I was totally inspired to write this blog post by Lindsay over at @bundlehandmade because I realized self doubt and discouragement have been something that I’ve been struggling with since I started Pacific Knot.
I remember the day I decided to open up shop in February 2017, because I was sitting on my couch, I just finished knitting up a toque and kept thinking to myself, is this something I can do for real? Can I open up a shop and sell my handmade items? Can I start using social media? On a side note for those who don’t know, before this, I didn’t have any social media; no Instagram, no Facebook and no twitter (still don’t know the purpose of twitter!) and I still don’t have the last two! So it’s safe to say that I’m still learning how to use Instagram and I’m still googling acronyms to try and figure out what everyone around me is talking about!! But I also wondered, who is going to want to buy something that I’ve made when there are so many shops out there that are already established in the knitting world and are already doing so well? What if I fail? And there’s that word, that powerfully negative and scary word, FAIL.
That is what I’ve already pictured myself doing. I thought it would be inevitable and that failure would most likely be my end result. Talk about being your own worst enemy! So what did I do? I started Pacific Knot and didn’t tell ANYONE. I was so riddled with doubt in my ability to succeed that I kept it a secret from all of my family and friends for months. I even held off on telling my husband for as long as I could but my yarn addiction eventually gave me away!
I struggle a lot with judgment. Feeling like others are judging me is something that gives me the most anxiety. I thought that if I share this with others, they will think it’s a stupid idea and then when it ends up failing, I’ll have to explain why it failed to everyone and I will have I deal with the judgement that comes alongside that.
I’m also very bad when it comes to comparing myself to others. I entered the world of Instagram with all these amazing makers and thought to myself “I’ll never accomplish that” or “they seem so perfect and here I am struggling to get projects done as quickly as they do”. Comparison can be the worst but nothing can make you doubt yourself more than rejection. Whether your form of rejection is your photo not getting liked, realizing that no one new has followed you in a while or your followers have decreased, or being told you weren’t accepted into a market you had your heart set on doing, they all equally suck. It may sound like something small when you’re looking at the bigger picture, but at the moment it could honestly feel overwhelmingly disappointing. I just got declined for a market I was hoping and praying to be part of and when I got the email explaining that they didn’t choose me, I was crushed. All I kept thinking was “I’m not good enough” and the rejection sat so heavy with me. It was my husband that pointed out my achievements and milestones I’ve been hitting and he was the one to tell me that there was always next time. He encouraged me not to give up on the market and to keep applying to be a vendor because if I don’t try there is no way I can ever succeed. And he was so right. Success comes from at least trying! Giving up on your dreams is the worst thing you can do. And I’ve quickly learned that one loss usually equals a gain! As that opportunity with the market fell through, another great one presented itself!
If I could give one piece of advice to someone who is stating out it would be to try not to compare yourself with other makers. Recognize your strengths and all that you’ve accomplished and focus on that! You are worth just as much as anyone else. I think we tend to forget, or at least I do, that we all started from basically nothing, and have been in the exact same spot! But most importantly remember that as perfect as someone’s life or photos may seem to be, we have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes. Trust me the struggle is real! Even if it looks like I’m enjoying a serene moment with my yarn and coffee, behind the camera you can bet that I’ve got my daughter climbing up my back crying for mama and my son exclaiming for the millionth time that he’s hungry. Seriously, how much do kids actually eat??
In the end, little did I know that the more I shared my hopes and dreams with those around me, the more I felt the love and support I was so afraid of not getting. The people I have surrounded myself with have been the pillars of support and encouragement that I needed. They push me through my anxiety and self-doubt. I’ve second guessed everything I’ve done so far and they have been there for me even if it’s just as a sounding board for ideas I’m flooded with. They are always pushing to challenge myself and to step out of my comfort zone and to be proud of my accomplishments, whether it’s with a hug when I sell something or it’s a Dill pickle card with the saying “ You’re kinda a big Dill” when I reached 1000 followers :D
Don’t get me wrong you guys, by no means am I perfect and I am still struggling to realize and accept my self-worth, but I’m slowly getting there. There will always be those select few people who will not want to encourage you to do your best, those nay sayers that will bring on the negativity, but as long as you can lean on those who support you, they will outweigh the people that don’t!
Throughout this journey one extremely important realization that I’ve come to is that I’m doing this for me and not for anyone else! I'm doing this because it makes me happy and because I genuinely enjoy it so who cares what other people think! I've got my family and friends around me who will there for me no matter what and that's what matters the most. So, I’m hoping that by expressing my doubts out loud, I can find someone I can relate to and someone who can relate to me too!