When Life Gives You Lemons (The Business Edition…)
I’ve had my fair share of moments in life when things didn’t go as planned, as expected, or as I wanted them to. I’ve always somehow managed to be fluid, adaptable and willing to make changes and adjust my plans in the face of disappointment, disaster and other road blocks life has chosen to throw my way. I feel lucky to have married someone who helps me cope with these changes and cheers me on when I’m at my lowest, or pulls me back to earth when my head is stuck too long in the clouds (he let’s me stay up there for a little while…), or tells me the honest truth when I’m being too stubborn to see it. Denial is a powerful thing but it’s important to face change head on, make a plan and learn to be adaptable in life. After all, “the only constant in life change” -Heraclitus
Arthritis (My Lemons)
I found out about 2 years ago that I had arthritis forming in my neck. This was due to overuse and hyper-mobility caused by constantly popping my neck during marathon crochet sessions to try and relieve the feeling of stiffness. So to all you neck poppers out there BEWARE! It CAN happen! I used to crank out product like a machine, making 3-4 scarves a night, plus a few cat cozies for good measure to prep for a show the next day. This craziness is no longer even an option, I’m lucky to be able to make one or two of my cat cozies before the ache begins to set in. Creeping into my shoulders, neck and back as my body whispers “time to stop” and I beg it for “one more row”! I don’t plan to stop crocheting any time soon but my business plan obviously had to change. There’s no way I could prep for 10 shows in one season (or even 5 if I’m being honest with myself) but I was determined to see this as an opportunity to do and create NEW things and take my focus in new directions.
Switching Gears (My Lemonade)
After some thought, I knew it was time to break out the pattern notebook and start brainstorming some pattern ideas. I may not be the quickest or the most talented pattern writer, but practice makes progress and I’m excited to have turned what could have been a negative situation on it’s head! Since the start of stay at home orders due to COVID-19 I’ve released 4 new patterns! I have a fifth pattern out to testers and the sixth is still in the planning stages!
I also have a plan for a Pattern Writer’s Handbook that I’m hoping will be released this summer! It will be a printable PDF that crocheters and knitters can use to take notes, organize their pattern, set goals for completion, track progress for themselves and for each of their testers, and more! I’m planning to give this out for free to a few of my followers to test it out and let me know what they would like to see added and if it’s actually a helpful tool during the pattern making process!
Tips on Dealing with Change
Change isn’t always life-shattering but it isn’t always easy either, especially when it’s unplanned but there ARE ways to adapt, be flexible and take small steps in the right direction when life throws you a curveball. My advice is to allow yourself the time to grieve the things you might have to miss out on due to the change; allow yourself to feel those feelings rather than pushing them down or getting angry. It’s okay to be sad but moving forward and learning to focus on what you might gain and learn, it can make the change seem more like a new opportunity than a disappointment.
- Acknowledge the change. Just like the stages of grief, the first step is to acknowledge the situation and face the fears and concerns that may accompany it. Finding out that I had developed arthritis in my neck at 30 years old was a hard pill to swallow, but instead of ignoring it, I decided to do something about it and make the necessary changes to help keep the condition from worsening and causing more drastic problems. It’s important to understand the difference between what you can and cannot control, and being proactive rather than reactive! This is where the next step comes in.
- Get Proactive & Have a Plan. One of the main ways I fight stress is by having a plan- scratch that- a FEW plans… Plan A, B, C, D and so on until I feel I’ve covered all possible scenarios. I remember calling my dad in college crying because I was worried I failed a big exam. He asked me “What’s the worst case scenario?” and walked me through it. Say I failed the test, say it caused me to fail the entire class- what would I do then? I would need to make a plan to retake that class the next semester and possibly overload on my hours in order to graduate on time – but it would still be very possible, even in the worst of cases! I will remember this conversation to this day and how much better I felt after walking through the worst case scenario and making a plan.
- See Change as an Opportunity. Take some time to truly understand what this change will mean for you. Once you know how this change will alter your day to day life, you can then begin to brainstorm, research, and seek out new opportunities. Instead of denying that things are changing and creating barriers, be open and flexible to new challenges and tasks. I knew I wanted to continue to crochet in some form or fashion, but this was an opportunity to take my business in a whole new direction and hone in on some new skills that I hadn’t mastered yet, while also focusing on other ventures like my photography, blogging, and social media consulting services!
- Reduce Stress and anxiety. In order to be resilient, adaptable, and flexible, you also need to be calm and feel in control of your life. This kind of mindset allows you to make good, clear and rational decisions. When you’re dealing with stressful situations (that often accompany change) it’s CRITICAL to focus on your health. Eat healthy foods, get your exercise in, breathe deeply, drink plenty of water and smile! Feeling down? Put on some music and dance in your kitchen, get outside for fresh air and a walk, read something inspirational- just be sure to take some time to focus on yourself! Lastly, don’t forget to show yourself grace during difficult times. We all have a tendency to be our own worst critics and forget to show ourselves kindness, grace and care when we most need it!
- See the Big Picture. When life pulls the rug out from under our feet it’s easy to feel defeated. We may want to crawl under the covers and sulk, but this can actually make things harder on our brain during stressful times. By keeping ourselves on a schedule and maintaining some semblance of normalcy (i.e. writing down your routine and checking things off as you go) you are actually giving your brain one less thing to have to deal with, thereby helping you cope! Instead of binging on Netflix until you fall asleep on the couch at night, spend a little time each evening planning and prioritizing your day and set goals for yourself. Bottom line, don’t let stress and change cause you to freeze up and stop in your tracks. Keep moving forward day by day, starting fresh each morning with a plan!
- Pop on those rose colored glasses. Think back on past challenges you’ve overcome and changes in your life and write down some of the positive things that have come from those changes. Maybe you’ve met new people, started practicing healthier habits, become more active in a local charity, or mastered a new skill. Maybe you became more assertive, more aware of your own emotional and physical health needs, or maybe your priorities in life have become much more obvious and easier to put first. Change presents us with a unique opportunity to grow- it’s important to acknowledge the positive results change has brought to our lives!
I hope you find these little tips helpful! Change is inevitable, so it’s important to focus on how we deal with the changes in our lives, how we prepare for the unexpected, how we plan for alternative (and worst case) scenarios, and how we care for our metal and emotional health day to day. I am not always a shining example of this but it is not about being perfect (or even good) at something, it is being willing to acknowledge the situations presented to you and deal with them head on, asking for support when we need it!!
Until next time, stay safe and healthy!
x The Pink Sheep x