I’m going to get a little bit wedding-plan-y here for a second. But please, bear with me :) What I want to share has absolutely everything to do with growing a creative value-based business + life.
If you read the bi-weekly newsletter where I share the behind the scenes of what is going on around growing this creative business, my lessons learned, etc. Reading it, you’ll know that I have been ALL ABOUT stressing the importance of finding your core values lately. Why have I been so crazy about this? It’s because I spent 5+ years flailing around, making decisions that felt good in the moment, but ultimately did not fulfill me. When I made big choices, like moving across the country for internships to chase my dream career, I ended up miserable. While I’m so glad that I tested the waters with certain experiences, most of my past five years was figuring out how I DIDN’T want to live my life. Most of all, I just wanted to be happy, feel fulfilled, and do some good in this world. Being a work-a-holic yes-saying pleaser-of-everyone-but-myself was the worst way to go about feeling fulfilled. It backfired, but also gave me a time to pause and say “this just doesn’t feel right…what else can I try?”
Want to know what got me on track? FINDING MY VALUES! Last year I did a deep dive into what I really wanted to get out of life, what made me feel happy, validated, and shining my brightest. I experimented for a year, following and searching for my core values, rather than chasing the surface-level things like notoriety, money, and the traditional sense of success. I looked for what filled me up. You know what I found? I found a process and I found my personal core values. These are the values that I have used to make every decision in my business since. And I think I knew some of these values even before last year. Now that I’ve gotten them down, I know one of my values is quality time with friends and family. Choosing to move to Cleveland from Savannah was a great indicator of this before I even knew this was my core value. After traveling for 7 years, being far away from family and friends, and not putting down roots anywhere, I had a sense that I was ready to get back to something that made me feel stable, calm, and with family. Moving to Cleveland put me back on Lake Erie, where I grew up, and only 1.5h away from my family part of the year! It also allowed me to live in a place where cost of living was less expensive, and I could regularly afford to fly to visit my friends and family who live…well, everywhere :) Moving to Cleveland was an amazing choice for my values, and it’s one I’ve never regretted.
Similarly, when I was looking for a house last year and I had been going through a lot of my core value finding, I knew that another one of my core values was nature and wellness. I do this thing with almost every decision I make, where I throw ALL THE OPTIONS out there. I then spend a crazy amount of time talking through and — honestly, worrying through — all the different scenarios that could happen. I get frantic! I hate that feeling. I just want to make the best choice, you know? What finding my core values did, was it helped me realize what is truly important to me. These are the things I can TRUST to fall back on as indicators of happiness, and following my true self.
Choosing the path that has been more inline with my core values has always been the right answer!
Choosing from my values, I never get those feelings of regret like I did when I was choosing what felt best in the moment. With my house, I was between purchasing a condo downtown, a fixer-upper in the trendy neighborhood I was already in, or a new townhouse that backed up to a creek in the suburbs. When I thought of my value of nature and wellness, the townhouse would allow me to see nature everyday, walk around in a safe neighborhood regularly, and it felt like the community and it’s surroundings would be conducive to living a healthy life. My gym is less than 5 minutes away, and I’m right behind a grocery store with lots of organic foods. This made it easy to give up the cool downtown life where nature and wellness would have been harder to come by. It also allowed me to focus on nature and wellness, instead of dedicating a year to fixing up a home — something that doesn’t fit into my values, even though it’s something I felt like I was wanting to do then so that I could personally get the ‘house of my dreams’ where I picked out every knob and paint color.
Oh my gosh, OK, so now, on to the wedding part! Todd and I got engaged over New Years, and I have been flailing around being all “what the heck do I want for our wedding?!?!” I’m in that frantic mode where I’m going forward in ALL of the directions, I keep changing my mind, and I have no idea what I want. Todd just wants his people, and is leaving the majority of the decisions up to me! I’ve never been one of those girls who dreamt about the wedding, I was all about BEING married. I’m so excited to share our life together, now and after the wedding, but the wedding part was something I just…well, never thought of! Being a designer, and Pinterest-crazed, I’m all over the place and keep seeing the dreamiest of dreamy weddings all over my feed. I also don’t want those tendencies and visions to get in the way of being rational about our budget. For the longest time, I’ve been either 1: we go all out, and ‘do not care’ about budget and we get the Pinterest-perfect dream wedding, or 2: we care about the budget so much, that we elope. I was having the hardest time finding and deciding on the middle ground.
Do you ever get caught in this black and white mentality? Does it get you stuck from getting to where you really want to go? I know I personally see this being an issue in my own life a lot — I’ll either want to do something 100% right and go after it in all the best ways, or I won’t do it at all. Do you ever find yourself holding back because you feel like you don’t 100% have the resources, time, experience, or connections to make your dreams a reality RIGHT NOW?
What finding your values does, is it allows you to find what is TRULY important. From there, you can find ways to cut budgets, create workarounds, change your priorities or timelines, and change up other things to make your most important factors for your values a reality. This is how those big dreams happen! They don’t happen when you have an unlimited budget or all the time in the world to make them happen. Eventually often becomes never.
This week, We finally settled on a wedding plan. We’ll be able to have the friends and family we are hoping for (Value 1), and I’ll get to create a winter wonderland in the space (Value 2 + 3, nature and freedom…in this case, the creative kind!) It felt SO good to look towards my values to make these decisions, and for the first time in this wedding planning process….I feel at peace.
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