gorgeous poster out of that quote 😉 !!

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