Dreams, Goals, and Defining Success

Hey there, friends. I’ve been cleaning out my inbox and decided to answer a frequently asked question which has nothing to do with furniture mending or painting. It’s about how I got my business started. Most of the time the question starts “How did you start your furniture painting business”. I usually sigh because the answer is sooo long and people really just want to know how to get started! The truth is, I didn’t start with an idea or a carefully written business plan. I actually didn’t mean to start a business at all!

 I was working a corporate job with good pay and great benefits, but I was miserable! I was struggling with secondary infertility and had just suffered my second miscarriage. I had returned to work, still in mourning when a really dumb human resources lady called me into her office. She explained the company couldn’t allow me to claim bereavement days because there was no funeral for my 12 week old child. She went on to say if they made an exception for me, people would try to claim bereavement pay when their fish died. I wanted to call her ugly names and sucker punch her in the throat for comparing the life of my child to a goldfish, but I didn’t say a word. I left her office with hives from head to toe, sat down at my desk and typed my resignation. Granted, I acted on emotion but that was a step I’d been wanting to take for a while. I was just too scared!

We changed our lifestyle, lived on a budget and made one income work. I was home for 18 long months before conceiving again! Seriously people, that was hard work! During those 18 months, I really got in touch with my crafty side and fell back in love with things my nine to five job had kept me from doing, like painting. My need for decor change and a tight budget led me to painting my flea market finds and playing around with faux finishes on the walls. Others took notice of my work and I started helping them decorate and paint their homes. Somewhere along the way, someone actually offered to pay me for my services! One job led to another and that’s how A to Z Custom Creations was born. It was on after that, I began to dream! I’m not talking about crazy nighttime dreams where you find yourself naked in the grocery store {and you continue shopping}. I’m talking about the kind that put a purpose and drive in your heart.

A Successful Business Requires You To Think and Dream Big

My business may not have started with a dream but it has lasted for over a decade because of one. I tell my kids to dream big because guess what? Nobody is going to do it for them! I have dreams for them and what they will become in life but those are my dreams, not theirs. I also teach them that no dream is too big. I believe that! Do you? Bigger dreams require more work but they are also more rewarding. To have a dream is to have a longing for something. It’s a strongly desired goal or purpose. I have all kinds of dreams; big ones, little ones, personal ones, business ones. I write down my big dreams, tell them to God, then I set smaller goals to help me reach the big ones. Are you dreaming?

Doors of Opportunity in Business, Blog Post about Business Goals and DreamsDoors have opened for me over the last decade and allowed me to do some crazy things! I’ve plastered strange women’s pregnant bellies {and boobs} and painted them into animals. I’ve created elaborate custom gift baskets. I’ve painted cartoon murals and created leather looking walls out of paper. I can’t say any of those things were dreams come true, but they were all opportunities that led me to where I am today. I’ve never been afraid to explore an open door of opportunity. Don’t get me wrong,  I’m not a daredevil. I am actually pretty cautious. My idea of living on the edge is continuing to drive when the gas light comes on in my minivan! It’s okay to be cautious and even be a little scared of things. There are many things that scare me but failure is not one of them. Failure has produced some of my best work! Can I tell you something else? Even though those “jobs” in the past didn’t really amount to much, God has brought the skills back into my life several times through the years to bless others! No matter what you are doing right now, do it to the best of your ability! It will be used for good someday!

Closed Doors in Business

Speaking of failure…just as I’ve had many doors open up before me, I’ve had many slammed in my face! And, yea, sometimes, God even put a lock on them! Trust me, I tried getting through them once they’ve slammed. You know what they say about hindsight being 20/20…it’s true! Guess what though? I am just as thankful for the closed doors as I am for the open ones. You will have them too. Cry for a minute but suck it up buttercup!  It slammed for a reason! Don’t give up on the dream! A better door is going to open for you!

Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone, Full Blog Post About Business Goals

I should have mentioned before, it’s easy to miss out on an opportunity because it isn’t packaged the way we think it should be. Sometimes, trials and hardships lead to open doors. You have to be able to take your eyes off the trial , and look for the opportunity the trial is presenting!

Stepping outside your comfort zone is the scariest, most amazing feeling ever. Looking back over the last ten years, there are so many things I thought I’d die doing for the first time. Speaking to hundreds of  women at a conference in another state; live television; teaching what I love to do…I ended up enjoying all of those experiences but I thought my heart would stop in the moment! Just trying a new product or doing something different every once in a while will take you out of that comfort zone too. Start small, but whatever you do, don’t stand still!

Dreams Require Work, Full Blog Post

This is the hard part! The blood, sweat and tears part. Literally! I’ve never had anything handed to me. I’ve worked really, really hard for everything and honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way! Okaaaaay. If you are reading this and you just want to give me a cool million…I’ll take it!

Really though, if you are willing to work, you can make a dream happen! In addition to working hard, you’re gonna need a good support system. I have always had a great one! My kids have always helped me and cheered me on. They actually helped me name my business! They know how to remove hardware, can probably tell you if something is real wood and they report roadside junk to me with great detail. I have an amazing extended family as well, who share my work, help me with workshops and most importantly, believe in me! There is no way I could do what I do without their help! You may not have all that but you can get support! Find yourself a mentor or someone who has done what it is you long to do. Get yourself a dream buddy too! Someone who will listen to your dreams and encourage you to reach your goals. There are always going to be haters standing around to push you down. Your dream buddy will be there to stick their tongue out at the haters and maybe even flip them the bird! Yea, I said it! I know, it’s not the lady like thing to do, but that’s just what you want to do sometimes! Not that any of my classy friends would do it ;) They will listen to me gripe, agree that said person is ratched, then tell me to move on! If you don’t have a buddy like that, message me! Seriously.

Reaching A Business Goal Requires Determination

If it’s worth the work, then be determined! Have you ever met a determined person? There’s just no stopping a determined person! I watched a video on Youtube this week about Richie Parker, a man born with no arms. Despite his missing limbs, he lives a normal life. He drives a bad to the bone Chevrolet Impala and holds a demanding job…a dream job for him! He never allowed others to dictate what he could do! No doubt, there were roadblocks along the way! From the minute he was born, people said “he won’t”, but he proved them wrong! I mentioned the haters before. In addition to the haters, there will be things like money, time, physical abilities, the know-how to get to the next step. All these things are hurdles to trip you up along your path! Jump over them, go under them, or just take a few steps to the side and go around them! Just don’t let them stop you! Success is within your reach!

 Holding it all together! 

This is going to be a really short paragraph! Truth-I am swinging by the seat of my pants most days! Like any other mom of 4 {in the nest}, I am torn between the responsibilities of work and motherhood. I’m feeling pretty darn good at the end of the day if we are all fed and the house still stands! I do keep a schedule and I am a stickler for organization. Note: being organized doesn’t mean my floors are sparkly. It means everything has a home and most items can be found without a search. I am an admitted workaholic so I have to force myself to slow down sometimes and take cues from my family. I can usually tell when they are missing momma! They are my number one priority and this dream job I have is no bueno if it doesn’t enhance our family life. I guess what I am trying to say is, my idea of holding it together may make you cringe. If your family is happy and it works, you are doing good!

So what is success anyway? 

The dictionary defines success as a desired result of an attempt. Winston Churchill said: Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.

For me, success is not so much an outcome but an action. It’s about always working toward something better. I don’t ever want to settle and be content with my work. That may sound crazy to you but I love learning new things, doing new things and making finishes different than ever before. That doesn’t mean I’m not happy with my work. It just means I want to do more. My idea of success and your idea of success may be totally different and that’s okay! Whatever your dream is, whether it is business or personal, big or small, I want to encourage you to work for it.  Set some goals and be determined. Don’t allow anyone to {including yourself} to keep you from reaching for your dreams! Don’t be afraid to celebrate your accomplishments either; it doesn’t make you arrogant! That is something I wrestle with, but you know what? People who really know me, know better, and that’s all that matters! If I am sharing an accomplishment, you can bet your booty, I had a list of failures to get there! And you can bet I am sharing to help someone else succeed, not to boast! You may be the encouragement someone else needs so please, share your success!

