Three years ago, I achieved my biggest dream--to work for myself. I slowly built a stationery business while working a full-time job, and after two years of tired days and sleepless nights, I thought it was time to take the leap. I left the security of a job I liked because I wanted to pursue a path that promised opportunities and possibilities.
The ecstasy did not last long.
I found myself asking, "what now?" For the longest time I was so focused on saving money, building an audience, making products, joining events--all so I could lay a foundation for self-employment. But when the big day came, I was more lost than happy. What do I do now? What should I accomplish next? What other dreams do I have?
I came up empty. While trying to figure this all out internally, I looked to my peers from the local arts and crafts community. I thought, "maybe I should strive to be more like them." Maybe I should try to build a handmade empire. Maybe I should try to provide employment to people. Maybe I should try getting more corporate accounts. But as I tried to fit myself into those moulds, I found myself having the same thoughts as when I quit my job--all of these methods presented a future that was secure (provided I hustled), but I didn't see myself in that future scenario. I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do, so I decided to make a vision board one afternoon in November last year.
Armed with magazine clippings and stickers, I crafted my version of the future. I went by instinct--sticking down quotes and images that appealed to me and best represented the path I wanted to take. I didn't expect it to be so revealing. I was the one making it yet I only realized its meaning once I was done. I found my new big dream: I wanted to be a professional illustrator.
Last week I was talking with different sets of friends, and we were all itching to evaluate our year so far (hello, mid-year!). I told them about my vision board and how it has helped keep me focused and motivated. It's amazing to see that I've actually made some things happen already--like recording life better by keeping a journal, and practicing yoga regularly. I've also travelled to new places this year! I have yet to cross off some of the career-related goals, but I am keeping myself accountable by listing down bite-sized tasks that are easier to manage.
I swear by my vision board, and that explains why I am so excited about Lauren Hom's #Homwork for this week. The task, assigned by lettering artist Shauna Lynn Panczyszyn, was to create a hand-lettered vision board outlining our career goals. I immediately worked on mine and below is the result.
I know I am a long way from achieving all the things I wrote on there, but to me what's more important than the timeline is the fact that I am casting a wide net. All these years I have built my business around what the local community wants--now I realize that there's a whole world out there to explore. I am bursting with ideas and for the first time in a long time, I am excited about my work. I hope I can make these happen because I believe I can! And even though I have all these lofty dreams for myself, I know the universe is capable of bigger things than I am able to wrap my head around, so I am leaving some room for surprises. I am allowing the universe to weave its magic into my career and my life.