It’s coming up on the close of my first year renting a studio outside of my home in over a decade. It has been a really exciting and scary year. I have had overwhelming support from friends, acquaintances, and people in the community as well as folks who are far away. But sometimes support shows up and it doesn’t look like I think it should. Sometimes it comes in the form of a negative comment or question.
For me, the one piece of support that I chose to focus on didn’t come from all of the people who showed up to help me paint the studio before I moved in. It wasn’t from my friends who loaned furniture and fixtures for the retail space, or those who sent e-mails or messages of excitement. The comment that I obsessed over was about my business not being sustainable. To be clear, this wasn’t said during a conversation with someone where I told them my business plan and asked for feedback. It came from someone who didn’t know anything about my business plan but had heard that I was opening a studio and it was said in a pretty rude tone. It was also repeated to several of my acquaintances. It seemed to me that this person was telling people that my business was going to fail. I was devastated. I was terrified. The wind was knocked out of my sails for a few weeks.
And then I did the unthinkable. I asked myself the question: What if my business isn’t sustainable? What if it fails? And then…I dared to answer it. If my business fails, I’ll close the doors and move on to something else. Done. That didn’t seem so bad. Once I had the worst-case scenario out of the way, I was free to fail and be okay. More importantly, I was free to really succeed. That other person’s voice became quieter and quieter, and my own voice got louder and louder. The voice that says, “I totally got this”. The voice that solves problems as they come about, and the one who decides what is working and what to change to make things better.
So at the first anniversary of my new business adventure, I’d like to thank all the people who showed up to my events, the people who told me they were inspired by what I was doing, and the people who spread the word and invited friends. I so appreciate all of you who have done so much to help me and build me up. But most importantly, I’d like to thank that person with the negative comment. I know that the intention wasn’t to be beneficial, but it was one of the best things that could’ve been said. Thank you.