spring road

In case you didn't notice, I talk about experimentation a lot.

My entire CraftyBiz philosophy can be summed as:

“Experiment to find what works for you and your biz and then do it.”

But yesterday Kate asked me about the natural extension of doing your own thing:

When what works for me is very much not what ‘everyone else' thinks should work for me.

I started to reply about ways to convince the person.
Ways to show them “yeah, that's right, I'm a rebel and I'm ROCKING it.

But then I remembered:

I've yet to convince anyone else that this was a good idea (whatever “this” might be: self-employment, working weird hours, gluten-free baking) if they weren't already willing to trust me.

An example.

M and I are great friends.

But sometimes she doesn't get me or my work. And when I tell her I'm now doing x (taking a sabbatical from selling, dyeing my hair blue, etc) and she starts listing all the reasons I should NOT DO IT OR ELSE I WILL DIIIIEEEE…I get defensive.

I try to explain.
I have thought this through, thoroughly!
I'm a responsible adult!
I have my reasons!
And soon I find myself thinking “You HAVE to understand“.

But, wait. Does she?


Will it change what I do (or what works for me) if she doesn't understand?

What do I need from her?

Support? Flexibility? Encouragement?

I decide what I need (internally!) and then ask her for it.

“Hey, M, I've decided to start work at 3pm from here on out. I need you to not call me from 3-10 because I'll be at work, like if I was working in an office, ok? Thanks!”

When it comes to you, you get to decide.

It's as simple as that.

The people in your life don't have to understand the why or the how.
Trying to convince them with your well-reasoned argument (I LOVE a well-reasoned argument) usually won't help things.

And I mean the things that really are YOURS to decide (examples: what time you start work or the way you do your work or if you wear pjs and a tiara all day).

But for all the you-stuff (which is most everything IN your business), it's yours to decide.

Without explanation.
Without apologies.
With piles of fun and experimentation and an open heart.


This single fact has changed so many conversations. And has released me from so much responsibility (I have to explain!) and so many arguments (Why won't you understand?!).

Try it. Experiment.

Let me know how it goes.

13 Comments on Experiment: stop explaining

  1. Kate
    April 6, 2011 at 3:03 pm (13 years ago)

    Yes. This. Because I want so badly for her to _understand_, to _approve_…when all I really need is for her to stop getting on my case about it.

    Also (as I sit here in my pjs) I might have to go and get a tiara now.

    Thank you Tara!

  2. Tara Swiger
    April 6, 2011 at 3:27 pm (13 years ago)

    Thanks for the inspiring question, Kate!
    And yes, I totally get it. That desire for her to acknowledge that you ARE
    making the right decision for you is strong.
    But remember: she might not approve. And you STILL get to choose what works
    for you.

    Happy PJ Day! (I’m in mine, too!)

  3. Rebekah (seamlessknits)
    April 6, 2011 at 4:49 pm (13 years ago)

    Yes! Great post Tara. It’s so important to figure out what *we* want/need ourselves first!

  4. Jo VanEvery
    April 6, 2011 at 7:15 pm (13 years ago)

    YES!!! Deciding this for myself made a BIG difference to how I deal with my mother, for example. She doesn’t need to understand. She just needs to accept.

    And for clients and others who deal with your business, they just need to know when they can contact you, expect a response, or whatever.

  5. Kate
    April 6, 2011 at 8:35 pm (13 years ago)

    And funnily enough…I just got off the phone with her (totally unrelated call) and she mentioned, in passing, the fact that we have very different schedules. No emotional loading, no ‘you should’s, just I get up later than she does.

    I’m not used to things working this quickly, but I could kind’ve get used to it!

  6. Sherron Hornberger
    April 7, 2011 at 3:07 pm (13 years ago)

    Good advice! I face this dilema all the time in my personal life. I have a lot of pets. For most people, taking care of a lot of pets is a big hairy deal. For me? Not so much. People don’t understand. There’s real freedom in being okay with people not understanding and doing what makes me happy (having a lot of pets), anyway.

  7. Maryann Devine
    April 7, 2011 at 5:59 pm (13 years ago)

    Love this, Tara.

    It reminds me of something I learned from Seth Godin — that it’s usually a waste of time and resources to try to change people’s minds. Most people have already decided what they think about X — it’s part of their world view, their identity. It’s not about who has the most well-reasoned argument.

    Not explaining about the stuff that is up to you *rocks.*

  8. Tara Swiger
    April 7, 2011 at 7:10 pm (13 years ago)

    Yes! And it’s SO hard to do when you’re thinking about you’re going to
    *make* someone else understand!

  9. Tara Swiger
    April 7, 2011 at 7:10 pm (13 years ago)

    You’ll never explain the love of your pets and you don’t have to!
    Yay for pet love!

  10. Tara Swiger
    April 7, 2011 at 7:23 pm (13 years ago)

    It always does seem to be mothers, doesn’t it? That was Kate’s question and
    it may just be the M I refer to in the post 🙂

  11. Tara Swiger
    April 7, 2011 at 7:26 pm (13 years ago)

    Exactly, Maryann! But this: “It’s not about who has the most well-reasoned
    argument” is SO hard for me! I adore a well-reasoned argument. I think the
    world should RUN on well-reasoned arguments!
    Giving them up is tough, but a heckava lot more peaceful.

  12. Kate
    April 19, 2011 at 4:18 pm (13 years ago)

    So…I dunno. Was I explaining? Was I giving permission to others to live their mornings the way that works for them, without apology?

    I dunno. I think it wound up some of both. But I blogged about it anyways: