May 21, 2011

Analysis Paralysis - My Personal Struggle

“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.”
—Mark Victor Hansen

I've been making soap for 3 years now and have only dabbled with selling  for several reasons; I lacked confidence, so I let others derail me, I needed time to evolve and find my niche and hone my craft (in hindsight - I am a far better soapmaker than I was two years ago) and probably the most debilitating reason is that I wanted things to be perfect. I wanted to have a plan for everything-I pondered on failure,I thought about what if things really take off, how will I manage production?  I planned,planned,planned to the point of paralysis. I was driven to have the soap that I saw others making(others with years of experience) I taught myself soap making techniques by visually deconstructing the different soap making techniques of those I admired. I compared myself to others, and often was disappointed in my attempts to make soap as beautiful as that of my muses.The joy of soaping was slowly ebbing because I was so hard on myself.  I was absolutely caught up in the self defeating circle of analysis paralysis and self doubt-I was my own worst enemy.

Then one day, I read a little Etsy Bootcamp article - I believe it was written by Lauren Miller of Sunbasilgarden that really just stated the obvious - don't wait until you have everything perfect - just get started. Well folks, believe it or not that was a revelation to me. That was a turning point. I realized I had been planning, planning, planning to the point of paralysis - because I was so afraid of failure. After reading this article I mentioned it to my husband who concurred that I in fact I do "anal-ize"(his terminology) a little too much. He also pointed out that it was he who has been telling me-just make things simple,nothing is set in stone. I also realized that I tend to forget that "nothing is set in stone"- blogs can be tweaked, website's can be modified, product can be improved upon and given a different look any time I feel that it needs to be done. It's okay to have fun and fly by the seat of your pants just a bit.

Thankfully, throughout this ongoing life lesson, my passion for the ingredients and the art of making soap has kept me afloat. As I look back, I see a distinct pattern of letting the fear of failure overwhelm me(often before a new idea even got off the ground.) I still struggle and often have to remind myself that nothing is set in stone - nothing is permanent and that the only way to eat an elephant is-one bite at a time.

12 comments:

Celine Blacow said...

Oh I could have written that myself! Anal-ise... so apt, I'm so often too like that! I stopped and closed down for a few months just to stop myself from going nuts and had a change of heart.. do what I loved, not what I felt others expected. I adore experimentation, trying new things.. so my soaps now are made how I want them, with what I want. Some fragrances didn't work so well, nor did some ideas.. but some things did and I learnt so much. Learning is in doing the thing you love, taking inspiration from others but making the thing your own, trying new ideas, being crazy sometimes, just going for it. Now I love it again and have found my mojo - go with what makes you happy! I bet you didn't start out being unhappy about it all.. the best thing ever, when you get stuck, is go back to basics and rediscover your love of soaping, then the others things will come. Best of luck, love your soaps!!!

BTW I'm so stealing anal-ise!!!!

Jennifer Young said...

Thank you for sharing this AWESOME post with us. Wow! I think I have been through some of that... but look at where your soaps are today! Here you were worried about getting everything perfect... and it my opinion they look PERFECT! I adore scrolling through your soaps. I have been meaning to order some. I have to sneak behind my husbands back to Purchase other soaps because we have SOOOO many of mine here to try... but I have done it a few times before and I love trying out other people's soaps, especially as nice as yours. Can you think of your 2 favourites? That is most likely what I will order. xo Jen

Bobbins and Balms said...

nice article....reminds me a little of myself.

The Soap Sister said...

Oh Michele, I'm so glad you're going for it -your soap is fabulous, mild, moisturizing; your packaging is spot-on, and your "look" is "to-die-for"...if anyone out there is readly to roll, it's you! You're bing taught "Fear Not" in a very personal way. Don't you love it? I can't wait to see where you'll go! :D xo -Becky

Tierra Verde Handmade Soap said...

I think this is part of what the handmade community is about-sharing trials and tribulations as well as victories. It's how we learn,how we implement change,how we grow.

@Celine-I would venture to say that analysis paralysis it fairly common-some people just have a lesser degree than I do perhaps.It's work to overcome it and I find I have to remind myself often that this is about having fun and nothing,is permanent-it can all be changed.

@ Jen,thanks so much for the kind words of encouragement-I think we all have these thoughts come to mind on occasion-I think the secret is in how we deal with it.

@ Bobbins&Balms-just remember to get your product out there-you can always tweak!

@ Becky-xoxo!

Tara said...

Perfectly said. It is not easy to put ourselves out there for public scrutiny. When I first thought of selling my soaps, I did lots of research. One of the articles I read said that the best thing to do was to just do it. It seems cliche but I took the advice to heart, a decision I am glad I made. It still scares the beans out of me whenever I set up my table at a show but I am doing it, right? And sometimes that is what really matters.

Tierra Verde Handmade Soap said...

@ Tara - you rock! Way to go-so proud of you.It won't be long and you will be a pro and over those craft show butterflies.

sironasprings said...

Fear not, you are NOT alone in this feeling. And look at the wonderful lesson that you are learning! Pat yourself on the back. Sounds like you're back on track. [Wow, that's a lot of unintentional rhyming.] :)

Tierra Verde Handmade Soap said...

@Sirona Springs - Thanks so much! It's still a bit of a battle, but over and over I just keep reminding myself to just go for it!

Leslie said...

I'm a little late in responding, but I have to say Michele, thanks for your post! I've been making soaps for a few years, but the business aspect is new to me. I work full-time in addition to our soap business. I second guess so many things and struggle with a similar paralysis. You are so right in noting that we can change things and adjust things when we like. It's not permanent and that's so important to remember. I really admire your beautiful soaps and the the great look of the packaging and web site. You do awesome work! Leslie

Tierra Verde Handmade Soap said...

Thank you Leslie you're very kind words. I have much admiration for you-working full time and running a small business is a lot of work.Keeping in mind that all things can be changed;nothing is set in stone takes so much pressure off of everything.I once thought that whatever soaping style I started out with I would have to stick with, and whatever logo, packaging etc. I came up with would be with me forever - not so - while it's a little inconvenient to change those things,it can be done - even large corporations change up product packaging,labels,logos(think Starbucks) all the time. Hang in there and when you feel overwhelmed just remember the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Take things as they come don't make up situations in your head,but deal with issues as they arise instead.
Also,remember that you are a part of a larger community that can provide you with support and knowledge.

Gabbie said...

Wow, did you steal this post right out of my head? LOL!!! We are so similar it is uncanny...even down to the visually deconstructing things...l will email you more, but this post really caught my eye. Especially Celine's first comment, l remember that time when she was about to give up, and have always wondered how she found enough energy to pick herself up and keep going with it. So nice to know l am not the only Anal-ist out there hahahahaha :-)