Summer Bummer : Living Without All the Answers

“Are you having a good summer?” she asked with a hopeful smile.

I took a deep breath and felt just how tired I felt in my body.

I could see that she too was tired. A fellow mom and entrepreneur, she knows what it’s like to be juggling a very full life. And so I knew I could tell her the hard truth: No.

I was not having a good summer.

The intensity of that realization hit me like a tidal wave.

Summer is supposed to be a fun, carefree time, right?! I felt anything but carefree.

What was I doing wrong?

That afternoon on the way home from work, I cried. I had to pull over at a park and let the tears flow just to ease the tension and fear of all that had been going on.

Business had slowed down drastically in the spring at the shop. In an effort to cut down on some expenses, I was working more. I had been agonizing over some other business decisions for weeks, and I was having trouble turning off my brain. 

I am also launching my new side hustle: mentoring creatives. And hosting out of town family friends! With an already packed schedule, my self-care routine was out the window.  I was impatient with my children, I had hadn’t been making anything, and I hadn’t seen mu friends in weeks.

Which all adds up to less laid back summer fun with the family. I felt stretched thin and perpetually tired.

After being sick twice in under a month and suffering from insomnia, I decided it was time. Time to take matters into my own hands again instead of letting life run away with me. I’d like to say I created the opportunity for myself, but we happened to have plans to meet family for a weekend in the mountains. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect!

I decided to unplug from email and social media and say yes to all the fun opportunities that came my way that weekend.

We picnicked in the mountains. I waded in a lake with my kids. I cast on a new sweater project for fall. My sister, mom and I made a pie together. I went down a waterslide on a double inner tube with my wife. We let the kids eat all the treats and stay up past their bedtimes. And I did my best to clear my head of all things business related.

I came back not only refreshed, but a little bit lighter. I don’t have to have all the answers right now. I don’t know what my life and businesses will look like six months from now, and that’s okay.

Sometimes letting go of trying to hold all the pieces together and figure everything out opens you up to see new solutions or let the answer arrive in its own time.   As I get back into things it will be easy to slide back into worrying about what happens next.  But having taken this time to reset will help keep me moving forward with less stress.

For the rest of the summer, my decisions will be ruled by finding joy, being present with my kids, and reconnecting with myself. And just in case: I plan to have another unplugged weekend at the end of the summer!

Now I’m relieved to say that yes, I am having a good summer.

 

Creativity, Self-Care & The Mama Advantage

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I recently had the honor of joining my business coach Megan Flatt and fellow Mama CEO and writer Parrish Wilson on a new podcast: The Mama Advantage.  Megan’s premise for the podcast is that as women, mothers, and entrepreneurs, we bring added value to all of our roles. She’s exploring this idea alongside some very rich topics. I can’t wait to see what’s next!

Listen in to Episode 2 to hear each of our stories of rising up and starting our own businesses while also having young kids. Parrish and I share what creativity and self-care mean to us, and we even share our own Mama Advantages.  I dive into my views on the role of creativity and the value of self care in my life; and I enjoyed hearing the other women’s views as well.

I’d love for you to give it a listen and let me know what you think!

Click here to listen to the podcast. 

Ask Yourself: How can this be Unconventional?

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One of the reasons I started my own business was because I couldn’t picture myself chasing someone else’s dream.

I had jobs working for everyone from small business owners to a major corporate bookseller, and I had seen it all. It felt good to learn from people hustling their creative ideas and putting out into the world. And it was valuable learning how the corporate retail world was structured.

But at the end of the day, I had to get out there and do my own thing.

And in the beginning it was thrilling!  I was also terrified every single day.  It takes guts to put yourself on the line, and I felt so uncertain and vulnerable in those early days.

I had a lot of experience working for other people, but putting your own ideas out into the world is an entirely different beast. It was exciting!  I was in control and could do whatever the hell I wanted to create the business of my dreams. But at the same time I was often nauseous and anxious, paralyzed by all I didn’t know.

I quickly found support in the form of an online mentor and a local group of women running their own businesses. The idea that other people had walked this path before me and were walking it alongside me was hugely reassuring.

Aside from the practical advice (WordPress Plugins, POS software, and Inventory Management), I gained a huge amount of confidence and support from just being around other dreamers and doers.  This support emboldened me to try new things, blaze new trails, and stay playful with my ideas.

These people weren’t just talking about all their great ideas. No, they were creating them and sharing them with the world.

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One person I have found immense inspiration and support from is Jason Zook.  He’s done some zany things to build businesses, earn money, and connect to his creativity. I admire anyone who has the guts to take the path less travelled, and that path is where Jason lives.

Last year when Jason launched his biggest project ever, Buy My Future, I didn’t have to think twice. Jason has proven himself to be not only a person with big, unconventional ideas, but a person who takes action. He is a collaborator and a maker.  He is someone I want to work with, and I didn’t hesitate to plunk down the cash to buy his future.

Ask yourself: How can this be unconventional? How can this be unique ~JZ

This has become a guiding question for me as I contemplate any new project or idea. Sometimes it feels as if the rest of the world is operating on the assumption that the way it’s always been done is the only way.  I don’t believe that’s true, and I want to align myself with others who are striving to be unconvetional.  Like JZ here!

So what are some of the things Jason has created?  What is he working on next?  I’m so glad you asked, because it’s a lot!

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What a deal!

I’ve personally taken advantage of several of his past projects and have plans to dive into a couple more this fall.  I find Jason entertaining, inspiring, and motivating, and cannot wait to see what he comes up with next!  It’s a thrill to be along for the ride.

I’d like to invite you to take a leap of faith, invest in yourself, and purchase Jason Zook’s future.

It’s okay if you don’t know exactly how you’ll use the many benefits of buying Jason’s future… myself and the BuyMyFuture community are here to help and support you.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can also buy Jason’s future, check out all the details here. *  Act fast, though: there are only 200 new spaces available this time around and sales end October 4th 2016.

*Here’s some fine print where I’m supposed to tell you that this ibecerra_photography-2s an affiliate link.  That’s how much I believe in investing in yourself and in people who are doing great things in the world. So when you click this link, you are doing just that!  Oh, and I’ll benefit from the sale. This is cool because it will help pay for my own spot in Buy My Future!

 

Stash Update

After looking at nearly every available space in my community’s downtown district, I have found a home for Stash.  It had to have the right combination of space, character, natural light, and potential.  I believe this spot has everything I was looking for, plus room to grow. And look at that window!  Can’t you just imagine the wonderful display possibilities?!

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interior before

This whole opening a yarn shop thing is really cutting in to my knitting time.  I had to take advantage of this moment and get a few stitches in on my around town sock!

Now that the space is secured, I am moving pretty quickly in an attempt to open at the beginning of October.  My mind is abuzz with ideas for the layout, including a seating area, gallery space, learning space, storage, and display.  The vendor list is pretty exciting, and I’ve started placing orders and receiving shipments!  And soon there will be the not so small task of cleaning this place up (oh, the dust!), painting, and putting in all of the fixtures.

This is a very exciting time, indeed!  I can’t wait to show you the transformation as it unfolds.