Pears on a Paper Doily, Mary Pratt, 1989
One of the best things about this whole project is to hear from different voices – the different language and vocabulary they use, the terms that have deep meaning to them. I’m also just struck by how they interpret the questions and form a response.
For our fifth installment on the Everyday Influence series, we have Jaime. Jaime is an entrepreneur and small business owner here in town. (Check out Fleurish Flower Shop in Lakeview) She has a creative mind and a business mind and uses them to create such a beautiful thing for the world. And in her response, she just took the questions and put them all together for her response. Its personal and comes at the question of influence from the place of knowing our limits. It is so insightful. As usual, I’ll highlight a few things afterwards that struck me.
Highlight what struck you too!
Influence is HARD!!! So hard!! I feel like the word influencer has become this word synonymous with bloggers and someone making money selling products on social media!! It has really become a negative word to me, a word that means you’re successful in work, home, health – you have it all. What is the real world influencer and what does that look like in our own communities? In real life!!! It’s not having all your shit together, it’s the little things!!! (AMEN, SISTER—added by Jacqui)
I thought I wanted to be what the world perceived as an influencer – own a bunch of stores, have a great career teaching floral design, write a book and be this respected influencer for women in business world/ floristry world. This is what I thought mattered and where I thought I could be an influence. Being this type of influencer was important to me.
BUT. . . Then I wasn’t healthy, I was totally unhappy, I never saw my family and when I did my brain and focus were not with them because I was somewhere else thinking of the next thing I needed to do. I was missing the influence of real life that was picking my kids up after school and discussing the crap or the great things that happened in their life that day. I was missing the day to day influence on the community of my staff and customers.
I had become a bad influence – I didn’t care about my health or my body, only about work. I was also so blurry that that I couldn’t properly care for people because I couldn’t focus on what was right in front of me. I still have friendships that have not recovered from this time.
What I have learned through the last few years is that influence is, in fact, in the little things. I have a business that allows me to be part of the most significant moments in our customers lives, from weddings, to marriage to loss and death to the everyday. I have the opportunity (along with my staff) to walk along people while they are experiencing so much joy or so much grief. When I was busy rushing from thing to thing I didn’t have time to sit and listen to these people share their joys and sorrows. This is the stuff that matters and where the real influence happens. It’s not on social media- it’s in the muddy waters of the everyday!!!
To answer some of your questions, success to me has now become hearing comments from people like you who found healing in picking out the right blooms for your mom with your daughters. It has become watching my staff cry and laugh with our customers (who are our community) as they share life together. It’s being a person that does everything with love first and success second. It has become a business owner that cares about my staff above all else because they are the ones influencing the neighbourhood. It has become picking my kids up after school and being around for the little things. It has also become about creating a beautiful space that people who are walking through dark times can visit and find healing.
I could go on forever!!! Maybe we should have coffee and I can really unpack how I feel about this!!! (Yes, yes we should)
First off, I have to mention that I go to Jaime’s shop regularly because I need the air in there. Literally, it reshapes my brain to be where green, living things are all congregated.
But what really strikes me is that everywhere we are – in a flower shop, in an office, in a classroom, in a coffee shop, anywhere – we influence the people we are in contact with and THEY INFLUENCE THEIR COMMUNITIES.
Its our person that influences for good or ill and those people we encounter then take that influence out into other circles. We are all connected (remember Jodi, last post).
Also I love how she identified that success is knowing something you did was a part of someone else’s healing. Jaime touches the flowers, and more than that, she creates beauty, that I bring into my home and that I look at to remember my mom. Maybe some would see this as a slim point of influence, but it’s a real one. Very real. It makes me ask, what is the smallest, realest way that what I do comes alongside someone else in their real life of joy or of pain?
And mostly, that line about missing the everyday influence of everyday interaction when we are focused on other things. “Influence is, in fact, in the little things,” Jaime wrote. Influence happens in the everyday – not in the grand, grandiose, bigger than our real life space that social media could trick us into thinking is the end goal. All this influence is so every day…..man, these women are so smart.
Thank you God for ears to hear and eyes to see what our very lives teach us.
And in the next post we will hear from a nurse, mom of 3, and someone who points to the good at every point she gets….its our last post and probably our most vulnerable. And in that vulnerability, I have been changed….stay tuned.