It was 2015, post-Christmas. I was reflecting on the past year with a chip of disappointment on my shoulder. I realized MOI was okay, but it certainly wasn’t what I’d envisioned it to be by the close of year two of business.
Business wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. Why? Because, while I had been making decisions with a general goal, there was no focus.
I realized my vision for MOI lingered before my mind’s eye as a vague, diffused, distant object. Indistinguishable and, therefore, sadly unreachable.
What was I doing? Honestly, I had no idea.
I needed a change. I needed something to boost me into intentionality. Something to push me to the next level.
So, at the start of 2016, I decided to come up with a motto.
That motto was “Just Say Yes.”
I made myself accountable to the idea of “just say yes” by telling other people about it. And, as a result of following that motto, I said “yes” to…
…helping a client prepare for her very first art exhibition.
…illustrating a boy’s short story for his proud grandmother.
…getting Le Mieux into the local paper.
…contributing a by-line article to Multiracialmedia.com.
…attending coursework through the Red Wing Work of Art program (and learned stuff too!).
…a position on Red Wing Innovation Incubator’s Board of Directors.
…working as a web design production assistant.
…applying for an artist’s grant through SEMAC (and having it accepted!).
…a co-authorship with an adventurous military retiree and senior citizen.
…becoming a collaborator with a songwriting group in St. Paul.
…reinvesting earnings into ads (instead of taking profits and spending them on lattes or massages) and bringing Le Mieux’s Facebook page to over 300 likes.
A motto offers a clear, concise statement of purpose.
The purpose of “Just Say Yes” was not to blindly accept any and every opportunity that came my way, but to teach myself bravery.
I needed a motto to teach myself to learn to boldly go where I hadn’t gone before on a regular basis, to make bravery an everyday part of my existence.
I wanted to learn to challenge myself with new jobs, experiences, partnerships, and possibilities, and shove away the fear that might keep me from growing.
MOI was in a business funk. I was comfortable doing the little jobs—the easy editing, the quiet ghostwriting, the un-credited illustrating—and those types of jobs had resulted in a steady, easy, just-okay profit margin from MOI’s founding in 2013 through 2015.
In short: MOI had flat-lined, and I didn’t want that to become the norm.
But comfortable isn’t necessarily where success lies. (Although, sometimes it can be.)
So, if you’re feeling too comfortable (aka complacent) where you’re at, consider picking up my 2016 motto for yourself this year. #Makeityourown!
But if you feel like you’ve mastered bravery #likeaboss, I give you full permission to take on my 2017 motto:
To “See Farther” means taking “Just say yes” and slapping on a heavy side of Future to it. It means taking a little while—longer than a few seconds—to see if the thing you’re saying yes to fits into your broader long-term goals.
It means if you can’t take this thing you’re considering and “see farther” with it, then out the window it goes.
Last year’s three-word motto was easy to remember and say to myself when I was feeling nervous, unsure, or downright afraid.
It was also easy to execute. After all, it takes only a few seconds to go through the mental motions of “Hey, this opportunity scares me. Should I try it? ‘Just say yes.’ Hm… Okay!”
On the other hand, 2017’s two-word motto is even easier to remember, but takes a little more resolve to apply.
Can you do it?
Please… Just say yes. 😉
Here’s to seeing farther,