That is the question - Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the pains and anxiety of self-doubt, than to manifest the change we wish to see, and by believing, live it.
Thank you to Mr. Graham for having us memorize Shakespeare so that I could one day corrupt his words. However, as I embrace my venture into entrepreneurship, I find myself suddenly recalling those words, but through my own lens of interpretation. When one begins to ponder starting their own business, they are making a choice to continue living through their work as they currently live it, or take a leap of faith into a challenging world full of unknowns that may grant them the very work life they dream of living.
So you've decided you want to take that leap. What now?
The truth is I have absolutely no idea. I'm navigating this part in real time. Here is what I do know: I have a small handmade jewelry business that I have done on the side for years and I have been dreaming of doing it full time for almost as long. I know that I love creating, everything from jewelry, drawing and baking and everything in between. I love the process of making, of seeing my creative energy flow from my mind and into something concrete and beautiful. I love that these things that I create become an actual vessel with which I can form genuine connections to people. It is truly magical, and the fact that I see it makes me feel even more connected to something more powerful, something that can be felt but not seen. I don't think I need to postulate that this force has been given many names throughout time. However, I do want to address the power of actively manifesting positive change to make your dreams a reality.
The law of attraction may have zero empirical evidence to support its validity, but that's where the magic exists. All I know is that when I finally opened myself up to my dream being achievable, things suddenly began to change. One could argue that I was just starting to notice signs that had always been there because it was on my mind. That may be, I won't discount it, but if me visualizing my dream in real time helped me to be open to new opportunities and experiences, then I will continue to support the concept of positive thinking. And I decided to share my experiences and thoughts on the matter here because if sharing them helps anyone else make that leap they're contemplating, well then that's pretty awesome. (If you have ready enough already, that's okay too. You do you.) That said, there are four steps that I see on my journey to actively manifest my dreams into reality (dare I say dreamality?):
1. Don't just dream it - visualize it.
You have to visualize what your dream actually is. How can you manifest something you can't fully see or understand? There are so many ways you can begin to visualize your dream, you can make vision boards, bullet journals, or if you're a maker like myself, just make it! When it comes to art or anything skill based, we all start out pretty rough in the beginning. But that's exactly how it has to be before we can bring something truly unique into the world. I put a lot of trust in my creative process, and I think the same process can be applied to manifesting our dreams. For example, my jewelry business was my side business, and as a result, I always prioritized it as such. Translation - I never made my jewelry business a priority, so it never grew beyond just a side business. Until I finally made my business, and my dreams, a priority.
2. Believe in it. Believe in yourself.
You are worth it, and so are your dreams and life ambitions. I don't care if you have to plaster that on post-it notes all over your house until you believe it, positive affirmations should be part of your self-care every single day. How do you show the universe that you believe in yourself? You act on it. For me, this was making my jewelry a priority. I created a studio space of my own to work in, and the most important step was scheduling time to work on my jewelry and on my business. In the past, I would work on it when I had the time. When you have a family and a full-time day job, there isn't much time left. To clarify, I see nothing wrong with putting in the time to make your side hustle work for you, sometimes you you have to put in the hours to make things happen. But by not scheduling that time for myself, even after-hours, I was telling myself that my dream didn't deserve my time, that it didn't matter. I defy the traditional stereotype of most creatives in the sense that I love a good deadline. I find that some scheduling and organization gives my creativity a nice framework without stifling it in any way. My nature may have played a role in positively reinforcing these actions - I enjoyed making jewelry and growing my business, and I was proud of myself for achieving a each small goal that I set.
3. Make a plan.
Manifesting your dreams doesn't happen with pixie dust and unicorns (unless that's your business concept, and if it is please let me know so I can purchase from you!), but you need to apply an actionable and measurable business plan to your dream. Make a dreamline, if you will. (Wait, is dreamline a term? *Googles how to copy-write terms*) If you have ever heard of SMART goals, these are what I'm referencing. A SMART goal is specific, measurable, achieveable, relevant and time-bound. (If you want to research more about these, I encourage it. SMART goals were developed in 1981 by George Doran, Arthur Miller and James Cunningham in the article "There's a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management goals and objectives.") I used to manage a coffee shop, and this was one of the most interesting and applicable tools that I learned while in that position. Once I realized that I wasn't applying my knowledge on making smart goals for growing my jewelry business, I realized that I had been holding myself back. Oops.
4. Take action and just do it already.
So you have done all the pre-work - the visualization, the believing and the planning - now you have to take that step and just do it. Each step along the way prepares you in some small way to make this last step. It's an odd phase because you have manifested the scenario in which you can finally take action and make your dream come true. This is where I am. I won't lie to you - I am absolutely terrified. But I'm here, and doing this for myself has been empowering and rewarding beyond what I ever expected.
Now that I've answered my own question of to dream or to manifest your dream, I leave you with more Shakespeare inspired wisdom "This above all: to thine own self be true." There is real magic in believing in yourself, doing the work, and actively manifesting your dreams into reality. So stay tuned.
Rachel Erceg, Artist and Owner of Rachel Renee Jewelry
Rachel Renee Jewelry is a collection of Luxe Bohemian designs, delicately hand-crafted with semi-precious gemstones and metals. Chicago-native artist, Rachel Erceg, infuses the organic stylings of art nouveau with the timeless intricacies found in naturally occurring gemstone formations. This approach of pairing brilliant stones against the contrast of rustic, textured metals captures a distinct design with each piece. Rachel Renee Jewelry offers wearable art that is as one of a kind as the individuals they adorn, and makes the wearer's inner beauty sparkle.