It’s nothing greater than not only having a dream, but being able to pursue it. It’s truly a blessing. And nowadays, its even more encouraging to step out with so many inspiring examples of people who have done it and are successful. But what you don’t hear about as much is what happens when the dream you once had and pursued dies. How do you move forward when the dream you once felt so passionate about is no longer what you desire or what you feel you should be doing? Where do you go from there? Well, that’s exactly the boat I’ve been in the past few years.
As many of you know, I used to have a handbag business (Nneka Saran) where I made and sold bags.
It literally started as a hobby that grew into a full blown business over time and I loved it. I’ve always enjoyed making things and when I think back, I guess I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I remember getting in trouble in elementary school for bringing penny candy to school and selling it to my friends lol. So I guess it made sense that I would become an entrepreneur one day.
I started out like most though, my career goal was to climb the corporate ladder and ultimately make lots of money. But after officially starting my handbag business and working it on the side, I began to have dreams of doing it full time. The more my business grew, the stronger I felt about really going hard with it. I was working in sales for Kraft Foods at the time and I distinctly remember telling my co-worker I wouldn’t be there for much longer. Little did I know, the company was about to do a massive downsizing. It was uncertain who would be laid off, but I was one of the last in so you know how that goes. But as the good Lord would have it, they announced they would be offering severance packages for anyone who wanted to voluntarily leave. After much prayer and discussion with my husband, we decided I would leave corporate and pursue my dream! It was best decision ever and truly one of the most invigorating times in my life. I traveled, met lots of people, was blessed with tons of awesome opportunities, featured in numerous magazines & televisions shows, had lots of celebs rocking my bags, hosted women’s empowerment events, and even had a small commercial studio space I worked out of with a small staff, etc. I had big dreams of blowing up into a huge brand one day and inspiring as many women as I could along the way. I wasn’t making hundreds of thousands of dollars but I made enough. I was happy, fulfilled, and in control of my own time.
After about 3 years, something started to change. My passion for it started to fizzle out. During this time, my husband and I were having challenges getting pregnant so I figured maybe that was affecting my desire to continue with my business. Around the same time, a friend of mine told me about a program I should apply for. It was a business program for female entrepreneurs through the Tory Burch Foundation/Goldman Sachs. There were hundreds of people who applied, so I told myself if I got in, that would be a sign from God to continue on. Low and behold, I was selected so I kept pushing with my business but truth be told, there was still something missing for me. By the time I got pregnant, something told me this chapter of my life would be closing soon. Outside the fact that I had lost the passion for it, I knew with two babies on the way, I would need more stability financially. Not to mention, a large part of my business involved traveling to do trunk shows and events and I knew I wouldn’t have as much time to do that anymore (especially since both sets of our parents live out of state so we had no real help). Even with all that, the decision to completely dissolve my business was a hard one. It was like a death. Not just the death of a dream, but of what I believed was some of my purpose too. Despite the success and notable things I felt I had achieved, apart of me felt like a failure. I kept thinking back to the big dreams I had for my business and all I wanted to do with it. I thought about how many people would tell me I inspired them and how I so often preached about having faith and stepping out on it. And here I was throwing in the towel on years of blood, sweat and tears I put in this business. On top of all of that, the more time passed by, the more I was constantly reminded (via social media) how far every else seemed to be in their careers or entrepreneurial ventures now. Meanwhile, I was stuck at a standstill in a rut in my mid 30s with a dream that was no more ….feeling lost, low on faith (at that time), and not much of an inspiration at all.
Going from having such a clear vision for the path you want to go to no longer knowing what you are to do is a very unsettling feeling. Personally, I was sooo blessed and full. I had a great husband, family, and friends. I had prayed and prayed for a child, and the Lord blessed us with 2 at the same time. Shouldn’t that be enough for me? The more I wrestled with that question, the more I realized while motherhood is such a sweet blessing and has certainly become apart of my purpose in life, there is more God has for me to do…more to my purpose in this life. And I want to be completely sure I am walking in whatever that is.
Today I turned 38 and if you are wondering where I am with all this now, I’m still going through it. However, I no longer feel like a failure nor do I feel lost and I haven’t for awhile now. If I’ve learned one thing in my 38 years is that we all go through seasons in life but some are only for a period of time. And when I think back to it all, I learned so much during that time of my life. My faith was stretched so much and I believe it truly helped me grow as a person and prepare me for what’s to come. Do I know exactly what that will be? Not completely. But, I have no doubt in my mind the Lord has a plan for me and I already see Him working.
I’m a firm believer everything happens for a reason and while I am no longer in that particular season of my life, I absolutely believe I am right where I am supposed to be at 38 years old. I don’t have it all figured out yet but it’s not my job to, it’s the Lords and I will follow the path He sets for me. I completely trust in HIs plan and timing for my life even when things may not happen as quickly as I’d like at times. My story is not over…..new chapters are on the way. So if you are reading this and you find yourself in a similar boat, know that you aren’t alone and your story isn’t over either.
To all my many supporters and customers during those years, words can’t express how grateful I am to you all! While I don’t see myself ever going back into the handbag business full time, you guys know I love to make things….I’m a creative and an entrepreneur at heart so there’s always a chance I’ll whip up a bag or two and post them for sale lol 😉