A new year, for most people, always starts with new resolutions. I chose instead to reflect. Last year, in just my third year of business I started off with really high expectations and quickly became doubtful, anxious and almost burnt out. I was going in a million directions and saying yes to a lot of new things. I was giving it all a try and in doing so, almost gave out completely. I realize now while I was learning so much about other aspects of my business, I had quit learning anything new when it came to my true love of making jewelry. Its hard to explain, but even though I was taking in more jobs and producing a lot of new pieces, the time at my bench didn't allow for playing, practicing and perfecting. Some jobs felt more like deadlines and I was losing some of my love for it all. That was frightening to me, because I can't imagine doing anything else besides making jewelry.
I was in jewelry school for almost two years with my teacher, Eddie, over my shoulder and guiding me every step of the way. When I moved home, Eddie and I were miles and miles apart and for the past three years, I have tried to do it all on my own. I call Eddie every now and then to ask questions and send him pictures of projects that are giving me a hard time, but for the most part I have relied on myself to figure it out. I have told myself many times that I didn't need to call and "bother" anyone, even Eddie. I should know what to do. I was in school for two years. I need to figure it out.
All that gibberish is my lovely little ego talking. She tells me I don't need to ask for help. Asking for help would be a sign of weakness. She is wrong. Two years ago, I took up yoga. The first thing I learned in the very first class was to leave my ego at the door. Apparently, I had been picking her right back up on the way out. When I look at my yoga practice I give myself so much more freedom to learn. Some days my body won't let me go deeper in the poses, sometimes I need adjusting from my instructor. I am more compassionate with myself there. My yoga teachers are continuously learning from other yoga teachers. After 20 years of practicing, they still go to learn new things and deepen their practice. They have their own gurus. The lightbulb in my heads turns on... Why haven't I given myself the same compassion in my business? Where do I find someone local to help me? Will they be willing to help me?
These are all questions that were answered towards the end of 2014. A friend of mine's father is a local jeweler and he has been telling me for quite sometime to come by and meet his dad. I always said, "yeah, sure, thank you". My pretty little ego told me not to "bother" him. One day last fall I didn't listen to her and I called my friend. I went to meet his dad and that day, Mr. Michael Clayton became my local teacher, mentor, my jewelry "guru". Over the last few months, he has been willing to give me his time, to show me ways to better my craft, teach me things I didn't know, and help me become a better jeweler.
I have fallen in love with jewelry making again and moving forward I will give myself the same compassion in my business as I do in my yoga practice. I will ask for help and allow myself to learn and to grow, to take each day as it comes, work with Mr. Clayton when he's available and be a sponge for as long as he will allow me to be. I know that the more I learn, the better I will become and the only limits in life are the ones I put on myself. I'm excited for what 2015 has in store and I hope that like me, you will never allow yourself to stop learning. To all my teachers who have helped me become a better version of myself and given to me their time and wisdom, I am truly grateful.