How do you know you're living your greatest potential?

 **This is an archive from our 5/14/19 newsletter**

Me, hand stamping greeting cards in my first work studio. Taken by Claire Elise Photography, 2015

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How do you know when you're living your greatest potential?

When I started creating stationery and textile goods for Native Bear I was fueled by a motivation to work for myself. I was determined to create a career for myself that allowed for flexibility, creativity, and potential for as much growth as I felt ready to take on. I wanted to be my own boss and create my own world.

The challenges that come with starting a brand from scratch with no outside capital came, and I worked through each learning experience the best that I knew how. Sometimes with lots of heart palpitations and woe-is-me tears that would typically come whenever I had to deal with money shortages. There is a lot of emotional baggage that comes out when dealing with money, and when I was feeling especially squeezed into a tight corner I felt like giving up. I second guessed my skills and I felt like an imposter... I would lose sight of the bigger picture.

Then at some point when I wasn't looking I started to make a more steady income. The bills were getting paid, and supplies could be ordered. I wasn't rolling in the dough by any means, but I could actually sit back and breathe a little. This was a very odd feeling compared to the usual steady stream of stress I would feel daily about money, and honestly that feeling took a very long time to shake. I couldn't trust it. Who was I without the constant hustle? I was so used to the hustle that once I could sit back and breathe I didn't know what to do with myself, and I felt lost.

I had wrapped up what I thought was my greatest potential into such a small, and ultimately superficial part of my work: money

I'm not saying money doesn't matter when it comes to your work. It absolutely does, and it's a real concern for anyone trying to do better for themselves and provide for their families (aka everyone). But what I had to become aware of was just how much my self-worth was in the number of orders I would receive in a given week, or whether I was getting enough attention on social media (another form of currency). Living a life of scarcity had been such a big part of my identity that I realized I had never quite thought about what my life would be like if I actually let go of that feeling. What would happen if I stopped gripping so tightly to worrying about how much I was missing and instead embraced that I was supported? If I don't have the story of lack, then what actually is my story?

One of the monthly inspo page designs from the new July 2019 - August 2020 planner

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When you work on letting go of an old pattern you open yourself up to the world.

Who am I without the constant hustle and struggle? What do I sincerely care about? What am I actually good at? What have I learned about myself through this little paper brand of mine?

I have learned that I care deeply about connecting with people to help them realize their own potential. I care about creating beautiful work tools for a person's day to day life and helping spark a little bit of inspiration. I care deeply about working with artists and creatives to help them through their mental and emotional road blocks and accessing their greatest strengths. I care about addressing the parts of myself that need to be healed so that I can be present and supportive for others. And yes, I still care about creating art for art's sake.

To really sit and meditate on what our highest potential is can feel daunting and unknown. It can also bring to light the need to make some changes, and that can feel scary. However, the reward of making a change that aligns with your authentic self will always outshine the risk. Some questions to consider:

Am I focusing on the real work of my life?

What part of myself am I preventing from being seen out of fear of rejection?

If I were to make a change in my work today that felt more aligned with my authentic self, what would it be?

Am I living to please others, or am I living for myself?
What's inspiring me this week:

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Proposals for the Feminine Economy, by Jennifer Armbrust:
"In 2015, I gave a talk entitled “Proposals for the Feminine Economy” outlining my holistic vision for a new economic paradigm, founded on feminine and feminist principles. Now, in 2019, I am excited to offer these ideas in book form. This pocket-sized tome captures my central thinking around business as art, feminine economics, and feminist entrepreneurship."

Life Without Plastic's instagram account: I've been passionate about minimizing Native Bear's plastic waste for years now. It's not always easy to find great solutions but things are becoming easier! I like following this account to stay informed on new and improved ways to be ditch the single use plastic in our lives. I'm proud to say that we use all compostable cellophane sleeves for our cards and prints, paper tape and kraft paper fill for shipping, and reuse just about every shipping box!

Bob Ross' "The Joy of Painting" videos: now available on YouTube for your viewing pleasure. So many happy little clouds...



1 comment

  • taja jayy

    I love you, thank you for all that you do :) Helping me keep my head on straight everyday

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