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Five-Year Plan Party

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Several years ago I was watching one of those daytime “housewife” shows. You know the ones: the ones with segments dedicated to clever ways to use leftover meatloaf, cute ways to “dress up breakfast” for your kids and “10 ways to look 10 pounds thinner.” Good TV. Anyway, one segment featured a woman who talked about your life’s path. She encouraged the audience to reach for their full potential, and to pursue their life’s dream. I know, I know, it sounds really hokey, but stick with me here.

This next part has stuck with me for the last 15 years: she suggested that us housewives at home throw a Five-Year Plan party where guests are encouraged to dress the part of where they want to be in five years. So, for instance, if I wanted to be an RN in five years, I should come dressed in scrubs and Crocs with a stethoscope and a hospital ID around my neck. Or if I wanted to be the next Dr. Livingston, I should come in Out of Africa garb (with a stethoscope around my neck).*

I have long kept this idea with me.

I have held this silly “dress-up party” idea in my head because it clarifies an abstract concept of forward motion for me.

How easy it is to dream! Dreams, though they may fill my days, can amount to nothing. Good intentions, and nothing.

Now, I am not Miss Ambition who wants to amass heaps of power and wealth. But I still want to move forward with the gifts I’ve been given. So this pithy party idea has always been a pragmatic way for me to assess where I am (and where I’m going).

“How would I dress today to represent my future self?”

Three years ago, I would have dressed up as an “artist”: a woman who makes things and sells them to a clientele of patrons. At the time, it was such a foreign concept that I could have planned it for a hundred years out and still not have grasped its reality. Three years ago I had little production experience, no suppliers, no customers and no business know-how. But thanks to a lot of baby steps (all celebrated over breakfasts with my girl Liz) – my first item, my first sale, my first return customer, my first wholesale contract – that dream is coming to fruition. In fact, to keep my sanity as I keep up with larger business demands, I will scale back my blogging, but more on that later. I still have two years to go on my five-year plan, and more to accomplish, but happily, I am moving toward my goal of In-Demand Artist.

And now the next question: “How would I dress today to represent my future self?”

Well, in a bold move of transparency, I’ll tell you. I would dress up as an “author”. I want to write a beautiful book full of glorious needlepoint patterns. A big glossy book that is so inspiring and divine that it will sit on coffee tables like a hot socialite as it launches a Needlepoint Renaissance. And again, just as with my first five-year plan, this dream seems too daunting to even be possible. But of course it’s possible. Many people before me have written books, and many people before me have been published. Now, I may not have a book published in five years, but I know where I’m headed. And it just may happen, too.

Back to my blogging. When I set up my etsy shop (at the prompting of a very visionary friend) I was told (by that same visionary friend) to establish a “web presence” to strengthen my position in the online marketplace. I balked. “Establishing a web presence” was about the last thing I wanted to do with my time. But after doing a little research, I realized that like it or not, he was right. So I started a blog, and decided I would write 100 weekly posts and then reassess after that. So at 108 weekly blog posts, I say: it’s been a good run. But now that I’m here, I think the energy I put into writing weekly blog posts could be put to better use. Like developing new product lines, and designing patterns . . . and writing a book. I will still write blog posts, with free patterns and projects and arte vida brilliance. But I won’t write every week.

I’ll be writing the next chapter.

* The dirty secret about these parties is that they’re really just a great excuse to drink with your friends. And bottles of booze are the only way to lure husbands to a cute-themed party, really. Just serve themed cocktails like “Future-tinis” and “Dreamaritas.” Then everyone’s happy. I’m including a great daiquiri recipe that I mixed one night. We’ll call it a “Successiri” and it should lure reluctant spouses to your Five-Year Plan Party.

Successiris

3 oz. coconut rum

2 oz. key lime juice (bottled or fresh)

2 tsp. confectioner’s sugar

Directions

Rim glass with key lime juice and sugar. Shake ingredients together and pour over ice. Serve with key lime twist. Salud!