I've always loved this quote by Wilfred Peterson. I hope to have it one day painted as a mural on the side of our Giving Gifts & Company store on Main Street in Vancouver. I keep talking about the dream to have a beautiful mural and 2015 may have to be the the year to do it! I know so many incredibly talented artists after all, and our store is turning 2 years old in April, so now I have plenty of reasons to paint that mural, right!
I've always been a dreamer. I live my life in the clouds inspired by what could be and often get frustrated by the reality of what is. I guess that is the way it is when you have your own business. There are so many amazing high points that are full of an incredible sense of accomplishment but there are so many low points where nothing seems to be working out and often those low points overcloud the high points, or maybe it is that the high points aren't recognized and celebrated as much as they should be so they don't shine. Anyway, I'm really not sure which way it is, but in my life there is a constant fog that hangs over me all the time. (Maybe it is because I live in Vancouver!)
Having my own business for a number of years, the only thing that seems to get easier with time is my ability to deal with those low points without getting too upset about them. It is interesting to see how much I've changed and grown as a person because of my business. I have become much calmer for sure as I now deal with the lows of business without getting overly dramatic (most of the time). Lately, I've been trying to focus on the positive and to reflect on each day in the sense of how many things I accomplished that day, rather than look at my deficiencies and all the things I didn't do, but should have accomplished. There always seems to be an endless list that needs to get done and usually the tasks that I enjoy the least, or don't have a good system for dealing with, are put off as long as possible.
2015 is going to be a year that I change that! I am tackling head-on some of the most difficult parts of my business, like the accounting - ugh... and keeping up with my never-ceasing email inbox, and I promise that I am going to come out on top! I'll keep you updated on my progress but I am pretty sure that I'll be a happier person if I can get those two parts of my business under control. Getting out of the house at 8am for school calmly with 3 kids would also make me a much happier person, but that seems like a more daunting task.
It is amazing because Giving Gifts is a success whether or not I allow myself the pleasure of acknowledging that or not. I know for certain that anyone that shopped Giving Gifts this year is leaving the world a better place than when they found it. Giving Gifts carries gifts that give and each one carries special meaning with it. Each item is created by a company that cares enough to want to make a difference with the product they created. I am so lucky that I get to share those gifts with all of you and that you in turn get to share them with others. It is a pretty special business to be part of!
And, the Giving Gifts & Company Co-operative store, although far from being hugely successful, is really a beautiful place. It is a community where people work together for the greater good of the store. Everyone is already super busy with their own businesses but they all put in a little extra to make sure that the store runs. It is the most frustrating store I could ever imagine at times but, it is also the most satisfying as well. I love the ideas and values behind it and am hugely thankful to our adoring fans in Vancouver who keep our unconventional, and often completely crazy, store going. One of the things that I realized this year, is how much of a community we are. Each vendor brings his/her own strengths to the store and together we are far greater than we would be individually. I am so thankful to the other vendors for taking this journey with me. I am especially grateful to the long-term vendors (Green with Envy, Kandis Ivy, TEZ Designs, Kam & Lee, Mushii Boutique, Made by Lex, Hugger of Seas and Inner Fire Apparel) as without their commitment during the highs and the lows, I would have run away screaming a long time ago.
If there is one thing I've realized this year, it is that by having my own business - I am constantly putting my heart and soul out to the world and hoping that the world will tread gently and take great care with them. It is often a pretty vulnerable position to be in but the most interesting part is that usually the people that I am handing my heart and soul to, have no idea the weight they are carrying. I've tried to develop a thick skin or at least a thicker skin and not take things too personally, but for some people with their own business, it is too much. I have seen so many people give up too soon before they have the chance to succeed. Having your own business takes a lot of courage, persistence, energy, time, creative new ideas and the willingness to constantly fight and fight and fight some more and never, ever give up.
The word that often inspires me is "IMAGINE". I love the John Lennon song, of course, but it is a word that opens up a world full of possibilities for me. It takes a lot of inner strength to have your own small business and I am in awe of everyone that does it gracefully. My journey has had a lot of bumps and obstacles and pretty ugly moments but Giving Gifts is something I'm proud of. I smile every time I think about my little business and the journey it has taken and one day with a lot more hard work and a lot more creative ideas and maybe a little bit of luck, it will take off. Right now, at the start of 2015, it feels like I am peaking out of the fog and can see a beautiful sunrise on the horizon.
This year, I promise to tackle that accounting with a great system to make it fun and I promise to deal with that dreaded email inbox, but more importantly, I promise to make sure that I am sharing my heart and soul every day, because you never know when someone is going to hand them back shining a little more brightly than they were before.
Today, and every day my wish for you is to:
“Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it.”
I'll be right there walking with you!
Thanks for Giving Gifts!