Friday, July 26, 2013

when we think we want something and we don't really want it ....

cuddly rigor mortis locket (my new lunch buddy)
Ever since India Arie said on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday a few weeks ago,

"If you think you want it and you don't really want it, it makes you weaker."

it has been gnawing at me.

She was talking about a certain level of success, about the kind of "showing up" that is necessary to have that and about the spaces in us that sabotage the other spaces.

(well, I don't really know if that is what she was saying, what with my lack of focus and total disappearance of short-term memory situation, but that was what I was hearing)

I have always known there is a little resistant part of me that wants to stay put, that doesn't want to stand out, that thinks this blog is a little too know-it-ally now - a space in me that was much more comfortable when I was just whining on Wednesdays, that gets a little tense when a big thinker tells me how much more I could be doing.

The space that pretends we don't know what we want or that what we have is what we want because really wanting what we want would be pretty freakin' painful (and yes, I'll say it, embarrassing) if we didn't get it.

Especially since we live in a world where we can see other people getting it - am I the only person with Facebook friends who are always doing the most amazing things - was everybody else always doing all this awesomeness while I sat on my porch watching ants - I think I might have been happier not knowing this ...  

Or the space that pretends we do want it, because what are we a slacker, shouldn't we want that!

I've held this space for decades. I've nurtured it.

I've never thought about it the way she said it though - I think it was the word weaker that stopped me in my tracks.

I had an Etsy shop owner a few months ago ask me for some selling advice and she told me immediately she wanted to net $50,000 a year selling her jewelry which was priced at about $30 a piece. A quick estimate told me (assuming her raw goods and expense costs were about 30%, which I just totally made up) she would need to sell about 2500 pcs of jewelry a year retail or about double that number wholesale to make $50,000.

She was currently selling about 10 pcs a week.

Going from 10 pcs a week to 50 - 100 pcs a week would be a pretty big change for her - I asked her how much time she thought that would take (for me, and you may need more time than this you don't have Olive after all, I calculate 3 hours of total work for every 1 hour of production), if she could even source her raw materials for these kind of numbers, is she had the funds to support that kind of growth (it actually does cost money to make money), 

how she would double her retail sales and maybe pick up 3 wholesale orders a week?

People might think - "well, I'd still like to have such problems" when actually these are exactly the kind of problems that put a lot of good businesses out of business.

(whether we go out of business because of too few customers or too many, we are still out of business

They are also the kind of problems that some space in us sees even before we do and says "I'm not sure I want that."

I'm sure she thought I was being negative and we never spoke again. I was trying to get her positive (the definition of positive that means certain) with her intention and looking at what this would actually mean - to see what kind of stuff this brought up in her - because it was exactly the stuff that came up that would create her roadblocks.

She was very certain she didn't want to hire any employees or do any outdoor shows and immediately looking at her numbers and looking at what she made - she wasn't putting a made-in-China pendant on a made-in-China chain like at least half the jewelry makers on Etsy are now - my immediate reaction was that it would be a lot of work and I wondered if some part of her was realizing this and blocking the process.

Some space in her that really didn't want to step into that life; some space that found it easier to say "this just isn't working" than to make the changes so that it can work or really look at whether or not she even wanted it to.

If we think we want something - maybe because we think we should want it - or maybe because part of us really does want it but other spaces in us are holding resistance to it, and we don't really want it (making and selling 2500-5000 pieces of anything a year all by ourselves is a whole lot of work, folks), it weakens us.

It's this polarity (and not the amazing locket - warning shameless plug ahead - have you seen this) that creates the self-sabotage or the unhappiness; the negative emotions from the resistance not what we actually do. Of course, the actions come from the emotions so it all goes full circle, but even a circle probably has a space where we can just jump in (or jump off) - think of that spinning ride at the playground.

I am still not sure where I am going with this thinking. I know we can tell what it is we are really wanting by the way it makes us feel

the problem is that so many things that could be really good things, can bring up fear in us. It seems like things can initially feel bad (as in scary, mostly) so we don't think we can always trust our feelings to go with what feels good

We have seen the bad stuff work out and the good stuff go all to hell.

We think we should feel the fear and do it anyway. But then life becomes one challenge after another and I'm not so sure things should be that hard. Maybe changing the emotion from fear to excitement (joy would be even better) before taking action helps eliminate the resistance that creates the sabotage; it will be a lot easier to change the emotion than to rewrite our personal history.

I have to keep thinking about this. Or I have to stop thinking about this. I think I have to stop thinking about this - whatever it is I am intended to get out of it will show up in an easier way for me to grasp.

(hopefully covered in something kind of grippy, I have dropped 2 test tubes in the last 24 hours). 

Have a wonderful weekend everyone - it's summer, so relax and let's enjoy it - actually don't even read this post - it is way too much to think about in late July ...

9 comments:

KJ said...

Those were very practical questions Cat- I knew you had it in you. :)

Of course I always reply to the statements which let me say "I believe in magic," so you know what I think is important.

Actually, I think all of it is important.

I created an Etsy store and never put anything in it. It was a fall-back position for me when I was unemployed/under employed. It was my imaginary safety net and it worked well in that capacity.

Maybe what you should be asking is Why? not What. Why did she want to sell jewelry? On Etsy? and make $50,000/year doing it? I think we often confuse ourselves by jumping to our goals without figuring out why they are our goals in the first place.

