Learning to Listen

As you may have noticed, the Aroha Knits brand is going through a bit of a make-over. I recently had a breakthrough in my business that gave me better direction and greater clarity for my brand. I'm still in the middle of working out the finer details but in this post, I wanted to share one of those light bulb moments that we all experience from time to time.

But first, some background.

I was a pretty good student and I really aced college. I knew how to "work the system", as I liked to call it, executing great time management, balancing sleep, study and social life, and generally working hard to make good grades. All this with the intentions of becoming an International Relations professor.

My journey from wanting to become an IR college professor to being a small business owner in the knitting industry is a strange and long one. It's certainly a journey I never even dreamed about until I picked up the knitting needles for the first time and noticed a subtle shift in my spirit.

What am I getting at? Well, becoming an entrepreneur has really caused me to step outside my comfort zone. Every time I release a pattern, I put myself in a potentially vulnerable place. As my audience grows, so do my detractors (which is very scary). I'm usually reserved and don't like to talk much, but people like it when I lift back the curtains on my business (I've gotten used to it now though).

However, the biggest step outside my comfort zone was simply becoming an entrepreneur. You see, the reason why I did so well in school was because I'm really good at making lists, checking off boxes and sticking to guidelines set by someone I know who is knowledgeable and qualified.

By becoming an entrepreneur... I don't have that luxury anymore. I'm by myself. Of course, there are plenty of resources online to help and people to talk to but the process of developing a brand is not mathematical. There is no right or wrong answer and it's all very subjective. There are certainly logical reasonings and numerical research that I can do to determine whether or not I am doing the right thing to grow a business. However, with social media and the internet constantly bombarding us with more and more "things" for us to consume, we sometimes forgo the logic to find brands that make us feel something or resonate with us in a certain way (and that's why I'm a Mac User). 

As mentioned above, I'm going through some rebranding. That includes updating some pages, changing my language and working on a declarative statement. However, I started to panic when I realized that I had no idea if what I was writing was "right". I wasn't sure if the words I was using were getting my intended message across and the words that were crystal clear lacked soul and my personality. And for some reason, I cracked. I was debating whether I should stick with words, expressions, and feelings that were true to me or sticking with to-the-point, no room for mistakes or interpretation messaging that felt cold. I wanted to find a guide with a checklist that said "say this exactly and you'll be golden!".

And that's the both exciting and scary part. I can't rely on checklists and getting things done in an orderly way. I can fill out worksheets and take classes on how to best brand myself but at the end of the day, I still won't know for sure if what I'm doing is "correct" or how well you will respond. And in the end, I decided that all I can do is stay true to me, my values and just do my best. If the words I'm using is clear as mud, I just need to practice copywriting (ERGH) some more.

Shifting from relying on external voices to my internal quiet one is a radical change for me. My mind is often so noisy that it's hard to filter out the junk to get to the core of what is important: what my intuition is telling me. And it's something that requires getting used to, but I think I'm ready to embrace it.

Listening to my gut isn't a weakness of mine so to say, but it is a muscle I haven't stretched in a very long time. Let's see how it goes.