Episode #2 - Honor Your Values with Every Decision You Make

Hello my quilting friends! Welcome to episode 2 of the podcast. Today is all about values – I want to share some new insights I’ve run across and some terrific books to listen to as you quilt that help you tap into your core values.

Transcript from Hello My Quilting Friends #2:
(Note - this transcript contains affiliate links which helps to pay for hosting of this new podcast).

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Leah Day and Family 2016This has been super helpful for me and it’s not just helping me make decisions in my business, it’s also helping me prioritize my quilt projects. I know a big value of mine is trying new things, but I often don’t leave enough time for myself to really experiment and dig into a technique. So by working on my values I’ve been able to set aside more time to play and that has definitely been making me feel a lot happier.

So exploring your values could potentially help you pick your next quilt project, help you decide what skills or techniques to focus on this winter, or what business decisions are really going to fit with your life and your family.

What’s going on?

Now a bit of an update about what’s going on around the house. I’ve had to set the walking foot book aside this week and I really hate to have to do that but the simple fact of the matter is it doesn’t have a deadline, and I can work on it at any time.

Flower Festival Quilt | Machine Quilting Block PartyBut the Machine Quilting Block Party, that is our yearly quilt along, it starts on January 1st and I need to get my act together.

So I’ve set the walking foot book aside and have been prepping fabric and cutting out blocks and I have to say it’s really exciting to be working on this! I’m really excited about the quilt pattern and all the fun things we’re going to be doing next year.

I’m changing it up this coming year by adding in some applique so on the odd months like January and March we’re going to have a regular pieced block.

On the even months like February and April we’re going to have a little bit of piecing and a little bit of applique. So it will balance out really nicely.

I’ve also been thinking about the machine quilting too and I really want to stitch it up a notch this year and I’m thinking feathers. Maybe putting feathers into every block, and maybe some spirals and pebbles.

That’s what I’m thinking right now! It’s still very much in planning, but this quilt along will work the exact same as this year 2016.

We will come out with a new block pattern on the 1st of the month, then we share a video on how to piece the block on the first Monday of the month, then how to quilt it on the 2nd Monday of the month. Learn more about the Machine Quilting Block Party right here.

Now whenever we start these projects, I always like to start with a bang so that everyone’s on the same page, everyone knows how to prepare fabric, cut it and piece it accurately so I always start with a series of tip videos and I have to shoot those right now in order to have them all done!

So that’s what I’ve been focusing on just knocking out the patterns and getting that solid and hopefully by the middle of December I’ll be able to get back to the book on walking foot quilting and keep moving forward with that project.

Fun Collaborations

The Tunic BibleAnother thing I’ve been working on is collaborating with other quilters. In Episode 1, I collaborated with Christa Watson and Stephanie Palmer to share a presentation on publishing books and that was so much fun. I really wanted to do more. So I’ve been connecting with other quilters and setting up projects for us to do together.

One collaboration kinda fell into my lap. Amy Johnson from Amy’s Free Motion Quilting Adventures shared a picture on Instagram of a book The Tunic Bible and mentioned wanting to make a tunic.

Well I had just bought this book too so I suggested we work together to set goals and make sure we follow through with the project. I don’t know about you, but I’m really bad about sewing for myself. I can make quilts for myself, but I don’t seem to ever get it together to make garments for myself.

the Tunic ChallengeSo this is a really informal collaboration we’re calling The Tunic Challenge and basically each Saturday we’re going to share our status of what we’ve gotten done.

And I’ve set the bar really low so like the first week all we have to do is cut out the pattern. Like cut out the pieces, not even cut out the fabric, just cut out the pieces.

And I realized it’s a bit more complex than that because the pattern pieces were double printed so I actually had to trace it onto stabilizer. It’s one of those things that sometimes getting into a project I already know that had I reached that point by myself I would have been like “Ugh. I have to trace it!? No way!” I would have put it up and not pursued it.

But because I’m doing this with Amy and because we’ve made it a public challenge – I HAD to do it. So that’s how my brain works at least. So by collaborating with someone else, I’m holding myself more accountable and that’s been really great.

So I’m looking forward to sharing more about that Tunic Challenge and you can follow us on Instagram and Facebook to see our status to see what we’re posting about it. And you can find Amy’s website at Freemotionquiltingadventures.com


Twin Rainbow Star Free Quilt PatternNow this week’s sponsor for the show is my website LeahDay.com where you can find books, video workshops, and quilting tools to help you master quilting on your home machine. A little heads up – our biggest sale of the year starts on Thanksgiving day and everything in the store will be on sale. So make sure to swing by and check out the quilt shop from November 24 to the 28th.

