Oct 26, 2011

What If?

What if we never changed and never had a chance to look beyond tomorrow with the hope of something new? What if what you are doing right now is all that you would ever be doing - ever.

Sound okay? Content? You would no longer look down the road and never again wonder "What if?" Some may love that. Security. No more wondering. All is done. 

There is nothing wrong with being content with what you have and what you've worked for - in fact, I am a huge believer in that. I feel that is the key to happiness. But I believe most of us, while we may strive for certain goals, and then attain them, we continue to look for adventure. That is how I see it...adventure.

Welcome to my new header. My blog title stayed the same as I will always have adventures. But I changed my header (for now).  I am discovering that I am finding my creative self in many more wonderful places, doing more interesting projects, outside of my office...that...and I am tired of looking at my mug on my header! 

Over the years, my adventures have changed a lot, but they are always, always interesting. However, I have discovered something along the way, especially in the years after I made the decision to close my store. It took a while for me to see what others were feeling as well.

I have come across many, many other creative entrepreneurs who, like myself, who started on one venture, only to find themselves questioning whether or not they wanted to continue. They question and doubt themselves about their decisions. Did they make a mistake? A poor choice?

Like them, I too, had doubts when making my decision and it wasn't until a few years after many experiences did I realize something so obvious. My owning a store was not the end all, be all. It was only a stepping stone to get me to where I am today. My store opened all sorts of doors for me. It took great risks and a lot of courage to open a store and it took a lot of risks to close it so I may pursue what I felt was calling me to do in my heart.

Our lives are like this book. We can remain shut and all locked up, safe, once we feel we have it all figured out and written and completed. Or, we can bust open that lock, and start writing new chapters just when we felt our book was darn near complete and comfy. Personally, I find a worn out book, is a book that was really worth reading...again and again.

I have received quite a few emails of late from very talented ladies going through "the change." No...not THAT change. But a transformation. A change in their lives where they had made a decision years ago to seek out their passion and "went for it." And I so applaud that, as we all know what a scary thing that is! But over the years they discovered that their passion either faded or they discovered a new one. But now they are finding themselves in a quandary. They feel like a "failure" to use their word. They put so much time and effort and money into a venture only to feel like they failed. And...they have well-meaning friends and family questioning their decision as well. Somehow, along the way, they have convinced themselves that all because they devoted so much passion and energy into a venture or project, that somehow, that was a life sentence. Yes, what was once a passion can feel like a life sentence when our heart begins to sing another tune, but we feel stuck to "stick it out" for fear of looking like a failure or for jumping ship. There is a lot of pressure from customers, friends, and peers to "succeed" in their eyes. But what about succeeding in our own eyes? 

I see it very differently. I never see failure. I see only ventures. And I feel that when we seek out what our heart is calling us to do, and if that calling is good and encourages others along the way, then the calling is coming from The Original Creator. He (Christ) is giving us a chance to have an adventure. And unless we take it, then we won't discover all of the other wonderful things just waiting for us from that first venture. And it just may be THAT second (or third, or fourth) discovery that came from just taking that very first adventure is what your heart will truly discover to sing about in the end.

I had many readers from my other blog, Shop Talk Series, request that I should share with you my latest posting about this subject. Most of you don't read this little blog of mine, as it is geared toward shops owners and the ups and downs of running a shop and some tips. But this latest post, I am told, would have been good for my main blog, so I decided to share it with you.

I hope you don't mind a "re-run" but know that if you are at a point in which you feel that some choices you made have you feeling that you are at a dead end...I don't believe in dead ends. Because with every single dead end, you can always look up for wisdom on how to turn around.

Guest post from my Shop Talk Series:

Sept 08, 2011


I ran into an old friend recently and I hadn't seen her in a long time. We could only talk briefly, but it was good to see her. It had been about year or so since we last had contact and longer since we actually had seen each other. Actually, we were friends of a mutual friend, so our circle didn't cross too often, as our mutual friend had moved out of town.

