The Free Motion Quilting Project: Declaring a Cease Fire

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Declaring a Cease Fire

With a title like that, this is sure to be interesting! Yes, this week I declared a personal cease fire  - I don't want to fight about business anymore.



A bit of back story: I launched our business back in 2009 after starting this blog. I created the online quilt shop (originally at DayStyleDesigns.com, now here at LeahDay.com) to support the blog and our family. Within a few months, Josh began packing the orders, and within a year we were working together full time.

In that time we've both had ideas for where the business should go, which direction to work in, and sometimes it's been a bit like having two very vocal, very stubborn captains for the same ship, both steering in opposite directions.

Most of the time it wasn't a big deal, but for the last three years my focus became driven towards book manufacturing and distribution - I wanted to see our books, DVDs, and patterns in quilt shops.

This required a lot of expensive investments - a new redesigned edition of our books 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs and Free Motion Quilting from Feathers to Flames, a warehouse to have books delivered, a huge chunk of cash paid to print the books, and then a trip to quilt market to find distributors that would carry the book so quilt shops could find it.

I believed in every step of this process that this would pay off and be a great investment in our business. Josh felt very much the opposite and it worried him to see how much time and expense was being shelled out.

To say this created conflict between us is an understatement. I love my husband dearly, but for a few years I could barely speak to him about business without wanting to punch a wall. I was so stubbornly set on the direction I wanted to go that I wouldn't listen to reason. I was also making a lot of decisions based on emotion - never a good move.

I often pulled rank on the business to get my way, I'm embarrassed to admit, which only made things worse. There's nothing worse than the hollow victory of winning by declaring you're the one in charge, the one making all the decisions.

And what do you know... I was wrong the whole time.

Thanks to my stubborn single-mindedness and obsession with wholesale and distribution, we've been suddenly struggling with major cash flow issues. In business, it doesn't matter how profitable you are, what matters is if you have actual cash on hand to pay for products, employees, improvements, etc.

I can honestly admit that I made a series of bad choices from purchasing a massive quantity of books to traveling too much and losing focus on the things that have consistently worked for us year after year.

This week I took stock of all that has happened and the Cliff of Doom I've nearly steered us over, and finally admitted that I've been wrong, and that I was making too many executive decisions myself.

It's hard to admit being wrong, but the second that I did, I felt much, much better. I felt truly relieved to have the weight of the business, and the role of decision-maker off my shoulders.

Josh hasn't been bitter or rubbed my mistakes in my face. He's just as tired of fighting about business as I am, and was worried that I would never see reason.

Ultimately I believe declaring this personal cease fire will be one of the best things I've done all year. I now see that running up against continual issues like we were should have been a sign that something wasn't right, and that I needed to look at the situation with more logic and reasoning than emotion and feeling.

So have you ever had a topic you just couldn't talk about without getting angry or emotional? Have you been rehashing the same fight, over and over? Could you declare a personal cease-fire and just decide to stop arguing about that issue? Would it make your life lighter and easier if you did?

Declaring my cease-fire has certainly lit up my life this week and I'm feeling much lighter, happier, and at peace with my husband. THIS is the way I want to feel.

Until next time, let's get moving. Let's try something new!

Leah Day

23 comments:

  1. I admire your honesty and willingness to say that you're wrong. It takes a BIG woman to admit that!! Congrats on steering your business (and marriage) to a better place. And for reminding all of us to be open to others.

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    1. What a wonderfully kind thing to say! Yes, I feel so much better now and I do think this is going to bring us to a much happier place.

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  2. YES!

    I work with my husband as well, and we have had similar situations crop up. Not quilting, but it is very parallel. We worked it out tho!

    The key is indeed communicating and owning up to where you went wrong, not pointing out the other person's mistakes. Now you can both move forward.

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    1. Absolutely! The hardest thing about communication is not shutting the other person down before they have made their point and actually LISTENING to what they say. That's the hardest bit for me at least!

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    2. 25 years and we're still working on it. ;) Pretty good now though.

