I started writing this post about a month ago when I was in the midst of getting ready for a huge craft event that was going to be the kick-off event for my business. My focus then was going to be on saying no to those people and things that were standing in the way of me meeting my objectives. Then, my baby got sick (very sick) and I did too. I realized then that I was focusing my "no's" in the wrong direction. I still believe that one of the key phrases every business owner must learn to say is no. And funny, it is important for mothers to learn as well. I am, among other things, both. Of course, I am a wife and mother before I am an entrepreneur and I must remind myself of that fact from time to time. I adore my children. I love them more than life itself, and sometimes when I get caught up in things that really don't matter, I need a reminder as to where to aim my "no".
Time just melts through my fingers when I sit down to sew. I really need to get a clock for my work area, because I lose all track of time when I am creating. I do not have unlimited time and in my heart I know it. My seventeen year old twins will graduate from high school this year, my oldest daughter will graduate from college, and my baby will be off to Kindergarten next fall. Time is slipping away from me with my children as well! Sometimes I just need to stop and remember what my grandmother used to tell me all the time when the older kids were little, "It goes by really fast!" I would say "I know Gramma, I know." I had NO IDEA! And so, sometimes, I have to say no to my list of projects and spend time with my not-so-little-ones.
I love holding my little girl's hand when we're walking and feeling its soft pudginess in my hand. I close my eyes and try to capture those moments. On the rare evenings that all my kids are home for dinner, I mentally dance in the music of their laughter. These times are quickly coming to an end. So, even though I know I will fill my little shop with all kinds of goodies soon enough, sometimes I have to say no and just BE with my family.
There is a strange thing that occurs when people find out that somebody they know can sew: they bring out all kinds of unfinished projects and they are just sure that you'll be willing and able to complete them for them. Here, I am learning to say no. But if I do say yes, I truly mean it and I am happy to do it. I read a quote once that said something like, " Asking a friend who sews to do your mending is like asking Michelangelo to paint your garage." I like that. I need to defend my sewing time by saying no to other projects from time to time.
I have been overwhelmed by the support I have gotten from friends, family and total strangers as I have started this business. There are so many good ideas and suggestions swirling around in my head as a result of all these generous people. I am learning, however, that at the end of the day, I have to find my own path. Here, I have learned from my teenage son: He had a band and I remember that all of us would make well-meaning suggestions as to how he should run the band and what music they should play. He would smile and tactfully nod and then, in the end, do what he had in mind in the first place. I am really coming to respect his wisdom. When one is involved in a creative endeavor, there are so many voices swirling around in one's head. To say no, even to some good ideas is vital at times to make something authentic to one's vision and self. I am learning to do that.
The bottom line: nobody can be everything to everybody. When I was younger, I thought I could be the exception to that. Now, I am beginning to know better.