Christa’s Soapbox – The Only One Standing in My Way is Me.

I should also say – the only one standing in your way is you! (As this is meant to be an encouraging post.) After attending quilt market last week and thinking ahead to the next fun quilting event, I’ve realized that really, anything is possible if you set your mind to it, and are willing to work hard and put in the time and effort to make it happen.

20141101_creative_process The image above makes me chuckle. (I saw it on instagram awhile back and edited it so I could share it in public, LOL!) I know that so many of us get caught up in the negative cycle of self-doubt, insecurity, and general anxiety that comes from pursuing any craft, whether it be for business or pleasure.

I think part of that comes from thinking that everyone else gets it right away (whatever “it” is), or that everyone else an overnight success, and we will never measure up. When I began pursing the creative side of quilting as a career two years ago (in the summer of 2012 when I discovered modern quilting), I knew it would take time, effort and discipline to make myself known.

I started paying attention to those around me who I considered to be successful and what it was about them that helped lead to their success. Here are just a couple of attributes I noticed:

  • A positive attitude
  • A sense of professionalism, even when things didn’t go their way
  • A willingness to go the extra mile, without being asked or contracted to do so
  • A desire to encourage others rather than promote themselves
  • A genuine passion for their craft
  • A good sense of humor and grace under fire
  • A tendency to minimize gossip or discouragement when it came their way
  • A determination to try and try again, even if they failed
  • Patience – a minimum of 2-4 years of full time effort before anyone really notices

I know life doesn’t always go according to plan, and it can take a long time to achieve one’s goals. I’ve also learned through my quilting journey that there are infinite pathways to success. In fact, it’s taken me so long to find my path because I had to travel down all of the wrong ones, first! However, when it comes to pursing our dreams, I want to be a voice out there of encouragement. I really and truly believe we can be the cause of our own success and sometimes we just need permission to do it.

I recently gave myself this permission to succeed, and it sure was a load off of my shoulders! I’m sure I’ll still make little mistakes along the way, and I know there will be a few bumps in the road from time to time. But now that I’m not standing in my way anymore, I can see the road much more clearly. 🙂


39 thoughts on “Christa’s Soapbox – The Only One Standing in My Way is Me.

  1. Alice Samuel's Quilt co. says:

    Thank you very much for your word of encouragement…That’s just what I need right now. I’m only new to quilting – less than 2 years of actively pursuing my love for it. It’s definitely easy to sink into self doubt and uncertainty. Not only am i trying to find my voice and myself in quilting but added to that is the challenge of making people around me take what I do seriously – quilting isn’t popular around here. I am also taking time to build myself up into the kind of person I want to be in every area of my life and dedicate myself so much to my quilting that hopefully my work and enthusiasm will make people around me fall in love with this craft and truly appreciate it!

  2. busybeequilts says:

    This is a great post! I bought a Longarm in January and love it! I was thinking of taking on customer quilts (only for hand guided custom work) just kind of for fun and acknowledgement that I can quilt a mean design. But I’m not done having kids yet and have so much on my plate with the three I have, so I was thinking of giving myself another year to get pretty good and then starting to take on clients next fall around the holiday season. I just learned to sew when I was 30, I’m 37 now, and maybe by the time I’m 40 I can teach at the Longarm retreats I’m attending now myself to learn the skills. Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. Michele says:

    Thank you for a terrific post and exactly what we work hard to teach our kids. You can be anything you want to be. I just wish that my job and family obligations wasn’t getting in the way of me becoming what I want now. LOL

  4. Leanne Parsons says:

    Great post, Christa! I’ve only recently given myself the permission to jump in and try to earn a little money through quilting rather than just dreaming about someday doing it. So I opened an etsy shop ( There’s not much listed yet because I’m still only sewing in my found moments, but hopefully I can start to build something. My new mantra is “Dreams don’t work unless you do.”

  5. Hollie@Just a Mom who Sews says:

    Thank YOU for stating most of these people are not overnight successes! And they do it as a full time job. I do believe ones self is the biggest source of doubt and you can’t do it/make it/etc. Thanks for telling us about your “paths” to where you are now.

  6. Elizabeth E. says:

    Great post and a needed one, judging from the raft of comments that followed. I just crept over here to say that I saw you on my MQG email about your new math class webinar. Congrats! I”m impressed that you seem to be everywhere (yes, even jogging in the NV desert) and am sending you good karma so you can keep up. It’s fun to see your smiles!


  7. hosersblog says:

    So I am not alone in the “love/hate” process that I go through. I really struggle with it having to be perfect, especially if I make for someone else. When in the end will they even notice? Am I really being judged by my work? Thanks for the words of encouragement, I will pass them on.

  8. Lee says:

    Sometimes I get so sad I’m not quilting on the level of folks like you Christa and other bloggers in Internet Quilt World. I don’t have a website because I don’t have the time to blog, I’m not invited to festivals, entering contests, being celebrated. I’ve been sewing since I was in my 20’s. Actually at age 8…but I’ve worked a full time job that isn’t 9-5 but more like 6am to whenever students let me go home – home to my teen son who needs me, too. I was a widow at 45. Now at 50, I have so many ideas to sew, but so little time and money to execute those ideas. Sometimes it feels like I quilt in order to take all the scraps of my life up in my arms and put them together in a pleasing fashion, then bind them together with stitches from my soul. That doesn’t win awards, make the news or even earn a dollar. But it is keeping me sane. And filling my house with quilts to get me recognition one day – on an episode of Hoarders… LOL. I read you every day. Please keep blogging your energy and ideas! I don’t worry about getting it right. I just worry.

