When a tree grows, its limbs stretch wider and higher into the atmosphere, but its roots also grow deeper, stronger, and wider too. And just as a tree grows, we as individuals, our businesses, and our potentials grow in both height and depth as we move forward in life. It is so exciting when we see our businesses grow and gain traction and popularity, but like any living thing, maintenance is necessary. Refining is needed. During times of growth, it is important to strengthen our roots with diligence and love. Because when we’re grounded to our core values, our mission statement, and our community, as popularity or interest start to build, we can celebrate our achievements, but won’t get caught up and swept away by all the flash and excitement.
When a tree grows, its limbs stretch wider and higher into the atmosphere, but its roots also grow deeper, stronger, and wider too. And just as a tree grows, we as individuals, our businesses, and our potentials grow in both height and depth as we move forward in life.
As I’ve been pursuing my own freelance lettering business, I’ve come across these 4 actions items that help me refocus on my roots and build myself to build my business:
Remember your initial “why” for your business or the reason why you started pursuing your creative work.
I think that when we first start anything, we enter into this honeymoon stage of being really hopeful of our future successes, which is great! But as time passes, we realize that there’s a lot more work to be done and more hustling to do to achieve the success we imagine. And in the constant cycle of working, we may forget why we even started in the first place. So, step back from the chaos, and go back to those earlier, exciting days. Remind yourself of why you began the work you’re doing. Has your “why” stayed the same? Has it changed? Center yourself and remember the reason you’re pursuing your work.
Revisit your mission statement.
Your mission statement is usually the “what” (and sometimes the “why”) to your business. It is the backbone of your work- the words that drive every move you make and every piece you create. It never hurts to go back to your mission statement periodically and figure out whether or not you’re staying true to it and fulfilling what you said your business set out to do. Also, if you revisit your initial “why” and find that it has changed, it also gives you a chance to refine your mission statement to give you and others a clearer picture of where you’re headed.
Don’t let work overtake time spent with your Loved Ones. Ever.
Stay in community with your friends and family. Keep having a life! It is important to focus and work hard on your business and your creative process, but don’t forget to live a little and hang out with the special people in your life. At the start of your business, your friends and family were the ones to cheer you on, support you, give you encouragement when you needed it, and may have even given you tips and advice on how to launch your business. Love ‘em well, and love ‘em hard. Don’t let your work overtake time spent with your loved ones. These are the people that will remind you of how creative, good, and capable you are, and they’ll spit truth when you need it. They are your champions. Treat them as such.
Share the goods.
As you grow, there will be individuals who come to you to ask for business advice or tips on how to get started in your field because they admire you or see how far you’ve come. In those moments, I challenge you to share rather than shrink back and withhold information. You know, really and truly, our successes do not come from our hands alone. They come from others - mentors, business advice on blogs written by well-seasoned business owners, tips and tricks shared by other professionals, etc. And all those people gave up information to help you. The least we can do is to extend the same favor to those starting out. Plus, I find that when I share what I know with friends or people starting out, I question myself on why I choose to use certain materials, like brush or ink, and I’ll even receive self-assurance of why I do the things the way I do. In these moments, I get to refine my “why”s and “how”s, preparing myself for more growth to come. Sharing is caring - for others and yourself.
Photos by Karen Marie Hernandez