You can also find a big collection of free quilt patterns you can make or share with your quilt guild. One pattern in particular the Twin Rainbow Star quilt is terrific for charities because you can easily make two small quilt tops almost at the same time. You can find that free pattern, plus videos on how to machine quilt it at LeahDay.com/rainbow

And here’s the show!

Hello My Quilting Friends! Leah Day here with a new podcast and today I want to talk about finding your values and letting these values help you make decisions that really fit with who you are and where you want to grow and what you want to do.

I stumbled across this recently while listening the Harvard Business Review Podcast. The HBR Podcast has a wide variety of guest interviews and this episode was with Susan David about Emotional Agility. So I immediately bought her book Emotional Agility on Audible.com and have been listening to it while I’ve been quilting.

Now it might sound a bit silly that this has made such a huge difference for me. I mean, doesn’t everyone know what their values are? Doesn’t everyone make decisions based on what fits their life from their very core?

Well, for me at least, this intrinsic compass kinda got lost in a lot of mixed messages when I was a kid and I never learned how to look within and to tap into my values. In a lot of cases, I felt punished for acting on my values.

Just a quick story – when I dropped out of college after two years, that was one of the first decisions I made to step away of what my parents wanted me to do and it was based on two core values I still have. One value is the ability to control my day and work for myself – that is very important to me and makes me a very independent business owner.

The other value I honored with this decision was getting out of debt. I just couldn’t stand the feeling that I was accruing huge amounts of debt by going to college for a degree I wasn’t going to use.

When I told my mom her response was classic – she said “It sounds like you’re being selfish.” In a way she was right, in the sense that my decision was for my SELF, but it was so aligned with my core values that I never regretted it even though my parents obviously didn’t agree with my decision at least at first.

And I’ve also never felt LESS than anyone else for not having a degree. I think comes from making a decision that so aligned with my values because that biology degree was never to fit me. It was never going to be something I needed or valued.

And, oddly enough, I don’t think we hear enough about honoring our values. I often read business magazines and listen to podcasts that are all about prioritizing and goal setting and use all these big words and stuff, but I have never heard anything about setting goals to align with your values until reading this book.

Another quick story – the first business I started was with a direct sales skin care company. Direct sales works really different from almost any other kind of business because you’re not just selling the products, you’re also selling the business model to your customers. You want them to fall in love with the products so much they want to sell it too, and for many people this is their very first experience with business and it’s not always what they really wanted to do.

That means that in direct sales you do a lot of goal setting and priority lists. I can’t count the number of times I was instructed to make a “dream board” by cutting out pictures from a magazine of all the things I wanted to be able to buy, or the lifestyle I wanted to have through my business. This always felt extremely materialistic and never really fit me. It felt like a lot of unnecessary hype when I was already committed to the company.

It’s only now that I realize why – making a dream board of “dreams” was so arbitrary for me. My goals and priorities change weekly or monthly. I can make a list of my top priorities this week and by next week it’s shifted. That’s the thing about goals and priorities – they’re not permanent. They’re all extrinsic and 100% dependent on what you’re working on and what’s the most important thing to finish right now.

You might notice this with your quilting where one week it seems super important to get that quilt top basted and start  machine quilting, but the next week the most important thing is to slice into a stack of fat quarters and make a totally new quilt top. Our priorities can change so easily just depending on what we feel like working on from one week to another.

Values, however, don’t change. They are quite literally in your core, in your bones, and you probably know them without having to think too hard. Here’s a few questions just for fun if you want to ask yourself to help identify your values:

  • When do you feel the most stable and secure?
  • When you see this or do this, you feel very happy.
  • What activity makes you come alive each week?
  • Without this “blank” you feel really unhappy and not really yourself?
  • Think back to decisions in your life that you’ve made that didn’t work out, didn’t seem to fit. Is there a pattern?
  • Now think about the decisions and actions that have worked really well? Just everything turned out great. Is there a pattern to them?

And finally, here’s a question from the book Emotional Agility, when you go to bed at night what is the thing you’re most glad you spent time on today? Think about that and it might help you tap into your values and what is the most important thing for you to do every day.