  9. lori landenburger says:

    Yes, yes yes!! So very true! I hope tons of people stop by and read your post, because it is important that people understand that they need to accept that they CAN do it, and then step out of their own ways and go ahead and DO it. So easy to not move forward because we worry about what others think or that we may not succeed. And my question to people is: What do you mean by succeed? Each effort yields its own knowledge and understanding that help the next effort go more smoothly. so every effort is indeed, success! Thanks for the post! XX!

  10. Megan says:

    You’ve completely done so well in just the 2 years you have dedicated to it full time! This is great and a great reminder to people (like me). Love it! You’re a true inspiration Christa!

  11. Kristy Daum says:

    Oh that I should read this post today on what is turning out to be an emotional rollercoaster of a Monday. You are a wonderful inspiration to us all, and I’m glad that you have removed some of those obstacles so you can continue to do whatever it is your heart desires.

  12. Marianne says:

    Good post, Christa. I think it’s important as well, to define what success means to one personally. It’s not the same for all of us. Once you have defined that for yourself there is a freedom to work towards it.

  13. Martha says:

    Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom. Such is life. No matter what the obstacles ,you pick yourself up,learn from it and move on. No sniveling allowed ( well a little bit ). You will be a better person, inwardly and outwardly.

  14. Jolly and Delilah says:

    Thanks for post. It is inspiring! I’m mulling over options for creating a quilting career at the moment. Do I buy a long arm? Do I create patterns? Do I open a quilting store? Well, I have the material for about seven projects I fell in love in with online. Do I want to make these, or use the fabric to make something of my own? It’s a real toss up because I LOVE those patterns, but I have tons of gorgeous fabric and would therefore have beautiful quilts of my own design. It’s a lot to think about. Thank you again!

  15. Pat Sell says:

    Your words are very wise. We ARE often the rock in the shoe of our own success! A good thing to also keep in mind is that only God is perfect, neither we nor our quilts must be! Enjoy your life and keep encouraging! 🙂 ps. I just returned from Houston: your quilts on dislay were even better than seeing them in magazines! Gave me a swell of pride to think I “know” the person who made these! Keep up the good work!! 🙂

  16. Lauren says:

    What would be really helpful to others out there is to tell us about the “paths” that were successful and those “paths” that were not. Good business practice along with creativity certainly has to be important. We are all happy that you are feeling good about your progress to this point.

  17. Hedy Hahn says:

    I like what you wrote about giving yourself permission to succeed. I remember reading an article about a quilter who went to a seminar. She had been sewing in small spot and came home and told her husband she would change their living room into her sewing area. He cleaned out the guest room for her and made it perfect for her new quilting room, she is now a famous quilter. We stand in our own light way too often. I have always made sure the house is spotless, the meals are cooked and the laundry done before ever doing what I want to do. Now I make sure they are all done, but I get help from husband and make my quilting a priority. I am taking more classes and learning new things. It has to start with me ! Guess that is my new slogan now. Good Luck Christa.

  18. Renee says:

    I frequently think of that creative process list when I am working through a quilt I designed myself–there’s so much more uncertainty and you can’t go see how someone else did something. I am totally in the “this is crap” phase of my quiltcon fabric challenge quilt. It is really hard to power through. Hoping the quilting will get it back to “this might be ok”, haha.

  19. Jayne Willis says:

    What a possitive post and attitude you have! It is hard to remember that others have had to go through the self doubts, trial and error and learning curves too~they put hard work into it. Positive attitudes are like a magnet, we are drawn to them! thank you for such a positive (and friendly reminder)!

  20. Lori Smanski says:

    you have said this very well. it is so easy to not make priorities within ourselves. You go girl!! I am trying to do the same thing. thanks for reminding us of all this. Have a great week.

  21. CathieJ says:

    I love your blog and I needed that post. I recently started a new blog and the gossip is nauseating. I like your “creative process” also. I think I would add “Can I make it better?” between 3 and 4 because that is usually how the process works for me. Of course you can succeed! We all make mistakes, but that is how we get better.

  22. Lis Ostiguy says:

    You have no idea how much you hit home with today’s blog. We are so often the cause of our own failure because we don’t believe in our ability to be successful. Thank you for reminding us!

  23. Penny says:

    Thank you for those words. They can be applied to life situations not only quilting. If you have no objections I would like to adapt the mantra for a group in which I have just taken on a leadership role.

  24. farmquilter says:

    Absolutely! A positive attitude is essential…Negative Nellies don’t get far and everyone appreciates someone who encourages them! So many in the quilting community are this way – makes it way more fun!!!

  25. AnnLouise Pugh says:

    You are well on your way to being a “name brand quilter”. …and I will be happy to say “I knew you when!” You go girl!!!

  26. Cory Allender says:

    I agree completely with you. Unfortunately, we never see ourselves or our work as others do. My number 1 of the creative process always has as many qualifiers as possible stuffed in it..”This might, possibly, if I’m really lucky, be awesome.” It’s taken a few years to accept that’s how I’ll always feel starting a new piece. I think of it as stage fright (or maybe quilt fright?!).

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