This week I'm doing a really hard thing: I'm selling a business that I've owned and operated for the past 18 years. The pandemic has caused many of us to reflect on what's really important, and it showed me that I need to do more of what I love — traveling, spending time with friends and family, and doing work that lights up my brain. As a result, I've decided to move on to an exciting new venture.
A little background: In 2004, I finally realized my dream of opening a gallery. Gallery Fifty grew from a small consignment art gallery representing local and regional talent to a large store offering jewelry, fine craft and gifts. In response to this shift in focus, I rebranded and remodeled in 2017 renaming the business Sanctuary Handcrafted Goods.
Looking back, I realize that while Gallery Fifty was thriving, I was becoming bored and needed something new to stay challenged. This evolution has resulted in much greater store traffic and even higher sales, but five years later, there remains a real sense of 'same song; 18th verse.' It's time for another change.
For me, the best part of owning a retail business is the curating, merchandising and display. And I've always loved fine art — the way people connect with it and collect it as an expression of their individual personalities.
The most fulfilling aspects of my job are those that allow me to be (even remotely) creative — the long nights merchandising displays when I look at the clock and think, "Where have the last twelve hours gone?!" Achieving this flow state is what keeps me charged up and I appreciate having something to show for my time and effort — but it represents only 5% of my duties as owner.
One of the reasons I'm attracted to a new career in interior design is the prospect of spending more time actually creating. In preparation for school and work, I've spent hundreds of hours building a portfolio of original digital renderings and these have been some of my happiest. I've become obsessed with designing — the research and technical skills, the problem solving, and the opportunity to use my imagination to create artful environments.
I hope my revelation at age 53 will inspire you to reflect on your own professional priorities. Are you challenged? Are you using your brain to its fullest capacity? Are you making your world a more beautiful place?