Sunday, November 13, 2011

Changing My Attitude - To Gratitude!

Yesterday was a day that tried my patience. I usually try to stay positive about things that happen in my life, but this time was a little bit different.

As many of you know, I design and make jewelry and sell my creations at craft shows and on Etsy. Sometimes at shows I run a special, offering sale prices to the people supporting the organizations that put on the events. A few weeks ago, I ran one such special and had a pretty good day sale-wise. I know in this economy people are watching their pennies, so I decided to offer the same deal to the people at yesterday's show.

Of course, each show is different so I didn't put enormous expectations on myself. I did, however, have the thought that I would at least sell a couple of items.

The morning began slowly, as it usually does because people sleep in on Saturdays and don't arrive until mid-morning or later. I always try to take this in stride. My friend Debbie, who shared the table with me, sold a couple of her novels early on so I was happy that she was having a decent start.

As the day wore on, other people around us were making sales while we watched. Debbie sold a couple more books. By 2 PM, I began to resign myself to the fact that I had not yet sold anything and the possibility that might not change. I always keep up hope...but also try to stay realistic enough so I don't get upset if it's a bad show for me. The lady in charge of the show came around to see how we were doing. Debbie mentioned that she couldn't complain because she'd sold her minimum goal, and this lady said that everyone was telling her they were doing pretty well that day. I said nothing. I didn't want this woman to feel bad that someone at her show had sold nothing up to this point. Of course as I look back, my silence probably said it all.

Just before 3 PM, a couple of ladies came to our table who seemed promising. One of them talked with Debbie at length about her books, while the other picked out jewelry on my side. She kept complimenting me on my creations and picked out 4 bracelets. She had me hold them for her, telling me she would be back to get them.

The show was set to close at 4, and for a while I was excited that I would still have a decent day in sales. It's not unusual to have last minute sales, so I let myself get my hopes up. I saw these ladies stop at other tables and look things over for a while. But then suddenly neither Debbie or I could see them anywhere. It was as if they had disappeared into thin air.

We tried to stay positive. It was possible they went to the ladies room or ran into someone they knew in the hallway. Yet 4 o'clock came and went with no sign of them anywhere. They had already left...and this woman had bailed on me.

This is the point at which I got a little upset. Debbie was too, and agreed with me that it was very rude to ask someone to hold 4 items for them and never come back. A lot of people promise they'll be back but don't - but none of these people have actually had the nerve to make us hold anything aside especially for them. What if I'd left those bracelets in with the others? I could have possibly sold those designs to someone else and made something. Instead I wound up at zilch for the day.

I actually held myself together pretty well until I was driving home. I thought about my family asking me how I'd done, and started to cry when I realized I would have to tell them I didn't sell a darn thing. That what always gets me the most...I hate disappointing my husband and son and wind up feeling like a failure.

I also think that had those ladies not come along, I would have been better prepared for the day not ending well. I wouldn't have built up my hopes just to have them come crashing down.

When I got home my family was kind, but just as upset as I was about the woman sneaking out the door on me. Even if she had come back to my table and said she wouldn't be able to buy them I would have felt better, knowing that at least she had some class to let me know and not leave me hanging. is where the GRATITUDE comes in. After giving myself permission to be upset for a little while, I decided to end my pity party and make a list. There are always good things to be thankful for, even if you have to really think about them. Here is my Gratitude List for yesterday:

1. I got to spend the day with one of my best friends, which is always a plus.

2. The school had lowered the price of the tables, so Debbie and I each got $5.00 back. That's 5 bucks I didn't have before.

3. The school provided lunch for the vendors free of charge. Not all shows do this, and I am grateful that I didn't have to spend my own money on lunch.

4. I was able to meet and talk to a local book publisher at another table, which may be helpful in the near future when my novel is ready.

5. Seeing all of the other vendors' creations always gives me new ideas and boosts my own creativity.

By the time I finished writing this list, my spirits bean to lift and I felt much better. Yes, it was still rude what that lady did, but once I counted all of the other blessings I wasn't really thinking about her. I was thinking about the good things instead.

So it's time to move on from this experience and on to the next, while learning a lesson and brainstorming what I might be able to do better next time. Whenever you're having one of those days, I highly recommend making your own Gratitude List. You will definitely feel better!

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