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To kick this blog off, I want to talk about a thought that popped into my head the other day.
When I sat down to start this podcast and blog series, I first was thinking: I’m not a household name so will anyone really care? I then stepped back to really look at what we've done up to this point in our lives and thought about the reasons people should care. We didn't grow overnight and explode in ways like say, tech companies have but then again that's not what I ever wanted.
Instead, I sit here incredibly proud of how far we have come in our own lives and what we've been privileged enough to impact or local community with. I realized what I’ve created for my own life and thought of how many people are in the same boat. I don't know the exact statistic, but I know a shit ton of people run small businesses in this country. If you are one, or aspire to be one-you know just how meaningful of a journey it can be.
We all have our own unique journey and while something you build might not seem huge to others, it's certainly huge to you and that's something worth celebrating.
I have always felt like I'd rather control my own successes, or failures-and to be in charge of the life that I'm creating. When you put that incredible amount of groundwork into creating something, it becomes so much more meaningful. I feel like I’ve experienced success-not in a cocky way but like a proud mom way.
I feel proud to be a big part of something small, not a small part of something big.
I'm proud of all that has been poured into building our business from nothing. I'm proud of the times that were really hard and tedious and I'm proud of the journey we've been on for so long. We started with close to nothing and worked day in and day out until we could breathe and support ourselves financially living and working for ourselves.
I want our business to grow but I don't feel the need to be massive because that's not the type of life I want to live. I feel like it's important to define what that is for you. For some people, that's not enough and they want more-but for many others, they want the exact same thing as me. A small business that has a big impact in the small community we've planted ourselves in. If you can define where you want to go, and this can change then you can find contnentness and happiness with where you are. If we aren't finding this and celebrating this then you will always be trying to find that grass that is greener but you will probably never find it.
The grass is not always greener on the other side. It's important to understand that watering the grass you have will almost always be better than trying to find a better patch of grass.
I'll be honest, I have felt a lot of pressure to keep growing and to keep moving and if I'm not then I'm not experiencing success. After a lot of reflection, I realized where this pressure came from. It was pressure I found that I have really just put on myself because of what the society I grew up in became engrained in me. Many of us have grown up in a society where hustle culture is the norm. For me, I knew I would go to high school, immediately go on to college and then immediately get a high paying job. Or that was the path that I was told I would have to take to be successful. The society around me taught me that if I didn't do those things (which is really hard and draining and not a healthy perspective TBH) then I wasn't successful. Where in that time calls for a break or self discovery or just stopping to enjoy life?
The toxicity of hustle culture
One thing in my life that really stood out to me was when Tanner and I lived out of a van for a few weeks in New Zealand. Not only was this time full of reflection-but it was also a time where we had really deep conversations with people we met doing the same thing from all different types of countries. A lot of them were approaching 30 and seemed very well put together and happy. But there was one thing that stood out to me: Many of them were just starting their careers. I remember thinking in the first few conversations that these people were slackers. Like shit! I started working a 9-5 literally the day I graduated college and didn't see any time for a break or years off or a gap before college or anything like that. That was actually really, really looked down upon if I were to even suggest that in the society I grew up in. But I looked at these people. They were so amped to start their next chapter of their careers and I thought why? It's because they put life before work not work before life. They took gaps after high school to travel or just simply be. Their education was paid for by their country so they didn't need to worry about the stress of paying off student debt as quick as possible as most people in this country do. They took it easy so they could thoughtfully find the thing they wanted to truly do in life. We're taught to figure it out by the age of 20. Most of us don't even know ourselves by the age of 20! And this wasn't just one couple, it was many and it stuck with me.
It made me really think about making life itself as meaningful as possible and to have your work be a part of that. I'm not sitting here and saying don't work hard. If you have a business, there's no doubt that you need to bust your ass to make it a success-but when you find the thing that brings you so much joy and passion to do, your efforts are rewarding and you're building that life that brings you passion-whatever that means for you.
