Friday, July 12, 2013

blog lovin' tour // success

Hello everyone! and welcome to the fifth and last week of The Declaration of You! Blog Lovin' tour.
The Declaration of You will be published by North Light Craft Books this summer, with readers getting all the permission they've craved to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique and uncover what they are meant to do! This post is part of The Declaration of You's Blog Lovin' Tour, which I'm thrilled to participate in alongside over 100 other creative bloggers. Learn more and join us, read here!

Success is such a big word and it is usually socially associated with the amount of money or possessions you have acquired thanks to your job. Every year when my birthday gets closer (fiy… it's on August 15th, hehehe) I think of what I've done in the past year and where those actions have taken me. In other words, I reflect on my year's success  I don't think so much about the amount of money in my bank account ('cause there's usually none at the end of the month, but hopefully my hard work will soon pay off, right?), but on how I've grown personally and professionally through the year compared to the previous one.

It's been a while since I've felt successful, not so much on the personal level but on the professional one. Right until I graduated university in 2008 I felt pretty good when doing my yearly recap: I was a good student, I got accepted in the best Colombian university, I was then one of the five chosen to go to Milan as an exchange student, decided to transfer to Italy and bust my a** off Summer 2006 to pay for the expensive tuition, was able to pay for almost all my living expenses in my new city so that I wouldn't be an economic burden on my family, and graduated on time. I felt pretty proud of myself and believed everything I had ever done was only going to make my journey a successful one.

Reality isn't as easy as I imagined. Time to find a real job in Fashion design arrived and it wasn't as simple as I'd thought. I got offered a couple of internships but all unpaid (which for me wasn't possible because I had to pay the bills.) Many things happened, many non-fashion related jobs came, and then some related to it arrived. I worked for a fashion house and learnt a lot (though I lost my creative soul there since designing for them meant copying from the high-fashion brands… awful!) I don't regret the experience though… I didn't do much real designing (just copying) but I learnt many other things and had the chance to travel to China for business. After a year, my time there was over; it wasn't a happy or healthy work environment, so I quit. Thought all my new experience and skills were just going to help get a new much better job (the one I've always dreamt) in a blink of an eye. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case and in order for me to pay the bills I started teaching English and Spanish (like when I was student) and on a side, started making hand-tailored clothes for private clients and designing textiles to sell on Spoonflower. I didn't feel fulfilled… to be honest, I felt very frustrated that after all my hard work and dedication, I wasn't working on what I really love. I kept going while getting a job in fashion seemed always more difficult. I had a couple of interviews but none ended up in job offers (some were just more unpaid offers.) Then I was told I was never going to get a job in fashion being fat (yes, that hurt! a lot!)

Since I was a little girl I'd always dreamt with having my own fashion line, but before doing so, I really wanted to work for a famous and important fashion house to learn from the best. That didn't happen. Don't know if it ever will… I like to think everything is still possible even if I was told by my family to let it go, that my dream was never going to come true if it hadn't already, that I should just do something else and that I was too old to just keep pursuing a dream (that hurt too!) Then I met Angharad, an amazing Textile master while being her assistant in a Textile Design Summer course in 2011 (she's an amazing teacher and a great person.) I decided to take some private classes at her school (check it out because she offers many interesting workshops taught by great worldwide recognised artists and designers), and one day she told me: 'why don't you just start something of your own?' I told her I was scared and I didn't feel I had the necessary experience to go on my own. She said being scared was normal, and that I just had to take the risk. If I failed, at least I tried, but if I succeeded, then maybe those who so far have chosen not to employ me, would notice me and ask me to collaborate with them. I would never forget her advice. She was right… I had to dive in, even if that meant being scared. In Colombia we say: 'you have to risk an egg to earn a chicken' and I felt that way. While I tried to figure out where and how to start, I came across The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design e-course and my new journey started.

It's been almost a year since I finished the course, and for the first time in a really long time, I feel this birthday recap will make me feel awesome! I'm still teaching English and Spanish (it is still my safe money while designing becomes all I do), but I've finally found myself in the professional world. Since my last birthday I've learnt a lot about myself and my work, signed 3 licensing deals, was one of the Top 10 REPEAT(ed) designers, signed with A Fresh Bunch, I recently finished my first Skillshare class which was a total success and I'm working on new courses. This year I feel successful and it has nothing to do with how much I've earned but with how much joy and satisfaction my actions have brought to me this year. I'm not done yet… not at all. I'm only starting… I'd say, I'm just getting ready to start the marathon. After such a long time I've come to realised that it's the little successes in life that make up the big success at the end of it all. I used to judge my accomplishments too hard. Either I was working as a designer or I wasn't and that determined my level of frustration. Now I know it isn't that black and white and that there are many little (and big) things I have to contemplate. Plus, being successful is not only having a good career but also being a good person with yourself, your loved ones, society and our beautiful planet Earth (but this post has gotten way too long, so let's talk about that another time.) :)

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