Your Personal Proof

Friday, May 25, 2012

It's hard to feel like you're gaining any momentum sometimes.  But I'm beginning to realize that my addiction to feeling a noticeable forward movement in my business, Relished Artistry, isn't really the point anymore...

I've been reading a lot in the blogosphere recently about our cultural addiction to upwardly moving statistics...  If one's blog is somehow gaining readership or our sales are climbing, it's a sign to work even harder to gain more of a reach and to sell more.  It's built into us--more is better than what we had before, and so we should always want more, right?

To some extent, I agree with this, but I also have to think about the ugly flip side of this phenomenon--wanting more can sometimes become the goal itself instead of the results that gaining more actually brings with it.  It's a fine line between growing one's business and appearing like you're growing your business.  I wonder about the need for "indicators" and the reality behind all the statistics that we sometimes tend to forget.

My business is growing very slowly, and I figured that was going to be the case when I started it.  Honestly, I make a VERY niche style of product--individualistic attire for the dramatically inclined.  It's not a mainstream kind of business.  First off, I don't manufacture my clothes--so far they've been singular unique pieces I consider art.  Secondly, I've had no interest in following a more traditional, "fashion industry approved" method of expanding my efforts into more acceptable distribution channels as I don't consider my work authentic if it comes from an assembly line--which is necessary if you're going to mass produce items for sale in multiple sizes.  And finally I simply don't care for what I consider the "modus operandi" of the fashion industry and it's emphasis on repeated trend consumption and obsolescence...  So it's hard to make a go of a business where the built-in paradigm is "one at a time".  It's more like creating art.  Artists don't "grow their business" like other businesses are grown.

So it's a bit tough to remind myself that tiny steps forward are okay.  I remember when I started my blog back in 2009, and now I've got many many more readers than I did back then...  In the beginning, I would have leapt at the opportunity to have as many subscribers as I do now.  It has taken me three years to attain the readership I have.  I have to remind myself that that is an accomplishment.  In our culture, it's tough to not be blindsided by the need to quickly grow bigger and faster--it makes slow growth seem a somehow lackluster or hollow.  Our need for instant gratification is overwhelming sometimes.

But slow growth is, perhaps, better than fast growth.  There is a quality to consistency, deliberateness, and diligence that cannot be had from explosive expansion.  There is a sense of satisfaction to feeling in control and not overwhelmed.  There is a quiet gratification to building slowly, much like gradually accumulating pennies in a piggy bank.

It's all about goals.  It's all about choices.  It's all about the pathways our choices take us down in pursuit of those goals.

I think I am enjoying my pathway.  It is hard to not feel depressed that things are not happening as quickly as they have for others, but when I step back I'm reminded that in comparison to where I was three years ago I've grown exponentially!!!  I can't compare myself to others.  I can't compare my development to someone else's growth.  I can't contrast my chosen path with someone else's route to success.

Because my version of success may be different from their definition.

I think we need to point out to ourselves once in a while that speed, size, and proliferation may only be parts of our personal "big picture".  There may be aspects of being an artist or running an art business that are just as important, just as salient, and just as momentous as rising statistics.

Are we flourishing?  Are we tenable?  How do you, personally, define these words?  How do you measure yourself?  Statistics are one way to measure success, but are they the only way?  Or are they simply the easiest way to point to a measurable proof that's culturally acceptable?

What is your personal proof?

There is a saying that I have always remembered, but I don't know where it comes from--"The hardest part of the pursuit of happiness is knowing when you've caught up to it."  Satisfaction will continue to be elusive if we let it, and we will never reach it if we keep pushing it back and deferring it to a bigger and better goal.

Let's remember to celebrate our accomplishments as much as we strive toward our ever changing objectives.

Live Life with Relish!




Image by Terren in Virginia via Flickr.  Creative Common License.


2 comments:

What-I-Found said...

I think you make very good points. I have a business I enjoy and works for me, but I make many decisions about it looking far down the road. I want this to be there for me many years from now. I want to be the turtle in that race with the hare.
It might be a different way of doing things, but it is what I want to be doing. And that counts for a lot.

Corey Johnston said...

Yes!! Savoring the experience as only a turtle can is worth it, I think! I am enjoying a lot of tiny victories, and taking my time to make sure I am doing it right--it's taken me three years to slowly gather the money to make my fair/festival booth the way I want it, and I'm not worried to much that I'm missing out... I've been able to refine it and make decisions that can only come with a lot of exploring and planning, choosing the right pieces and allowing myself to be inspired by the right things instead of contorting my designs to fit something just so I can accommodate a rushed deadline. It's going to work! And I can't wait to share with you how it's all turned out!

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