Seeing The Forest For The Trees


image credit :: eloise renouf

Like so many other creative entrepreneurs, I love the details in business.  All those little things we do to keep it going on a daily basis.  Making, answering, shipping, problem-solving, sharing… it’s what we do. I mean, writing my to-do list is one of my favorite bits of the day (truly!) – I love seeing all those details listed out, and then feeling the crazy joy of crossing them off throughout the day.

The problem with all these details though – as you may have guessed – is that they can keep us from seeing the bigger picture. In our creative windstorm of detail pursuing, we often can’t see the forest for the trees.  Or in the case of this month’s theme; we’re missing the garden for our flowers.

This is something I struggle with immensely. I’ve got those big garden ideas and goals, I do! But somehow, days – weeks – months pass by and what do you know, I’m still there crossing off my daily to- do list.

If I’m being truly honest I know I’ve passed up a few awesome opportunities simply by being sidetracked by little things. And earlier this year, after reaching a high point of success with my shop, I sort of popped the champagne and put it on cruise control.  Not consciously, but you know, it happened. Along with those missed opportunities, I also overlooked some super important site updates that changed everything for me. I was busy being busy and the big picture sort of faded from sight.

But! I snapped out of my detail laden fog and managed to refocus on the bigger things. Operations, efficiency, strategy, new directions – all big picture stuff to move my business forward.

My detail-busting strategy:

1. Say It Out Loud:  Describing your business aloud, including your vision and process can highlight areas that need revamping or more attention. Last November, I met up with another creative for coffee. We chatted and shared our current projects and endeavors. When she asked where I was going with my Etsy shop, it sort of stopped me short. I didn’t know. I mean, I thought I knew. But somehow saying it out loud made me really choose my words and think about what I felt.  I seriously went straight home and began journaling about what to change.

2. Question It All:  To see the bigger picture, scrutinize what you’re doing.  I know it’s easy for me to fall into patterns & schedules – but just because we’ve been doing something a certain way for a long time doesn’t mean we’ve been doing it the best way for a long time.  I had a bit of soul searching and forced myself to answer questions I knew were there inside me.

3. Take A Vacation From Details: Set the daily routine aside for a bit. Hit pause on the make button. Instead, spend some time on the bigger picture stuff – discover new trends, learn about site or social media changes and upgrades, research different opportunities, and take care of the macro aspect of your business.  Suddenly, all the details seem not quite as important…

4. Let Go of the Details:  Now that you’ve explained and questioned and even taken a break from the details – it’s a good time to let some of them go.  Maybe it’s finding an assistant or reworking your day to limit detail-driven tasks. You might explore a new technique to increase efficiency or simply let go of something requiring way too much busy work.  In my situation, I found two assistants who work on the details of things. It is one of the smartest things I’ve done and am kicking myself for not going about it sooner.

After freeing ourselves up from the little details, I think we’ll notice there’s much more room for creativity to blossom. And there’s also a bit of confidence that comes from not being tied to a list but instead growing our gardens with a smart, passion-driven strategy.

Can you relate to not being able to see your garden for the flowers? How do you take a step back and get perspective so you can see the larger picture for your business? 


  1. Naomi says:

    Great post, definitely food for thought. recently i have been analysing my site traffic and i have been thinking about the result of the traffic i am getting and as i was walking to my day job the other day it hit me all at once things that needed to be done in order to get my message accross to people visiting my shop, so i have put aside my daily to do’s and i am current working of some major improvements to move things forward. I think your right i definitely get wrapped up in the small tasks and forget about my over all goal with my business. Good Luck with yours!

  2. Urbanknit says:

    Fantastic post and so timely because I have literally had to stop myself from sitting in my studio and making pretty things when I know I have to take a step back to re-evaluate the plans for the year, the bigger things, strategy.

    Its easier to do the fun stuff but when there is a focus and direction I feel the stress levels coming down because I am working to a plan albeit a flexible one.

    Really been enjoying your posts and so glad I subscribed to the newsletter!

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