On My Honour

 In Weekly Forum Discussion

Welp. Friday night was a run-away. Plain and simple. I was having such a great time with the Artist Date last week, that I just kept on going. My own theme for last week’s topic was “follow the thread”, which for me meant really learning to understand the words joy and flow. As an entrepreneur, my work-life naturally takes priority over my social life, so the Artist Date was such a great tool for me to initiate some balance… which of course I took too far! That’s my wont. I had an extra-excellent time at a concert on Friday night when friends suggested we take a “wander” through the Ex afterwards. It was spectacular. So many colours and lights. So much noise. So many people! So many laughs. It was 3 am when I went to bed!

Saturday morning arrived much too quickly. I was in the car before 8 am, coffee in hand, and buzzing along the highway back to Hamilton to be on time for my monthly store-shift at the artist collective on Locke Street. I was still so happy and excited from the night before that I didn’t reallise how tired I was until I opened the shop and the first customers came in. When I heard my own voice grunt some sort of sleepy greeting, I remembered our topic immediately.

It was so weird! I went from being really happy and energised looking at pictures on my phone from the concert, laughing out loud even, to being the exact opposite to the first person who spoke to me. It shocked me. I can’t lie either, I was more than a little ashamed of myself. I felt like that chippy teenager behind the counter who is laughing with her friends, and then turns to the customer and says “whadda y’ want” all braces and nasally. Terrible!

Right away, I put my phone down, pretended I had been distracted, and then re-greeted the couple who had come in, by pointing at the lovely weather outside. And it was. It was a beautiful day! There was no excuse for my rudeness, and fortunately they were happy to say hello also. (Yay weather. Thanks for being my wing man ha!) We struck up a little bit of a conversation, and then I helped them choose a locally hand made cutting board, as a thank you gift for some friends. They were going to their cottage next weekend. It goes without saying that they may have chosen differently if I had not engaged them positively. They could easily have made their purchase somewhere else. I know I’ve made those decisions myself, based on the staff’s attitude.

I completed the sale, wrapped the gift, wished them a good day, and then had a little chat with myself. I re-greeted myself! I reminded myself of my role in that particular store. I am a working member of a really cute and well-established artist collective in Hamilton. It’s a privilege to be a part of it. A true collective, there is no one policing my contribution except me. I get to be a part of something magical, and somehow not be directly responsible for it. I am left only to my honour.

This was such an incredible gift of experience for me. As an entrepreneur, this is exactly the soul of my (our) success equation. I am on my own honour to show up and do a great job. I assess my actions, and I assess my results. And here I was suddenly having the opportunity to see the value of choosing to not only represent the store well, but to over-deliver. I spent the rest of the day doing this, and again, I can’t lie, the store probably had one of the best days it’s had since the Christmas season.

It was fantastic! Customers got to purchase some really beautiful handmade things, my fellow artists got promoted, I got promoted, and sincerely, it was a community affair. I was like the hostess with the mostest, and I watched as people literally came in off the street to see why so many people were in the store at one time. I could not have planned that.

The bonus: I watched and I listened. People come into that store to buy gifts. They come in for ideas. The come into see what’s new. They come in to be inspired. They come in to feel home; they come in to experience the hometown community aspect of Hamilton, which is changing very quickly. This particular artist collective has been operating for over 30 years, and it is one of the few original stores left on the street. There is a reason for that, and I had the opportunity to see that in action. It’s a definite hub. I left there on Saturday with a brainstormed list of things we (staff) can do together as a collective to highlight those aspects of this amazing community gem. It is not just a store, it is a community centre.

The results of my decision to show up as my best self do not only serve me. They serve my fellow artists. They serve the community. They serve Hamilton. They serve the local economy. My decision to be positive, kind, and helpful will encourage people to buy locally again – as opposed to shopping on line or in a big box store.

Being my best is not just about my experience. The ripple out is huge. I’m an entrepreneur. I’m a small business owner. In doing that “lifestyle” that I love, I feed my community. I give back.

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