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  3. I have been jealous of woman in the fiber business who have husbands who support and run the show in the background, doing all the tedious decision making that allows their wives to, well, just be creative. As a single person I just don't have the energy to do both. I think I have the ability to do both but switching gears is tough. Sounds like you have arrived at the perfect point.

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    1. I would suggest looking into a personal assistant to help you with things like packing orders and customer service. Make a list of the things YOU must do, then make a list of the things another person, if properly trained, could do. You don't have to be married to get help, and it might actually be easier to work with an employee than your significant other - less feelings to get hurt and emotions to get in the way.

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  4. No business is worth division in the household. When two work together, you can withstand many storms and unknowns. We need each other to keep us on track. I am so happy you are moving in a united direction!

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  5. You've helped me so much, Leah, both technically and creatively. I will support you in whatever form or formats you choose.

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    1. That is possibly the most comforting thing you can say Liz! Thank you!

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  6. You have proven your willingness to grow and ability to change in both your personal and professional life. At the same time, your creative juices continue to flow fully and freely as you provide so much inspiration to countless others. The combination of all of that is pretty remarkable. I wish you great success in all aspects of your life and have no doubt you will achieve whatever you desire.

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    1. That is the ultimate question - what is the goal? I've pretty much figured out what makes me happy and it's such a simple list: short work day, plenty of time to be creative and hang out with my guys. I don't need to be a millionaire in order to achieve that on a daily basis!

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  7. I worked with my husband in owning a business and it was where we lived like your situation. We found that we had to leave once in a while and also we had to work on being civil some days. You are fortunate that you have a spouse that is interested in your business. Each should have their jobs and when it comes to money it has to be a shared job so you can see where it all goes. I know it isn't easy, but it sounds like you have the skills to overcome all the issues you talked about. Love him more and it will work out, but remember to love yourself too. Chris

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  8. You are preaching to the choir, sister!! Best of luck with everything you do from here on out!!

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  9. You made me think of Wayne Dyer, who always says, "Do you want to be right? Or, do you want to be happy?" The choice is up to us. I'm still choosing 'right' too often. I tend to learn the hard way.

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  10. Hey, the important thing is that you gave it a try and that you will learn from your mistakes! You might regret some of your decisions (as they didn't turn out the way you hoped) but you shouldnt regret trying to follow your dreams. Sometimes things just don't work out the way we hoped - but we don't learn unless we are challenged. It is good you have reflected and realised and that now you can move on to the next step. Good on you! Best wishes coming your way...

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  11. wishing you, your family and your business much success and happiness

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  12. I just love the posts from your life, as much as I admire your work, you are such an inspiring person. I'm following you nearly five years now and seeing your ups and downs is giving me a lot of courage! I too run business with my partner and our two children. We have fabric shop, online shop, I'm blogging and what we enjoy the most we create together - I'm really great full to have him by my side, but must admit when it gets tough in the business it influences the relationship as well. Thank you for sharing with us these hard moments from your life and keep inspiring us. My motto is everything bad is good for something else. Hopefully all the good is ahead of you now! Good luck to you and your family and business.

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  13. This, this is why I follow you-you are real! My own cease fire involved disussing my signifant other's ex. She was mean to me all the time, but realized my bitching about didn't change a thing, and made the kids feel awkward. Turned out very positive, I became much more at ease when around her, and I also started to notice how embarrassed the kids got of her actions. My change helped them deal with her too.

    Good luck to you!

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  14. My husband and I have had similar struggles with our service business. After 5 years though, we've finally gotten our roles figured out (similar timeline to your story - interesting). It's been a real learning experience to say the least! Your honesty will surely help others. : )

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  15. I'm sorry things didn't turn out like you wanted. But I'm glad everything is good on the home front. I am impressed that you shared this with us. It's good to know that everyone makes mistakes and no one is superwoman. Hugs

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  16. Thanks for sharing your story. I'm sure it will help many. Having a family business does wear on the relationship big time.
    It's hard to leave things at the office and not let it carry over to the home front.
    Thanks for your honesty too

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