I first heard of the One Little Word Project with Ali Edwards in 2014 on the Elise Gets Crafty Podcast. (Listen to the specific episode, here). Since that time, I've always thought it would be neat to have a guiding word for the year but have never been able to nail one down for myself. On the podcast, Elise and Ali have talked about how it can be difficult to choose a word and how sometimes it might take a while to pick the appropriate one. Heck, they even said some people have changed it half way though the year! So for the past two years, I've tried and tried to come up with this guiding word but nothing seemed to stick or feel quite right.
This year in April/May, it hit me out of the blue and it was so clear that I couldn't deny it - PERMISSION. I love it so much that I might just make it my guiding word forever, for real! (Next tattoo?!) For those who don't know, all I've ever known is to hustle! When I was in my teens I absolutely hated living at home. Mostly because of all the rules, I just wanted to do my thang! I managed to move out at 17/18 (I can't remember exactly), and have never went back. I feel very fortunate to have done a number of jobs in many different places around the midwest, but would say I hustled hardest during my time in graduate school. I was getting a Masters degree in Business and working four jobs at the same time. I loved it. I enjoyed doing all the things all the time. I'm not sure why, but being busy has always felt very comforting to me.
Today, I have this little handmade biz that I run from home, own two physical stores, and bartend, those are my jobs. This may very well be the fewest endeavors I've had going at one time, but I've been feeling more burnt out than ever before. I'm very hard on myself, and always have been. I somehow think I'm capable of doing everything and have the most difficult time delegating any sort of responsibility to others'. I've felt this intense pressure to always be doing something regarding work or working at at all times, but it has really intensified during the past year. I've stayed up for over 24 hours trying to complete to-do lists, I bring crafts in the car with me to work on, I'm editing photos and planning social media at night when I attempt to sit down to Netflix and chill, it's very hard for me to relax without these thoughts in my head of "I could be doing this or that."
One topic that came up over and over at Craftcation earlier this year was being the boss. When you're a creative small business owner, often times it's just you. You're all of the jobs up to and including the boss. Of all the times I've heard "you have to work on your business not in your business," it just never dawned on me that I AM actually the boss! Yes, this means that all of the work ultimately falls on me, but it also means that I can say no to things and I can make a schedule for myself and take time off like a normal boss would and should.
This is where the idea of permission as my one little word came from for me. It's an ongoing process, but I've already given myself permission to do or not do a number of things and I already feel less stress in my life because of it. For example, Monday's are my designated day off, both of my stores are closed and I don't bartend on Monday's so it's really truly a day off in every sense for me. Historically, I've used this 'day off' to run errands, do household chores, catch up on emails etc. I recently realized that I get a lot of joy from exploring new places, and in an effort to give myself a little bit of fuel each week, I use Monday evenings to see or do something new and it has been fabulous! Yes, I still spend the majority of the day doing work, but just giving myself those couple of hours at night has done wonders!
Go forth and give yourself permission! Do you have one little word for the year? What is it? How has it been going for you? Let's talk about it in the comments!