On remembering your Why.

I write this in the waiting room of a small town Wisconsin hospital where my dearest friend is in labor – a slow, inch worm type of labor. It’s hard to feel anything but excitement. And anticipation. And exhaustion.

I feel lucky – I can be here, waiting, agonizing, supporting. Because I took that big step to leave the traditional career path and explore something different. I make my own schedule, I define my priorities, I create the ebb and flow of busyness. And it’s all got me thinking of The Why.

I recently had a conversation with another friend of mine who is a creative entrepreneur. We were feeling overwhelmed in the busyness of our work. At one point our conversation brought up the question, if it’s this hard, if it’s this crazy – why am I doing this?

That conversation isn’t one that goes away. It’s a question that pops up weekly, especially when I have to miss that special event or when I have a bad day because I let down a customer or when I’m flat broke. The one thread that brings me back to center is again remembering I made this choice for a reason – to be able to be here for things like this and for so much more.

I’m doing this work because:

  • I believe small scale, fair, American-based manufacturing and preserving our artisanal heritage is essential to a strong economy.
  • I’m a healthier person when I am personally challenged every day and I can carve my own path.
  • I feel empowered and more authentic when I work with my hands to make something functional and beautiful.
  • Creative people and ideas are worth investing in.
  • I want to create the community I want to be a part of.
  • I want to support my family with work that feels meaningful to me.

The Why brings you the best clarity when things get thick and sticky. It helps you rise up when you’re riddled with self doubt. It helps you have a clear answer when family members or friends challenge your “unconventional” life choices. It helps you speak definitively, passionately and with defiance when talking about why your business/product/project matters.

I always start with The Why when I work with marketing clients – everything is purposeless without it. Sometimes I write out my why on post its and leave them visible around my work table. And I’m often the why asker in meetings and tough conversations. It’s so easy to stray from it but so easy to revisit whenever you need something to inch you forward.

Here are brands with inspiring whys worth seeing:

Stock Mfg Co x premium denim proudly made in a chicago denim factory
Makers Coalition x  building the industrial sewing heritage of America
The Handmade Movement x short films exploring craftsmanship of today
Makers Movement x bi annual publication celebrating creativity

Maybe this message is a little deep today but when you’re in the midst of watching another human come into the world, what else can you think of but existence?

To remembering why x
Sarah Artz, Founder