Something from our co-founder Abby...
They say life, relationships and business all work in cycles of seven years, and that major changes are set to happen every seven year cycle as we uplevel in our lives and careers.
In my seventh year of business this year I can indeed agree that there was some major shifts and lessons to be learnt, and that it may have been the hardest year I’ve had in business (and life) to date but I can also say that I am now at a point more than ever before where I am happy with the direction my business and myself are heading as we step into the new year.
So here are 7 lessons this year has brought to me, for the better.
1. As hard as it is to change this thought, it doesn’t actually affect me if other people have judgments of me and how I run my business.
My whole life i have been a very sensitive and emotional person, this can be a very hard trait to navigate in the tough world of business, or so I told myself. For the first 6 years in my business i feared the judgment of those around me so much that it 100% stopped me from stepping up and taking some big leaps, and it also caused a lot of anxiety in my life. This year I was able to fully accept the person I was and embrace my sensitivity which to my surprise led to me being a lot less sensitive, go figure.
I trained myself to stop my thought patterns before assuming someone may judge something that I do or say and instead listen to my gut and intuition to decide what may or may not be a good idea. I also came to the realisation that what I do or say is not going to be everyones cup of tea and that is OK, as long as I am doing something with good intentions then it is nothing to do with me if they choose to make a judgment of me.
2. Sometimes you need to take a step back and out of your business to see if you are heading where you really want to.
This year as I let go of some of the above judgements I feared, I employed two amazing women to start sewing for me, which was major. Before this I feared that the unconventional way I run my business and also my majority self taught sewing practice meant that there was no way I could get anyone to sew for me because ‘what would they think?!’…
Anyways the point of this lesson was that taking a step back in my business and of doing the physical making day in and day out gave me perspective and time to actually think, and in doing so i realised that this actually wasn’t what I wanted to be doing. I was coming to work 6 days a week and was being consumed by sewing and stressed by the rest of the responsibilities that come with running a physical boutique.
I was supposedly doing this because working for myself was a great life but to be honest I wasn’t actually even living. I owned a swimwear label and couldn’t remember when i last had gone to the beach! Meanwhile we were buying and renovating our first home and for the first time I was spending hours and days putting my energy into something else other than work (which apart from being VERY stressful) made me realise that I wanted more of it. Life that is.
I would suggest to everyone no matter what stage in business you are in to make a routine of stepping back, assessing and getting a little perspective on where you are and where you want to go.
3. I stopped saying I can’t because in fact I actually can do anything I dream of or put my mind to.
There is no way at the beginning of 2019 that I would have thought I would have a second business within 6 months and an amazing business partner to have on the new journey. There was MANY things about this business; Woman. that I would usually tell my self there is no way I can do.
Up until our very first Wonder Women Series I had a huge fear of public speaking and I would have told you any other time that I would never speak in front of a crowd of people. When the idea of of Woman. was formed I really threw my self in the deep end and stopped saying I can’t, because to be honest our words are so powerful and this one word was the thing that was getting in the way of me doing this.
So I say try it, change your words and watch your life change!
4. I realised that I am equal to others in life and stopped being too afraid of putting myself out there because I AM just as worthy as any other business woman or woman in general.
Another major hurdle for me when we started Woman. was believing in myself and that I am just as worthy of doing what I’m doing as any other woman out there, we started with just an idea for our Woman events and no previous experience with something like this, and to me I always saw the women we aspired to interview as ‘better’ or ‘more experienced’ or even ‘cooler’ (haha yes I’m being serious) than I myself was.
And I did for a while doubt that anyone would say yes to us. But this was a time that really made me step up, believe in myself and know that I am equal to these women, I realised that we are all on our own journeys and are all equal and just because we may have had different experiences that it doesn’t make either of us better than the other.
I am not going to say that I don’t still get nervy before approaching someone that I admire but I do now remember to give myself some credit and remind myself that I am good enough and why the hell wouldn’t someone want to chat with me!
5. Being vulnerable and having courage leads to great things.
When I realised that I wasn’t doing what I wanted to be doing and didn’t have enough space and time in my life for myself I didn’t at first know what to do. I had already planned on re-signing my boutique's lease for another two years without any question, and this is the part where I think life starts to make changes for you if you are open to seeing them.
One of my sewers decided to move overseas which any other time would have sent me into a spin but at that time I saw it for what it was which was freeing me up a littler more. After this my second employee decided to go out on her own with her label she had been working on, and that very same day my dad said to me why don’t you close the boutique if thats going to create the space and time that you want.
Immediately it felt so right but SO so scary.
My very first thoughts were what was everyone going to think? That I had failed and my business had failed? I have only had my boutique for two years and now I am closing and taking a step back in my business (or what I saw at the time as a step back). Although I was terrified of what people would think or if my business would be the same if I went solely online, I gathered the courage I needed and I took the leap.
And while I’m still settling in to a new way of business i know that it was 100% the right decision for me and thats all that truly matters.
6. Lessons and challenges are what lead to amazing things and we do not have to let challenging times cripple us.
Every challenge and lesson that I have already mentioned in this have ultimately led me to a place of more peace, more happiness and more strength in myself and in my life. Although a lot of these things at the time felt so hard and upsetting and sometimes plain cruel I have realised that the less we resist change and challenge and are open to what it is we may be learning from the situation, the more I can trust that whatever is meant to be will work out and in the end I am always OK.
So for anyone that is having a challenging time right now wether it be in your business, your relationships or anything in life I want you to know that everything in going to be OK!
7. Success does not have to be BIG and everyone know about it, success comes when you make the decision to live a life that makes you happy.
The main thing that I have come to terms with over this last year is that while I may have had in my mind that to be ‘successful’ my business has to be growing and continue to grow and that I need to reach a certain status or financial revenue or even amount of social media followers.
Success has actually nothing to do with these things.
Success (for me) comes when I’m at peace with my journey and when I am happy with the life I am living, when I can wake up (most) mornings excited or just content and for me at the moment it's knowing that I can use my experiences to help others on their journey to that place too.