Finding Abundance in Empty Boxes
Here’s a little inside scoop about Gratitude Soapery. When I bought the business, the original plan was for the green soap to be called Prosperity. It didn’t feel quite right to me, but I knew a lot of thought had gone into the line, by someone with much more experience than I had. If it seemed to right to the experienced person, who was I to doubt? So, I moved forward with the plan and ordered 250 soap boxes printed with PROSPERITY in big green letters. That may not seem like a lot of boxes. But that’s a relatively small order for most printers, so the cost for each box was relatively high. And then I paid to ship those boxes halfway across the country.
After the boxes were delivered, I looked at them and realized Prosperity just felt wrong to me. Too materialistic. As I was conversing with myself about whether I’d made a mistake, I realized that the feeling I wanted to promote and support was abundance, not prosperity. While the two are similar, abundance is so much more. What to do? I had already spent the money I’d allocated for boxes. It seemed wasteful to throw out perfectly good boxes. And I felt a little silly for not realizing how I felt about the name before I went all in.
After a few days of back and forth with myself (and every member of my family who was willing to listen to the debate I was having with myself) I realized starting over with the new name was really the best option. So, I put on my big girl pants, sent the Prosperity boxes to recycling and placed a new order for 250 boxes printed with Abundance.
It hurt on several levels. There was a definite financial bite. But the “mistake” also made me doubt myself. If I couldn’t get something that simple correct, how was I going to get the rest of the business right? That self-doubt let all the imposter feelings take up residence. And those feelings are big – they tend to take up all the room and push out the more reasoned and rational feelings.
That was almost three years ago.
I’ve made plenty of mistakes since then, some that cost me much more financially. But I’m getting better at keeping the emotional cost under control. How? By taking the focus off what I’ve lost and putting it back on what I’ve gained. Take the box situation. What I learned is that there is value in slowing down. That there is value in trusting my own instincts. That everything I do in this business has to be authentically my own. Now, when I’m faced with a decision and it feels not quite right, I take the time to let things simmer. I listen to my intuition, and I ask myself when I’ve felt this way in the past and what I learned in that prior moment. What were the lessons that can inform this moment? In other words, I’m constantly trying to see life with an abundance mindset rather than a scarcity mindset.
Learning to reframe thoughts is a constant challenge. Especially around abundance. It is so easy to let fear take over. To see the glass half full, to worry about what is lacking, to start catastrophizing about how a situation will snowball into something so much worse. That’s when it’s important to stop – literally tell yourself to stop. Move out of the moment of anxiety and start a rational conversation with yourself.
You can create a life where you experience the calm of gratitude and abundance. With time and attention, and the willingness to change, the anxiety of scarcity can be transformed into the calm of abundance. We can let ourselves see what we have and when we do, we realize it’s enough. Enough at least for this moment, which is the moment that matters. Stepping away from scarcity so we see the whole picture of our lives helps us see where to go next. New perspectives help us see new opportunities, and those opportunities can lead us to wonderful, soul fulfilling places. That may mean we change our goals – exchanging one ambition for another. Changing our goals doesn’t mean we’ve given up. It means we’ve grown up.
I still think about those boxes sometimes. Would the business be radically different if I hadn’t “wasted” that money? No, probably not. And in the end, it doesn’t really matter. That moment and the money are gone. Holding on to that moment keeps me trapped in scarcity. And being trapped in scarcity, rather than living in abundance, is the real waste.
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