Apparently, I need to write and share my wife’s artwork more often, because last week was record breaking for my blog’s readership stats. Thank you to all who shared Genesis of a Dream’s last post and thank you to my two new followers. Welcome to the family! I hope that we can all continue to engage one another and learn from one another going forward.
Admittedly, for the first time this week I was hesitant and even afraid to write the next blog post. After the way in which my last post was received, I felt that I had to follow up this week with an even better post in order to maintain or even increase my readership. That opened the door for a terrible mix of writer’s block and procrastination. I sat in the courtyard of my local Starbucks staring at a blank Word Document page for about a half-hour with the cursor blinking like a metronome, demanding me to commence my writing with every second that passed. My head was full of caffeine-induced anxiety about why I hadn’t yet completed my task, all while I searched for that perfect topic and that perfect opening line. Suddenly, a rare Southern California thunderstorm rolled in from the Pacific and I used the combination of my bulky metal laptop and the ensuing lightning as an excuse to change venues, therefore, procrastinating even more. While on the go, I was thinking in the back of my mind that no matter where I went at that moment, whatever I wrote wouldn’t be “good enough” compared to last week’s post. Having high expectations and success is such an incredible gift, but it can also at times paralyze us because we become too afraid to make mistakes.
I recently completed a very productive and insightful 10 sessions of business coaching with the husband and wife team, Overflow, in Chicago’s South Loop (you can check out their WordPress blog at overflowyourpossibility.com). One of the first assignments they gave me was to speak with five people who have started apparel companies somewhat similar to the one that I am starting, to ask them about how they started their businesses and whether they had advice for newcomers. The first person that I contacted was a gentleman who started a fair trade bag company a few years back. We started off by me telling him a little bit about Genesis and where we were in our start-up process before I asked him to share his story and any advice that he was willing to share. His advice shocked me, but was some of the best advice I have received. He told me to make sure that we “fail fast.” I thought to myself, “did he just use the business world’s version of the F word?” That’s a forbidden word. We don’t use that word. He explained to me that when he started, he made tons of “crappy” test run bags and that he hated, but he continued making them and handing them out to trusted family and friends so that he could see what needed to be changed. He said that over a period of time, the bags started slowly getting better until, eventually, he had something that they all loved and he felt that he could market.
This advice was crucial for me, because it humanized and humbled the process. Even he, an established entrepreneur in this business, had several mini failures; but, he set his high expectations aside in order to continue making, failing and repeating in order to achieve his long-term goal. This week is no different for Genesis, both from a blog standpoint and from a product development standpoint. I am continuing to write in hopes that you all like this post as much as the one with my wife’s pretty paintings. Then, by the end of this week, Genesis will have our first fitting session with a new sewing partner. So, in a few weeks I will be wearing a pair of our jeans that may not have the final fabric, buttons, zipper and hangtag (etc.) but will be a product of our hard work and effort, nonetheless.
Having high expectations can be a great way for us to push ourselves throughout life’s many challenges and to help us achieve our goals in an even better fashion than we thought that we could. We just have to make sure that we also don’t give those goals so much weight that they sink us. We can never allow our expectations to keep us from setting out to do what we dreamt of doing in the first place. It is a delicate balancing act, instead, and I encourage you to help feel your way through the process along with me. Keep working, keep expecting and, most importantly, never stop believing in yourself.
Here are few nice photos that I took yesterday of rare Southern California storm here. The expectations for Southern California’s weather are, of course, very high. Most of the time it is about 70s and sunny here. Yesterday’s rain, although maybe a let down for some, brought much needed rain and filled this creek (Aliso Creek) which had been dry for weeks. More proof that sometimes our mistakes and let downs can bring growth and prosperity in the long run.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6