How Much Do I Want This?
“How much do I want this?” This is the question Summer had to ask herself before she could do the most fearful and uncomfortable thing necessary to make her dream a reality. Now she is one and a half years into running her business Foundation, a clothing shop whose mission is to provide women with foundational pieces that make up the backbone of a successful wardrobe.
Like many people, Summer followed a traditional trajectory in her career. She worked in the tech sector but all that changed when she was laid off from Amazon. She found a job of convenience at a boutique and realized how much she enjoyed fashion and retail. While she eventually went back to the tech sector, the experience stuck with her and she ended up back in apparels and realized how much she loved merchandising. Summer knew this was what she wanted to pursue so she made a decision. Despite having no experience in management, she took a huge leap and applied to be a manager of a retail store. Rather than worrying about her lack of experience, she focused on her strengths and packaged herself with the mindset and belief that her existing skills could serve the position well. It worked. In the following years she worked in the industry, she looked at what she lacked in knowledge and took intentional positions with specific companies to learn everything she could about the business. Eventually, she opened Foundation.
Summer calls the clothing at Foundation a “tightly edited collection of classic pieces that defy trends.” She has a good knowledge and instinct for what women look for in their wardrobes and wanted to offer clothing that would last through fashion trends. While the space where her shop landed was much smaller than she envisioned, she appreciates how much it has forced her to be intentional when selecting pieces to offer at her shop.
When I asked Summer what her greatest fear was when trying to open her shop, she immediately responded “money.” She required a big investment of money that she didn’t have to open her store. She started a Kickstarter to garner support but also had to ask family and friends directly for money. This was hard to do because she was asking people to trust in the vision of her store, a store that didn’t yet exist except in her mind. More importantly, asking for money was uncomfortable for her because she grew up with “middle class pride” and was always taught that solid, middle class folks supported themselves financially. She also talked about how money was sometimes a source of tension in her family when growing up.
We all have an unexamined relationship with and beliefs about money, formed from the experiences we had surrounding it when we were growing up. The beliefs are formed by our child selves, inaccurately interpreted through a child’s perspective. For Summer, she learned that money creates tension. She felt an overwhelming fear when she thought of talking about it with family and friends. I asked her how she overcame this fear and she said it was the answer to a simple question, “How much do I want this?” I think all of us want things in life whether that is a better job or relationship with someone, or even to be a better version of ourselves. But have we asked how much we want it? Because the answer is this; if you want something badly enough, you do what it takes—despite your discomfort, despite your limiting beliefs, despite your fears.
On the path to her dream, Summer made very intentional decisions to get to where she is today. She took specific jobs to learn whatever skills she thought she needed, seeking companies that would offer her the knowledge she lacked. She kept reaching beyond herself and what she thought she was capable of, while maintaining the mindset that she could. During her journey, she kept asking herself, “What uncomfortable things do I need to do to get to my goal?” And then she would do the uncomfortable things. She took little uncomfortable steps towards bigger and bigger ones until she faced the biggest one of all. She felt asking for money was the hardest, scariest thing she could do but a part of her also felt like she had been training for it all along. So when the time came, she asked herself, “How much do I want this?” The answer was simple. There was no other choice. She knew she wanted it and that was all she needed.