My whys: I like to make beautiful things. I truly enjoy the ohs and ahs and the compliments I get when I show off my creations. (Blogs are great for that.) Money spent on my jewelry is another way to compliment. I do not want my creating to be a job, a task that must be done. I am driven by the desire to help those less fortunate than myself. I enjoy the labor of my mind; I excel at it. I need the escape of my creativity. (Yes, they do sometimes converge.) For me, selling my creations here and there fits well with why I make jewelry.

So, Cat, why do you want whatever it is you want?

Catherine Ivins said...

Well ... you know it killed me to be practical and ask such no-nonsense questions as that - she really felt like a no-nonsense kind of girl to me and I thought having her look at the practical aspects of making $50,000 from a $20 profit item might shake her up and maybe it did because she never replied.

You know that's exactly what I really wanted to ask was why she is making jewelry and why Etsy - Etsy is a great place to meet like minded people and get support from other creatives - maybe not such a great place to make $50,000 a year. When I saw Etsy I couldn't not sell there - I just totally fell in love with it - it was smaller then, I'm not sure stumbling upon it today would make me feel the same; it might. I ditched my makings and thought up new makings - the ideas came to me just like magic - geared to their demographic I just loved Etsy.

If it was about the money I would surely have mucked it up; no magic.
But that's me (Cancer north node) - some people need to focus on the money, maybe she does - I never caught her birthday :)

When I worked at the bank I wanted more time - my daughter was younger I had no time. When I left the bank and had more time, working just seasonally at my mall carts, I wanted more money. Now, although both of these are still on my radar - could I lay on a beach with a million dollars and be happy - yes, but not for long .... I need to be creating. I want to create something important.

The problem with wanting to create something important is, since it is highly unlikely I will be creating a cure for cancer, I need to know what will feel important to me ... this is the tricky place I sit except I am more like bursting out of my skin than sitting these days ...

I love that you are doing what you love to do and what you excel at and that you are helping other people - it is truly inspirational and really all there is to it Kathy xo

Orion Designs said...

Cat -- I actually love this post. I could have been that girl -- at several different points in my jewelry making career.

Early on in the jewelry making, I thought I wanted something bigger. I wasted a lot of energy wondering why other people seemed to be doing so much more business than I was. The key word there was "seemed". What did I know about their business, really? Not much, and once I figured that out, I stopped caring.

Focusing on my own business and realizing that what I had was exactly what I wanted, was freeing. As I said, this has happened more than once in the 15+ years I've been doing this.

I hope I'm done with that. It's exhausting. That girl? Maybe she started another shop selling charm-on-chain stuff and is making her $50,000. Or not.
Vicki

Catherine Ivins said...

I agree Vicki - the other people "seemed" to be doing better - is the thing to get - realizing this is all smoke and mirrors we are looking at.

Wanting what we have is the key that unlocks the door to what we want - and realizing this is all a process - no end-zone, no finish line, the same lessons again in new forms even when we think we've learned them, life is just fascinating!

More and bigger are just the things that keep us feeling bad about ourselves - you have said it very well, my friend. xo

DancingMooney ♥ said...

I was gone this weekend so I'm catching up on your posts now, but had a similar conversation with my husband recently (who works on commission)... he want's to make more money, but that means more traveling, being gone more often, working harder, etc, etc... and I told him, maybe making more money isn't what's going to make you happier. Not that we wouldn't LOVE to have more money in the bank, but maybe it's not really about the money at all. To me it has always been about the lifestyle. We can't afford extravagant things, but we make plenty of time to enjoy ourselves, and have everything we need right here, simple as it may be. Anything more is a blessing, but should not be a curse, to try and get it. Totally agree.

DancingMooney ♥ said...

p.s. being someone who makes jewelry from a made in china pendant and a made in china chain, has me rethinking some of it myself... not that those silly flower cabs don't make me smile when I see how cute they are, but it's also important to me to get back to using the materials I had in mind from the beginning, which was always vintage/upcycled. I need to make time for this... or maybe someday, just let it go.

Catherine Ivins said...

"Anything more is a blessing, but should not be a curse, to try and get it." exactly - the process is the most important part since we can't really control the outcome anyway ... nothing wrong in the least with pendant to chain, then it becomes all about branding and packaging and your own take on it - I was just thinking she wasn't doing that and that the production for those numbers was going to be killer without help ...

Catherine Ivins said...

I shouldn't have said china-made, maybe I'll delete that, I wasn't thinking of that as a negative, more of a positive like she could source less expensive, higher volume materials if that was what she was doing- of course, then a lot of other people would have access to the same sources - you probably can't even get certain chain or pendant pieces made here ....

DancingMooney ♥ said...

Yes, but it still eats at me because I never intended for things to turn out that way with the jewelry... I'd be more happy with a mix of materials, I used to be really good about it, but jewelry got put on the back burner a long time ago, and I am quietly trying to get back into it. I've always loved simple style, so it was hard for me to accept and all myself a jewelry maker, for simply hanging a charm from a chain... I can't help but feel like my stuff looks just like everyone else's though. I wasn't offended at all by your comment, it's true the materials are less expensive and more accessible... but that's the problem! Nothing unique about it. :)

Glad to see this thing didn't go *poof* and disappear.

Enjoy the rest of your week hun. xo!