piper’s dream report: week six

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Where to start, there’s so many things I want to talk about and share.  I wanted to tell you all about my week and what I worked on (and the ups and downs associated with that!!).  But then I realized that I also want to share with you some thoughts I’ve been having because I wonder if you’ve had them too.

I spent the week and weekend working hard to narrow down all the artists and designers I had compiled.  I printed out images of products from all the artists and designers I would like to carry in the store and then spread them out across our dining room table.  In theory this seems like it would be fun (which it was!)…but the reality is that I spent days and days trying to figure out which products should stay and which need to go…and after all that time I only ended up narrowing it down to 50 artists!  What am I opening, a mini West Elm?!   (well, I’d certainly like too…but I don’t think it’s in my budget to do so!!)

So I was stuck and this made me doubt myself.  So instead of mustering through, I started distracting myself by reading articles about people who have achieved their dreams.  Which led me to say something I’ve said for years but never realized how truly powerful it is (and not in a good way!).  It’s a simple statement but powerful.  “I wish I could be them”

Wow, right?  I’ve done it for years (and even my husband and friends have called me out on it)  And honestly, it’s not something I truly mean – I love my life.  But I’ve always had that thought that the grass is way greener over in the successful entrepreneur’s yard.  Like they all got some special fertilizer that us normal folks didn’t.  And this special fertilizer gave them all the tools they needed to live out their dreams.

So for years I have poured over any magazine article that even remotely talks about people who are living their dreams or who have done something with their passion.  I’ve ripped these articles out and have kept them in a file for inspiration.  I’ve even managed to read through an impressive number of books by people who are living their dream or encouraging others to do the same.  I’ve collected these articles and instead of really focusing on what they were saying, I would just think to my self “Wouldn’t it be great to be them?”

I even started an interview series on my blog called “Taking the Leap” where I interview entrepreneurs, artists, bloggers, you name it, to find out how they started and what advice they can share.  And I’ve looked to all these people and again felt like if I could just get a hold of this special thing they all have, then I could finally live out my dream.

But through blogging and telling my story here and hearing from Jess (who constantly inspires me!) and the people I’ve interviewed, something clicked this week for me.  I actually was hearing what they were saying.  And guess what I was finally hearing?  They’re all human and have worries and challenges just like the rest of us!  The only difference is that they don’t let those things stop them.  That’s the amazing part!  And what I should have been focusing on all these years!

There’s nothing magical that they’ve been given…they just keep taking action and moving forward NO MATTER WHAT.  Even if it’s not perfect or it’s just a small little step or they’re trying something new…they take action.  They don’t let things get in the way of pursuing their dream.  And you know what’s even more interesting to me?  They don’t have all the answers!  I’ve always assumed that successful entrepreneurs magically know how to do things and know everything about their business.  But the more I’m learning from them, the more I’m finding out that they don’t necessarily know the answers…but that doesn’t stop them from moving forward.  While I find if I don’t know the answer, I feel stuck and doubt myself.  But they seem to know what their strengths and weaknesses are and they accept that at face value and move on.

And so this week I did something uncharacteristic of me…without it being perfect by any means and with all 50 artists on there, I sent the “pseudo catalog” I created of all the product lines I’m thinking of carrying to the consultant.  Basically I admitted I need some help and guidance.  And maybe that’s part of what it takes to be an entrepreneur.  Even though I feel kind of disappointed in myself for not having all the answers, I got myself unstuck.  The consultant emailed back with some questions for me and some thoughts for me to consider and that helped to get me moving again.  Of course the questions and thoughts she had for me are still unanswered things for me to figure out…so it feels a bit like climbing a mountain, getting to the top and then finding out it’s just the first hill.  Things like branding and the feeling and aesthetic I’m trying to convey through my store…and still getting my artists narrowed down!  So I’m still feeling overwhelmed.  But I’m trying to remember what clicked for me this week…I have to at least act like an entrepreneur and keep taking action no matter what!  And the best part…I met last week’s goal!  This week’s goals are:

● Continue narrowing down product lines

● Start working on answering questions regarding what I want my store to look & feel like, the overall aesthetic and who my customer may be.

I would love to know your thoughts – do you ever find yourself thinking the grass is greener?

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  1. Absolutely! And I keep thinking: why is their grass greener? What is the “thing” that they know, and I dont? On the other hand I know, that these thoughts take away energy from moving forward, to go on my own way. I know, that I have to deal with my business if I want to move on, instead of constantly asking “why” others’ work. But I just dont _feel_ it most of the times. And I think feeling the right way/path/route is more important thank knowing it.

  2. Hi there-

    This is a great post and one that I think we can all relate to. It’s normal to look at another person’s life and think the grass is greener on their side… but it’s all an appearance. There will always be a struggle or a hump to get over no matter what stage in life you are in… whether you are a success or not. To get to a certain level of success often means compromising some other facet of your life… and if these so-called “success” stories are not okay with the price they had to pay… to them your grass may be greener. I think it’s important to just appreciate the life you are living now… because if you can’t enjoy the journey… you won’t enjoy the destination.

  3. I think one reason the grass always seems greener is because most people only share the good in their public persona and public interactions. So you never see the struggle behind the success, you never see all of the trials and tribulations and heartache that went into building that successful venture.

