Last week we did a photo shoot so that we could update our company information, as well as for a few exciting projects we have in the works. As I sat there, surrounded by amazing people that I look up to and admire, my heart swelled with gratitude.  About four and half years ago I did my first craft show. Today I have the honor of employing fourteen other people! Can you believe it?  Usually I cannot quite get my head around it all. But seeing them all in a photo really brought reality to it all for me. Each woman has an amazing story; they are strong, caring, loyal and they teach me lessons everyday. They are also all on their own journeys. Some have other small businesses that I love to support and encourage as much as I can.

The Gleeful Peacock Flock (minus a few lovely gals)

On top of all of these amazing women I get to be surrounded by, we hit 10,000 Facebook fans just the other day. The comments were amazing, encouraging and brought to tears to my eyes.  Many from people that have been a part of the journey since the beginning. Y'all are amazing. It shows me how much good and kindness is in the world.

I wanted to share a few things this journey of mine has taught me.

1 - To get more, give more. The more time I give to help other people be successful, the more success that I seem to have. The more I give of my heart, the more I am loved. The more I give of my resources, the more resources seem to come my way. The more I advice and mentoring I give, the more inspiration and energy I get.

2 - You can't stop copy cats. It is sad that within us lies an ocean of creativity, yet people choose to just replicate what is already out there. Think of all the beauty we are missing out on! But I have a motto. It's simple. Do it better, do it faster. I can't stop it, but I can keep creating and stay ahead of them all. By worrying about it, I waste my creative spark.

3 - Haters gonna hate. It sounds silly but this was the best advice I have received in a long time. With a business growing and changing, you are going to have to deal with negativity. When it comes down to it, I have realized that for the most part it is because they don't understand my journey. That is fine. It's not theirs to understand. But in the end, haters gonna hate. Follow your path, and surround yourself with people that cheer you on and believe in you.

4 - Being uncomfortable is key. This is true in so many aspects of life. When we are comfortable, we are not really growing. When I feel like I have it all under control and I know what I am doing, I tend to be looking for the next experience that will make me a novice and get me out of my comfort zone again. When I started I didn't know how to do a craft show. I had no idea how to sell to stores and I sure as heck did not know how to have a bunch of employees. But I have learned to feel most comfortable when I am uncomfortable. It has been a huge key to the growth of the business.

A sneak peek of our work space. Lots of laughter happens at this table. 

5 - You need a whole tool kit to build a business. Lets just say that maybe I am the colorful hammer. I like to push boundaries. I have Casey, who is the level. She makes sure everything is in line and organized. Each person is essential. Each one has something to bring to the project. The key is letting them use it. I often say my true skill set is delegating and finding talent. But for the most part, I believe that most people will pleasantly surprise you if given trust and encouragement.

6 - In the end, it's the relationships and the development of each of us that is most important. Long after each person moves on, I hope that their time here will teach them something. That this will be a happy memory. That they take with them more self esteem, knowledge and the belief that people are amazing. That is my greatest of all wishes.

My (Nikki) work space when I'm not in the back studio

From the bottom of the heart, thank you for appreciating what comes from my soul. It is the deepest form of acceptance I could feel. Thank you for your support as I learn these lessons. I hope that some of them were helpful to you in your journey.