As we leaned against our cars catching up on each other's life's happenings, it amazed us both how our lives had taken so many twists and turns in such a short amount of time. Some twists were put upon us, unexpected. Some turns, we made by choice. Our lives could not be more different. She: a mother of one, works in the corporate world, a new grandmother, newly divorced, a budding nail technician! Me: married, no children, free-lance photographer, writer, designer, stylist, and whatever strikes my fancy at the moment.

But we both had one thing in common: We took our twists and turns in life and opened that door to see what was on the other side. Sometimes we swung that door wide open with anticipation and sometimes, we slowly, carefully (maybe even begrudgingly) creaked it open and only peeked out of fear. 

But mainly, we were just amazed at all the changes we had made in a short time. And that made me think of you readers. I know over the years, I have grown and experienced a lot passions that I thought about for long time, and finally, I just stepped out and started to do them. For a long time, I did just a little "here and there" but I wasn't satisfied just doing a little "here and there" with my passions, I wanted to explore them more fully. So, I made the difficult decision to close my store and pursue these new adventures. 

I realized what was keeping me locked up for so long was that I felt I "should" carry on with "what I started." But now I have learned that was silly. What I had started was an adventure! And that adventure led me down an exciting path that opened a lot of doors which showed me ways to express myself in different mediums. Design, photography, writing, styling, and so on. It was time, combined with taking a lot of risks by choosing to experience a lot of situations outside my comfort zone, that led me to discover many things about myself. I mainly discovered that I truly enjoy and have a passion to photograph, write, and style vignettes that inspire others to see something beautiful that may not be apparent, or photograph something in such a way that it evokes a positive or reflective thought in its viewer.

But my problem was for some time was that I didn't trust myself and I listened to too many well-intened "advisors" who kept telling me I should be doing "this" with my store. Or that I should think about trying "that" because I am so talented. Or I should never go "that" route.... Basically, I was living (or trying to live) their dream, their vision, their expectations of what they felt my abilities were. And it is easy to listen to people when you are so very tired, and when you are doubting yourself, and when you have poured so much of your soul into your work, and when you have bills staring at you in the face...and besides...you have no idea where these passions will take you, right?

What we tend to look for when get this way is security. We want to feel secure in our decisions. But then there is that "damned if you do, damned if you don't" deal. I felt damned if I stayed and worked and worked, and yes, it was great, by my heart was longing to explore what I felt was truly calling me to do. And had I not opened the store in the first place, I would not have discovered these passions. I reasoned that perhaps the store was only a stepping stone to discovery, not the end all be all. But I was damned if went forward, closed my store, and sought out new adventures and "started all over" and what if it didn't work out? Well, again, I reasoned, I had that exact same question and risk the moment I made the decision to open my store and that didn't stop me then, now did it?

I share my thoughts and experiences with you because I know of several friends "in the business" who are at a crossroads right now and I can't help but feel that maybe you are too. Maybe there are feelings of "what will people think" or "did I just waste all those years and energy" or "did I make a mistake..."  And if I could sit and have coffee and sour cream pound cake with you, I would give you a big hug and say "NO!" You learned a lot, and now you are about to take all that you learned about yourself and move on to the next step in your wonderful life and see what is about to be on the other side of the door! How exciting! No regrets, just excitement.

So, if you are currently at a crossroads in your business and are wondering if you should pursue a newly discovered passion, talent, or skill that may seem off your current path...think again. You discovered this passion while you were on your current path. Perhaps your current path is just a stepping stone? Or maybe it is time for a new adventure? Only you know and you will only find out by opening the door of the opportunities and at least check it out a little bit. 

Aren't you just dying to know what is behind this cute little door? 

If you were standing in front of it, like I was when I snapped this photo, wouldn't you open it? Do you think I opened it? OF COURSE I DID! And I am not going to tell you what treasures I found behind it either...that was my adventure...now go discover you own!  :-)

from my house to your house,



Garden Antqs Vintage said...

E, I love this!! Thanks for always being so real in your posts. It was so good to see you in Texas and I still have so many posts to go. Have an awesome adventureous week!

Richard Cottrell said...

I think I might be living the,'what if,' and I don't love it and would like a escape route. Thanks for sharing. Richard from My Old Historic House.

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Richard!

I know just how you feel...sometimes the "what if" can be worrisome...but then I once told a good friend that what if we took the word "worry" and changed it to "wonder."

