Hit the Ground Running
I was an nontraditional student to say the least. I took more time off than the time it took me to complete my undergrad. I changed my major countless times and went to three different countries. I finally landed on English-writing when I started to notice I was an internal processor who desperately wanted to be external. Writing was a good fit for me and with my love for places and people, I wanted to utilize my ability to write and teach others.
I still love writing and I use what I’ve learned every day, but about three years ago something happened. I found myself surrounded by women who were creatively excelling in business. Each of their circumstances was unique and they had their own obstacles, fears, and victories but the underlining similarity was and still is, they were pursuing something more. They addressed their fear and didn’t minimize it but they also didn’t accept it. But what is even better is that these women were so for me and loved me well!
I knew that I always loved flowers. I mean, who doesn’t love flowers but I can talk to you about flowers for hours. I don’t know why. I want to live in The Secret Garden. For a long time, my social media bio was, “If I could wear a flower crown everyday, I would,” and after making over fifty of those things, I still would. Lavender Earl Grey, all day please. I love the feeling of giving something to someone, especially something you have made. Because anyone can buy a gift and it still has sentimental meaning but when you make something and give it, you’re giving something of yourself. I cannot absentmindedly make a bouquet. It just doesn’t work that way.
I was working at Collected Thread at the time when Alison Fleck, with Juniper Designs came in one day and we started talking about not settling. If we settle in life, we are always going to feel shorted. She said that starting a business was one of the hardest things she had ever done but at the end of the day it was still worth it and she loved it more than she disliked anything bad that may happen that day. It was worth the stress, the lack of sleep, tears, confusion, and small victories. That’s how you know you love something, when you get up and do it again the next day and the next, even better than you did it before or at least attempting to do it better. And then she said something that I will never ever forget, “Your dreams are non-negotiable,” and she is so spot on. Your dreams are yours for a reason and no one else is going to make them happen at the capacity that you can because it is does belong to anyone else. It’s yours.
I want to create things and invest in something bigger than myself. That’s what I know for sure. I want to make something that matters or at least make something memorable. I want to cultivate a safe place where joy abounds. A place of peace and acceptance. A place to be known and make others known. A place that is loud yet quiet. A place where laughter destroys fear. I believe that true love destroys fear. I believe love changes circumstances. When someone understands that they are truly known and loved, they interact differently. Love makes us bold. And I want in on this.
I think we’re at a good start. Our first “client” was my spectacular friend, Koby. I redid her bouquet four times at least. I prayed over her flowers to stay alive, no lie. Let’s be honest, I still pray over my flowers. I’m not above it. I remember booking my second wedding and freaking out. And then a third wedding came. Before I knew it, Everything Beautiful wasn’t “some day” it was happening now. I felt like a kid chasing after the bus. The bus I built.
I always joke that Everything Beautiful is way cooler than I am but it really does feel like that most of the time. Honestly, I started writing this to discuss the misconceptions of starting a business but somehow a lot more came from it. Because just like we wish there was an instruction manual to life, every young entrepreneur wishes that there were a daily play-by-play. And many far more intelligent individuals than myself have written knowledgeable books about running smart business, which are beneficial. But they cannot run it for you. You cannot call them up in-the-moment decision-making. They will not take your call at 2:30AM when you just can’t deal anymore. That part is all intrinsically you. And if you can make it through that part, well fist-pump, dance party, or high-five someone because this part of owning a business is a big part in itself.
Here are a few specs of gold I have found so far. Maybe they will encourage you. Or maybe you read this and think, “She just rambled 1,500 words. Regardless.
1. I have these moments where I think, “If Everything Beautiful fails, it’s on me.” I was talking to my friend John Milner one night and I shared this with him. He said, “You are approaching this all wrong. Instead of thinking about “if” Everything Beautiful fails, you should be thinking about if it succeeds, because that has a lot more influence of power.” So many times we become focused on things that practically will not happen. It’s not that I believe that bad things cant happen to this business, its just that I would much rather strategize for tomorrows success instead of planning for its failure. So a lot of that involves us going back to the drawing board and asking, “What are we doing that is authentic to our vision and unlike any other? How does Everything Beautiful serve others well? What can we do differently today?” I promise you, focusing on where we are going drives us further and quicker than fear ever did or will.
2. I don’t have time to dwell on fear because unless it’s driving me forward, it’s not bringing a solution. I’m a problem solver. It comes with owning something. Owning your mistakes. Owning your success. Owning your improvement. In Scary Close, Donald Miller tells a story about getting his motorcycle license. The instructor told him that if at any point the bike became unstable, find a safe place in the distance and hit the gas. The momentum has a way of balancing out the bike. I don’t know if this is true but I like this analogy a lot because sometimes our solution comes from just moving forward instead of second-guessing.
3. Comparison suffocates good roots and everyone needs good roots to grow. The circumference of your influence depends a lot on you. Are you able to celebrate others accomplishments? Acknowledging the success of others does not limit ours. There is always an abundance of provision when we learn to celebrate others really well. I don’t want to become fixed on what others are doing all the time. Where is the fun in that? I have my own God given creative ideas and abilities. I would much rather utilize something new instead of replicating what has already been done.
I love that people love Everything Beautiful and see it for something that I could only hope others see it as. But it is very much a labor of love. I think often times the misconception with anything successful is that it became that way over night and that’s just not the case. There have been so many failed attempts but it has always been a safe place to try again. I want people to see us and be encouraged and excited because you have that capacity to generate change.