So, there have been a lot of changes for me this year, (all of which I'm sure will be for the best, right?), and above all, I've been reminded of my own humanity. I've been reminded that each choice has a cost and a consequence, and that change - even if it is scary or bewildering, is a good thing. Evolution is a necessary process if we are to become who we are meant to be.
Recognizing the need for change is the first step, at least for most people. Me, I learn really slowly. I've known I needed to change the way I run my life and JessicaSprague.com for awhile now, probably way too long. Rather than leaping off of the cliff and trusting that I'll be caught (or taught, as the saying goes, how to fly), I've been scrabbling for branches or grass and digging in as I've been pulled off the cliff in a very real way. I've already talked about that. So came the need for change. Reminds me of this metaphor by C.S. Lewis about painful change, and the bewilderment that comes when you don't understand what's happening:
Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.
Realizing - and Panic
The second step is - I think (does anyone actually do this?) - to make a plan for change. And to resist the very strong temptation to just keep doing the same thing and hope it has a different result. They say that's the definition of insanity. I think it's the definition of fear, and of hiding from the truth.
So a few weeks ago I was putting the finishing touches on my 2014 calendar - and I realized with a sickening heart that it was looking a lot like my 2013 calendar, except with pretty washi tape. Like so:
Insanity? Fear and hiding? You got it.
I've gotten so used to creating new classes, planning and maxing out my schedule, that it wasn't until the washi went down that I realized, I can't do this anymore. Really can't.
The only way to get better is to change. The only way to change is to do something different.
So you know what I did? I started pulling up the tape. Thinning out. Spontaneously deciding that I didn't want to do whatever that green one was in March, but really wanted to do the polka-dot one in April, and more like that. Pretty soon much of the plan I had planned (the comfortable old plan) was gone. And then I sat on the floor in my office and cried.
I think this is when it really hit me that things are going to be different. If I'm not this, what am I? If I am not doing this green thing in April, what can I possibly do that will be as good or as fulfilling or as whatever? I realize now, of course, that there is only one way to find out. Pull up the tape, clear out the space, and see what happens. It's only when there's room for change that change can come.
So Jared came in and sat on the floor in the office too. He told me he was proud of me. And I cried some more.
And then we decided, why not make a BIG change, while we're at it? Why not do some MAJOR thinning and reformulating - a reinvention if you will? After all, I've been doing this for nearly SEVEN YEARS. For example:
- I've felt for a long time a responsibility to remake classes as they aged - after they got 2 or 3 versions old, I felt a need to redo.
- In the midst of the remakes - which have inevitably ended up being completely and totally different classes - I found it really hard to balance squeezing in new classes.
- I've been working behind the scenes for at least 2 years trying to get our backend technology upgraded so that it's easier to maintain, simpler to support, and quicker to roll out new content. Without going into too much detail (maybe in another post?), this has proved to be really, really hard (read: impossible).
- I've wanted to move to a kick-butt store platform for our digital shoppe that reflects the incredible quality of the merch, and makes it super easy to find what we want in our neverending quest for digital supplies (ha! I see you there, fellow collector!)
See how everything on the list there is in the past tense? Like so much of what I thought my life was at the beginning of this year. Heh.
So there on the floor in the office, we began to put down the plan for real change. It was scary, and I will admit that when I presented it to my team, their reactions were all the same: WHAT? THAT IS CRAZY.
And then we all saw, it is crazy, and won't that be great? And my wonderful team has been behind me 100% as we've begun laying the foundation for real change, toward the desires I mentioned above.
The Plan: Class Retirement
So we asked ourselves, if we were to start over, what would we WANT to do? What is it that we all love to do? What do I love to do? And several things came to mind, which I'll be talking more about in the next few weeks. But there's one pressing one, okay?
Remember bullets one and two from above? Pressure to remake, and squeezing in new content. Not to mention, ahem. Blogging...and cooking, and sleeping. All of which I must do more of these days. ;)
I've decided that rather than continue to feel the pressure of remaking past classes, I would like to hold a super huge, gigantor mega retirement sale for these classes. Put them on sale for something CRAZY like, oh, 50% off, and then shut them down.
I am so, SO proud of these classes - each one was made with all my skill and knowledge of both Photoshop and instructional design, based on a curriculum that makes sense and is easy to follow, with printable materials to go with the class. And of course, you get all your classes FOREVER, to retake and review and brush up on any time forever.
Get a Class (or a FEW!) Now
There are sixteen retiring classes, which you can see all in a big curriculum list right here, with links to each of the descriptions to purchase them. It's a savings of more than $275 for all the classes.
The plan is, that this first step will pave the way for the next few steps, which I am really, really excited about! So head over and check out the curriculum, choose a class or a few at 50% off, and learn Photoshop in 2014!