Finding Courage in Your Business

© 2019 Hannah Aiken

Word of the Year – Courage

Each year I pick a word as my theme, goal or mission for the year. This year, the word “Courage” kept pushing to the top of the list. Finding the courage to move beyond the fears that have been holding me back in building the business I want.

Back in 2016, I also had this as my word of the year, but I don’t recall that I made much progress in my goals. This year, the word keeps repeating itself to me over and over again – in books, blog posts I’ve read, Bible readings, etc. This felt like the year to what fears were holding me back and what I could do about them.

Doing It Scared

I mentioned last month over on A Simple Homestead blog, that I had recently finished Ruth Soukup’s book “Do It Scared”. I love that mantra, and it’s something I need to focus on! If you haven’t read that post or the book, the main part that I picked up on was that you don’t need to overcome your fears – instead, the idea is to move around, push past or advance through those fears.

It turns out, I have a lot of fears! According to Ruth’s free assessment (, my biggest fears are:

  • People pleasing – being afraid of what other people will think; caring about other people’s opinions
  • Procrastination – afraid of not being “enough”; usually plagued by perfectionism – the fear of making a wrong decision or choice
  • Pessimism – again, being afraid of what others think but also that life is not in your control

Ruth’s summary of my assessment said this: “You struggle most with the fear of being judged, which also manifests itself as the fear of letting people down and the fear of what other people might say.”

She doesn’t just leave after identifying the fears – her book lists the negative traits of each fear type but also the positive attributes (Mine says: “You’re probably well-liked and fun to be around. You’re a great team player and you’re thoughtful, considerate, and generous.”). She also lists behaviors to watch for and ways to correct your thinking as well as resources that may help you.

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear - Mark Twain

Moving past fear / finding courage

Fear is something I hear a lot of from the fiber artists I’ve met – in person and online. It comes in many forms – procrastination due to fear of failing or fear that their finished project won’t be perfect. That feeling of not being good enough – or why should I bother when so many other designers have already created XYZ? Fear that what they make will be ignored – or perhaps worse, rejected by their peers.

It comes through each time a new designer reaches out to me for the first time to find out about this mysterious thing called “tech editing”. I can read between the lines at the trepidation they feel. They wonder if this editor I contacted find all sorts of errors (That’s actually my job 🙂). They are afraid there will still be issues after it is edited and tested – that it won’t be “perfect” (perhaps, but it happens occasionally to the best of designers).

Finding courage in your business is something that needs to be done or you will remain stuck in the questions and indecisions that plague your mind!

My own journey

My own courage had to be found to start this off-shoot from the original website (, limiting the original to just homesteading, recipes and general crafts. And further splitting my business interests into the designing portion at ASHFiberArts. It felt risky to split them up! Would I have enough to talk about? Would anyone show up?

But you know what? It doesn’t matter if this works. It’s better if I try it – even if I fail, because I’m sure there’s a lesson I could learn!

Jessica L’Heureau (aka Dye Monkey), when she came for a visit to Unwound shop last month, had us perform a great exercise during our brunch together. She asked each one of us to name a fear – as well as something that where we excelled. I believe her intent was to show that ALL of us have fears – some were more personal (being alone, rejection), others were more externals – such as bugs, falling, pressure cookers, etc. But she also balanced that with showing us that despite our fears we all have talents and gifts which we can use!

A goal for Called to Design

It is my goal with this website to help you (and myself) work through courage, find ways to overcome fear, and Get. Stuff. Done. My plan is to be as authentic and open with you as possible so you can see my process and thoughts as I deal with my own feelings and emotions, finding courage in my own endeavors to build the life and business I want to have.

Do you have an area where you need to find your bravery this week? What steps can you take to move forward? (Mine was publishing this post 🙂)

Also, if you would like to talk further about a fear you are struggling with, please feel free to reach out to me!

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