More options ≠ more joy

Ever heard that phrase “quality over quantity”? I don’t know about you, but I hate going to a restaurant with a vast menu. I always think to myself, “No place can do EVERYTHING well!” Sometimes I‘m proved right, and then other times I might have just chosen their one-of-three specialty dishes and hit the jackpot. Either way, this concept is one I’ve been exploring a lot lately.

Being a small business owner, I’m used to wearing a lot of hats, but as your business grows you begin to realise that nobody can wear every hat with style and grace. To be honest, juggling so many tasks was taking its toll on my mental, emotional and physical health. So, I’ve been on a mission to learn to delegate and find professionals in certain fields to take over aspects of my business - giving me the space to focus on being the creative head of my company (the whole reason I started a creative business in the first place).

Handing over certain tasks hasn’t been easy by any means. I’ve always set high standards for myself, and letting go feels like I’m being slack or unambitious, but I realised that my insistence on trying to prove myself (to whom? I don’t know!) in every avenue of my business meant that I became the ceiling. My company couldn’t grow past the amount of tasks I could juggle with the hours in a day, days in a week, weeks in a month we’ve all been given.

I’m reminded of an incredible point I overheard my pottery teacher making to one of my fellow students in class recently. She said that it’s so easy to look on Pinterest or Instagram and see the wealth of options out there for creative projects to try, and clump all the options together as if one person did them all - and that, in turn, you should be expected to try and perfect each one of those techniques yourself. What we don’t see is the curation it took for each artist to decide on one medium, method and skill to stick to. And then to spend days, months and even years honing those skills to create beautiful products that inspire us on social media. The trouble is, we see all of these incredible skills on our feed and think we need to try them all. A millennial problem I know, but one that I think we can all relate to.

I’m SO guilty of this. On top of admitting to this in my business, I have to admit that it has leaked into other areas of my life too. I’m an avid crafter and love trying out new creative hobbies. But I’ve totally fallen prey to the expectation that I need to try everything I see. A pastime that started out as fun and joyful, became steeped in high expectations and impossible goals. And I’ve identified three downsides to these high expectations - 

  1. I never felt fulfilled in any one craft, because as I tried that one craft, I was already seeing and thinking of the next one I should try. I could never settle into current contentment and enjoy what was in my hands.
  2. I struggled to hone one specific skill or craft because I was always onto the next one.
  3. I was never convinced of my talents and skills because, while some talents are God-given, they ALL take practice and dedication (even the God-given ones)! So, because I wasn’t devoting my time to any one skill that I found pure joy in, I never felt convinced of my aptitude in any of them. And so the saying goes... “quality over quantity”

So, as I scrolled Pinterest the other day, I felt this weird pressure looming over me. I found I was asking myself when I could squeeze in time to try a new craft or cook a new meal. I stopped my performance-driven mind in its tracks and tried to just simply enjoy all the beautiful things I saw on my screen for what they are - beautiful things made my talented people. People who are not me. People who I am not, and never have to be. I get to be me.

I’m on a path to explore my own uniqueness and gifting. I’m planning to spend less time scrolling and more time honing my own skills and talents, not somebody else’s. If you’d like to join me on the journey, you can read this online journal and follow me on Instagram. I’ll be sharing my projects and the journey I’m on here. I decided to explore three main gifts. These three areas have been intrinsic to my creative journey from a young age. This is how I knew they were “the ones”, not just the next flashy craft/medium that caught my eye. This doesn’t mean I’ll never try a new craft again; or that I’ll stop those pottery classes because they’re FUN. But that’s just the thing - it’s about getting the joy back and not feeding the pressure to perform and do MORE. I’m so excited to share more of this journey with you! I’ll be sharing those three things soon soon...

Thanks for reading.

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