Stand Tall, Stay Strong

At the start of every year, I tend to become reflective.  I'm not really a New Year's Resolution kind of person since I'd prefer to set goals for myself all year long.  But, I started DART Boutique in January 2019 so it's a good time to take stock of the past and look to the future.

This month I'll be celebrating 4 years in business and 1 year at the new store location.  I've grown so much as a person the past few years and learned a lot of valuable life lessons.  I consider this blog an outlet for sharing nuggets of knowledge I can pass along to others.

So, here are my thoughts this January 2023...

In November of 2021 I took a solo trip to Nashville for 4 days.  I needed space to breathe, relax, and reset my mind.  As I was arriving at my hotel one night, I looked up and noticed a single plant growing on top of a concrete wall.  I didn't know at the time why it grabbed my attention so much, but I knew I needed to take a picture of it.  I took a closer photo of it but then another to show the odd place it was growing.

Stand Tall, Stay Strong                   Stand Tall, Stay Strong

I've often thought about that little plant and what it represents. One of my favorite sayings is, "A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms."  The little plant I found has a similar meaning to me.  Not only did it grow in a place where it shouldn't have, it paved its own path and was standing tall in what it believed was right.

Over the years, I've gone through seasons of doubt and feelings of failure.  I looked at several large boutiques with 500,000 to 1 million+ Facebook followers.  Would I ever want to grow DART Boutique that big?  Should I try?  I see the massive houses that those owners live in and then look at my very quaint house.  I see their enormous warehouses and then look at my tiny storage area.  Should I try live sales to increase online orders with people from all over the country?  Is that what DART Boutique should be?

No.  I've learned to stop comparing myself to others and stand tall in what I believe is the right thing for me.  I am very happy with my small storefront and the personal encounters I can have with each customer.  I've even made some amazing friendships with several "regulars." I have no ambition to be the head of a big company with an army of employees.  My strength lies in the one-on-one interactions I can have daily in my little shop.  I am not a CEO/Manager type.  I'm just a simple girl who wants to provide a fun and inclusive shopping experience to my community.

So my challenge to you is to think about your values and beliefs.  Where do your strengths lie?  Once you figure out your direction in life, stand tall and stay strong.  True growth and happiness looks like my little plant friend from a hotel in Nashville, TN.

Leslie Dolby, Owner of DART Boutique

[Nashville - November 2021]

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