Money has never been our guiding why
Tanner and I have never put money at the forefront of or WHY of running a business. We need it to survive, we need it to pay for things, we need it to grow with us and we set goals around money for all of those reasons, but we never wanted to run our business to have that big house (one day that might be cool but it's not needed to us) or all of the things. Money is important, and I'm not saying it isn't but that's not our guiding why of what we do and not how we define all of our success. Our why is being a part of something bigger. To us, that's creating meaningful artwork that's relevant to our lives and passion-that resonates with our customers. Beyond that, it's contributing to the community in ways we couldn't without running the business that we do. It's about building a team that we can empower grow with. It's about doing right for the world through by leveraging our network. It's a lot of things that stem far beyond money for us.
So now, to circle back to my original point-We have these pressures from the society around us which become engrained into us as individuals whether we completely realized it or not. I know for me, all of these pressures felt just natural and the way of life but as I've grown older, I've realized things don't need to be that way if we don't want them to be. When this becomes internalized, we feel the need to always keep going until we reach success but then when you hit a milestone, it's like it's not good enough or that you need to do more. This may or may not relate to you listening but I know these are things I have felt and it took a lot of constant mindfulness to not just understand why I used to feel like I had to keep going after the next thing but to actively accept that I don't need to always be doing those things.
With time, I began to accept that I don't need to always be moving and if we went a day without a sale, that was fine and if I needed to take a month off to recharge my well-being then I would-even if that meant sacrificing sales. I used to feel like why would I take a weekend day off if I could be using it to grow and get ahead? While all of this hustle did pay off for our business, it didn't do my mental health any favors.
When you are constantly running your batteries without giving them a true recharge, one day they just kind of stop working.
What ended up happening when I stopped being so hyper focused on growing and getting after the next thing? I actually started seeing more personal and financial growth. But, the difference was that I was truly doing it from passion, not pressure. One thing we have always done with our brand Moore is approached our design from a sense of passion not what we felt the market should want. In doing so, Tanner as our artist created sets of work that truly showed that level of passion when looking at it and that's what has made our products sell so well with time. Suddenly, I realized that this needed to be how we approached everything in our business and life.
Approach your business and life from a point of passion
We widely did approach things from a level of passion but I realized that we were still focused on that growth and hustle culture that was engrained in us since we were kids. When I started to take a few steps back to not work weekends and block time out to travel places I always wanted to go and do things in our business just because I wanted to, the ideas sparked so much more than when I sat down on weekends feeling like I needed to work to keep getting ahead and growing-but then nothing came out.
We have so many dream projects that we want to accomplish in the coming years but the reason we want to go after them is because we want to for us, because we feel passionate about doing them. And when you can build something straight from passion, it's always going to show so much better than if you built it from pressure. But it's hard, we've all mostly been trained to succeed but the definition of success is different for everyone.
Some look at success as high financial gain and others see it as having a well rounded life. We all see this idea differently-and I want to encourage you to think about what that truly means to you. To me, in order to go after these fun projects we have in mind, we need money of course-money I'm more than willing to work for but the difference to me is that I know now that I will not do that at any cost. If I can accomplish the projects I want to see through from a point of passion and take care of my well being while still smartly going after these things then I feel like I've accomplished success.
This is where perspective comes in.
Comparison is truly the thief of joy. Because we all have different perspectives of what success truly means, you really do need to look at what this means to you. I just spoke about what that means to me and I've worked really hard to not compare where I'm at to where anybody else is at. I don't want to ever feel like I haven't accomplished enough because I keep comparing myself. Instead, I want to look at how far I've come and what I've done and celebrate all that that has to offer because at the end of the day, if we aren't celebrating things for ourselves then we will never be satisfied.
My definition of success might be closely aligned with yours but it could also be vastly different. And maybe you've never thought about it this way. maybe you haven't stopped to look back and be proud of yourself for what you've done or stopped to think about what that looks like to you.
Whatever it is, I want to leave you thinking about your bigger why.
Whether it's your life, your business or all of it together. Think about what it is you are doing it all for and think about what success means to you. When I shaped my mind to have our definition of success be a happy, well rounded life full of purpose but have enough money to survive, I really stopped to appreciate the little moments and victories and stopped thinking that I always needed to be 10 steps ahead and it made me happier in the life I'm living because I took the pressure off of myself.
So let's leave it here: Jot down 3 things you're proud of and jot down your why to life. Sit on it and think about it. The next time you feel down or you feel awesome, think back to these things and see if you truly are working towards your why with what you are doing.