Coffee Cup Chats is a weekly column where we all meet up, morning java in hand, to tackle some of the issues artistpreneurs deal with daily. It's a place for sharing stories, learning, and laughing at ourselves. Today I'm tackling a heavy issue: When is time to cut bait and when do you push through?
"Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. What do we do? We swim. Swim. Swim." -Dory, Finding Nemo
I'm part of a private photography forum of awesome people that I get to bounce ideas off of, share horror stories with, ask for advice, etc. I've been part of the group since 2008 and it's really fun to see how people who were just starting out at the same time as me have grown and changed and where their business has ended up. There's a sad part though too as people fall off and move in different directions. Sometimes dreams change, sometimes circumstances force it to change, sometimes you just decide you're ready to give up and try something new. But how do you decide when to cut bait on or switch gears? How do you know when to let go and close that door? It's a big decision. And no one likes to talk about it, but sometimes we find ourselves in a position to have to make a call. So how do we decide?
I am the type of person to default to the idea of "Just Keep Swimming". The don't give up, keep at it, work harder, better, faster, stronger. Sometimes the going gets tough. And sometimes all we need is a firm kick in the pants after a bit of a pity party to get us back in the saddle. The life of an artistpreneur is not necessarily an easy one. There is more than a fair share of stress, worry, and responsibility and sometimes we just need someone to understand and encourage us. If that is you today, let me be the voice of encouragement:
// You chose this path for a reason, remember it.
// Doing what you love is worth the extra work/time/heartache/etc
// Every single person goes through lulls that are scary, you are not alone.
// Try something new, change your perspective, break out of your own boxes!
// You can do it. It won't be easy, but it will be worth it.
I know there are some of you though that need something different. You've reached the end of your rope. It's more serious than just a lull. Life is getting in your way. You've lost your love for what you're doing. Circumstances change. I totally get it. And there is no shame in bowing out gracefully. You have three options: End it, Keep Swimming, or Change it up. Danielle LaPorte writes a great article on "Dream Shrinkage" about the need to back off, ease up, simply and how you can do that without shrinking your dream. Sometimes the fear alone is what gets the best of us. We think our only options are to quit or to not quit but there is a hidden third option, give yourself a break. You don't have to hustle all the time. You can do less of that thing you hate. Try it out. And if you are still done. I'm talking, hang up the domain name, sell the gear, start working on your resume, done, then that's okay too. You'll be swimming in a new direction, one that is best for you. There's not shame in taking care of yourself and your life. Never forget that.
If you want am amazing pep talk about the expiration date of a dream, click here to read what Danielle LaPorte has to say on the matter. You'll feel better, promise.
We'll all be right here to cheer you on whatever you choose. Just keep swimming either way. ;)