I did it all.
Social Media tutorials, Making Money in Retail tutorials, Email Marketing, Branding, indoor craft shows, outdoor craft shows, out-of-state shows, and more.
It was only when I was given a recent opportunity to sell my flower sculpture in a brick and mortar store - and then run the store - did I finally realize my brain's idea of success had never really synced with my heart and soul.
As I reflect on the last six years I spent on my flower art business, I noticed a common thread around year five....
It seemed that each time I tried to be that "successful, spiritual, fearless, energetic mompreneur," I somehow managed to completely self sabotage, find relief, and then, a few days or weeks later, feel like a complete failure, which then began the cycle again.
First came the "this time I'm going to do it" attitude, as if I knew what "it" really was. Then came the stress, the stress eating, the stress exercising, sleepless nights, long naps or Netflix bingeing instead of working on my business - or on my art, the subconscious desire to find something - anything - to keep me from doing the work required so I could finally become that beautifully sassy, fearless businesswoman who made bank by making and selling her flower sculptures.
I guess the joke was on me, but today I laugh it off and reflect on what I do have.
I have a comfortable day job as a high school secretary, with summers and holidays off, good health insurance and a 1-minute commute to the office. I live in a little bungalow on a cul-de-sac with Francine, my rescue cat. I spend time with a kind and handsome life partner named Dave, I enjoy my three (amazing) grown children, and each day live a life that many would describe as blissful.
So instead of traveling the long way around to "success," I have come full circle, finally realizing it was there all along; in my art, in the sharing and selling of my art to my growing tribe of customers who I have lovingly described as my "cheerleaders."
With this new focus, I begin again, refreshed.
I will sign up for a few local craft shows. I will make my art after work and a few hours on the weekends. I will continue to cheerfully share my work on social media and in my Etsy Shop.
My job now is to gently, and consistently, strive for the equilibrium that comes from a happy, balanced life that includes family, art, charity, and the joy they bring.
Success is such a loaded word - and I applaud and admire those whose definition of success is wildly different from mine.
But as I grow older, I consider myself lucky that I finally realized and embraced my own definition of success before it was too late - before my perceived definition about success led to the demise of my health, spirit and life in general.