I’m gearing up for what is going to be a VERY busy 2015. To be perfectly clear, that thrills me to no end; but, as with many things in life, it does come with its share of worries and doubts. For me, most of the uncertainty comes in some form of doubting where I am, how I’m measuring up, comparing my business to someone else’s, worrying if I’m really achieving some level of success.
Everywhere I turn, I’m reading or hearing about what success is in this creative industry, and almost every time, it includes a lot of talk about boundaries. Boundaries like not returning calls or emails from clients after 5pm, not answering emails after 6pm or on weekends, setting office hours (which usually fall somewhere around 20-25 hours per week) and absolutely not touching work outside of those hours.
Setting boundaries and finding balance. It seems to have become the measuring stick for how someone – in any industry, really – can determine whether or not she is a success.
And, y’all. That has to stop. Because sometimes, those things are not realistic or feasible. I want to be available to my brides when they need me – not just within a 5 hour time frame each day. Now, that’s not to say I would answer the phone or respond to an email at midnight, but I’ve built my brand on providing a customer experience that makes every bride feel like they are the only bride. So if she sends me a text at 7:00 on a Tuesday night about whether or not something is a good idea, I’m going to respond. Does that make me less of a success because I don’t have a business big enough to shut it down completely at 4:00? I don’t think so. And more than that, to me, it’s not always just about business. I develop friendships with my brides that go beyond wedding details, and that can’t be done if I’m only available to them from 9am-3pm Monday through Thursday.
The past six months have felt like a marathon. A beautifully messy, exhausting, seemingly no end in sight, but incredibly fulfilling marathon. Things have been a little crazy as I’ve worked to adjust to this new pace of life, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
I’ve been busy with everything from venue layouts and design proposals to vendor contracts, tastings, and floral design. I’ve taken trips to the post office to mail welcome surprises to new clients so often that the postal worker knows me by name. I’ve never felt happier or more fulfilled than I do now.
But everything has two sides. I’m not good at stepping away from my desk at a reasonable hour each night. My husband, dog, family, and friends don’t always get the attention they deserve. I’m not doing some things as much as I used to – cooking, sending out “thinking of you” cards to friends and family, just to name a few.
There is sometimes guilt that comes along with knowing I’m coming up short at those things. But I also have to realize that I haven’t always been a business owner. I have more on my plate than I ever have. I’m working harder and longer than I could have ever imagined. But the days are so much more gratifying. And I’m learning things I never could have learned otherwise – about business, about my marriage, about myself.
It is okay to not have it all figured out.
It’s okay to be a work-in-progress behind the scenes, as long as it continues to result in happy clients and a business and work to be proud of.
It’s okay if my definition of success doesn’t match what seems to be the “popular” definition.
So often we become our biggest critics and don’t – or can’t – acknowledge the progress we’ve made and the hurdles we’ve overcome to be where we are.
You have to constantly evaluate and ask yourself: Whose business are you allowing to determine what success looks like for you? What measures are you using, sometimes unintentionally, to measure your own success? What IS your definition of success?
At the end of the day, only you know what’s right for you, your family, and your business. You have to define your own success.
Define Your Own Success | Wedding Planners Birmingham Alabama
Christina Sloan Events is a Wedding Planning and Floral Design Studio, offering Full Service Wedding and Event Planning, Design, Management, and Day and Month of Coordination | Serving Birmingham, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, and Montgomery Alabama, and the surrounding Southeast region | Destination Services Available Worldwide