In January 2013, following a significant unforeseen life change, I decided I would finally I start building the thing that I’ve always wanted to build since I was old enough to reach Vogue off the newsstands and picture one of my dresses in its pages.
That could be the day I traded “free time” for a dream that made me feel as though I had no choice but to bring it to fruition.
For the first three years of steady climbing — of beating down the door of each task on my To Do list only to come to a wall where 4 more items sat waiting to be done — I became exhausted as any normal human being would.
I was working a full time job, and I was a wife and entrepreneur.
While these things all sound like positives, there was a host of negatives that came along for the ride.
I had gained 15 pounds in two years.
I was in the seated position for the majority of my day which led to pains in places I had never paid attention to before.
My daily workouts became weekly workouts, which quickly became monthly workouts.
If my brain was an iPhone, now is the time it would start to say “Your storage is almost full.” (Select option to purchase more storage, please.)
I began to resent my new business and the time it was taking from my life. I would daydream about what life would be like had this thing not called me so deeply.
In July 2017, my brother and his girlfriend came to stay with my husband and I for a few days.
I chose not to tell family members about my venture until I had something tangible to show for it (ie. finished dresses) because it is my belief that family can be either very encouraging or very discouraging about an “uncertain venture”, and I didn’t want to take the chance that I’d get the latter. (This is a personal belief of mine and some may disagree, but that’s a whole other post.)
Anyway, because my brother didn’t know about what I was doing, I decided to take the few days off while he was here.
This would be my chance for rest and rejuvenation.
This would be the time when I would live as though I came home from my day job and called it done.
I approached this small window of blank calendar space with the same gusto I approached my business with and began to plan activities.
I’d exercise, spend extra time making dinner (complete with garnishes because I am a foodie), maybe read a book that wasn’t business related, or take the kayak out.
The first day off was nice, necessary even.
The second day, a breath of fresh air.
By the third day, I was getting antsy.
It must have been around the fourth day that I realized that my business was my favorite way to spend my “free” time (read: not at my day job).
I loved the tactile nature of the work. I loved solving abstract patternmaking questions through trial and error.
It was on this day that I realized that I was blessed to have the opportunity to build something bigger than me, to contribute to society in a way that fulfilled me and gave me joy like nothing else had.
This wasn’t something to run from, it was something to run to.
If I wasn’t doing this, what else would I be doing?
That question could have a million different answers, many of which I’m sure would be healthy and productive and worthwhile.
But I’m not convinced any of them would give me the same feeling I get when I’m working.
I have started to view it as something that adds to my life, not something that takes away.
This shift in perspective seems to energize me in a whole new way (hats off to the power of the mind).
I fully understand how real burnout is and believe rest is imperative to creative success. However, I have hit the reset button on what place my business holds in my life and this has made all the difference.