Be Your Own Positive Influence.

Today I was vending at a craft show for 8 hours, where I sold more than I anticipated. Then came home, made a cheesecake, and got a batch of scones ready to pop in the oven when I wake in the AM. Overall, good day. But here’s the thing…

The first 5-ish hours of that craft show were slow as hell (yay Minnesota winter weather!). I could have just sat idly and waited the last few hours out, accepting my fate. Instead, I stayed positive, stayed engaged with the folks that did come through, as well as the other vendors. And sales did pick up late in the afternoon.

Would those afternoon folks have bought my stuff regardless of my attitude or willingness to engage? Maybe (it’s cool stuff, after all), but I think not nearly as many would have. But would I have been able to accomplish as much after the show if I let the slog of the first half of that show make me all pouty and sad (“Wah, I’m standing here and no one is buying my stuff” /FrumpyFace)? Nope.
There are A LOT of things you can’t control. Your attitude should not be one of those things. There’s no use in letting negativity creep in and ruin what could be a productive day. Is that easy? No. It takes some mental fortitude. You have to recognize when those external factors are pressing on you, trying to move you to Negaville (where negativity lives, that population is always on the rise, especially on the interwebs). But then what?
Do a jumping jack.
No, not really. While that may work for you (good for you, an easy fix!), I can’t just put a blanket statement here with how to overcome this. It’s gonna be different for everyone. Hell, it’s different for me on a day-to-day basis. Best I can do is tell you what I do, and hope you can find some little morsel of insight here to get you started.
It’s a question I ask myself… “Do I like where this is headed?”. Just stop for a minute, take a step back, and try to see what your current trajectory looks like. If you don’t like the endpoint, make a change. For me, this craft show is an example. The first few hours, I had taken in $10 in sales. That’s it. Not a great pace. I was bummed. But I took a moment, went to get some water, and just tried to visualize how my day would go if I just moped around.
I knew I had stuff to accomplish at home. That’s going to be hard to do if I’m in the middle of a pity party.
It’s the weekend after Thanksgiving and I needed to stop at the store before going home. Dealing with those crowds won’t be any easier if I’m a Grumpy Gus.
A full day of cold rain after we had snow means slushy roads and that won’t be fun to navigate whilst revisiting an emo-phase that I never really lived through to begin with.
So when I had my water and got back to my booth, I straightened up a few items that had gotten shifted around, went and chatted with my fellow makers/vendors, and decided that even if I sold nothing else today, at least I got to meet new people (a pretty great group of makers in a variety of mediums), I made ten bucks I wouldn’t have otherwise made, and, I’d have scones tomorrow morning and cheesecake tomorrow evening. And really, can you be grumpy when there are scones and cheesecake on the horizon?
This also took maintenance. I had to keep this in my mind, so as to not let myself slip back into “woe is me” mode. That’s where it really helps to get to know the other vendors at these events. Chatting with them can take your mind off whatever negativity is creepin’ up on you. When I got to the mad-house of a store on my way home, I just had to remember that everyone in there was also dealing with this circus, so just be patient and understanding when people almost crash their cart into yours because there’s stuff piled to the ceiling in walkways so no one can see anything. As for the drive home? That was easy, I just dusted off the Phineas and Ferb Christmas Album* (not literally, I was streaming it), because Thanksgiving is over now, so I’ve moved on to the superior holiday.
So that’s it. I want to reiterate that it isn’t easy. But I do think, at some point, you must be willing and able to tell pessimism to GTFO. Will it sneak back in on you? Sure. But prepare yourself for that. Be self-aware (unless you are an A.I. Then please do not do that). Keep an eye on your attitude, learn how it shifts, and let those shifts drive your positivity.
I hope this makes sense to you. I haven’t written a blog post in approximately 63.5 years, so this might all be nonsense. Also, I’ve been up since 7 AM, and it’s now going on 1 AM, so, again, potential nonsense. I’d love to hear how you cope with situations that can easily skew negative. Use the comments down below to share, and hopefully you can help someone turn their day around.

Until next time, Happy Scones.
-Justin

P.S. The scones are cranberry-orange, and the cheesecake is chocolate-covered orange. If you were curious…

*I challenge you to be anything but delighted while listening to this album. I would say their version of The Twelve Days of Christmas has to be top-3, for Doofenshmirtz alone (the other two would be John Denver & The Muppets, and the version from the Mickey Mouse Christmas album we had when I was a wee lad. I can’t order them best to worst, they’re all wonderful)