Stepping Back to Give Thanks

Stepping Back to Give Thanks - tips & insight for focusing on the right things this holiday season

As a small business owner, it's easy to get bogged down with the day-to-day grind. We're constantly switching hats and are so focused on where we want to take our dream that we forget to look around and give thanks for the blessings we've got right here and now.

As I approach Thanksgiving and the one year anniversary of me taking the crazy wonderful leap, I think it's time to slow down, take a step back, and identify what I'm grateful for in my business right now.

1. My Loved Ones

I wouldn't be where I am today without the love and support of my husband, family, and friends. They lift me up when I'm struggling, believe in me even when I doubt myself, and make it possible to take the leap of following my dream.

Whether they're proofreading and sharing my posts, making time for encouraging lunches that keep me sane, listening to my latest crazy business ideas, brainstorming new business strategies, or just loving on me I couldn't be more blessed to have these amazing people in my life.

Takeaway: Your loved ones believe in you no matter what. Don't forget to make time for them too and show them that same kind of support.

2. My Clients

Brand design is different from art in that I can't just make something because I want to. Each logo and identity I create is made possible by the incredible small business owners who hire me.

I'm beyond honored each time an entrepreneur chooses to trust me with their vision and invest in my ability to translate their dream in a way that feels right for them while delighting their customers. My clients are more than that—they're passionate and inspiring people I'm proud to serve and so thankful to share this journey with.

Takeaway: Our customers keep our businesses alive and our dreams afloat through their emotional and financial investment in what we do. Be sure to create an amazing experience for them that makes their support truly worthwhile.

3. My Talents

We each have our own unique blend of skills and talents, and that combination makes you perfectly suited for what you're called to do. If you had told me 10 years ago I could combine my love of art, writing, and psychology with my knack for listening and empathy, I would have thought you were off your rocker. Yet here we are.

I'm so thankful for these talents I've been blessed with and this quirky mix of chromosomes that makes me who I am. It's even more wonderful to find that these quirks are often the spark that inspire my clients to decide I'm the right designer for them.

Takeaway: There are plenty of other talented folks out there, but none are just like you. Don't let inspiration become intimidation. For all the other brands you swoon over, there's someone looking at you with that same kind of wonder.

4. My Community

For many, entrepreneurship can quickly be misdirected towards one-upping the competition. However, I'm a firm believer in lifting one another up rather than pushing others down. Sharing our journey makes us all better, and some of the best friends I've made over the last year are brand designers too. I don't view them as competition. Rather, I know we each shine in our own unique and nuanced ways.

During this (often too) busy holiday season, slow down and count the blessings you already have.

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I want small businesses to find the right fit for their brand, and if that's not me so be it. There are brands out there who my portfolio and personality will really resonate with, and that mutual excitement and connection is what fuels my best work. Meanwhile, a generous and supportive community of other designers lifts us all up and I couldn't be more thankful for my fellow creatives who inspire me to be better every day.

Takeaway: You'll get a lot further in life and business when you choose to support and contribute to your community rather than alienating others or treating them as competition. Not to mention, it makes the journey a whole lot more fun.

5. My Experience

Not every job and experience along my path has been amazing, and some really seemed like dead ends at the time. Yet looking back now, I can honestly say that each one taught me something valuable and acted as a stepping stone to where I am today. Granted it's much easier to connect the dots in retrospect, but I'm so thankful for each chapter of my story so far.

Takeaway: Maybe you're experiencing a particularly rough chapter right now and it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Keep the faith and don't give up. I promise this is all leading to something amazing and someday it will make sense.

The Gratitude Challenge

I know you're a passionate business owner like me, and we all have a vision and goals that propel us ever onward and upward. During this (often too) busy holiday season, slow down and count the blessings you already have. Post them, share them, or just write them down for you.

Take the pause needed to really look around and appreciate today's scenery. We've still got a long way to go, but each new day is full of promise and brings us a little bit closer.

What are you most thankful for this holiday season? Let me know in the comments below!

Melissa Yeager

West Chester, PA, USA

Logo and brand designer who helps passionate, creative entrepreneurs channel their excitement and all of their ideas to create a visually stunning, cohesive brand that feels right for them while working wonders for their business.