Welcome to another new year!

For my business, it’s time to get new metrics in place, systems ready for a new calendar year of quotes, invoices, networking, databases, etc. Many of us start off with new goals too. I’m no different. Achievable goals, hopefully. Measurable.

It’s also a time to look at the way we think. Especially as an entrepreneur, I’ll get in the trap of negative self-talk and self-doubt. Although I know I am fully capable of running a successful business, those thoughts will creep in during weak times or even good times for that matter. This is a good time of year to reset our thoughts and actions. See if we can keep that up for a new year. Do our best.

As a watercolorist, in addition to a designer, I decided to do something to start this year that I haven’t done in…oh man…7 or 8 years, maybe. And that is to wash my palette. If you’re an artist, you may gasp at the fact I washed off the colors I’ve built and paint that was still yet to be used. If you’re not, you may gasp at the fact I haven’t cleaned it in about 8 years. (Heaven forbid!) One of the glorious benefits of painting with watercolor is that the paint can dry and be reused whenever you want. You can bring it back to life with a few drops of water and pick up right where you left off. Why would you need to clean off your palette? This one in the picture has had the same paint on it through many life changes, including throwing it in a hot, stuffy box and moving it across the country. Boom! Paint was still good. Just add water and begin.

One goal this year is to paint and illustrate more. Open my Etsy shop (NDC Creative coming soon…Stay tuned) and incorporate more illustration into NEUdesign Company. For inspiration, motivation, and just because, I took the leap and washed off my palette. And you know what I found? While 99% of the paint came off, some areas were stained, some had glumps that I really had to scrub to get off, and some cleaned up perfectly. Regardless, there was some residue.

Isn’t that like our lives? Personally and professionally. Even though it’s a new year, we are bringing to it the experiences of the past year. The areas that are stained, where marks will be forever. This doesn’t mean new, wonderful things can’t come from them. Of course they can! If we didn’t have those stains, that residue, we wouldn’t have anything to improve upon.

It seems people try so hard to cover up their mistakes, their past experiences, and scrub them clean. I say…Don’t. Leave those stains. They are what make you beautiful. They are what make your business strong. That is how we learn and grow. Look at them as motivation and encouragement that you were able to move past those moments and carry on. That’s what a new year should be about. Embrace your stains and make new ones this year. Easy or tough, we can’t control that. We never have been able to and we never will. But we have always been able to learn from them if we choose. No one likes to be weak. In a new year, everyone says, “Make it your best!” Well, of course we all want that. Who goes into a new year and says, “Man, I hope it’s worse than last year!” No one I know anyway.

As a business owner, who takes a risk every day to follow a dream and run a design studio, I’m well aware of the ups and downs that occur during a year. I’m thankful for each and every one, good and bad, because that’s what life is. That’s what business is. It’s a compilation of all our moments, not just the fun, sparkly ones. All of them. And it’s up to us what to do with them.

Let’s be real in 2018. I do hope for you all the best, but mostly, I hope that we carry what we learned from the previous year and use that as launching point for this new one.

Cheers to 2018…now where’s my paint?