    In this day and age, with everyone being their own publicist on the Internet, you almost have to look at it like you would celebrities. We see this bright beautiful faces on magazines and in movies, but that’s just their public persona. They have problems just like the rest of us, but we don’t see that, because it’s not any of our business. Same with any entrepreneur. Just because we don’t see the messy stuff doesn’t mean that it’s not there.

  4. I absolutely 100% have “grass is greener syndrome”. I think we all have this to some extent. I can totally identify with you on thinking that most successful entrepreneurs have it completely figured out, where in reality that’s not the case at all. They just put the pedal to the metal and put their thoughts into action. Great message in this post Piper!

  5. Stephanie

    Your truthfulness is so freshing and inspiring!

  6. April

    I am truly enjoying your postings. I’m really in the same boat you are…just several years older (and we’ll just leave it at that!). I’ve been dreaming of opening my own business for years. But first my (now ex) husband got to open his, then we got divorced, now I’m the only income for me and my two boys. BUT in reading your posts, I’ve been inspired to take steps…so far I’ve met with the HR of my (long time) employment and also with a rep for our retirement fund to find out just how I can roll my funding into a business. I’ve also started writing up my business plan. I too read everything I can get my hands on about others who’ve started a business…but this is the farthest I’ve ever got plast tearing out pictures and keeping them in my “I Wish” file…thanks for the inspiration Piper!!

  7. beki

    Thanks for this post, this is exactly what I needed to hear today.

  8. Flavia

    I can definitely relate to this post! I, too, have often wondered what sort of special genes some of the most successful people have, but ultimately it really is about taking action regardless of your depth of knowledge, and not letting fear take over! Enjoying seeing your progress here.

  9. Leigh

    I remember going to an alum event my college theater department held one year after I graduated. I was nervous and talking to my professor and made some self-deprecating comment. Something sarcastic about “living the dream.” He turned to me and said, “But Leigh, you are living the dream. You’re living in New York City and assistant directing. That was the dream.” And since then, when I feel myself being sarcastic about where I am, I hear his voice. I try to stop and think, am I already there? Am I already living the dream?

    So Piper, there’s no need to be jealous of anyone else. You are living the dream. Right now. It’s the beginning and you don’t have a store yet, but this is still the dream. Because you’ve committed to opening the store, you’ve already started living the dream. Enjoy it. Love it. Go with it.

  10. Emma Jo

    First: I loveee your posts, Piper!!
    And the grass is more organized on the other side, that’s what I always think, 😛 because I’m such an unorganized person I always envy that (being able to know what to do, see the goal and reach for, it in that order). Because I am pretty satisfied right at this moment, being able to exhibit my first lamp at the stockholm furniture fair this february, having a product published in PLaza magazine and finishing my examination project with a product that’s going into production..all of which I thought I’d NEVER finish in my entire life I’ve done in less than 1 year.

    I found myself yesterday (my first free day in ages!!) looking back at what I had accomplished and I was actually awed at how much I’ve grown these past months. And I’ve realized that deadlines are my best friend. I hate them, to be frank, but without them I’d probably still be sitting with my first project agonizing over “is it good enough?”,I’ve realized that some things you just have to DO instead of thinking it over and over and over again. As I’ve said to you before, Jillian Michaels is my source of inspiration, she said:
    “Why are you choosing failure when success is an option?”

    That’s when I chose. 😀

  11. Jenny

    Wow, this is a great post – like everyone else has said, we all feel this way. It’s good to remember others struggle and have their issues too. I’m learning to let go of my fears and perfectionism – it’s an ongoing process. As always, love reading your posts!

  12. Three cheers for feeling the fear and doing it anyway! People who live large make me giddy about living. Thanks!! :

  13. Heather

    I can relate to this post as well. I think in so many things it’s learning to be inspired and motivated by others and no comparing ourselves, that we never know the whole story of what goes on. Small steps forward build up into the big things! I have done that looking at what others are doing and l find that when I compare and don’t get to the heart of what I admire about them ( and it almost always come to courage to live in their vision) that if I don’t do that I just beat myself up and that does nobody any good. So like you I am learning not to do that and remember they are human and probably on some level went through the exact same thing I am, will and have felt.
    You are doing great! Are you taking that time for self care and celebrating?

  14. Anna

    Kudos to you, Piper for getting yourself unstuck and for realizing the people you admire also had challenges too. I am so happy to hear your AHA moment and realize that you need to keep on going even though all of the answers may not be there now, they will. I have always thought the grass is greener when I dream about my “dream job”. Each job comes with its own set of challenges and challenges are good. If it comes easy, then we won’t learn from our mistakes and then we won’t grow. Keep growing. I admire you for your courage for starting your own business.

  15. You are definitely not alone! I think it’s one of the downsides to the blogging world, but I’m sure the earliest entrepreneurs felt the same way too. There is just so much talent and success that we’re aware of now, it’s easy to get distracted and feeling like the good things “happen” to other people. While there is always a little luck involved, I’m sure every one of those people we ready about has had this feeling too, only they pushed by it! You’re one step ahead by realizing this now 🙂 And thanks to bloggers like Jess who keep it real, we know that we’re not alone!

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