Instead of, "I worry how I am going to make this change.." or "I worry that this idea isn't what I thought it would be..." And instead said "I WONDER how I am going to make this change..." or "I WONDER how this idea will turn out..."

Changing "worry" to "wonder" suddenly shifts all the burden of having all the answers off your shoulders and onto a much more wiser set of shoulders (look up :-) and having faith that the "if" will someday be a "when" and the "worry" is more exciting when it becomes a "wonder."

Ever notice how little children never worry about IF they will ever learn how to ride a bike? They WONDER WHEN they will learn. And they don't fret, they get excited as they climb up, try to pedal, fall, get up, pedal, and wobble, fall. But they don't worry about IF they will succeed...they just KNOW they will and they don't worry...they just assume that someday, they will be costing along enjoying the scenery and never look back at all the times they fell and scraped up their knees...because they just figured that was part of the deal to get to the good stuff. No worries. No "ifs," just wondering when in the heck they could take off the training wheels and get to go fast down the hill!

So, that is what good friends are for...we are the training wheels that will push you out and down the hill someday when the training wheels come off...and go run and pick you up when it doesn't go so well, but you know that is just part of the deal and that is part of the excitement. That is the real adventure...not the coasting...the pedaling.

I see you as vintage Schwinn guy myself...with a card clipped to the spokes perhaps. A vintage postcard, of course! :-)

Big hug to my perfect Richard, (and Prissy)

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Teresa,

Thank you so much - means a lot coming from someone with such a good eye. Loved seeing you in Texas too! :-))

you have a great weekend too!!

e :-)

cathypentonatelier said...

Hey beautiful, you wrote this for me right !!!! Lol!!! Thank you for your constant inspiration...Cant believe I might get to see that pretty face in person next year...How marvelous!!!love c xo

Sandi~A Cottage Muse said...

What wonderful advice, thank you! I have just opened a new door and am so thankful I did!
LOVE your new header...have a wonderful weekend!

Tamra said...

It's a shame that "fear" of one kind of another so often keeps us from living the life we so often truly want.

A good friend once told me to remember what F.E.A.R. stands for...False Expectations Appearing Real. I've been there too, thinking I've invested so much time in money in a specific field only to find myself going in a different direction and worrying about the outcome, what people think, the cost, blah, blah, blah. But I've come to learn every day when I step out of bed I'm moving forward in MY life and I want to enjoy every moment. And everything I do benefits me in some way whether it's by helping me grow artistically, or making new connections with creative and wonderful people or just having fun which in turn makes me a better person, wife and mother which is good for everyone!

So as I tell my daughters, there is no failure if you keep moving forward and only you know what direction that is for you.

And Elizabeth, I LOVE your new header! Absolutely lovely.

Elizabeth Maxson said...

My talented Cathy.....

Soon when I say "big hug to you" before you know it...I will be able to squeeze the living daylights out of you :-)

So glad to always see you visit me :-)

Big hug to you for now,
Elizabeth :-))

Gretchen said...

So well written and so needed to be said for so many women struggling with this very same thing. The timing was incredibly pertinent in my little world as well, so I consider my divine appointment with your blog to just be a part of His bigger plan in my personal life. Funny when we take the time to stop and notice things such as this in our lives, and how it all interconnects and makes us who we are and our lives much richer.
Thanks for sharing this post on your blog here too, as I didn't realize you were still doing your shop series blog, which is how I first became an Elizabeth fan. Truly, you along with Rachel Ashwell early on, were my favorite people in the whole design world. You've both have provided years of beauty and inspiration. Thank you for your creative eye through your photography, merchandising and God given talents. I've enjoyed the beauty for years, and welcome your evolving and becoming who you've become.

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Thank you Gretchen for such a thoughtful comment. I so love that you enjoy seeing me evolve over time. I appreciate that more than you know. And to be put in the same sentence with Rachel Ashwell...well....that just made my night! :-)

Thanks again for all the support

Big hug

Nelda said...

Thank you for this. I needed it. I wish you would write a book...or two...or three. One for photography, one for design, and one inspirational. I would be your first customer.

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