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Episode #50 - Set and Reach Long Term Goals with Leah Day

Hello my quilting friends! This week I'm sharing a personal update on setting long term goals and making things happen over several years. Also since it's Episode #50 let's check in on the podcast and how this creative endeavor is going! Watch the podcast and see what I'm working on here:

Or if you prefer to just listen, here's a player for you to use and download the podcast too!

Click Here to find all the podcast episodes we've shared so far!

Long term goals with Leah DayThis week is all about goals! Several long term goals I've been working towards for many years came to fruition this week, including reaching Episode #50 of this podcast. Trust me, in the early days of making this show, I really didn't think I'd make it to Episode 10.

Podcasting is a lot of work and takes a long time to record, edit, and upload each episode. Because I like to keep the episodes timely, I don't record the introduction until one or two days before the podcast airs. This makes for a lot of work right at the beginning of the week and it took awhile before I found a rhythm and figured out how to fit the show into my life.

As for the original goal for Hello My Quilting Friends, mostly I wanted the excuse to talk to other quilters! No matter whether you're a professional or a hobbyist, I love talking about sewing and quilting and living a creative life. Having the podcast gives me an excuse to start that conversation and I've made many friends through the show that I might never have made otherwise.

This has steadily become a great source of connection and happiness for me. It can be lonely to work from home and making this show has definitely helped with that.

A HUGE Long Term Goal Reached

Another big thing that happened this week was attending a sewing machine dealer show with Grace Company. We're working together on a set of quilting rulers that will be coming out this spring and I got to attend the show and demo the new rulers at Grace Company's booth.

Grace Company quilting rulers

This really feels like a dream come true! I've wanted to design products and work with a company like this for years. Pretty much since I started the Free Motion Quilting Project, I could see that the sewing machine I used was integral to my instructions. 

machine quilting rulers by Leah DayThe problem is not all machine manufacturers really care about the quilter that ends up using their sewing machines. I've bounced from brand to brand over the years looking for a machine manufacturer that not only cared, but provided excellent customer service for their machines.

I was lucky to run across Grace Company at Quilt Market in 2016 and that began a conversation that has continued now for two years. I love working with this company and cannot wait to teach you how to use these new quilting / cutting rulers we have coming soon.

Keep the Goal in Your Heart

In March 2009, I dreamed of owning a business that would support my family and allow me to be creative and quilt every day. I had no idea what that business would look like or how it would work. I couldn't figure out how to get attention in the crowded quilting world.

I didn't give up the goal, but I sat with it. I stewed with it. I chewed on the idea until my teeth hurt and then I chewed some more. I kept that goal in my heart as I quilted every inch of Release Your Light with dense free motion quilting filler designs.

Release Your Light

And by the time I finished that quilt, I had an idea. Again, it was just a little idea, not a full fledged business plan or sparkling strategy for success. I had a simple idea for a blog that interested me. Would anyone else like to see new quilting designs stitched out in small squares? Who knows?!

All I knew is it felt right. It felt like the right direction and it made me excited to take the next step. So I started that blog and shared new designs and that became the Free Motion Quilting Project.

Thanks to luck and great timing, my blog was successful and helped fill a need that was lacking. It was from this blog that I was able to build the business I'd always wanted, and able to support my family.

Josh and I have been working together since 2010 and we've had many ups and downs. There have been great times and bad times. I wish I could say I've never made a mistake, but I have made MANY mistakes and had to hustle to put things right.

I don't think there's a gold bullet for owning a business and certainly no guarantees. What works this year may not work next year at all. 

What keeps me going and moving forward is setting more goals, more wild, crazy, pipe-dream style goals that seem impossible that they will ever come true.

In 10 years, will I have 12 books written in my Mally the Maker series? No idea! It sounds impossible right now because I'm just finishing book one, but I know if I keep writing every day, and I keep the goal in my heart, it has the greatest chance of happening.

Setting and Reaching Long Term Goals

So here's my advice for setting and reaching long term goals in a nutshell:

1. Admit that you want THAT - Sometimes it's hard to admit you want something different. You may be afraid of the change that will come once you say it out loud. Yes, it will change you. No, it will not be all good, but it won't be all bad either. 

2. Keep the goal in your heart - Hug it, chew on it, write songs to it, eat it, drink it, make out with it. If you want something, let yourself want it so bad it hurts. If you keep it that present in your mind, you won't forget it, you won't be able to set it aside, and you'll take the small steps it takes every day that will bring you closer to your goal.

3. Build a solid train track and sturdy engine - Figure out what steps will help you reach your goal. I need to write book one before I write book two. I need to create a website before I launch the book, and I want to make quilting tutorials before I make the website. Yes, it's a rabbit hole of steps, but each step leads to the next, leads to the next.

If your train tracks are laid solidly, then you know the next step to take at any time. When you get derailed by life's challenges, you can pick back up again easily because you're still on the track.

4. Hit "pause," not "stop" - When you hit "pause" on a movie you're watching, you're going to come right back and finish it after popping some popcorn. When you hit "stop" who knows when you're coming back? Stops are so much harder to recover from because they are firm lines in the road. It takes more effort, more time, more energy to begin again from a dead stop.

But when you "pause" all you have to do is hit "play" and you're back in the game again. Make this fun! Everyone wants to go play!

5. Be patient - Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Why is this taking so LONG? Make sure to pack your little train engine full of wood and coal because this trip could take years. It could take a decade, it could take two decades.

Pretty much the only thing you can bet on is your long term goal will NOT happen immediately. If you want something on Monday, it won't be happening on Friday. I can also promise if you quit, that's a permanent STOP and no matter how solidly you laid those train tracks, that's it.

Roll with it, chug with it, keep chewing on that goal, and doing your thing. I'm not saying it will happen eventually because life is unfair and you may never achieve your goals. I might publish this Mally the Maker book and find only crickets chirping the day it comes out.

That would suck, but it wouldn't kill me. It wouldn't stop my little train engine either. That's what it means to have a long term goal. Be willing to stick it out and keep rolling with it, even when it feels a million miles away and completely impossible to achieve.

Because one day, you may wake up and realize - hey! I made it to the top of this mountain. I got here. I did it! Now where do I go?

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

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