Happy new year, dear reader. I hope you had a lovely Christmas. Did you do like I did and slow down in December? Or was it all chaos and last minute purchasing, packing, and potato peeling? Either way, I hope now the big day has passed you’ve had a chance to put your feet up and find a few moments of peace amongst the empty boxes and curried leftovers.
I believe I have very few of you at the moment (readers, that is), and I find that quite nice. Like I’m writing to a pen pal rather than simply flinging thoughts out into the interwebs, wondering if I’m appealing to the right people. I’m so new that nothing about my business has had a chance to change yet, so I’m trusting that if you’ve subscribed or just found me this moment, that you’re in the right place!
For January, my intention is Trust. Trust in myself, in others and in the universe to keep sending me signs and setting me right. It was a hard thing to do ahead of Christmas, but now I know it's what I need to focus on to stay balanced.
I intend to trust in my own cycles - daily, weekly, and monthly. I have realised recently that I'm not only not-a-morning-person in the traditional, bleary-eyed sense. While I can write out a load of plans and content during the afternoon and evening, I have the least confidence in myself early in the day. I wake up thinking of yesterday's ideas and I shake my head, and not usually because I've slept on it and come up with something better, but because I am suddenly full of doubt. A shower, a walk, and a large cup of coffee later I start to believe again, so I'm going to try and structure my working day accordingly. Research and study in the morning, new content and emails in the afternoon and evening.
I intend to trust in myself as a coach, mentor and planner. Though I am new to it, I believe that I have wisdom to share and the right tools and knowledge to support people who are on the same path that I was. As long as I am always upfront with people about where I am, I know I can offer something valuable. I’m excited to have started working with my first couple of clients now and so far feedback has been really encouraging and positive. Hooray!
I intend to trust in my friends and family to support me and my ideas. I've still been fairly quiet about my plans for 2019 with friends and family, other than with a close few. I think I worry about seeming flighty or unfocussed to the older generations who are less familiar or less comfortable with multi-hyphenates, but if I'm going to have their support I need to trust them to hear and believe in me. There will always be people who grimace or roll their eyes and tell you not to take risks. It is usually said from a place of love - they want you to be safe and secure - but our risks are not theirs to worry about, and our lives are not theirs to direct.
Be patient with their advice, be grateful for their concern... and then make the leap anyway.
I intend to trust in my gut, and in the universe, especially when the way forward isn’t always clear.
I had my worst month on record for sales last November. The lead up to Christmas for my stationery business, Inky and the Beast, is usually pretty healthy, and though I had a much smaller selection of cards than previous years, my main focus is letterpress workshops and I usually sell a fair few workshop vouchers. For about six weeks from the end of October into early December I had zero sales. Not a single booking or enquiry. That has never happened to me before - not when I was on maternity leave, not when I was closed for several months this Summer.
I was panicked. Every day money was going out that wasn’t coming back in. I am very lucky that my husband earns a good salary but it was stressful and painful to my ego not to have my own money in the lead up to Christmas. I projected that stress on to my husband and told myself I was a burden.
We had recently increased our childcare hours too as I was so confident in how busy I was, and I feared we’d have to decrease again, losing the slot we’d gained. This worry amplified my daughters’ tantrums, their sleep regressed (therefore so did mine) and I found them harder to cope with than usual.
Amongst all of that it was easy to think negatively and feel defeated. So I pushed harder. I had a sale. I did more PR, from contacting bloggers, emailing magazines, to talking to “warm leads” directly. There seemed to be no change. Exhausted and weepy, I took a step back and decided I had pushed enough and that I could now focus my energy on Silly Heart, which is what I’d been wanting to do anyway.
And that’s when it hit me. This is exactly what I’d wanted.
I’d wished for more time to work on Silly Heart, and that is what the universe had given me. Instead of reading the signs and seeing the positives I had kept fighting my way down this overgrown, dark and difficult path and worn myself out. Finally, I gave myself permission to stumble off of that path and back into the light.
I worked on content, I researched, I emailed potential collaborators, I invested in myself by taking a business planning webinar with the wonderful Sas Petherick, and downloaded every free planning printable and tool I could find. I read and studied and wrote. And I rested. It was ace.
And, of course, as soon as I stopped pushing so hard with Inky, bookings started trickling back in. And it feels fun again, as people find me organically or alumni return for a second (or third!) workshop.
A new year, a new month, a new intention. I feel genuinely excited to take both businesses forward this year and somehow make them work alongside both wild children. It's not going to be easy, I know that much, but maybe if I continue to have faith in myself and in the unfolding of every day it will still feel good!
What are your intentions this month, and this year? Join the conversation on Instagram with the hashtag #sillyheartintentions, or comment below. I'd love to know what your plans are.