I think the best way to capture this year for me can be summed up with this picture. It’s me, surrounded by a group of kids I just met, telling them about the signs I make and them looking back at me with wonder in their eyes because they don’t quite get it. But they sit attentive, easily giving me the stage because I’m different than what they’re use to so they hear me out. Then there’s me standing there not knowing if they’ll listen or think I’m cool. Or if I’ll say too much or not enough. But I stand there, signs in hand, hoping they’ll just give me a chance.
I’m looking back as the end of the year nears and I’m proud of my accomplishments. I did a lot and I both know it, and feel it. When I move my arms I remember times this year when I couldn’t. Or as I move my shelves and pack up my signs so they no longer block my entryway, I think of times this year when my living room was both a place to watch TV as well as a staging ground for sign orders.
Then of course there are my last minute sign orders I have to get done and while I can multi-task a bit easier now I remember times this year when I could only do one type of vinyl, on one setting, and only at a certain time of the day. Because if your a sign maker, you know time of day matters, weather matters, and sometimes if you breathe wrong, that matter too!
But what surprised me most this year was probably when I was asked to speak to elementary aged kids for career day because they wanted a Business Owner’s perspective.
I thought for sure they had the wrong girl, but was quickly corrected by the counselor. She was more than happy to have me talk to two fourth grade classes and I was so nervous, I slept a total of two hours that night. But I got my signs, stickers for bribery and I hoped like heck they liked me.
After talking to both classes, we went over the fact that each kid in that class had this sparkle inside that was their greatness. I told them that it didn’t matter what happens in the world or what circumstances they face, it doesn’t touch what they have inside. I had signs with me that said “Dream Big” and “Live your Dream” and I pulled out the one that said “Prove them Wrong”, when I asked what should they do when they’re told “you can’t”. We shouted “prove them wrong” a lot. haha.
But after the last session what blew me away was when a 10 year old girl said to me “you’re so inspirational you make me want to cry”. I had to literally hold my tears back and told her if she cried, I’d cry too. Then the room erupted with kids telling me what they wanted to do when they grew up like be a dancer or singer. I left on the highest note I’ve felt in a while.
I put a lot of pressure on myself this year because I wanted to be accepted into a community of small business owners who are all in this race of greatness that we see advertised daily on social media. I bent over backwards trying to make a name for myself hoping for a glimmer of that over night success. I’ve even run myself ragged to meet exaggerated deadlines I put on myself and I’d do it all over again if I had to, because of everything I gained from this year. But I’d have to say without a doubt that the cherry on top of this year was when that little girl said I inspired her because that is the whole point after all.