Self reflection and a decision
I have been doing a great deal of soul searching and reflection these past several weeks. One thing I have always felt is the importance of paying attention to that inner voice we all possess. When I listen to my intuition--that gut feeling--I am always content. When I ignore that feeling, it has never served me well.
I have been wrestling with that nagging feeling the past few months. At times my brain tells me one thing, while that inner voice whispers--then shouts--another.
My decision has been reached, although the whens and the hows of it still need to be ironed out.
I will be closing my business by the end of this year. It may not be forever. It will be quite some time, though, before I will ever consider re-opening.
This decision has been a painful one. It's been truly one of the most difficult choices I have ever made. Since Benjamin was still a tiny baby in his crib, I have had a business. In fact, both boys were in diapers when I opened my first business. When I launched my skin care line, Ben had just turned 2 and Nick was 3. They really have grown up to know their mommy as the busy lady who makes products, is high strung, and always reaching for that next level. In between, I have done my very best to provide them with love, security, an endless supply of hugs, and fun memories.
Lately, however, I have found myself saying, "Not right now, Ben. Mommy is working"--or "I'm sorry we couldn't go to the museum, Nick. Mommy had too many boxes to pack." This has affected me right to the core and the guilt I have felt is so much to bear. My thriving business, while a blessing on so many levels, is affecting my children. This truly hit me yesterday. I do not know exactly what it was or when, but I know this is right.
I have had so many feelings about this. I have been told many times that an opportunity like this may only happen once in a lifetime. My business has reaped many rewards from being featured in a Martha Stewart publication. If you're in business or marketing, you are aware of the impact of even the smallest plug by a major media outlet.
Since the magazine came out late last September, I have been riding a wave of more orders than I could imagine, especially locally. After the magazine piece came out, articles in newspapers around New York started appearing, including a front page spread on the cover of the Sunday business & finance section of a Finger Lakes newspaper, the Daily Messenger. Features on my business were done in The Irondequoit Post, Courier-Journal, and Community Post all within a 6 week time frame and the effect on my business was more positive than I ever imagined. It truly has been every small business owner's dream.
In two years, I have accomplished many things with my business--from raising money steadily for The Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research to being offficially certified cruelty free by The Leaping Bunny program of the CCIC. Just last weekend, my products were present at the Blue Planet Film Festival in Santa Monica.
This truly has been a once in a lifetime opportunity. I have another once in a lifetime opportunity, though, and that is to be there for my children each and every day. Giving them my full attention and time, watching them mature and flourish and grow into responsible and compassionate individuals is all I want. For me, this is my once in a lifetime opportunity that will not come around again.
I want to never have regrets in this life. One day, I could possibly regret a business decision. Yes, it is possible. The idea I have had to get over the most is failing at this. In reality, I have not failed. Business has increased each month despite a weak economy. I have really built something of which to be proud. Feeling like a failure for not being able to truly have it all--business, writing endeavors--a family---in reality that is just a silly thought. My greatest regret in this life would be to have missed out on the important things and even just the little day to day things with my boys.
My boys are now 4 and 6. Ben starts half day preschool 3 days per week tomorrow. Nick is in 1st grade. I do not want to miss one more thing. I want to be the room mother again at preschool and signed up yesterday for that fun task. I want to give my children, day in and day out, my all--my full attention. I want them to know that nothing is ever more important than they are.
I have pondered this before, but this is different. I have come to realize that this is not my true dream. What I love most about my business is the interaction and great rapport I have with my customers. It's a rarity in business and is something I treasure. I think it was probably when we were on our family vacation last month that I realized something was different. For the first time while I was closed, I didn't miss things one bit. I was internet free for almost a week and it was MAGICAL. When I was closed through March for health reasons, I missed things like crazy and had a burning desire to return. I always say I can scale back, I can say "no" to custom orders, etc...In reality, that's just not in my nature. While we were on vacation, it truly hit me that my dream of a booming, growing business really wasn't my dream.
I have outgrown my space here at home. I could lease a space and hire an employee or two, but that is a commitment I must be willing to make for the long haul. It must truly be my dream, not the dream I should have for myself, but the dream I truly have for myself. I used to think my dream was to own a boutique with my facial products. I said I'd plan for that for when the boys were both in school full time. If that were to come to fruition, I would be away in a shop from open to close and be missing out on even more.
My father was a workaholic. He thrived on being in the newsroom. He put in so many hours and was rarely home. He missed out on many things. When Nick, his first grandchild, was born, he said he realized how much he missed out on. I do not ever want to feel 20 years from now like I missed out on the important things with my children. That had to have been a difficult burden for him to carry and I never want that to happen.
Leaving my business behind is a very happy and sad prospect all at the same time. I have felt at home at 1000 Markets. Matt, the CEO, is a genius with a phenomenal plan for this marketplace. I have made many friends there. I am founder and market manager of NY FESTIVAL, a huge undertaking, and the thought of one day leaving that behind is a sad one.
I am really content with this decision, though, because my heart tells me it is right. My children will be even happier. I will once again have time for myself--time for my creative endeavors. I used to make and sell greeting cards. I haven't made a card in nearly 2 years. I miss making collages and doing little art projects. I miss my free time for writing. Writing is perhaps my greatest passion outside of my family, and I look forward to having the time to do so much more with it.
I am a whirlwind of emotions over this decision, but I am at peace with it. I know that my health will benefit, both physically and emotionally. Most of all, my family will benefit.
I know some of you have had an idea this was happening--a dear friend was able to read between the lines and she reached out to me offering her help--to have us share this and help make some things from her home in Texas. I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends and such a support system.
This is going to be an exciting chapter for me and for my family. I will be giving my customers ample time and notice to stock up on goodies. The earliest I see this happening is around Halloween. I am pondering my different options and will keep everyone up to date as quickly as things happen and decisions are made. The shop will still be open for at least another few weeks. I'll still give it my all until the moment it is time to say goodbye.
As far as my other life's dream--writing--I will continue to do freelance work, guest articles, and keep up with this blog. Chic & Green has been a major part of me for more than 2 years and I will never stop writing it.
Thank you so much for listening.