I was cleaning out and reorganizing my workspace the other day, when I came across the three different versions of my business cards that I've made ever since I started Bashful Lettering + Event Design. I had never seen them all side by side, and it caught me pretty off guard to witness the progression of my lettering that way.
The design of my first cards was far from perfect - the hand lettering was sloppy and uneven, the font was cheesy and they had no distinct style. My second cards were vastly better, but they still didn't feel like they 100% reflected what I wanted Bashful to be. When I designed my current business cards, I finally felt like I had defined my brand's identity in terms of wanting them to have a fun and vibrant color scheme, but still have a sleek and simple style. That being said, I'm sure that as Bashful grows and evolves, I'll be making more changes down the line.
This all got me thinking about how most of us don't usually give ourselves enough credit for the progress we've made. Rather than looking at how far we've come, we tend to focus on how much we have left to go.
I'm especially guilty of that - I have this idea in my mind of what I want my business to be, that I forget that it all started as a hobby to keep myself busy and that I never imagined anyone would be paying me to have my hand lettering included in their wedding! Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that it's a bad thing to plan ahead, grow and have goals to strive towards, but we shouldn't let that keep us from acknowledging and appreciating the work we've done so far.
One of the obvious culprits for this problem is - surprise, surprise - social media. Speaking for myself, from a business point of view, I look to hand lettering artists who've grown their businesses to a level that I aspire to reach for inspiration, but a lot of the time, as I'm scrolling through their amazing feeds, that feeling of not being good enough creeps in. I start to worry that all the work I'm doing won't pay off and that I'll never grow Bashful Lettering + Event Design to more than a side hustle.
When those negative thoughts start to come up, I try to remind myself of this quote by Jon Acuff I heard that has really stuck with me:
"Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle."
All this to say, no matter what it is that you're working towards, don't forget to give yourself props once in a while for everything you've achieved. Even if it's been five years and you haven't checked everything off your list by then that you thought you would have, that doesn't mean that you won't get it done eventually. Slow growth is still growth. Progress is progress. Just enjoy the journey and keep working hard!