One week into 2015 might seem like a little bit late to write the first post of the year, but I’ve needed the time and space to reflect on a busy 2014 and end of year and collect the energy to start this year on an authentic note. What started as an idea early last year slowly collected steam, rolling its way through the digital and material world like a bundle of yarn gaining colours and fragments of threads along the way, knitting a fabric of meaning that is now beginning to take shape. In a few months we’ll be reaching our first anniversary (May 5!) and this time has seemed both short and long in the same breath - short in the experience of how days and projects merge together, and long when we count the people, prints and pants we’ve witnessed and retold stories of.
Early this week I had the honor of meeting a filmmaker during a private screening who moved me with her simple expression of wanting to tell the stories of people in exile. She reminded me that staying true to a simple core mission is the touchstone of every journey. In the myriad competing priorities that emerge when you start a business, remembering your core ‘why’ is a daily practice that requires affirmation and conscious will.
Stay true to your core.
Whatever you do, remembering why you do it and making every decision along that compass is fundamental to looking back with satisfaction at days and moments well and worthy passed. This is the first paragraph I wrote about why we exist, written more than a year ago today:
“The heart behind MATTER is connectedness - to weave bonds between past and present, user and creator, and return to the importance of why and where something is made. We believe that context delivery beauty, and it is storytelling that grounds us in our unique differences and common humanity.
We live by the ethos that travel can make people better, the experience of different cultures, environments and values lend perspective, which almost always grounds us in what really matters.”
Present principles, not goals
As much as goal setting and resolutions are a key part of new years, I’ve realised that what works best, for me at least, is sticking to principles instead of one off milestones. Goals are good as post markers of what we want to achieve, and can serve as motivational milestones; however its present principles of how we guide the process of 'getting there’ wherever 'there’ is, that forms our character. For any business driven by purpose alongside or perhaps even more than profit, the process is almost always more important than the result.
People first, tasks later
In starting to galvanise and build a team around MATTER I’ve learnt my strengths and weaknesses as a manager, and one of those is impatience. I have the tendency to look at the final result and not at the person achieving that, unconsciously short circuiting the process required to achieve a collective result. One of my key lessons this year is that effective delegation requires an understanding of the person you’re delegating to, and not only their skill sets and talents, but also their motivations and purpose. I’ve realised that nothing excites me more than seeing someone with light in their eyes talking about something we might create together - whether a young designer or seasoned artisan.
One resolution: Step into a holistic self
I tend to compartmentalise my life a little - and for these busy times for many it seems like we jump from one persona to the next depending on who you’re with and the responsibilities you have. Whether for MATTER or for myself, the one resolution I have for this year is to seek integration within the different parts of the whole. What is the common thread that follows through each unit, each area of your life? How can these different areas complement and connect with one another? How can we strengthen the work of others with the same mission as us?
Good morning 2015.
Written by Ren.