inoculations against setbacks

Good morning! I’m excited to say that this evening Susie and I will be at the FGI Chicago Rising Star Awards to find out whether Jess LC was named the rising star in jewelry this year. I have to admit, besides a dream I had the other night (in which I won the award), I haven’t given this too much thought. I’ve been thrilled to be nominated, but also completely clueless as to the judges’ criteria. So rather than repeat the debacle that was my fifth grade gym class one mile race,* I’ve taken a different path and left the award out of my head. It’s better to go in with an open mind than to fantasize or make assumptions either way.

That said, I have decided this morning to reflect on a technique that a good friend and University of Michigan career counselor gave me called “inoculations against setbacks.” The idea is basically to consider the possible obstacles one might have in a future situation and then come up with solutions and suggestions before the event actually happens. In preparing myself to consider both winning and losing the award ahead of time, I can help myself experience either outcome with a more positive, balanced, and objective perspective than if I just let my head run amok.

So, here’s what I’ve decided to consider in each outcome this evening:

If I win the award.

I will feel so honored to know that my efforts with Jess LC have been recognized by my industry and my city. I moved here three years ago with nothing but a small U-Haul of furniture and about $600 in the bank and “set up shop” – determined to make my business succeed. I also navigated a tough economy during the first year and a half of business. To see Jess LC recognized as one of the top Chicago jewelry companies just three years later proves that with a lot of hard work and determination, anything is possible.

Winning will also remind me that by being myself and putting myself out there with the jewelry design and with MML, I’m being authentic and 100% me. If I had won this award without MML in my life, all it would reflect is my ability to design pretty jewelry. And while design is incredible and something I am thankful for, I know that my win would also be attributed to the aid I give non-profits through Soc Chic and the inspiration that MML provides to readers and small-business owners.

If I don’t win the award.

Though it’s easy to say as I sit here in my cozy apartment that it won’t matter if I win or not, the reality is that when I’m sitting in that chair at the Hotel Sax at 8:30 this evening, it may will be hard to feel neutral. It’s natural to hope that I win. But, at the same time, I know that the bigger picture of my life and business is this: way before there was an award nomination I moved to Chicago with practically nothing, worked to support myself fresh out of college, and devoted over half of my working hours since January of 2009 to helping others design a life with intention simply because that is what I’m meant to do.

And though I don’t make much money off of my purpose at this point in time, I know that Jess LC has served as an inspiration to many people who would like to be small-business owners themselves. That positive impact was made before the award nomination and will continue after the award winner is announced. I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing with my life, so there is no way I can consider myself a loser.

Try it yourself.

The next time you are in a situation where you may find yourself disappointed, upset, confused, or discouraged, try to inoculate yourself ahead of time and set your mind to what you’d like to think. That way in the heat of the moment, you can remind yourself of what’s really true for you.

*As a fifth grader, I “trained” for the one mile run for weeks and made it known to everyone in class that I planned to be the fastest girl. But during the race another girl shot out ahead and won the race. Her winning wasn’t such a big deal overall, but the fact that I was so sure that I’d win fed me a huge slice of humble pie.

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  1. GREAT advice!! Good luck tonight 🙂 Either way, you totally deserve the nomination (and the win!). Your jewelry is amazing!

  2. Jill

    So true Jess… Of course I wish you luck and would share your joy in winning, but look at it this way: if you walk out of there without an award tonight you didn’t lose anything. You walked in without one and out without one. You are the same person whether you win or lose. The achievements you have reached are remarkable either way!

  3. Piper

    So proud of you!!!! Win or lose – you’re AMAZING to me 🙂 Congrats – excited for you!!

  4. Oh my gosh! My best friend and I used to “train” for the one mile run, too! I remember doing it in middle school. Our gym teacher told us the mile run was next week and we thought by trying to run it once on our own we had “trained”! 🙂

    Good luck!!!

  5. Janene

    This is fantastic, and so timely for me! I’m in my final(!) quarter of grad school with two huuuuge projects to complete and present, and I can tell that this will help IMMMENSELY! Thanks for more great advice!

  6. Kate

    SUCH good advice while I’m going through such a stressful time at work! Thank you!

  7. Cathy

    I hope you’re having a fantastic time tonight! And as a lover of pink, I’m really enjoying the new palate.

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