A little over a year ago, I went to my first creative conference as the co-owner and founder of Sherbert Shop and said out loud to strangers that I owned a small business and had big dreams for that business. It felt like the largest leap at the time and I felt completely vulnerable. To be completely honest, I almost felt like a fraud telling people that I owned a small business and sold paper goods. We had only been selling our planners for about three months, the first run of planners went absolutely nothing like we had planned (and here we are selling planners!), and I felt like I was just winging it from step to step on this small business journey, completely unsure of what I was doing. So, to sit in front of strangers and tell them not only what I was trying to do but what I was dreaming of doing felt terrifying!
In addition to not really knowing a thing about owning a small business, starting this journey and trusting in this journey was the definition of my untraditional path. Since 9th grade, I said I was going to be a doctor. Up until my senior year of college, I thought doctor was going to be the MD label but I stopped myself short of going through the med school application process because I was 90% sure but not 100% sure that was truly what I wanted to do. I listened to my gut and thank goodness I did. The MD turned into a masters and then PhD path so for 7 years after my undergrad, I remained a student. Nowhere on that journey did I envision opening a small paper goods business or adding creative, entrepreneur, and business owner to my personal description. I was an academic, a researcher, and a writer (scholarly to be exact) and anything outside of that realm, my traditional academic box, was impossible to even envision.
While trucking through grad school, I watched Jor put feet to the pavement and create the small business that he had always dreamed of owning. I watched him wake up every day excited to get to work and I watched him find true inspiration in his work. There were absolutely challenging days, but he loved what he was doing and he knew where he was going. I wanted that. I wanted to have a fire inside of me burning so bright that I couldn’t help but wake up every day and want to build that fire larger and use that fire as fuel for my daily work. I wanted to find and feel joy in the work that I was doing daily and I wanted to end each day feeling fulfilled.
My PhD journey is a blog post in the works all by itself, but fast forward to my third year and I was finding myself being inspired by things that had nothing to do with the traditional academic paths I had originally envisioned for myself. Jor and I had just started Sherbert Shop and I found myself wanting to get another draft of my dissertation done as soon as I could so that I could put aside my research articles and instead dive back into the creative world I was discovering. I was carving out time for reading blogs and listening to podcasts of other creatives that took the leap away from the “traditional”, corporate world and I wanted to brainstorm all the things for Sherbert Shop instead of getting lost in my next round of data analysis for my dissertation. What started as a fun project for Jor and I was starting to nag at me a little harder and a little deeper and I started to daydream about what it would be like to really make a go at Sherbert Shop.
The absolute truth: I was scared to even say these dreams out loud!
I was scared to say that I wanted more from Sherbert Shop. I was scared to tell Jor that I wanted to own a business, I wanted to be a business owner alongside him and that I wanted to share our planner with more than just family and close friends. I was scared to say the words out loud for fear that even just saying them would sound ridiculous. I was scared to say my dreams out loud because of fear, doubt and believing that I couldn’t or shouldn’t.
So instead of letting this fear completely paralyze me, I decided to lean into. I started the process of speaking my dreams into existence!
I wrote my goals for Sherbert Shop down on paper, I started talking to Jor about them and then the biggest step was when I registered for my first creative workshop and conference. I felt like I was pushing myself off the side and pool and jumping in total cannon ball style. It was my first step in seeing myself outside my traditional path and owning that desire and feeling. I thought that if I started to envision myself as a business owner and I started putting myself in situations where I had to own where I was on this journey and own where I wanted to go, maybe then I could replace the doubt with confidence. Maybe if I started saying my dreams and goals for our business out loud, I could then start to grow into these goals and even more important I could fully believe in these goals.
The Result: Because I took the leap and because of being open to the unknown and new possibilities, I found myself surrounded by this unbelievable feeling of being at home. It felt like I was in the right place, at the right time, surrounded by all the right people! I felt alive with ideas and alive standing in the conviction that Sherbert Shop had a true purpose that we wanted and could share with others. Just one step, one step of being open, created an experience that changed the course of our journey for the very best.
Today’s post was a little different but I wanted to share a piece of my story to encourage those that are stuck in a cloud of self-doubt or in the fear of your dreams sounding ridiculous to others (or even you). Don’t let your fear be a roadblock. Instead, recognize fear as a sign that you are most likely on the edge of something that is a true reflection of your passions and your honest desires. When you have that feeling of wanting to shout out a dream because if you don’t you might just burst (the ones that weigh heavy on your heart!) those are the ones that you should start to yell from the rooftops. You can yell to anyone that will listen, but honestly the most important ears you need to fall on are your own. Tell yourself you absolutely can!
Speak your dreams out loud until you step fully into them and bring them into existence!
I would love to hear from you! Do you have a dream that is weighing on you but you have been too scared to even whisper it let out shout it out? Or what creative conference or workshop have you attended that had such an meaningful and positive impact on you and your business, you wish for more? What creative conference left you inspired, ready to dig deeper and believe stronger? ?: @carrietabbphoto