Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Sometimes 100% still isn't enough

I think I may have mentioned this before: I often refer to myself as 80% Girl. I do not mean that the other 20% of me is not girl. I mean that I tend to only go 80% of the way on things. There are very few things in life for which I will go all-out, no-holds-barred. I lack the drive to complete things. It is a character flaw evident in the many half-completed art and craft projects that I've stumbled across lately--cross-stitch patterns with only one color done, sketches that are missing integral components, boxes of supplies purchased for projects that never even got started. I'm big on ideas and not so big on the follow-through.

Well, almost a year and a half ago I found something that I thought I'd go 100% into: a direct-sales jewelry company that some colleagues at school worked for. It did not appear at first glance to be a good fit for me: I wore the same four pairs of earrings over and over, donned a necklace only on special occasions, and always forgot to put my wedding and engagement rings on after taking them off. But I liked the idea of working for myself, of doing the shows, of running my own little business, and there had always been that bit of me that liked being all dressed up and pretty. It also didn't hurt to see up-close and first-hand the profits some of these women were making. I thought to myself, "I've gotten fairly decent returns in the past for my 80%--just think what I could do if I went all the way!"

So I did. I spent a lot of money, a lot of time, and a lot of effort to get my business off the ground. And when I did shows, I was great. I really was. I had so much fun, and people always told me that I was good at what I did. For once, I was pulling out all the stops, and I couldn't help but dream of how far I'd go with the company.

But I found out that sometimes giving 100% isn't enough, and there isn't anything you can do about it. There are always factors beyond our control, and it turned out that there were too many of them getting in my way. At first I felt really bad about myself--I'd always blamed my lack of success in certain areas to the fact that I held back that 20%, and while I'm sure I could have succeeded more than I did, there's no guarantee I'd have reached every goal I ever dreamed of setting for myself.

So this week I decided to stop being an active consultant. I'm not folding altogether--I'm just not pursuing shows and sales anymore. And really, it sucks. I'd been really excited at the potential the job offered, and like I said, I had a fantastic time. But eventually you realize that your output isn't balancing your returns, and there comes a time to cut your losses.

So yeah, it's bumming me out. But at the same time, I'm glad I figured this out, because someday my kid is going to come to me crying because he/she did absolutely everything possible and still didn't reach their goal, and I want to be able to say to them, "It's okay! You're not a failure!" And it's one thing to say that to someone, and another thing to have lived it and speak from experience.

1 comment:

Heather Diane Tipton said...

Uh, 80% is better than 50%. LOL I think that is what I'm throwing at my book that I'm writing, just 50% of me. I'm holding back a part of myself, and that will not make for a good book. I need to figure out how to over come that.