Running through these questions, I realize with great clarity that I strongly value stability and my family. Seriously, nothing makes me happier than spending time with my family and cooking dinner, which I find very relaxing. When I don’t have the ability to do that– like when I’m traveling – I find it’s one of the first things that starts to grate on my nerves. Like Uhhh, do I have to eat out again?! I really want to cook!

When I look at these questions in terms of quilting, I see some really interesting patterns. Like if I need to feel better about something, I need to cut and piece blocks and that will make me feel better. Like it literally stitches me back together again.

But I also know that something is seriously missing if I go too long without machine quilting. That’s something very important to me too. Whether it’s shooting some quilting videos or just quilting for myself, I need that time, that little bit of time, maybe just 5 minutes every day on my machines.

And I’ve learned that while I love making over-the-top quilts that take years to complete – that’s kind of my thing. I have a quilt right now on my table that’s been in progress for two years - actually showing them and competing isn’t important to me at all. I could care less about winning another ribbon because the end result is very rarely the point. It’s the design and challenge and joy of making something crazy that makes me want to make my goddess quilts. Not the potential ribbons or awards. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not something I value.

So think about that with your quilting – what do you value most about your craft? Is it trying new techniques, or making quilts for charity? What makes you feel alive and what keeps you coming back for more?

Another thing I highly value in my personal life is saving money and reducing debt. Part of the reason why dropping out of college was such a good move for me is I knew I was accruing thousands of dollars in debt that would take me further from my goals.

Over the last several years, every time I’ve made a bad decision with my business it has been when I didn’t run the numbers carefully enough, and I ended up in trouble. Looking back, I see that most of these decisions happened because I got really excited about a new idea or trying a new thing. And I was so excited that I didn’t stop to ask – is this actually right for our business right now? I never held that new idea against the backdrop of my value for stability and security.

Because these are two rather contradictory values – I want to feel stable and secure, but I also want to constantly be changing and trying new things.

I do value excitement and I know this can drive Josh crazy. He’s much more satisfied kind of doing the same thing over and over the same way and I’m the one always wanting to shake it up and try something new, sometimes with disastrous results.

And that’s why identifying my values has been such a huge change over the last few weeks. I’m able to see now what, in my core, is the most important thing for me to pursue so I don’t have to go bug Josh about it. I don’t have to be constantly going “Hey do you think this is a good idea? Hey we should try this! Oh I’m so excited about this thing!”

I can tap in and realize I don’t need to go there with this. I don’t have to question if a certain idea is a good one – if it fits within my values and doesn’t horribly conflict with Josh’s then it’s probably going to be a good fit.

And if that idea or product or some thing that I want to do doesn’t fit, then I’m finding it much easier to just let it go. There’s a certain peace of mind that comes from knowing that you’re acting in accordance with your values and there’s no internal conflict.

This is something I’ve struggled with a lot. I would make a decision and then I would question and question and question and beat it to death. Am I making the right move?  Is this really the right decision? Should I not be doing this other thing? It was such a waste of time. By tapping into my values so much of that questioning nature has gone away.

Where BOOM I know, I know this is going to fit and I don’t have to go back and forth on it. I can make that decision so much easier now.

Now one last book you might want to read if you’re interested in digging deeper. It’s called The Desire Map Experience by Danielle LaPorte and you can find it on Audible, but it might not be a book you can listen to while you quilt. It’s kind of a wacky book and a mix of guided meditation, asking yourself questions, and the narrarator is a bit kooky. Just a warning there.

But it’s a good book if you’re interested in this subject and in digging deeper and asking yourself How Do you want to FEEL? Again so often we’re focusing so much on doing – like if you do xyz thing you’ll be happy! – when in truth happiness - that may not be the emotion you WANT to feel.

I found this book very helpful because the same answer kept coming up over and over. I want to feel peaceful. I want to feel less conflicted, less pulled in a million directions. I want to feel like every step I take is on solid ground and this combination of asking myself how I want to feel, and tapping into my cores values has really helped with this.

And I hope that it has helped you too!

So that’s it for this show! I really hope that you’ve enjoyed it and by identifying your values you can focus on the parts of quilting or your business that really make you happy and come alive. And will help you feel the way you want to feel every day.

You can find the episode show notes and a transcript, plus links to everything I mentioned in this podcast at LeahDay.com/episode2

If you’d like to connect please send me an email at LeahDay.com/contact or find me on Instagram or Facebook at Leah Day Quilting.

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