I try to live by one simple philosophy: would the younger version of myself be proud? Considering he thought he was going to play for the Knicks, that’s a tougher task than I might have realized. There’s nothing convenient about chasing your dreams. The gap between opportunity and reality sets in as a dreamer every single day. It’s a pretty uneasy gap.
But why does an artist paint? Self-expression in its purest form surrounds us in every aspect of our lives - it’s how we feed our imagination, soul, and dreams. Any opportunity to express yourself is a contribution to society and should be challenged by aligned standards of progress and innovation. When you can surround yourself with inspired people and a positive flow of energy, we have the opportunity to bring out our best selves. We all become artists, in a way.
As a small business leader, the financial management side often conflicts with the desire to innovate. The cost and risk to challenge current practices in a more transparent culture is expensive and can be very high-risk for a small business. Any dreamer is always thinking bigger than their pockets can bear.
Even with that in mind, constant innovation towards a circular economy frankly seems like the only blunt hope given modern consumption habits, and while ideal; it does have an ongoing learning curve. While the fear, expectations, and challenges can be consuming - learning and collaborating from inspired companies, individuals, and charitable organizations who are all striving for the same values makes you feel like you’re a part of something real.
There’s a list of infinite challenges when growing a company, but the nuggets of opportunity to be a part of positive change are extremely meaningful. Creating art while also trying to innovate and hold ourselves accountable to creating positive, sustainable change in the clothing industry is demanding, but overall very rewarding. Everyone on our team is an artist, expressing vulnerability in every product, social media post, advertisement, display, and piece of our brand. Their inspired work ethic, powerful imaginations, willingness to dream, and never-ending drive to improve have a contagious effect.
My biggest realization after 10 years of seeing a dream come to life is learning to see imperfections as opportunities. In every challenge, when you’re able and lucky enough to surround yourself with people who can dream and fight for the same ideals, the process of overcoming obstacles goes from exhausting to fulfilling. In a world of infinite critics, people who can take something, fill it with substance and share a sense of purpose is energizing. Like many of us realize, there is no ‘success’ moment when running a business, but moments where we feel like we are a part of something creating ongoing value, which might be more important after all.
Reflections into the new year:
- Everyone likes to be heard, but few listen with care and intention
- The universe always finds a natural way to reward those who keep showing up
- Asking for support when facing challenges can be a very vulnerable feeling
- You take a lot more losses than wins
- Imperfection means potential
- Push your strengths and find compliments to your weaknesses
- Resting your mind is very underrated
- If you love yourself you have infinite potential
- You either control time or it controls you
- Perspective and Gratitude are critical for overcoming challenges