I could act all "professionally" and tell you that the photo above was taken by one of my esteemed colleagues...that I'm a sophisticated professional who 'networks' and stuff. But, the much better truth is that it was taken by one of my best friends in the whole entire world. And while she is, one of the most talented professionals I know, she also loves me and supports my work. Her love and care for me is a large part of why I can do what I do as a small business owner and creative.
The more years of life I tuck under my belt, the more I realize how deeply we all need genuine and deep human connection. We all need people beside us, sometimes physically, sometimes emotionally, telling us "You're not alone"...telling us to "Keep going!"...telling us, "You're doing great!". And not only that...we need people we have a history with. People who know us inside and out. People who can sense our fear, who can "tell it to us straight" in gentleness and kindness. And we need to return the favor. We need to know what it's like to be on the giving end of a relationship. To know when to listen and not speak. To know when to speak hard truths at the right time. To honor the good work in others. To love and be loved.
This is why I mentioned earlier that I'm able to own a small business and be a creative person...because of the love of my friend...because of the love of my husband, my parents, siblings, family and friends. Because of the love I have received from them, because of the love I have learned to give them I can run and own a business. Crazy right? Almost sounds counterintuitive! We are nurtured and formed through our relationships, some might call it our character: the attribute that shapes our perspective of the world and informs our decisions. Why would this reality not flow into all aspects of our lives including our business philosophy and creative endeavors?
I'll tell you, the immense value I place in my personal relationships directly affects my business model. It shapes the way I interact with my clients, employees and yes, even my esteemed colleagues. :) I realize that each person I come in contact with is carrying a significant and precious story that is worthy of my respect. So whether we're talking flowers, billing, inventory or taxes, at the very root of the interaction is a person. And therefore, it is not something that can be treated flippantly, it is something that must be treated with care.
People. Relationships. This is where success begins and ends...I am convinced.