Nicole here, owner and founder of Sweet Stamp Shop and this update is LONG overdue! Actually, I’m not even sure where to start – so maybe I should just briefly recap what’s been going on with the Sweets over the last year:
- We spent most of 2018 preparing to sell my husbands CPA tax firm, selling our house and preparing to relocate to Washington from CA.
- In secret, I started back to school full time to finish my BA and earn an MBA
- In September we found out we were expecting our first kid – a girl – due in May!
- End of September, Jacob’s Mom passed away suddenly
- December we relocated to Seattle to my parents basement
- January we bought a house in Seattle and moved out of the basement
- Beginning of March we attended PlannerCon and had a blast [thought that was a fun one to add in] lol
And, let’s be real – for most of 2018 and into 2019 I’ve been closed for spiritual maintenance. What does that mean? To me, that’s the idea that you get quiet and you start to ask yourself some hard questions. Like: Am I happy? Am I where I want to be? Where do I want to be? What do I want to be doing?
I started to make small [and big] moves towards the life that was calling me, and finding some strength in redefining where I wanted to be, what I wanted to be doing, and how I could follow my heart more fully.
First step was to jump in the deep end of the whole ‘kid’ thing. I mean, I’m 34 and we’ve been married a decade – and it was *time* – because there would never be the right time. So, we just jumped in. And, it took us almost 2 years to get pregnant, and I think in that time, I’d almost resigned to being ok never having kids. But, BAM – we got pregnant. [3 months before a big move, on the eve of a major death in our family, and balancing school – businesses … and life] Of course, we started out being completely elated and excited – you know, the feeling of counting down to Christmas! But, quickly that faded to overwhelmed and what I lovingly called my ‘doomsday’ countdown.
How was I running a business [Sweet Stamp Shop – AND – Sweet Art Society] – being a Mom – running a house [with chicken coops and 10 raised beds and a greenhouse] – finishing school – and supporting my husband in his business… and and and.
This actually brought up something much deeper…. you know what I’ve learned over the last year of my spiritual maintenance journey? I have a real problem with perfectionism. Here’s what I mean:
I don’t just expect to run a business.
I expect to have the most successful business ever. I expect myself to be hustling at all time, balancing decisions about ROI, product development – and marketing strategies – all while being the sole designer and creative manager.
I don’t just expect to be a Mom.
I expect to be the most present, loving, patient, caring, amazing Mom. While also being an independent woman who doesn’t make her kid the soul purpose of her life.
I don’t just expect to run my house.
I expect to have perfect chickens that produce the best eggs and an award winning backyard producing fair winning produce. I expect to have a clean, well designed home that could welcome a crew from HGTV at any moment.
I don’t just expect to be a loving supportive wife.
I expect to be the rock that helps my husband grow and build a successful business. The person who reminds him about birthdays, anniversaries, and important client responsibilities. Keeping his schedule, feeding him balanced meals, and taking care of the needs that he doesn’t even recognize he has.
I don’t just expect to have a happy marriage.
I expect that every day, every moment, every second – I’m grateful and happy being with my husband. I take every moment that we’re together and make it count. Because how many moments will we have? I don’t want to regret anything! We better be happy…. all. the. time.
I don’t just expect to be a college student.
I expect to get straight A’s and prove that when I dropped out of college a decade ago – I was capable of doing school the ‘right way’ and being the student I should have been. So, I don’t just expect to finish my BA – I expect to finish my MBA with honors and straight A’s.
My obsession and glorification of perfectionism is the ugliest and most brutal monster I’ve faced. Getting pregnant, was the straw that broke the camels back – the thing that pushed me over ‘the edge’ – and the event that whispered to me that maybe staying in bed and not participating in my laundry list of ‘to do’ might be the best answer. Because if I can’t be the *best* – why show up at all?
When I think about it – I struggle to come up with something that I do that I’m not successful at. Not because I’m especially talented, but because at 34 I’ve learned how to decipher what I can excel at – and I don’t try anything else.
I expect myself to be Awesome. Epic. Successful. Balanced. Funny. Pretty. Grateful. God-Centered. Happy.
All. The. Time.
This is the kind of pressure that makes people go to bed at night and think that maybe it would be easier if they just didn’t wake up the next day. I get it. I’ve felt that.
So, I made my way to counseling/therapy and said – HELP. ME.
And, I’m learning to give myself grace. To be nice to myself. To let go of some of the pressure, and work on not carry around the nagging quest for ‘perfect’. It’s a long journey, and something that doesn’t just happen overnight. It’s a daily struggle, and now that I’m more aware of my issues, I’m equipping myself with better coping strategies.
As you can imagine, this awakening is effecting all aspects of my life, but more importantly – it’s directly effecting my business.
I want you to be the first to know what’s happening:
First, I’m extremely blessed to have a successful husband that runs a great business – and our family doesn’t ‘need’ my business. Obviously, having a successful business on my end is nice – because more money – is nice. But, it hasn’t made me
happy content. I’m on the quest for contentment in my life – not on the quest for ‘more’ stuff.
Also, I love Sweet Stamp Shop – I love what it did for me, who I became when I built it – and all the relationships I’ve built. I’m not ready to bury it/sell it/be done with it. But, I am ready to take it back to a place where I do it for the LOVE of it, not for the success of it. I don’t need it to pay my bills, so – how I run it from here on out will look different. I’ll release less often, I’ll carry less product – I’ll stop the subscription box at a certain number of subscribers and we’ll keep both sides *small* … so I can stretch into being a Mom, exploring what having an MBA might mean for another career, and giving myself space and time to learn how to let go of my need for perfectionism.
In an effort to downsize, I’ll be having a giant sale and getting our product line down to under 50 stamp sets. I’ll be discontinuing starter kits, stickers, dies, and simplifying what we offer. I’ll be limiting how many subscribers we’ll take for our box, and I’ll let you know when we hit that and when we start a waiting list.
The giant sale, the release of new stamps – and us generally scaling back will start in April. [or sooner, if I can get organized]
I’m so excited to be doing this again for the LOVE of it. Part time work – and full time love! I’m so relieved to come to this place, and I appreciate your patience as I grappled with these tough choices – and for your continued support!
With love, gratitude, and the upmost loyalty!