What Canyoning Near Sydney Has to Do With Building a Sewing Business in Spain

Anke Herrmann
Aug 27, 2015 · 6 min read

I love Marie Forleo. In the latest episode of MarieTV she interviews Todd Henry, author of Louder Than Words: Harness the Power of Your Authentic Voice, The Accidental Creative and Die Empty, founder of Accidental Creative, who talks about how

Every creative project has a U-shape. It’s like walking into a canyon.

In the beginning you look across the canyon and you see the destination. Everything is clear — you can see the path, it seems easy to get to the other side.

Once you hike down into the canyon you lose sight of that destination. The path is no longer clear, moving ahead is difficult, you feel lost and even a bit scared. You start wondering how you’ll ever get to the other side and whether the whole trip was even worth it.

But you keep going and start heading up the hill leading out of the canyon. Once you see the destination again, way off in the distance but clearly visible ahead of you, you charge on with new energy and once you’ve reached the top you look back at this incredible, life changing experience and wouldn’t want to miss a single minute of the journey.

That’s how I feel about building my sewing business in the south of Spain.

The thing is, I had written the title of this post long before seeing the interview.

Looking back on 10 years as a self-employed dressmaker memories of my own canyoning trip near lovely Sydney, Australia, had come to mind.

Beautiful Sydney, Australia — miss you!

When I lived in Sydney some friends invited me along to a canyoning weekend. I had no idea what canyoning was. Colleagues at work told me it involved descending into a canyon where we’d hop onto an air mattress and happily cruise along the creek, only to stop for lunch or a dip into the refreshingly cool water. Sounded like the perfect plan after a long week at the office.

But that’s not what was in store for us.

On Saturday we learnt abseiling. I would usually avoid heights but didn’t want to spoil the party and chicken out. Much to my surprise, once I’d overcome the initial fear of having to push myself out there, I found it exhilarating and loved it.

On Sunday it was time to head down into the canyon. Some friends had changed plans so it was just 2 of us and our guide. He thought we’d be up for a challenge and took us to a remote canyon hardly anyone visits because it is way more difficult than all the others.

We had no idea. The guide hadn’t said a word. We still thought we were going to ride the air mattress.

The hike down into the canyon was long and exhausting. Seemingly in the middle of nowhere our guide stopped to say we’d arrived at the entrance into the canyon. It was nothing more than narrow crevice. The only way down was abseiling into a large cave.

What had seemed like an amazing adventure just the day before was now nothing more and nothing less than the only way from A to B. Nobody waiting at the bottom hanging on to secure the rope.

I was scared but I’d come so far that not moving ahead wasn’t an option.

Once we’d arrived at the bottom of the cave and started climbing, abseiling, swimming in ice cold water, trying to find ways to move along the virtually unexplored creek we realized that getting down into the cave had been the easy part.

On more than one occasion I felt fear breathing down my neck. I worried that we’d get lost or something happened to our guide, the only one who knew where we were and how to get out. More than once I had no idea how to overcome the next obstacle and would have loved to just somehow get out of there.

It wasn’t courage that made me push on. It was just the knowledge that climbing back up to where we’d come from was the much longer and much more difficult path.

Eventually, with blue lips from the cold water and trembling legs from utter exhaustion, we reached the point where the canyon opened and after what felt like an easy hike up the hill we arrived at the car park and re-entered civilization.

It is hard to describe the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, the feeling of excitement, of truly being alive that lingered on long after we got back to Sydney and the usual routine at the office.

Starting and Growing My Sewing Business Has Been Exactly the Same, Only Without a Guide:

I started off with a vague idea of what I wanted, more a naive picture of me in a lovely studio sewing beautiful dresses than a clear business vision.

I went ahead without knowing what I was in for and then took one step at a time. I needed to learn a lot, quickly. Countless times I had to turn back and find another way forward.

I don’t know how many times I would have given up had there been an easy way out.

Had I known which challenges awaited me perhaps I wouldn’t have had the guts to leave the familiarity of the corporate world for the excitement of living my passion.

But now that I’ve left the bottom of the canyon behind I’m looking back and feel that every challenge, every lesson was necessary to get me to where I am now. Trading in the corporate job for the adventure of being self-employed has helped me to grow as a person in ways I didn’t imagine, to overcome fears and discover a strength I didn’t know I have.

And now is just the beginning of the journey ahead.

In fact, the experience of feeling lost at the bottom of “the canyon” and finding my way out marked the beginning of my own personal transformation and lead me “back to school” to become a coach so I could help other people with a creative passion, who want to make a living doing what they love, find their way out of the canyon.

Get in touch:

If you feel you’d get out of your “canyon” faster if you had a guide (even if you’re not into sewing) I’d like to invite you to connect. A conversation with somebody who listens without judging and can bring a new perspective to the table may help you gain the insight you need to catapult yourself forward.


Love listening? Check out the Passion Business Podcast, the podcast for free spirits with a big idea who want to turn their passion into a business. Listen to ordinary people share their entrepreneurial story to help you write yours.

Connect on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/anke-herrmann/

Ingenious Sewing Professionals Network — This facebook group is a space of support for people who love sewing and want to turn their passion into a thriving small sewing business.

www.flamencodressmaking.com — Learn how to make authentic flamenco dance costumes




https://twitter.com/anke_herrmann (my personal twitter account)

https://twitter.com/sewflamenco (Flamenco Dressmaking on twitter)

https://twitter.com/flamencreacione (Flamencreaciones on twitter)


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