Michelle, Who Are You?

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

I don’t know.

The people who follow me on social media for a while now will see that my bio has changed from fashion designer to writer, to Administrative Consultant (whatever that means), and now recently back to fashion designer. All this while holding down a full-time job and raising 2 boys in a rather, chaotic but happy household (until the goldfish dies). I’ve lost count on how many we’ve bought and buried.

As some of you may also know, the first time I started out as a fashion designer nearly 6 years ago, there was the honeymoon phase and then the divorce. It went well, while it lasted and then the break-up (aarrgghh sobs). If anyone cares to enlighten themselves on the details, here goes — What a failed business venture taught me.

Back to today. I just don’t think it’s time to settle yet. The thing I’m most afraid of is settling and worse, settling without realising that you’ve settled. 
I visited a local farmers market for fresh produce recently and I was amazed that the chocolatier standing there, nonchalantly whipping up decadent pieces of sunshine that will take me a full month to work off at the gym.

It looks like he’s been doing it for years. He looked so at home behind the stand and with what he does for a living. Why can’t it be so easy for all of us!

I don’t feel like I fit in anywhere.

I know there are designers better than me. I know there are writers better than me. What stops someone from buying from a big retailer at unbeatable prices, then buying one of my pieces or reading my work.

Well, they’ll get a piece of me. The most exhilarating feeling is creating something and someone picks it up and owns it. Like it’s been their missing half all along. I love the interaction with my customers. I love their feedback. I love being the face of my brand. A yet unknown, minute operation that may one day climb into the hearts of hopefully a few people. Just a few.

When starting a business, we want everything to be perfect. The business plan, the offices, the receptionist, the wooden flooring, but we forget the most important thing. The customer. Without the customer, none of these things matter. Is someone willing to exchange their hard-earned cash for your goods? You only need to convince a few people, just like 0.00001% of 7 billion. One thousand true fans they say.

Make sure you can count on at least one. Not your mom, or your grandma who will gladly exchange their birthrights to see you succeed.

It’s an uncomfortable place to be in. This uncertainty, the fear of the unknown. The fear of another failure that may knock you down and out for months.

Yet, it’s a beautiful process.

When you are present throughout you learn so many things, you grow as a person, you have new experiences. You absorb and grow into your new skin. You can never go back to your old self again. He/she doesn’t exist anymore, except as a distant memory.

It’s easier to want to do it the textbook way. They way they taught you. That’s ok, just don’t forget you in the process. Whether success or failure, you will be a better person in the end, guaranteed.

Theodore Roosevelt said: 
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Beauty Is In The Moment

Practice mindfulness and stay present

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

When it feels like your life is spinning out of control and someone else (not you) is in the driving seat.

It happens to all of us. All too often. You think to yourself, how did I get here? Again? I said this won’t happen again. I’ve made up my mind that I’m done with this loser lifestyle of drinking, partying, spending money (I don’t have), racking up debt on my credit card.
 
The weekend is gone and although I entered for the 10 km race, I didn’t make it to the starting line on Saturday morning. It was Heather’s birthday party on Friday night, how could I miss it? She asked me 3 times if I’ll be there. Or maybe it was the free drinks.

It’s funny how life happens and spins out of control without us knowing or having a say. Well, it’s usually too late to say anything.

Enough of the sob stories. Whose life is this? Mine, of course. Well, start acting like someone who’s serious about change.

Let’s do this together.

Here are just a few things that you can do right, the next time.

• Since today is gone, it’s 21h30 where I am, I’ve set my alarm for 05h30. I plan to wake up when my alarm goes off (without hitting the snooze button) and get my ass to the gym.

• Next, I’m planning my schedule for tomorrow. I’ve made notes of everything I would like to get done, with the 2 most important tasks set for the morning.

• My phone will be on flight mode and all notifications will be de-activated as I spend uninterrupted time on my most important project.

• I’ve taken out some of the ingredients that I will need to prepare my lunch that I’ll take to work.

By writing down what needs to be done and actively planning your day, you are more inclined to get at least part or hopefully about 80% done. There will always be interruptions, impromptu meetings, and phone calls that can take up a lot of your time and tend to throw you off course.

If you just try and stick to your goal of doing the next thing right, you will hopefully already be half-way through in case any hell breaks loose.

Try this at home with your partner and kids as well. Things tend to unravel quickly when you have little people running around yelling and screaming as if they own you. They need to be fed, clothed, but most importantly loved.

Keep a level head. If you can, in the midst of the commotion, remember what you told yourself, how you will handle that particular situation with your boss, your co-worker, your 3-year-old, or 30 year old all vying for your attention and wanting to throw you off course. 
 
Life is beautiful. You are right where you need to be. The universe is on your side even though it doesn’t always feel like it. Stay present. Stay calm.

Your situation is unique. You are on the right path. Just breathe.
Don’t wish this time away. Time passes so quickly. In another 6 months or 1 year, this won’t matter anymore.

If you can stay present and learn from everything and everyone on your path, you will be the winner. You will live a rich and fulfilling life.

Just choose to stay present. You can.