Imagine Yourself as a Craftsperson…
You decide to roll the dice and apply to a Chicago outdoor craft show in the blistering heat of summer with the hopes that this event will equal the awesomeness of last year’s Midwest circuit (which, by the way, blew your mind with its abundant results and enthusiastic crowds). Confused and panicked upon receiving rejection letters from those desirable shows, you start to scramble for plan B and apply to any show that still has open enrollment and hasn’t filled its sacred jeweler spots.
The prospect of an arduous 18 hour drive and outrageous booth fees seem to make total sense to you as you sit back in your cozy armchair sipping cocoa and watching the snow pile up outside your window, in the dead of winter back home in Maine.
You assure yourself that you are completely sane in your decision making. You are not panicking. You are not desperate. But secretly you know you are.
My Fear-Based Decision
It was impossible to get comfortable in my 110 degree Chicago jewelry booth this July. Desperately trying to find a nonexistent breeze while avoiding the sun at all costs, I started to write in my journal about the importance of making life decisions only if they are a “HELL YES”!
You might find it odd to visualize me scribbling madly with a bag of ice down my backside to avoid heatstroke, when customers could be coming by to purchase my goods. But you see, that was the problem. No one was venturing out to the shade-free, hottest part of downtown Chicago, to try hot metal jewelry on sweaty bodies. The show didn’t draw the crowds. I intuitively knew this back in January as I desperately typed up my application.
The fabulous shows I had experienced the year before had also been hot and bothered, but the reputation of these events drew massive crowds who were prepared for the adventure of finding art even amidst burning temperatures. I craved conversations with folks like these. I had forgotten how exhilarated I had felt each day when I had the opportunity to share a special moment with each new client. It was definitely a “HELL YES”!
I am not exaggerating! It is easy to see that I felt far distant from my usual positive mindset that day and could not find find a “HELL YES” in this experience. What a gift has turned out to be!
Goodbye Fear-Based Decisions
When you join the retail circuit of national craft shows, you are saying yes to brutal drives, lots of heaving lifting, pricey booth fees, parking nightmares, expenses for hotels and food and all of those other draining aspects of life on the road. With fingers crossed for perfect weather and hungry crowds, you prepare your little 10 x 10 tented mecca to sell EVERYTHING you brought to share.No one can see, but you count on an internal cheerleader to guide you on your creative journey – encouraging your business decisions, boosting your confidence when shows go south, celebrating your great sales and spontaneous connections with strangers who now feel like friends.
My internal support system roused me from my stupor that day. I realized I had made a decision out of FEAR, fear of of not having enough. Never again!
Embracing the “HELL YES” in Everything
Making a living as a craft person can be an amazingly rewarding but incredibly arduous career choice. The benefits of being your own boss, making your own hours and creating something with your hands is beyond priceless. The flip side of this freedom is the incredible blood, sweat and tears artists must endure to ensure their artistic vision can translate into an actual income.
I learned from sitting in that sweltering hot booth this summer that if you say yes to anything that you do not feel 100% inspired to do and if FEAR is your main motivator, you will never have the energy, inspiration and desire left in you when the “HELL YES” opportunity does come along.
I have seen a profound shift in my life as I select only what I can fully embrace. The simple choice of engaging each decision, person and plan with full gusto has made my experience on earth so much richer, more authentic and fun. If rejection comes along, I don’t run to fill the void. I trust that an even better adventure is on the way.
It is so hard to say no to something when there’s no guarantee that you will be OK without it. FEAR-BASED thinking can keep you saying yes to people, places and things that will do more harm than good.
Isn’t it worth taking a chance to let go of fear-based decisions and opt only for those that make you shout, “HELL, YES!!!!”