I was recently in conversation with my friend, Katie, who manages one of my favorite boutiques in the area (heyyy Gigi’s Bluffton); we were doing the usual gushing over upcoming possibilities and life in the Lowcountry at our mile-a-minute pace, her end sounding far more sophisticated with its hint of Southern charm. I rattled off all the #hashtag2018goals and word-vomited my ideas and thoughts I had for the New Year all over her (sounding more muppet-jacked-up-on-too many-lattes), and eventually turned to her and said: “Katie, what about you? What are ‘Katie’s big goals’ for 2018?”
With a big breath in, she eventually breathed out:
“I really just want to be the best at my job.”
With the tires of my thought train screeching to a halt in my head, I asked her what she meant.
To be a great manager, a productive team member, a good steward of the boutique’s brand, to love on her clients, to enjoy the process, to make processes better and stronger, to “be” in the day to day of her work.
Whoa, Katie. Whoa.
Y’all, I’m a notoriously creative personality with too much access to coffee and information. Thanks to the world wide web and social media machines, it’s only gotten worse over the course of my life. I constantly have about 15-20 creative/product/event ideas raging through my head at any given time. What’s more challenging is that I can I can almost “see” – y’all, sometimes even “feel” what those ideas could be in real life… and it’s gotten to be exhausting, almost debilitating. Repeatedly I’ve “wasted” late nights researching and long drives home in the car thinking through action steps and ideas and marketing (you wouldn’t believe how many times my brain wants to incorporate used-car-sales-wavy-arm-tube-guys, which I discovered, are called “air dancers“), but then I quickly get snapped back to reality with a glance at my already overflowing To Do’s and disaster of an email inbox. So I file the idea away in the already overstuffed “Someday” tab, trying to refocus on the tasks at-hand while the ideas keep creeping in my head like Gremlins fed after midnight.
In years past, I was “that girl” who treated every job as a “pit stop” to the next big promotion or finally getting to #soloprenuer status once I made the decision to go out on my own. Reflecting on my past job lives, I’m not sure I wholly gave of myself or really enjoyed the opportunities to learn and grow from those jobs because I had my head in the clouds and one foot out the door. Sure, I worked hard to produce the best work and most efficient results, but I’m not sure I “enjoyed the ride” (or having a paid-for benefits package).
And yet, I always demanded more of myself. I never felt like I “made it” or was truly accepted in those realms – and more so, even now. It seems today in my current “job” that everyone else is constantly announcing something “exciting” or “cool” or “special” in their meticulously minimal studios in an effortlessly J.Crew styled ensemble drinking an $8 dollar coffee with a foamy silhouette of Beyoncé on it while I’m frantically trying to maintain my current workload at a messy desk like a muppet-meets-air-dancer chugging stale coffee out of a cracked tumbler I refuse to throw out while in my 2nd (3rd?) day old stretchy pants.
And to be quite honest, I thought that was part of being a “successful” person.
I thought unless I had a million ideas and said yes to everything and continuously kept churning out new ways to do things and adding more to my plate and doing a million things at once, I wasn’t doing “it” right or satisfying my “creative” self. When asked about what I was up to or plans for the upcoming frame of time, I felt and spoke in such a way that I was doing was working towards the next big thing – never really realizing that I very well could be in that space already, missing out on an opportunity to enjoy the current “big thing.”
And because of that, I felt this constant need to do more, caught between saying “yes” to things that maybe I shouldn’t have but yearning yet so fearful of putting in the work towards the ideas I was REALLY excited about with a collaborative entity, or that I just couldn’t get out of my head – or more importantly, out of my tiny, weird little blonde heart.
It was a big reason my word of 2017 was “Responsibility.”
It’s a bigger reason my word for 2018 is “Space.”
While I’ve long contemplated Katie’s sentiment, I never really gave it pause nor attention. Yet hearing the words out-loud suddenly hit home.
How can I capitalize on the knowledge, growth, experience, and relationships I’ve built over the last few years and take heart in knowing big things ARE happening?
How do you “enjoy the process” without freaking out about the future?
Why is it a bad thing to actually like our job or our role or be happy in the process?
How do you live life like an air dancer, throwing your hands in the breeze with an excited smile, letting go of trying to “make it” and focus on bringing joy to those around you?
These are serious questions I have with myself, people.
I’m still figuring it out, but I will say this:
I believe the Universe does want us to succeed, if our hearts are in the right place. It wants us to hear the message whether in a quiet moment catching a spectacular sunset or an excited, mile-a-minute conversation. Happiness and joy are not exclusive to those who seemingly have endless resources and it all “figured out”; but until we can learn to appreciate it, cultivate it, and send it back out in the world or share it with those who need it, the journey’s like paddling upstream (which yes… I have done… and it’s no fun). This includes appreciating and getting excited for my fellow #bossfriends in their meticulous studios with artistic coffees, because we’re all in this journey together – and I think I like my worn-in, dog hair-covered stretchy pants just fine.
To all of you inspiring me to be the best at what I feel I’m here to do and be okay with just “being” once in a while, I give you my very best air dancer salute.
Hugs & High Fives,