When does a person become a business? I’ve pondered this question so often in the last few years. Growing up it honestly never occurred to me to reach high enough to be my own business.
Granted, I grew up in an era when women weren’t given the same opportunities that men were given. I remember making an appointment with our school counselor. I wanted to be a veterinarian. I loved animals and I thought I’d be good working with them.
I remember sitting there and pouring out my dreams to him. All I required from him was a course of action. What classes should I take? What did I need to get into college? I just needed facts. What I got was a kind, pitying look and a suggestion that maybe I was reaching too high and I should probably consider being a vet tech.
I left his office angry and shattered. Angry because I didn’t get the information I asked for and shattered because he didn’t think I had a chance in hell at becoming what I dreamed of being. I guess he didn’t know me very well because I always get what I go after.
The problem was, I left there with my dream of being a veterinarian dead. I no longer wanted it bad enough to go after it. But dreams have a way of re-inventing themselves. For years I simply did what life put in front of me and I didn’t realize that I was putting together a package of skills that I could later use to my advantage.
I drew. A little bit. I read. A lot. I studied. Everything under the sun. And life smacked me around hard enough to make me stubborn, opinionated, and bull-headed. All excellent qualities for building a business.
I’ve written about my son’s journey from being born disabled to becoming an artist. It’s titled Walk With Me and can be found at: www.ourhomestudio.com. It was when his journey and my journey clashed that something greater was born.
I turned to art as a way to counter stress. I took a lot of watercolor lessons during this phase. It was during a two-day workshop given by watercolor artist, Joe Fettingis, that I learned a profound lesson. I sat in the front row and we were painting a cat.
I remember so clearly the brush, the paint, the water. I was painting the cats eye and I slipped away to the place creative people go. Where time doesn’t exist. Where the whole world goes away and you’re cocooned in a soft, peaceful, wonderful place. The paint and the water did exactly what I needed it to do and I knew a moment of perfect joy.
Then I saw it. Right in front of me. Legs. I followed the legs upward and found Mr. Fettingis standing in front of the table watching me paint. I had a moment of absolute embarrassment like I’d been caught doing something I wasn’t supposed to. He was looking at my painting and the look on his face hit me like a ton of bricks.
He said, “I teach hundreds of students every year. Some have the touch. Some don’t. You do.”
That’s all he said. Simple words. Words I’d heard all my life when people would tell me I had talent. I didn’t believe them. It was that simple. But watching Mr. Fettingis. Seeing his face. I believed him and I left that class with a new mind set.
If I could paint in such a way that he complimented me when I knew that I had not held a paint brush for years. If I could do that without trying. What would happen if I tried?
I’m going to repeat that sentence because it holds the key. What would happen if I tried? I left that class. I went home. And I changed my life. I no longer flitted from thing to thing to thing. I decided that I didn’t want to be a person who did a lot of things okay. I decided I wanted to be a person who did something to the best of my ability. I was going to try and try hard.
I figured out that its not the destination that matters but the journey. I started to downsize my projects. I started to identify my goals. And I became a business. I’m still learning. I’m nowhere near where I want to be but I’ve started.
Nobody can tell me I should do something else. I’m not walking into anybody’s office and asking them how its done. I’m blazing my own trail and I swing a wicked machete. I’m going where I need to go and I love every step I take.