The Joy of Choosing Your Own Path

Post by Michaela Cristallo for the Kindness in Business series.


print by CharlyClements on etsy

The Joy of Choosing Your Own Path

When I first started my business a little over a year ago I had big plans. After almost three years studying for my Diploma in Fashion Design and another year and a half planning out my fashion label to be, I had a very distinct idea of how my business would look.

The funny thing is that despite all my planning, things have changed dramatically in the last year to the point where what I’m doing today is very different to my original plan. The evolution of my business since its beginnings hasn’t always come easily, and after countless months of trepidation, second guessing and uncertainty I have learnt a big lesson – the greatest joy in building a business from a place of love is that you can steer it in any direction you choose.

Well laid plans (or so I thought)

I leapt into my business with an absolute jump of joy last July. I had been stuck working a 9-5 job in the corporate world in the year leading up to my escape and I couldn’t be more excited to get started. I’d done a lot of planning in preparation and had fabric suppliers, designs and ideas ready to go!

As soon as I started though, things quickly started to change. Plans I had spent months formulating were altered, and designs I thought I had finalised changed. In fact in those first few months my business shifted quite a lot before arriving at a destination, or so I thought.

Expectations and indecision

My first six months in business found me some success and some failure. I designed a beautiful collection of sustainable women’s garments for summer and showed them at one of the biggest designer markets in my city. But in the months following I felt torn about my next step. While I was happy with the beautiful collection I had designed for my first season, I felt the pull to focus in on what I loved designing best – accessories.

Though I knew focusing on making accessories was calling me, and what I truly wanted to do, I felt resistance. I felt pressured to keep going with what I had decided on. I felt that maybe I was giving up on designing clothes too quickly and that all my years of study and planning would be in vain. I also felt the weight of others expectations, and that perhaps they too would feel I had given up.

My ultimate salvation

I’d been grappling with these thoughts for weeks when I poured my heart out to a good friend, and fellow design based business owner. I told her of my frustrations and the decision I was struggling with. Halfway through my confused mutterings the wisest words and my ultimate salvation came. “You don’t need to ask anyone for permission to make this decision Michaela, it’s yours. Do what you feel is right.”

All this time, in my anxiety, I had been looking for validation. I had been desperately searching for someone to tell me it was ok to shift gears and change course. What I hadn’t realised though is that everything I needed to make the decision was within me. I’d just been too caught up in the web of expectations and confusion to realise it.

In celebration of what I love

With her words in mind, I set out on my new path and I’ve been going strong ever since. For all my worry about giving up too quickly, and dwelling on the perceived expectations of others, my new direction has been well received. While my products might have changed, at its heart what I do is still the same. I’ve simply refined my business to its core, and moved forward in celebration of the very best parts.

You can steer your business in any direction you choose

My first year in business has had ups and downs but I’ve come away with the most valuable lesson. When you run your own creative business you can steer it in any direction you choose. And in that freedom is power, joy and love.

Building a business from a place of love isn’t about setting out your direction and tirelessly executing a rigid plan. It’s about the freedom to go with your instincts, act from your heart and make your venture something you love.

Things change and it’s impossible to plan out every detail from where you are, to where you’ll be. Plans are great, but they’re just a start. They’re the beginning to your wonderful adventure, but they’re not all there is.

Everything you need is within you

If you’re struggling with a decision and wondering whether changing direction is the right thing to do, remember that you don’t need anyone else’s permission to take action. Everything you need is within you, so act now and don’t look back. You have the freedom to steer your business in any direction you choose.

Are you struggling with a decision? Thinking of changing course with your business or life but not sure if you should take the leap? Share your experiences in the comments below.

 


Michaela Cristallo inspires people to live their creative passions every day at For the Creators. Head on over to For the Creators to connect with a community of creative people from around the world and grab your free copy of The Creator’s Manifesto.

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