A few of you wrote last week to cheer me on when you picked up on the very real fear and anxiety inherent in this venture. It is extremely wonderful to get your messages.
With the new-found space for quiet reflection I am finally digesting a few of the tensions in entrepreneurship/ creative ventures that I’ve been experiencing and I imagine are quite common for these sorts of ventures.
In my last post, Faith-Based Entrepreneurship I talked a bit about time pressures and faith in entrepreneurship. This past weekend, I spent a while thinking more about time and creation.
I started the lease on my feminest 1 month ago. Right away, I was impatient to get it ready to go as a workspace, studio, and living space. As I plotted and planned I realized that the time for acquiring all the needed items in half a day at Target and Ikea has passed. The reasons for this are numerous: I want high quality items that I will have for decades, I want to respect the people and the environment where the items were made, and I want to love each item in my life even if it means putting off purchases (thanks again Marie Kondo).
So I took the longer road and slowly gathered spatulas, filing cabinets, and shower curtains, circulating craigslist, higher quality stores, and some nice hand me downs from the boyfriend. At some points I had mini-meltdowns at my frustration at how long this stuff takes. Perhaps the most important of these items that I’ve spent by far the most time on is constructing the work bench where I intend to do most of my designing and quality control work. I found an insanely beautiful burled walnut art deco antique filing cabinet on craigslist for a serious bargain and located old hardwood Dutch floorboards braced together by metal brackets to function as the tabletop. The filing cabinet alone was located 1.5 hours away by car. The Dutch floorboards would need serious sanding and refinishing. There were times when I thought: in a day and age were I can easily pick up what I need from Home Depot, Target or Ikea and assemble it , why in the world would I spend all this time putting together a work bench?
it dawned on me. Drew (boyfriend) taught me how to use the power sander and helped me sand down the workbench. Little by little we uncovered the beauty of the wood. Drew suggested we rub tung oil into the wood instead of using a ready-to-use stain, once again adding to the time to get the table top ready. But the results were spectacular. Little by little we rubbed the oil into the wood and it began to sparkle with color, all of the shapes and colors coming alive. I felt enormous love for this piece. It is going to bring me joy for an untold number of years. [Thank you, Drew for all your hard work on my workbench. It means the world to me].
I couldn’t help but wonder, what have we lost with our impatience to rush forwards with everything in our lives? What is causing us to feel that we must rush and forgo the beauty, joy and fulfillment of putting time into each step and enjoying the process? I thought of my friend, Carlo’s blogpost on his blog, Real Simple Man, 5 Lessons We Can Learn from Shokunin About Mastery where he reflected on the work of sushi master, Jiro Ono from “Jiro dreams of Sushi”. His restaurant in a Tokyo subway station received a 3-Star Michelin rating. His team strives to master their craft. Each skill can take years before he considers them ready to go on to the next step. (Imagine instagraming the progress on that: Hot folded towel - day 700). In any case, the proof is in the pudding or in this case, the sushi.
This is an extreme contrast in comparison with how we are pushed to work and live in modern American society. Look around at the people and businesses we put on pedestals and the emphasis is how old they were when they made their first billion, how quickly their business grew. I can’t help but wonder if part of my impatience and urgency to rush through each step of the process comes from the societal cues I’ve absorbed about what it means to be successful. It is interesting to watch this perception reflected back to me when I notice very well intentioned friends intimating that I should be looking for a next career option since my company has not gone viral in the first year. It is clear that most of us have sponged up impatience as a way of life.
So I’m not saying that I’m going to abandon the full-steam ahead mentality and spend weeks on proper jean folding technique but I am striving to find a happy medium. To take people on the journey with me by allowing the beauty of each step to come through and not buying into the need to report breakneck progress or hold myself to an impossible timetable. Instead I will work on ever increasing my focus on the beauty of the moment and let go of the illusory feeling that we must rush and beat time on everything we do. After all, the brand ideal is a life where we can live fully, and create freely.