Fashion Business Owner Musings: We Have to Stop Telling Ourselves We’re Behind

In my entrepreneurial life, I used to feel behind in my work all the time.

Behind on emails, behind on projects, behind on tasks.

I felt like I was in a constant state of catch-up. Always looking at my to-do list and wondering what I could squeeze in here and there to check off the list.

But over time I realized how this was impacting me, so I worked to stop doing that to myself because it was a real problem. It was seriously stressing me out.

It was challenging to stop because, the more my business grew, the more opportunities appeared and the more tasks there were to complete.

The thing about feeling behind is that it comes with a giant side of guilt.

Feeling behind causes you to be in a constant state of worry and fretfulness that things won’t ever get done.

It often starts to impact the way you feel about your business and whether or not this ongoing feeling is really what you want all your days to be filled with.

But here’s the thing that I realized.

We’re doing this to ourselves.

We’re setting precedents that we’ll respond to emails within a few hours. We’re creating self-imposed deadlines that are actually unrealistic. We’re adding things to our to-do lists without any sort of prioritizing so that everything feels life-or-death important. And we’re feeding into our own hectic feelings.

Like it or not, we are responsible for our chicken-minus-head approach to business and therefore it is only ourselves we can look to in order to fix it.

We have to train ourselves not to feel behind. It’s a psychological thing, you know?

The more we feed ourselves our own lines of “I’m so behind!” the more frantic and weighed down we feel.

We have to remind ourselves of what really matters — our health, our relationships, our families – and just stop.

Because if we stop allowing ourselves to always feel behind, and instead just allow ourselves to remember what matters, the important things do actually get done. Believe it or not.

And once things important things in the business are getting done, then we feel less guilt for letting life in.

Remember, fashion business owners…

  • Emails can sit in your inbox
  • Tasks can wait until tomorrow.
  • Your business will not implode if you allow other things into your life.

BUT. There is one caveat that I must address. This cannot be your excuse to put off that project. You still have to be disciplined and determined. You just need to give yourself a break sometimes.

You need to be realistic about the hours in your day, the days in your month, the months in your year, and the years in your life.

You need to be realistic about what takes priority — sometimes that’s family and health and just life, other times that’s business.

And then within the business, you need to be realistic and honest with yourself about what tasks are must-do and what tasks are would-be-nice.

Because what will you look back on and want to remember? The fact that you posted on Instagram every single day or that fact that you spent your life with the people you love while running a business that you truly loved building and growing?

Thought so.

Lots of love and encouragement,

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Nicole Giordano

Nicole is the founder of StartUp FASHION, an online resource and community supporting for independent designers around the world with building their businesses. A deep love for the craft of fashion paired with an adamant belief that success is defined by the individual, led her to found StartUp FASHION, where she helps independent designers and makers screw the traditional fashion business rules, create their own paths, and build businesses they truly love. More than anything else, she’s in the business of encouragement and works every day to remind makers and designers that they have something special to offer the world and that they can, in fact, do this thing!

  1. Anna von Aabling

    wonderful article! so true! thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Vanessa

    Wow, this struck such a cord. Awesome article. So funny I made a to-do list for today that had about 1957057 things on it, and then I wonder why I’m in a constant state of panic. Yes, I think prioritization is definitely key! And to think and reflect before doing. A lot of times entrepreneurs just do do do.

    Thank you for writing this!


    • Nicole Giordano

      Exactly, Vanessa! Sometimes, it’s much better to really concentrate on what you’re’ working on, than to go at it with the thought “I just need to get this done!”

  3. Hind

    Thank you for this great post Nicole, I really needed to read that! I’ve been feeling so guilty for pausing my work for a few weeks due to more important stuff. But I like to remind myself that it’s not the end of the world, although I do have to find the time to squeeze my work in and stop being lazy. Reading this made me feel a lot better 🙂

    • Nicole Giordano

      Good, I’m glad to hear that Hind! I think the key is to find that balance between feeling guilty about taking a break and using our break as an excuse to be lazy. I’m often walking that line! 😉


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