August is always a time of reflection for me. For the past few years, I notice that I treat this month almost like January 1st – lots of self-reflection and goal setting and making future plans. This year especially has been a great time of reflection….my kids have been away at my cousin’s house for a while, we have moved to a new house and neighbourhood, and I am gaining more traction towards my goals with this blog. Often my jewelry business is a bit quieter in the summer so August is a time of gearing up for the next big selling-season. And then of course, school starts in September and a new routine is established at home. With all of that pending I have to ask myself, how do I know that I am on the right path?
I try to break it down to personal goals/fulfillment and then monetary goals…
Sometimes I get stuck in a rut of doing what I have always done with out really thinking about whether I want to do it anymore. Take my makeup business for example: I have been doing makeup for over 6 years, and for the first few years, I chased every small job around the Lower mainland….grads, weddings, photoshoots and every small and strange makeup job in between. Balancing that with my Stella & Dot business, plus shuttling around two busy girls became a real runaround. I realized that while I love helping people and making them feel good, it doesn’t pay to take a small job any time someone needs makeup done for a special event. There is my time to travel there, my cost of product and then sometimes, there is no joy in it. What I really love doing when it comes to makeup is inspiring people and creating something beautiful. This comes in form of working with photographers on Photoshoots and also doing private clients for either Boudoir shoots or head shots. That is what I love. And the money aspect doesn’t even matter because it gives me so much joy that I am richer for it. Weddings however, are no longer for me. I am too old to give the bride the special attention to details that she needs/wants (I once had a bride make the request that all of her curls in her hair go counter-clockwise, not clockwise. True story!). While I have some very special memories of brides that I have worked with in the past, going forward, it is no longer part of my desired path.
My beautiful friend Martine. Loved that hairstyle!
Focus Focus Focus….
Focus on what you are good it. Have a mojo-check in. I know that my strength is not really in leading others. Not to say that I am not a leader, because I do lead in my own way, however my strength in leading comes from sharing and not necessarily coaching. I find that in working with others within my Stella & Dot team, I really do better in leading by example. i.e. If I am selling a lot, then my team tends to sell a lot too. If I am posting on my team Facebook page frequently, then my team tends to follow. However when I try to do one to one coaching, I have a hard time keeping a schedule with people or holding them accountable to their own goals. I tend to follow the path of, ‘If you don’t want to do it, don’t do it’, instead of being a hard-ass. I would be a terrible personal trainer!! Perhaps it my empathetic side or the fact that I am mostly self-directed so I expect others to be too. But what I do know, is that after a number of seasons of reflection, I know that my strength lies in sharing, but not necessarily teaching. And that is where I know I can make a difference.
Sharing and listening…
It is easier to quit than it is to stay the course…
I swear I have said this phrase over and over to many women the last number of years. Because when things get hard, it really is easier to quit sometimes than it is to keep doing it. A direct-sales business like Stella & Dot can be hard on your ego; there can be lots of cold calling people and continually getting shut-down. It takes effort to keep the wheels turning when you get a lot of rejection. Sometimes the best sales people or top leaders in companies like ours partially achieve success because of their time in. Blogging is the same: writing when no one seems to be reading is difficult (and you aren’t making any money at it either!). But staying the course and continuing a small bit of action everyday, helps to propel you forward. Goal setting a milestone can also help to keep you on path. And of course when it comes to needing money, well that can always keep the fires burning! Personally, I am still selling Stella & Dot jewelry because I truly love the designs. Our Chief Creative officer Blythe Harris is a personal friend and an icon to me: you know when someone asks you which celebrity you would want to have dinner with if you could pick anyone? Well after Oprah and Derek Hough, Blythe is right up there on my list. She and her design team and their innovations in design are what keep me motivated to continue sharing my love for Stella & Dot.
A page from Stella & Dot’s new sister company, Keep Collective. www.keep-collective.com
Know when it is time to try something else…
Sometimes something just runs it’s course. Or it was never meant to be in the first place. I have had plenty of business failures in my past….I owned a retail store for two years that was fun and beautifully designed (by me and I loved everything about that place!). But when I realized that I might be sitting inside that retail space for years, stressing about sales and watching the rain through the window when no one came by, I had to pull the pin. As much as I think I had a good concept, and had many customers that loved the store, it was time to call it a day when my overhead was often higher than my sales. It could have been much more dire financially had I stayed longer. As it was it took us nearly 5 years to recover from the financial hit. Sometimes it can be a good idea but it just doesn’t work. That failure taught me a lot about business and has saved me from making costly financial mistakes in other parts of my life.
My beautiful store. *Sigh*
Follow your heart….
Kind of like relationships, sometimes it is time to let go. Generally we know when a relationship is no longer serving us well. I have become much better in my recent past about cutting things or people out of my life that are no longer creating joy for me. It sounds harsh but you do have to follow your own heart. As long as you are being kind to yourself and others and doing the best that you can, it is okay to Bless and Release. The same goes for your path in business/work: we only have one precious life to live, and if what you are doing is no longer growing you as a person or challenging/exciting you, then maybe it is time to change the path. This is something that I revisit it seems like every August. Last year, I started blogging again (yay-almost-one-year-anniversary!), and this year I have a few other things up my sleeve that I am going to be launching soon.
Don’t let anyone EVER dull your Sparkle!
What kind of reflections are you having this month?