LET'S UPDATE: The (long) story so far

Holy moly y'all. I totally did that thing in 2015 when you start a blog thinking you're going to keep up with it and after 4 months & 4 posts... I disappeared. I'm guessing this didn't crush your world as I'm pretty sure only about 3 people read them anyways, but I apologize. Let's update:

To back up a little: In Feb 2014 I left my full time endeavors to go out on my own full time. It was actually Valentines day and I will never forget the older man at the parking garage handing out roses, just to make someone's day– and it made mine. So much so, that I took those positive vibes all the way to my boss's office for the awkward conversation of "... I'm not happy & you're spending way too much money to keep me here, & this cycle needs to end..." or at least that's always how it felt in my head.

The same week I left my job, the universe threw 1 potential interview & 1 full job offer at me, offering me more money than I'd ever made– 6 figure money– the kind that makes you pace a lot and call everyone you know to clarify if you're crazy or not because you're 90% sure you're turning it all down. Seriously, I sometimes still feel the pains in my gut.

Also that week, I was granted the reigns to bring CreativeMornings Nashville into the world! Something I had worked on since 3+ months prior. It all seemed like the timing I needed.

In 2014 I took the ride– ux clients, illustration clients, anything anyone needed clients. I was hungry and excited. Drew and I got married in June which slowed down work and seemed pretty crazy to do when my income had never been lower, but I wouldn't change a thing– outdoor mountain wedding & alpaca farm honeymoon & all.

I joined a mastermind group that held me accountable every week and I reconnected with art supplies I hadn't picked up since college. I finally got to watch Friday Night Lights! In October I attended the first ever CreativeMornings Summit for all hosts and teams globally. By far the most powerful week I've spent in NYC and it helped shape me for many many months to come.

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In 2015 I started to take less clients but be more intentional about the work I was doing. In the beginning of the year I thought I still wanted to do merch and illustration for bands. It only took until February to realize, Nope! Not so much. I was fortunate to have 1 ux client for a handful of projects that paid for most of my year– when they decided to pay me. I started to get into more "self help" type blogs, books, ted talks, mostly geared towards career. I consumed as much as I could. I started reading The Fire Starter Sessions, Elle Luna, The Great Discontent, Simon Sinek and a lot more of Seth Godin. I took Simon Sinek's Why Course & Seth Godin's Udemy class and started to crack the book of me. Why I want to create the things I create, how I can create value for others... the real picture at these two courses are vast, so let's just say the lessons from them stuck with me for well over a year as I worked through this struggle of making good work.

2015 is a complete blur. It was mainly a lot of work, a lot of lessons, a lot of having my head down and powering through. In that year I did do a lot of soul searching on my company with Drew, M.I.D. Goods. It was that year we changed our name and started to think about what we we're doing as a company. Something that had always been on the side, but I really saw as an outlet for our growth as artists. I had started the state flower series previously and tested products at markets, but it wasn't until the end of 2015 that we realized we could be onto something worthwhile. I decided that I would start naming all my years with the big lesson I wanted to focus on each year. 2015 was FOCUS. I wanted to try new things and see what fit and learn to discard what didn't. I really wanted to learn and have a plan to work from. 

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In 2016 I started out my year a little more intentional and wanting to learn more about M.I.D., my path, and my focus. So I decided it would be my year of PURPOSE– and I dug in deep.

January-March are always slow, so I took that time to create new work for our state flower series and possibly one of my favorite things I've ever created. I read a lot about wholesale and retail and the world I knew I would soon be diving into. We took our first vacation in 8?ish years to the Florida Keys with my family and I did not miss work ONE BIT. It honestly concerned me a little, as I wanted vacation to make me feel rested and energized but it kind of did the opposite. I really wasn't eager to return to routines and projects, I didn't know what was wrong. Thankfully I had a big project come in and take over my summer-fall months and let me make some money and not worry too hard about my personal work for a bit. It was a nice escape. 

In 2016 I learned about Brené Brown and listened to Rising Strong. Holy moly, the lessons. I also read The Servant, a really great book about leadership recommended by my mom, and I started to learn about Enneagrams. In August, Drew & I were accepted into the Creative Startups program to work on our business model and ALL things small creative business. It was amazing, but it also lead to many more months of soul searching and questioning. To be honest, even now in January 2017, I just feel like we're starting to stand strong on our own feet as the company we know we want to be. IT'S HARD WORK! It's also some of the most rewarding work I've ever done.

2016 was a big big year for self work, self reflection, and just being ok with the process. In our second CreativeMornings Summit in November I started to put things into action that I had only attempted previously that year. Things like trust & delegation for my teams, and meditation for myself. Near the end of the year I was constantly writing and telling myself, "You're honestly doing ok." This is when I realized how much I need to practice Grace.

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& Here we are. 2017. Rip roaring in my year of GRACE. Where I feel like in just a month I've already learned so many lessons– and with the past few years of writing just to process things for myself, I believe I'm ready to process them to share, because I do believe there's a way I can help others with any of the things I go through. So I'll work on my schedule & we'll get moving. 

Thanks for reading (seriously, this was so long) You're incredible.

If you did make it this far, let me know what you'd like to hear me ramble & share about!

AWB