Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Those Girls: The Art of Failing Up

It's a strange thing, not having the Assemble storefront. We are what we always were: a place to make & do. However, things are up in the air at the moment as to how exactly we will be going about those things. As of now, the making and doing is going on within ourselves. We have things in the works: a book, workshops, new kits, new products, projects, etc.

By no means do I believe that we have failed Assemble. In fact, I know we didn't. Some people that don't follow our website and blog may assume that we "went out of business." That is simply not the truth. Emily and I made the decision to close the space at the ending of our lease to make way for possibilities that weren't possible while running a storefront (at least not now). Including travel, teaching opportunities, more writing, and other projects that would eat our "home" time alive. We can grow as an online business in ways that we couldn't as a brick & mortar. So the question is, why do I feel like a failure?

Emily and Andie Assemble failing up those girls
Emily and I in the first days of our Greenwood Space, 2009

It's amazing how we as humans have a tendency--nay, a DESIRE--to only believe the negative? We feed on insults and duck away from compliments. Why is it that we shy away from positive comments and dwell on the negative? We repeat these negative comments again and again in our heads until we inevitably believe them. In fact, most of these negative comments are born of our own thoughts.

It's not uncommon for me to look around, on other blogs and websites, and comment to myself about how what this person is doing is better, easier, more profitable--how those girls will get what they want out of their business because of this reason, or this reason, or this reason, and how my specific idea will just be taken by someone else and done (inevitably) even better. This is a spiral of self-doubt that is nearly impossible to get out of without help. In this right, I'm so glad that I have a business partner. When I'm off--she's on. When she's off--I'm on. But, being away from our shared workspace is hard, especially with a new baby taking time and energy during maternity leave, and I begin to brave this spiral alone.

Upon one of my "spirals," I happened to hear a talk by Tavis Smiley on NPR about the concept of "failing up," or building success from perceived failure. To be honest, I didn't hear much of the talk except for that phrase: failing up, which resonated with me for months, until now. What is failing, but failing up? Regardless of whether or not "failing" pertains to us (my rational brain knows it does not), I plan, WE plan, to fail up. If you're anything like me, you have an array of brilliant ideas dancing around in your head about 24 hours a day. Creatives are blessed with this inevitable curse. The foresight to do amazing things, and none of the energy to get them done.

We're going to challenge you to summon that energy.

We want to hear from you. We want to hear your story of "failing up." We'll give you two weeks, and one winning post will be published as a guest blogger here on our Assemble blog, plus the writer will win a special prize of one of our Assemble Crocheted Granny Square kits, to have fun with when the spiral commences. Creativity breeds creativity, and we want you to be creative. Please send us a blog entry (500 to 800 words) with your story of "failing up." Please include a few photos of at least 600 pixels wide. We'll choose one to publish in two weeks time. Deadline: February 4th. Kit prize open to US residents only. Please send entries to info@assembleshop.com.

granny square crochet kit

Assemble Modern Crocheted Granny Square Kit $35

Thanks so much, and happy writing. We're anxious to read your replies.


2 comments:

  1. If it's any consolation, I don't think you two have failed AT ALL. From hearing Emily share "this crazy idea I have with my friend, Andy" several years ago, to watching it become a reality, to your transition now. I'm so impressed with what the two of you have accomplished.

    And, honestly, when I heard you two were closing the storefront but continuing Assemble online, my first thought was: "sweet! that means they're mobile! which means they could come to the eastside for artsy things and I won't have to drive all the way to Greenwood to connect with their creative awesomeness"
    Selfish thought. But excited for what's to come!

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  2. I loved this post. Everything you two ladies touch becomes something special. I have no doubts Assemble's next phase will be nothing short of kick-ass.

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