At the beginning of the year when they asked me to do an “anniversary” blog every month or so, looking back at some aspect of Stampin’ Up!’s 25-year history, I wondered what would be most interesting for people to read about, what they were most curious about or wondered about. Soon afterwards, Sara had a downline meeting, which I attended, and I asked the members of her downline what sort of things they would like to know about. The first question that was asked was, “How did you do it ALL?”
I hear that question a lot when I talk about Stampin’ Up!’s history, and my first response is, “We didn’t!”
Vonna and I did our best in the moment, and I certainly believe in the adage that you can do whatever you set your mind to, but that doesn’t mean we did it all right. Back then we were growing so fast and there were so few of us. . . it was both exciting and overwhelming! Sure, we did it all, but we didn’t necessarily do it right. I didn’t sleep well, didn’t eat well, didn’t take time out for myself or my family. There are many lessons I learned and things I would do differently.
Mostly, I would put first things first. You pay a dear price when you don’t have your priorities straight, and the one thing I always tell people is that I would spend more time with my girls and my sweetheart! There were so many times when I put the business first, thinking that I’d do “whatever” (vacation, date night, Mommy-daughter time) once certain deadlines were met or projects completed.
What I learned is that there is always a deadline or project, and if you wait to do the important things until “after” certain things are done, those important things never get done. I heard someone once talk about trying to get rocks, pebbles and sand to fit in a container. If you put the rocks (the most important priorities) in the container first, the pebbles and sand will fit around them. So I’ve learned to take care of the rocks!
I lead a much more balanced life today than I did back then, and I encourage others to lead a balanced life as well! That doesn’t mean I’m always doing it right, but I’m definitely doing it more right than I was two decades ago!
I have also learned to delegate, let go, and say “no.” I am one of those people who need to have order in order to think and function, so I hired help with the house early on. That was actually a hard thing for me to do—I like things done a certain way, so I had to let go of certain ideas and expectations, and learn to live with the way other people did things. That’s been an important lesson that has served me well through the years as well.
Along with letting go of some control, I let go of some expectations. I have a hard time telling people “no,” but I’ve learned that I have to do that sometimes too. Even when I’m saying “no” to a good thing. It’s that whole idea of good, better, and best. . . sometimes the hardest choices are when you have to choose between good things and good causes. We really can’t do it ALL, so we have to choose what we do. And really, I’m no different than anyone else. We’re all learning how to make those choices. . . how to take care of the rocks!