Today we are going to stray a little from the projects and thrifty finds, and dig a little deeper talking about something that has been on my mind as a creative business owner both of this blog as well as Sweet Clover. I want to address community over competition and share 3 steps to a positive creative fellowship. I have always believed that there are enough consumers to go around and that we all win when creative business owners lift each other up and celebrate together.
Recently, I became aware of the Rising Tide Society. I started reading their blog, joined their group on facebook, and attend my local Tuesdays Together when my schedule allows. This society’s foundation is community over competition and the name comes from a JFK quote, “A rising tide lifts all boats.”
In my life I see competition and comparison overtake many and affect them negatively… I see this in the blog world, in the local shop community, and also within the walls of my own store sometimes. And I am by no means innocent here…. I have fallen victim to the comparison game before. And it’s not a fun place to be. When I start to compare myself I start to feel unworthy. I see myself as lesser and that makes me lesser.
Today I am going to talk about ways in which we can work together to create community, and also ways that we can work on our individual personal growth to quiet the voices of comparison in our heads.
1. The Bustling Downtown Effect
What I refer to as the bustling downtown effect can be applied literally and metaphorically. As a shop owner, I want to work together with local creative shop owners to create a region that is a huge draw. I network with local vintage shop owners and in the past have created events with them as well. When one business is succeeding, that is wonderful; but when all others around them fail and lose out to the competition, what is left to the downtown but one lonely store. And one store is not enough to draw people to a downtown, is it? If we work together and lift up each other’s shops and cross market, we create a haven for consumers and a great place to get away to. For me personally, we all work together to put Frederick, Maryland on the map as a place to visit…. vintage shops like Sweet Clover, Chartreuse & Co, The Old Lucketts Store all within a short driving distance from the downtown Frederick which has a variety of great shops including my personal favorite, Silk & Burlap.
This effect applies to blogging and other creative businesses as well. Think about all of the blog hops, especially this time of year as Fall home tour hops abound! I will be participating in two over the next couple of weeks. If I were to put a Fall home tour up one day by myself not as a part of a hop, I would think it would be lonely and not well attended. However, if I work with a community of bloggers, and we share our homes together, linking to one another, we offer our readers a variety of creative homes to view and we share the love!
Work with your creative community, celebrate their victories, their beautiful blogs, gorgeous storefronts and merchandise, and praise them! Not only will you feel wonderful in doing so, but together as a community you will be much more powerful to your consumers and readers.
2. Celebrate Your Personal Journey
It’s easy to look around and see successful creatives everywhere…. etsy shops that seem to be swimming in orders, local shops that have huge followings, blogs that are so big and beautiful and seem to be “in” on every blog hop, instagram follows, and more. When we look at others in admiration of what they’ve created in their following and brand, sometimes that little niggle of jealousy creeps in and we tell ourselves, “I will never be that good. I will never be enough.”
Quiet those voices! You are enough! Remember that your journey will follow your own winding path and you cannot compare it to someone else’s. You may have a similar goal, but a different way of achieving that goal and that is OK, because you are a unique individual. And when you doubt that you will achieve those goals, look behind you. See how far you have already come and appreciate the work you’ve put into your journey so far and keep on going!
And remember that the individual who may look like they have everything you want is no better of a human being than you are. And you are no better than they are. We are different people and you can not compare apples to oranges. Do not let yourself feel inferior, but do not make others feel inferior either in order to make yourself feel superior. We are all in this together.
3. Practice Gratitude
This is one that I am working on right now personally. I have decided to start a gratitude journal and create an entry each morning right when I wake up and each night immediately before bed so that I can start and end each day on a positive note, appreciating what I have. In our busy lives, being grateful can be surpassed by to-dos, have-nots, and just plain utter fatigue! If you don’t have time to write a journal, carve out just a minute to send up a little prayer of thanks, meditate, reflect… it can be in your car on your way to work and can be something so simple, like “I am grateful for this coffee which warms my belly, wakes me up, smells fabulous, and starts my day right!” Or it can be something deeper…. stop and take time to appreciate all that you DO have. Because when you look around and really think about it, you are truly blessed and have so much to be grateful. When you appreciate your own small blessings, celebrating others and feeling adequate starts to come naturally.
Yesterday morning I started my labor day with a 5:15 run with friends. I had a stressful weekend, but starting my day with people I love who were there to listen to me lifted my spirits. When I returned home, I started my journal and expressed thanks that I have these ladies in my life and that I have legs that work. And after that run and writing down my note of thanks, my own spirits were lifted and I felt once again capable of doing hard things.
This is not by any means a sponsored post, but I highly recommend to all of my creative business owning friends or those thinking of starting one to check out the Rising Tide Society. I just truly believe in what they are doing. I just love this quote from Muhammad Ali Jinnah, “There are two powers in the world. one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a great competition and rivalry between the two. There is a third power stronger than both, that of the women.” We women yield so much power and when we work together, lifting each other up and respecting one another’s journeys we can create something utterly amazing!
Ironically, today I am headed off to a local Tuesdays Together meeting. These meetings often end up being loads of photographers, and a few other local creatives sprinkled in, but I love listening to everyone speak, share their thoughts, and open their hearts. I leave feeling inspired and believing that together we can make Frederick a better place, and as they say at The Rising Tide, we can make waves… What we start here will spread across the globe. It only takes one little ripple to set it off.