I sure wish I could end this post with a big ole hug! I am so thankful for all the sweet support from you guys! Y’all help me make my dreams come true and I am so thankful for you all! Much love!!

I created the images above with Photoshop and background images I purchased at 123RF Stock Photos and I would like to credit the artists! You can find them all by clicking the links below! I’m sure by sharing their photos there, they are living their dreams and I am happy to be a part of it! Image credit: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/photo_13271983_think-and-dream-big-words-written-on-chalkboard.html’>raywoo / 123RF Stock Photo</a> Image credit: <a href=‘http://www.123rf.com/photo_7507455_closed-metal-door-with-lock.html’>garloon / 123RF Stock Photo</a> Image credit: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/photo_12865967_burnt-orange-background-with-graffiti-grunge-vintage-texture-and-bright-highlight-on-gray-stone-illu.html’>apostrophe / 123RF Stock Photo</a> Image credit: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/photo_17689964_black-blackbord-in-brick-loft.html’>peshkova / 123RF Stock Photo</a> The open door photo is by a photographer named Brad Smith and you can find him on Flickr under the name BugMan50 ;)

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  1. Robin Terrell says:

    Great post. Determination is the master of all creativity. A creative person isn’t born, they are evolved out of determination, dedication and just plain hardwork. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love this Angela. What a great post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Bronwyn Twizell says:

    I love it Angela and agree wholeheartedly

  4. Very inspiring! Keep dreaming big.

    • Wow. I’m touched, CeCe! Thank you for reading, taking the time to comment, and for encouraging me and so many others to chase their dreams! ~Angela~

  5. Kim Gentry says:

    You rock! Thank you for sharing. I don’t always comment but always find such value & encouragement in your posts.

  6. I absolutely love you Angela!!! Dream Bigger than you can Imagine!! God will absolutely take you there…. love you!!

  7. Shannon "best buddy" says:

    Did you ever know that your my hero!! Seriously. It’s not just a 80s movie (Beaches) that I told you to watch!! I know, WAY before your time!! **sigh** anyway. YOU inspire me to be the best that I can be. No matter what’s going on you always have the words to encourage me to try whatever crazy idea I call you about. Whether its to start my own picking business to crazy cousins trying to get me involved in crazy “west Memphis” newsworthy events. I can always count on you to make me feel like if I put my mind to it. I can do it!! That’s why I LOVE YOU!!!!! You are the bestest friend ( other than my best friend Owen) that I could ever hope for!! Thank you for being YOU!!

    • Awe, Dream Buddy! You’re my hero too! Thanks for believing in all my crazy ideas too! You are an awesome picker and I am so excited for where your picks are gonna take you, AND me because surely I’ll get to tag along again soon! <3

  8. Very inspiring story Angela. This is the first blog of your’s I’ve read. You sound like an amazing woman.

    • Thank you so much Connie! I’m so glad you’re here, so glad you found the post inspiring and hope you’ll visit often! All the best! Angela

  9. Angela of Angela's Unique's* says:

    I found your site by accident actually. I was researching Websters chalk paint powder and looking for retailers reviews etc. When I read your post about the product I was very impressed. It hit home for me and what I was looking for in a product. Out of curiousity I looked around the site and found this post. It brought tears to my eyes as it touched my heart. I worked for the government in the judicial system for many years and was longing for something different as well. You tend to loose yourself in those kind of jobs after many years as you have to adapt. Two years ago I had to have a hysterectomy at the age of 38 and it changed my life. I knew the Lord was tugging on my heart to start slowing down and enjoying life. I had done interior design when I was younger with my mother and loved it. So I walked in the antique mall in town and rented a booth, and started doing interior design for some friends and realities, after a year I knew I was at a crossroads and had to make a decision to close shop or quit my full time job. I felt the lord nudging me to come home and work the business and let go of my full time job. Within 6 months we had 5 shootings and 4 murder cases to work of which 2 where young teenagers that went to school with our daughters. That was it. I had reached overload and knew God had other plans for me. I am so thankful he has blessed me with so much. Everything you mentioned above is true! I needed to hear it today. Thank you Angela, your testimony means more than you could ever know. May God Bless you!

