New Year Reflections: You Are Not Small

As we enter the last hours of the year, I am drawn to take a moment to reflect on what had transpired this year, not only the milestones but also the moments where you fall so deep you don’t know how to stand back up. I open my journal from last year, during the beginning days of SukkhaCitta, and I saw a girl who was learning every day to lean into discomfort to grow to the person she is now. Today, I want to take this time to share my biggest learning so that hopefully it too can inspire you. 

All my life, I thought I would be pursuing a career in consulting/development – and one of the biggest hurdle I had to overcome in our early days (and sometimes now too) was the paralyzing fear of failure. You see, I am not a natural entrepreneur. I see people around me who are, who risk everything to chase after an idea. No, I am more slow. I think too much. Tied down by the belief that I don’t know enough, that perhaps I am not enough.

When I first became intrigued in the Indonesian craft industry and its potential to contribute to a more inclusive development, I was disheartened. I found that the existing system seems to perpetuate, rather than alleviate, poverty for artisans in rural areas. Unlike in other developed countries, artisans in Indonesia become one because of lack of choice as their education prevents them from entering a more formal employment. Being so far from the market, no standard exists to protect these invisible artisans.

I felt that something needs to change. But the problem is so big and I am so small - can I solve this problem? Again, am I enough?

One and a half year into our startup journey (and almost three since I began my research), I have experienced higher highs and lower lows than a traditional career path I thought I would have as an economist. It has not been easy, the work is real and the responsibility is high. There are days when I felt the only battle I face is my own self-doubt and insecurities. Some days are harder than it needs to be, and I've slowly come to realize that you determine whether you are enough or not. Every. Single. Time.

It doesn't matter what others think, whether you'll solve the problem you set out to address, because the important thing is that if this job gives you meaning, how can you not pursue it? If this is truly your calling, you will find a way to wake up tomorrow and continue your work. And slowly, as you progress, dorman talents begin to arise and you become a better version of yourself than you ever thought possible.

 

Which brings me to the biggest lesson from 2017: You are not as small as your mind leads you to believe.
Perhaps instead of being paralyzed from fear of starting something new
and (finally) following your heart,
you can rest in knowing that you will do your best in whatever may come.

So this year, I wish you the courage to pursue your dreams, as big as they are.
Deep down, you already know what you need to do.

 

Here’s to another impactful year,

D