Success is Just a 7 Letter Word

Photo taken by Kate Mackley at Blissdom

{Top + Necklace – Anthropologie}

I feel like I’ve learned a lot about myself over the last year. It’s a crazy sensation to go from blogger/handmade shop owner to Co-Founder of my own company. I think other people must be surprised by this too because I tend to see the raised eyebrow on initial impact when I tell them that I don’t just work for Pollinate, I started the company. I’m not sure why I’m surprised to see that raised eyebrow, after all, I spend most of my time almost hiding the fact that I own a company. When I tell people it always comes out in a lower, less confident sounding tone followed by what feel like trickles of words stumbling out of my mouth and it usually starts out with yes I blog at Rags to Stitches. The more I talk the stronger my voice gets and the passion starts to creep through. Not because it wasn’t there before, it was, it was just masked by fear.

I know it must come as a shock that fear might exist in this situation. I started blogging in 2007, started my own handmade business in 2009 after teaching myself how to sew. I marketed my blog, my products, sold my services to people. In a sense I was being trained for this position all along and didn’t know it. Much like many of you. Have you ever sat down and looked at your blog, shop, friendships you’ve made online and really reflected on the awesomeness? Was it that one post, that one products, that one friend you made who introduced you to all her friends? After some reflection, it occurred to me that grooming for this position goes back even farther than I could’ve imagined. If I had never met my husband, who is a smart + successful entrepreneur I might have never have thought I could accomplish anything entrepreneurial.

But let’s not get off track and circle back to that fear I was talking about. Last weekend I sat and listened to Jon Acuff talk about fear. He told us to take a piece of paper, write down all our fears, then speak them out loud to someone we trust who can mirror back to us in an honest way a response to those fears. As I sat there I began to write down things like:

I’m afraid I can’t balance it all.
I’m afraid I’ll disappoint everyone.
I’m afraid I’ll miss important moments with my kids.
I’m afraid I’ll find myself too wrapped up in the business.
I’m afraid of failure.

I wrote these fears down and left them on the table. It was almost relieving, like I was leaving them behind. Then as I sat on the airplane headed home, I began reading an advanced copy of Jon Acuff’s new book (coming out next month) all about fear and not letting your fears keep you from being awesome + as I got deeper into the book I realized that all those fears I had written down were my excuses, not my fears. It’s almost as if I wrote down all my excuses for what my fears really were. Nothing like sitting on American Airlines, stuffed from front to back like hurdled cattle with barely any space to move, let alone breathe to have an epiphany. See I wasn’t afraid of failure….

I’m afraid of having pride in my success.
I’m afraid if I’m successful people will look and treat me different
That makes me afraid that I won’t ever know where I can truly be myself.

Why is it that I feel as though I can’t be excited or proud of my accomplishments? I actually feel like if I admit excitement about what’s happening with Pollinate and how much we’ve grown in the last year, people won’t like me, I’ll loose friends, I’ll come off as cocky when I’m not. Are you tracking with me? Why is it that you can’t be proud of your accomplishments? Why do we sit back and play down exciting things that are happening in our lives?

I’ll tell you why because we determine our success by comparing ourselves to the person sitting next to us. We don’t measure our own level of success by a tool that is blinded to what others are doing, we insist on keeping tabs on those people + then looking at ourselves. STOP DOING THAT! Seriously! That blogger you’re comparing yourself too, you know the one with 50,000 or even 200,000 page views a month, have you stopped to consider that maybe they’ve been blogging longer than you? That person who runs a business, maybe they chose to make different sacrifices or maybe they’ve just been doing it longer and you need to give yourself a break.

You are successful! You have purpose! Stop letting that little voice in your head tell you that you’re only successful if you’re in the same place as the person next to you.

Today I’m going to stop apologizing for being excited about what’s going on in my life. I’m going to stop looking at where I’m at and allowing others determine my measurement for what success really looks like. The next time someone asks me about Pollinate I’m not going to begin with hushed tones, I’ll begin with confidence. I think there are some lies you need to let go of too. Do you know what they are? Are you ready to let go?

Let’s take the leap together. It’s always easier to jump off a bridge when you’re not the only one going right?

Success is not just a 7 letter word.

Rags to Stitches Blog


Image Map