Wednesday, July 31, 2013


After my craft show the other day, I've been thinking a lot about what success means.  I’d classify myself as an unrealistic optimist.  I get so excited about things and have these crazy expectations that are, for the most part, unattainable.  Does this mean I’m setting myself up for disappointment or am I just reaching for the stars like we've been taught to do since we were little?

Success is defined as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose”.  So if I have an “aim” to go to the movies, and I go see the latest romcom, does that mean that I was successful?  I guess that it’s technically correct, but it’s not quite the grandiose idea I have of success.  I mean success.  You know, that ever elusive spark that only catches fire in the perfect conditions. 

Devon, from The Mermaid Chronicles, posted the following line a while back: “I don't want to be famously successful like I thought I did, I just want to reach my creative potential.”  I love how she put this thought.  I think we all have a little piece of us that wants to be “famously successful”.  You see the blaze of the fire for a few people and secretly want that for yourself.  I know I do.  I’d love it if everyone who came by my craft fair booth had to have what I was selling and bought me out.  In previous craft fairs, that was how I defined success—if I sold out of everything and if everyone loved my wares.  Realistic?  No way.  The world is full of so many different personalities with diverging wants and needs.  In fact, the whole reason I started making my own headbands and necklaces was because I couldn’t find the colors/style I wanted in stores.  So for me to think that everyone will implicitly want what I’ve made is already setting myself up for my expectations to be dashed.  

This last craft fair, though, I had Devon’s words ringing in my ear.  I wasn't exactly pleased that I didn't sell as much as I thought I would, but I also didn't spiral into a state of despair like I’m prone to do either.  Instead of thinking about the overall numbers, this time I focused on the sales I did have.  I reminded myself that there were other super talented people there selling their stuff, and not everyone had my same style (nor should they).  I had a couple of times when people came to my booth and got so excited about my necklaces that they bought one and wore it right away.  That was a great feeling.  I was putting myself out there, and something I made was valued by someone else and going out into the world.  When I thought about it that way, I thought that sounded pretty successful.  Maybe not the way I had originally planned, but that’s ok.

It’s ok to be a perpetual optimist and strive for the impossible, as long as I know that on the way back from that high I still accomplished something by simply trying.  It’s hard for me not to compare myself to others, though.  I know I shouldn't,  but in this overly hyped social media world, it’s so easy to get caught up comparing the number of blog readers/Twitter followers/etc. I have to what others have and think that once I hit that number I’ll be successful.  It’s just a mirage, though, because if I did reach that goal, I would want to get to the next level and the cycle would just continue.  I have to figure out what is successful for me, which may not be viewed as successful by everyone else. 

To create, to dream, to live this wonderful adventure is my aim.  I don’t need to put a minimum value on each of these things to be able to reach the pedestal I've put my old friend “success” on.  It’s time to pull success” down to my level so that I can walk hand in hand with it.  Maybe I won’t always reach the level of success I want, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't keep striving for what I deem the impossible.  Six months ago I would have never thought I would be writing a blog or even doing another craft fair.  It’s been a great experience, though.  You can’t even begin to know how much I appreciate the fact that you’re reading this and all of your sweet comments.  We all trip and stumble along the way, but to get up and keep going, to carry on the journey, that’s what it’s all about.  


  1. Success has been on my mind for a while now and it was interesting to read your thoughts on the subject. Although I can't say much on it myself since it's something I'm still trying to figure out, I have to say that this, "It’s time to pull “success” down to my level so that I can walk hand in hand with it." stood out to me most. Maybe if I try to view success this way I can feel better about where I am, where I want to go and where I want to be.

    Thanks for posting this Kari. I'm very glad you started your blog too. :)

  2. Lots of deep thoughts, Kari. Success is a lot different for me now that the daily grind isn't as a teacher. I measure success based on my family and friends...people who know me for me and still love me. It's also in the little victories that I get to experience with my daughter. I love the ZZ quote!

  3. I love this Kari. It's so important that we have goals we want to reach, but we do need to remember that the only real failure isn't trying. My mom always tells me this and sometimes it's hard to hear, but it's true. In fact, in might be one of the truest things I've been told. I always grow more when I don't "succeed" , to my standards, anyways. It builds character, I guess. Plus, think of how many people out there like arts and crafts and have never even considered doing a craft fair. Maybe they are scared, or don't put in the effort. That's not you and that's rad. I'm sure seeing what people were drawn to buy will help you with your business too. I personally love your wares and I think you are successful. Definitely.

  4. These were good points about success, especially how it shouldn't be put where it will always be just out of reach. Over hyped social media world indeed! Those numbers on Instagram, Blogger, Twitter - it's too much and distracts from what success really should be. It's personal.
    Thank you for this post, Kari! It's so good to have perspective set right from time to time.

  5. Wow! So well put. You have a way with words my friend, and also with colorful ribbon, fabric, etc. I thought the problem of comparing myself to others would end with the end of my 20s, but I feel like it's actually getting harder. I'm going to keep coming back to your soothing and grounding words.

  6. This is a great post Kari. To make your own beautiful jewellery and accessories, to make enough and of a good enough quality to take to a craft fair, to set up your own stall, to do the packaging and all of the organising, and to have customers that love your wares - this is to have succeeded. It is human nature to strive for more I think. But look at all you have achieved, and be proud of yourself. You have done so well.

  7. This is so well written and so inspiring. I love Devon's quote too. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! That's so wild that you worked at Laurel! I was there the summer of 2002. I know a couple of people that worked there that summer came back the next summer. One of them was my co-counselor and she taught tennis as well. Her name is Anne - blonde hair. There was a girl that worked in the theatre department named Khalila that I was friends with. I think she was there in 2003 too. Small world!


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