TMI: The Work Behind It
It’s a bundle of excitement around here as I’m deep into preparation for my first, at home pop-up shop. It’s been a tizzy getting everything ready and as per usual I’m sweating a bit crossing off the seemingly insurmountable list of to-do’s while also taking sweet, delectable joy in the work along the way.
See, I love work. I love to work and most things about work. I read about work. I listen to podcasts about work. I go to workshops and events about work. I love talking about work with others. I have learned to truly love working at work.
Work for me isn’t a dirty word that is shrugged off to loved ones when they ask what I’ve been up to. Switching the phrase, “I have to work,” with the more positive and accurate, “I get to go to work,” is something I am working on. Pun induced wink included. I embrace work. Work will always be there waiting. I feel so grateful to have work to do. Work gives so much to me other than income. Paying bills is nice and important but I am fortunate enough to do it for other reasons. Purpose, joy, service, delight, and eventual fulfillment are popping off my tongue as I type.
Sometimes when I share what I do – and explain why I left my previous more traditionally lucrative jobs – some people are shocked. Job security, benefits, and a clear path was something desired once, and may likely be desirable again, but for now it’s not my jelly or jam. If folks are still interested at this point in the conversation, many are quick to ask about the fun parts: shopping, film sets, and ensuring things look just so. All of that is true. It’s rad that I get to focus on amplifying and sharing stories of beauty in the world. However, it’s only part of the picture.
There are some tough bits too. The physical toll lugging around countless garment bags, heavy supplies, and equipment around the city often at cruel hours of the day are not kind to my body. Worrying about my income stability – or lack thereof – week over week and month to month comes swiftly to mind. It can also be equal parts titillating and terrifying to know that at the end of each and every day it’s up to me and me alone in this. I’m the one who has to make it work. While I am grateful for the support of loved ones I am reminded often of that old saying, “It takes one to know one.”
Simply put, I touch every part of my business. While I hope to expand and create meaningful work for employees, so far in my entrepreneurship ride, there’s only “me” in this “team.” Items to take care of include everything from bookkeeping to corresponding with clients to staying up all night steaming clothes for a project the next morning to maintaining my website and even things a mundane as peeling off stickers on the bottom of shoes. For quality control, detailed-oriented people it’s like candy crack for the mind. I do love it. Everyday is different and challenging in either the amount or complexity of tasks or the mental strain worrying or battling anxiety on slower days because I perceive there to be not enough tasks. It can be lots swimming around this meat helmet of mine. I laugh at the idea of work-life-play balance because I have yet to see or desire it.
A treasured friend said that it must be easy to get up in the morning because I am working at something I am passionate about. She’s partly correct: it is and I am more days than not. I did take something I am passionate about and turned it into my work. But I must be honest and share that it’s not all roses. It’s definitely not easy. The known and unknown stresses that come along with building your own baby are incredibly difficult at times. When I feel isolated or stuck, there’s no paid personal days for self care. There are no managers or coworkers to help you through. I have to reach out and be vulnerable to outsiders and share more about myself – my fears, my challenges, and my cash flow statements – than I naturally would at a job working for someone else. Sometimes your forge collaborations that work and sometime they really, regrettably do not. Some days I question what the ding-dong I’ve gotten myself into and other days I’m blissed out knowing that this is the life for me. It can be an haute couture mess. Simply put, there is nowhere to hide if and when I screw up and sometimes I am alone celebrating the huge wins.
I am incredibly thankful because while it is scary, it too, is motivating. Fear of “what if it goes away?” lights a fire under my ass to get up, face it, and just try it. I know I may flop from time to time but I am committed to failing forward. I know that not everyone gets me or It or what I’m trying to build – I don’t have something familiar like a grocery store or auto repair shop after all – but I try to let it slide. The one thing I hold dear to my heart is that I believe that there is beauty in the every day. Refined, on purpose style helps tell beautiful stories. People gravitate towards that beauty, and I’m going to keep trying to give it to you day after day.
See you November 2nd and 3rd? All items shown in picture above are for sale! Would you stop by and share what you’re working on with me?