New Year, New Me

As some of you know, in the month of December, I launched a spinoff of Living S.L.O.W.. The new business, AchievHER ™, offers products for women to encourage a focus on self-care, empowerment and inspiration. It’s been an exciting process to see this come to fruition after months of dreaming, brainstorming, planning, meetings and sample development. And as with many new things in life, it has also been an opportunity to learn and grow personally.
It takes a lot to cultivate one business, launch a new one, raise a family and help support an ailing parent (oh yeah and it’s also the holidays, which always adds “extra”). Those were my circumstances heading into and throughout December, which provided plenty of opportunity to practice self-care (or perhaps better yet, TEST my ability to practice self-care). Fortunately, having just come off October and November which consisted of more than usual travel, I had begun to get better at capitalizing on brief moments to take care of myself. And like I say frequently, if I’m touting the importance of self-care to everyone else, I need to be doing it too.
My first AchievHER order, was a success! Many of my friends and family supported the launch and numerous orders were made. I offered two colors with two quotes. People could purchase a pair that say “2020 Vision” or “New Year New Me”. People seemed to love both quotes, but especially resonated with the “New Year New Me” pair. It was so exciting to see the orders coming in! Until… the material ordered by the original identified manufacturer came in and they were HORRIFIC! Unquestionably unusable! Immediately, I had a million panicked thoughts flooding my mind. “These are horrible! I can’t use these. But what choice do I have? Maybe everyone will like them. I don’t have time to order others before the holidays.” BUT instead, I made a choice to SLOW down, take a breath and I found the courage to say, “No. These are not ok. Send them back and we will work with someone else”. Of course, that prompted a mad dash, and an alternative was found. However, this time, I didn’t breathe or go SLOW and made a poor business decision. I had the printer move ahead with mediocre alternative material. I left that meeting with an uneasy feeling and I couldn’t shake it. I kept processing and trying to rationalize or justify my decision, but at the end of the day, the reality was, I wasn’t true to my intended vision and I settled. Now I know, that when I settle, I feel unsettled. Maybe you have felt that too. That queasy feeling when you know you went against your gut or values. It’s easy to feel defensive and try to avoid or disregard what your instincts are trying to communicate. I was tempted to ignore my feelings but instead, I regrouped and figured out my plan of action. Then I was able to get a good night’s sleep and the next day take responsibility with all my brand-new customers (who fortunately were friends and family) and set things right. Even though I understand this is all part of the start-up of a new business, I am learning many important lessons.
One thing I noticed through all of the flurry (albeit excitement) of launching this new arm of Living S.L.O.W. is that if I am not careful, I can lose my voice. Or in other words, I can forget who I am, what I want/need and be true to her. I imagine that can easily happen to others as well. I know according to many of my twitter feeds and per my daughter’s stories of educators in her school who, as the break drew closer, seemed to be hanging on by a thread. The days before a holiday break are a perfect storm, time starts to wind down, student behavior winds up, and pressure to finish a particular lesson or unit increases, all while the teacher’s energy to do it all wains. We kick into default mode, the spin begins, and we forget about us. It is easy to do, neglect what we value or settle for less than, instead of being true to ourselves.
So, as the New Year begins, I am determined to continue to work on going SLOW, staying committed to my values (the “S” in S.L.O.W.) and using my voice. I hope the same for you as well. Together let’s determine that regardless what the new year holds, we will be strong, empowered, healthy and full of self-love. It’s a New Year, be a New Me! I have some undies you can buy as a reminder… (#selfishplug)