Thursday, February 11, 2010

On learning to be brave

I am now, and have always been a chicken. Here's the thing about chickens, though: we either see them as scared little creatures or chest-puffed-out, strutting, crowing things. It's always one or the other. Well, I am here to tell you that being a chicken is actually both of these things.

I've been drawing, "seriously" drawing, since I was 12. Or writing. Or painting. Or silk dying. Whatever. I did all these things and more. I knew that I wanted to do something creative with my life, but I lacked the guts to actually share my work. I became an expert at getting just about proficient in one media, just to burn out, drop the ball, and jump to another. And then repeat. Repeat. Repeat. For years.

Right. So jump forward a ways. I'm 23ish. I need to find work. I'm not qualified for much except office work, which is so dull it makes me want to die. I answered an ad in the paper for "Design Consultant - No experience needed!". It turned out to be a commission only closet design job. The job was far away, and quite frankly terrifying. I knew I had to take it. I wanted to learn to be brave.

After a week long training course, they started sending me out on sales calls. It was scary. During this time period, the economy started to slow down. Sales calls were few and far between. The pressure to sell on these few precious calls was enormous. I threw my back into it. I read everything I could about sales. I had goals. Affirmations. Palm pilots. Loafers. Everything. I tried my hardest. It was semi-terrible.

I would come home from a sales call, flop on the couch, and cry. Oh! The stress! (I was selling about 3 out 5 calls, if anyone's counting. Not good enough!)
It was one of the most intense learning experiences of my life.

I did not become a sales virtuoso. In fact, I had a breakdown and went back to being a secretary. But somehow, little by little, I did learn to be braver. That was the start. I'm still learning. There's a lot of backsliding. There are also a lot of leaps forward.

A year-ish later, working at a horrible (yet not scary!) temp job, I discovered Etsy.
After the sales job, and during the temp job, I founded Absolutely Small.
Tomorrow, February 12th marks my third year anniversary of having an Etsy shop. Obviously, lot happened in between TEMP and CHICKENPANTS, but that's another long, photoless blog post.

12 comments:

kimbuktu said...

I can relate. I often push myself to do things that make me cringe just thinking about how hard they were later. But somehow it does build character (I hope!).

T @ Poppy Place said...

You Go Fearless Chicken :) T.

Mary said...

you sound pretty brave to me!

Erica said...

I am still a chicken. Or worse... I dont think I have many chest puffed out moments.

Absolutely Small said...

Kimbuktu: It does build character! Or at the very least make for a decent blog post later. :)

T @Poppy Place & Mary: Thank you both for your sweet comments!

Erica: Don't worry! Brave chicken moments ebb & flow. And you can always take baby steps to get more chest-puffed-out moments.

Scrivener's Retreat said...

3 out of 5 sales is good! I sold Cutco in 2003. I stopped because I ran out of leads who could afford it. I was one of the best-selling people on our team, and I didn't average 3 out of 5.

Juli said...

Happy Anniversary! I an so glad you found your place...

Teddy Started It said...

Well all I can say is THANK GOODNESS! Because the world needs Chickenpants much more than it needs another salesperson. Oh, and personally, I think the Etsy thing takes a lot more bravery than selling someone else's stuff.

NekiNaturals said...

Thanks for the inspiration. It really helps especially since I am waiting for my first sale on etsy.

Absolutely Small said...

Aw, thank you for the sweet comments, everyone! ^-^

Cole said...

As a fellow chicken I can relate to your story, I have to force myself to try and do things I normally wouldn't even consider doing! Thanks for sharing! :)

Absolutely Small said...

Thank you for commenting, Cole! ^-^

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