When people think about starting a business, or an ambitious creative project like the Peacock Dress, they sometimes ask me, “How do I know that this is possible? How do I know that I have what it takes? How do I know that I’m good enough?”
Well, there’s an assumption in that question that somebody else has to give you permission. The successful creative says, “I don’t actually care whether other people think I’m good enough or not, I’m going to figure it out,” and that’s the key.
Being good enough is not a static place. Having what it takes is about a constant process of learning, and improving. You’re good enough if you’re committed to constant improvement. You develop the skills that you need on the way. You trust in your ability to figure it out when you haven’t got it all figured out.
And in the end, the point is not to pull it off perfectly, the point is to go on a journey, and to share the journey, and to become better at who you are and what you do.
Do you have what it takes? If you’re willing to stand up, self-select for this project and go on a learning journey that might lead to unexpected places, then you’re absolutely “good enough”.
Watch the video above for the full version!
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Full Video Transcript
Hi, this is Cathy from Foundations Revealed and Your Wardrobe Unlock’d, and you may know that I’m working on a very ambitious project to make the Peacock dress. After my video last week, I heard so much encouragement, thank you so much. I’m so excited to get this going again and make it work this time, fingers crossed. I heard some really interesting comments and questions, and there was one question that came up that I wanted to address, in another video, that was very similar to a question I was getting when I was running my business course earlier in the year. I sometimes run, you may know, I sometimes run a coaching course for people who are starting to or trying to start, or run a successful artisan business. If you’re hand-making something, whether you’re a seamstress, or whatever kind of handmade artist you are, I run courses to help people make that work.
The question I kept getting was, how do I know that this is possible? How do I know that I have what it takes? How do I know that I’m good enough? Whether to do with some sort of ambitious sewing project, or whether it was to do with starting a small business, or running a small business. How do I know that I’m good enough? I just wanted to address that question. The answer I think, in my opinion, how do you know you’re good enough?
Well, there’s an assumption in that question that somebody else has to decide that for you. “How do I know that I have what it takes?” implies that you’re waiting for somebody else to give you permission. That’s okay, that comes from living in a world in which there are gatekeepers. In which, we’re full of reality shows, with panels of judges who are there to tell members of the public whether they are allowed to go out and do what they really love, or not. Whether they’re good enough, and the solution is really, there’s nobody there to tell you really that you can’t do this. You may get, everybody has haters, I have haters, but whether or not you’re good enough for something is something that you decide within yourself.
The person who is successful at doing something, whether it’s in a career sense or in a creative project sense, is somebody who has decided for themselves, “I don’t actually care whether I’m good enough or not, I’m going to figure it out,” and that’s the key. You’ve got to be willing to do the work to figure it out and willing to not know everything perhaps, but the key is, there’s nobody outside of you who is deciding whether you’re good enough to do this. It’s something you decide to do within yourself. Now, in the context of running a business, yeah you’ve got to have a certain level of skill to be able to sell what you’re doing. In that situation, being good enough is not a static thing.
It’s not like you’re either good enough, or you’re not, and you will always be either good enough, or you’re not. Being good enough, having what it takes, is about a constant process of learning, and a constant process of improving. I would say you’re good enough for something if you’re committed to constantly learning, and getting better at it, and looking at a piece of work that you’ve done… If you’re the sort of person who does every project and then goes, “Well, I would have done this differently. I wish I had done that differently, I wish I had the chance to do it again,” you’re probably on the right lines, because if you’re doing a good job, then you are going to learn through every project.
You are going to get better through every project. You’re going to learn something and say, “Aw, I know how I would do that better next time.” Being good enough is not a static state, you’ve got to keep improving. Whether that means that you’re starting out, you’re endeavoring to get to a point where your work is sufficient to be something that someone would pay for, or whether you’re somebody who’s been doing this for real, we all know of people who’ve been doing something for 20 years, but they haven’t changed the way they’re doing it in 20 years. They’ve remained in one place. They may have been good enough 20 years ago to do a great job at that, but 20 years later, times have moved on. Things have changed, methods have improved. They should have been in a constant state of learning all along.
It’s not about being in a static place, “I’m at this level now, I’m good enough now.” It’s a process of always wanting to get better. You develop the skills that you need on the way, and that’s really a key to it too. You have to trust in your ability to find your way. Trust in your ability to figure it out, when you haven’t got it all figured out. I haven’t got it all figured out how I’m going to do the Peacock dress yet. There’s a section of lace on the front of the bodice that’s all embroidered with spangles, and I’m looking at that now, and I’m going, “I don’t even know where I’m going to start with that,” but I have to trust that I’m going to figure it out as I go.
It’s a willingness to go on the journey, it’s a willingness not to be perfect all the time. Really, that’s what it’s about when you take on something ambitious, it’s not about being sure that you’re able to produce a perfect result at some specified time in the future (unless you have a deadline). It’s not about having to produce that result perfectly, whether it’s a great business, or a great creative project. The point is not to pull it off perfectly, the point is to go on a journey, and to share the journey, and to become better at who you are and what you do.
Yes, you may have to please a customer along the way, but in the meta-context of running a great business, are you good enough? Do you have what it takes? If you’re willing to keep trying, if you’re willing to keep learning, if you’re willing to figure it out as you go; if you’re willing to not be perfect all the time, but be prepared to backtrack, figure it out, apologize, make it right; if you’re willing to go on a journey, then you’re good enough, and then you have what it takes. I hope that helps.
What a lovely and very supportive video ???? Thank you ????
In spite of having run my jewellery business for 10 years now, I still (too) have bouts of doubt about my abilities and “right” to claim my spot. Like so many other creatives I am dreading to be outed as a fraud and a poser who isn’t able to do what I claim I can do.
However, as you also mentioned, the key lies in just doing it, humbly accepting to be less than perfect the first time(s) and be willing to constantly learn. Today, when looking back at my earlier pieces, I can see the intent, but also the lack of skill, which I have acquired in the meantime.
The point to this rant being: Don’t worry – If you decide you will be able to do this, you can ???? You, I and everyone else who is daring enough to show the world their creative skills.