When the Road Turns {On Creative Resilience}

on creative resilience

It happens.  You are excited for one journey.  You are ALL in.  Invested.  The wind in your face as you move forward.  Filled with hope and expectation and all that burns bright against the dark of the unknown ahead.  Then there comes a turn in the road you could have never seen coming.  In an instant everything changes and suddenly you are on a journey you would have never chosen.  But you weren't given that choice.  Now the only choice that remains is how you respond to this new road ahead.  What do you do?

January 27th I was returning from a speaking engagement out of state.  On the way home from the airport, I was in a major car crash that left me with a broken wrist, severely injured hand (and of course it was my dominant lettering/painting/writing everything hand/wrist), and a traumatic brain injury.  In the weeks that followed, everything I had built my business on came apart at the seams.  Piece by piece screaming as it was peeled away and I lay in dimly lit silent room unable to do anything to stop it. 

When you have a 100% service based business and you are not able to serve your clients, the business meets a rapid demise.  These last months have been some of the hardest in my life.  And the hard is far from over.  Many medical challenges lie ahead for the foreseeable future.

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Success is not measured by how we handle the expected turns in the road, but by how we pivot to embrace the unexpected ones.   

The ability to pivot and embrace change is a core part of developing creative resilience.   The ability to look at a crisis and see opportunity rather than defeat. If we cannot change the situation we are in, perhaps it is time to change the way we see that situation.

My business got stripped back down to foundation level.  It doesn't get more open than that friends. (Remember that openness is my word for 2018?)  Would I fight to rebuild what I had before or would I fight to build something I love even more? 

I'm going for more. And it has changed my entire business model.  I have had much time in a dim room to ponder and reflect on my options.  Some days I still do.  Who'd've thought bad brain day would become part of my working vocabulary?  Not me, that's for sure.

But out of this season of struggle are coming some beautiful things. 

I've shifted my business model from being primarily service-based (branding/web design/coaching) to focusing on creating educational, inspirational and practical resources for some of my favorite people in the whole wide world: YOU.  Creatives & entrepreneurs.  (I still will be doing limited stationery at WWhimsyPaperCo.com as my injured wrist allows + other design work here on a limited case by case basis). 

Product-based businesses are scalable & sustainable in ways service-based business are not.  And that is really exciting. (I learned this one the really hard way.)

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I'm in the middle of creating and launching a new brand called Designed to Thrive™... And everything I'm pouring my heart, soul, time and strength into is designed to help you live wholeheartedly, thrive extravagantly and build a brand that matters.  We are talking digital tools, online courses, a totally unique and new way to embrace business planning and strategy designed especially for creatives, innovators and entrepreneurs... complete with supportive community and so much more.

Let me leave you with a few questions to think through.  Now one likes to entertain worst case scenarios, but sometimes they happen.  Prepared is better than perplexed.

If you were taken out of your current business model overnight and could not work or be present at all to meet existing deadlines or client needs:

  • How long would your business last without you? A week, a month, 4 months?
  • Are there some simple tweaks you can put in place now that would give you more buffer time?
  • If you are a service business (as I was), can you translate aspects of your services into products that can be monetized in a way to create a passive income flow?
  • Do you have a contingency plan on what you would do if your were taken out of commission unexpectedly?  (I didn't and it cost me dearly.)
  • Have you looked into forms of insurance that could help mitigate these type of losses?