    • Wow, Angela. You didn’t find me by accident! Your story touched me and was exactly what I needed today! Thank you so much for sharing it with me! I’m so glad you listened to the Lord and I pray for continued success for you and your family! Do you have a FB page or a website? I’d LOVE to follow your work! You can post it here or email me. All the best! ~Angela~

  10. Angela of Angela's Unique's* says:

    Yes we do. We are on Facebook as Angela’s unique design and decor. Thanks and have a wonderful day.

  11. Oh my gosh! I so needed to read this! I’ve been floundering and doubting myself for almost a year since my (very boring) office position was cut. I had become complacent in my job…..it paid my bills and had allowed me to buy my first home as a single woman. Since being divorced 10 years ago I’ve strived to remain independent. Losing the financial security of the office job was a huge blow to my confidence, and being 60 years old, left me wondering where I would land. Now a year later I can see clearly that God closed that door so that I’d have the time to help my mother after the loss of her husband, help my daughter after the birth of my first grandchild, and have time to be a doting grandma to my darling granddaughter. I so want to build a business similar to what you’re doing. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this and encourage others. Your message has boosted my confidence greatly! Thank You!

    • Cathy, thank you so much for sharing your story! You have no idea how warm my heart feels knowing my words, my story, encouraged you! I’d be happy to be your dream buddy and will be praying about your business dreams. You CAN do it! Thanking God again for the closed doors in my life! All the best to you, Angela

  12. As comments above have also said, I really needed this post! I’m a stay at home mom to two little boys and I’m growing restless. I’ve always been a creative person and i would love to do something like your business. The problem is I don’t feel like I have very much support. Everyone kind of just brushes it off as just another crazy idea. In my mind i try not to believe them but its so hard! I’m going to keep my mind set to figure out how to make this work. This post was such a great boost!

    • Oh my goodness. I just fished your message from spam, Jaz! It was a sweet spot in the middle of a bunch of jibberish! Thank you for your kind words. I’m so glad the post spoke to you and your situation. I promise you, if you do what you are passionate about doing, the support will come. It may not be from the source you are looking for it from but that’s okay! I have a friend who will be releasing an ebook about this subject very soon and I’d love to hook you up with one! Will you message me? Thanks again for making my fishin’ trip delightful today! xo

  13. What a motivating and inspiring post! Thank you for sharing these thoughts. I am sooo offended by your employer’s comment! laurie

    • Thank you Laurie. As hurtful as her comment was, it was the very thing that made me realize the corporate world was not for me! Looking back, I’m thankful she set me free!

  14. Wow, Angela! I’m right there with you, dreaming, working, failing, succeeding…. So much of what you said resonated with me… I too, quit my job as an emotional response..but those emotions were what I needed to embolden me to do something I’d been wanting (needing) to do. Being home as led me to rekindle my creativity, grow my blog and look for new adventures and opportunities. I couldn’t agree more about opportunities looking different than what you thought.
    Right now, I’m trying to figure out how to get into speaking…it’s been a dream for over 20 years and I finally feel like it’s time. I could go on and on… thank you for sharing!

    • Oh, thank you so much for sharing, Sharon! I’d love to hear you go on and on! I believe I’ll hear about a great speaker one day and I’ll say, oh yeah…she shared that dream with me! Here’s to open doors of opportunity and wisdom to discern your options! So excited for you!


  1. […] encourage you to keep dreaming! You can do it! I shared how my business got started here. Read it and know I am here if you need a dream […]

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