Beth Meadows


Melancholy and the Infinite Hopefulness

Beth Meadows1 Comment

It's been a little while since I last wrote. I've definitely been thinking about it, but I have had some good reasons for not having time. Here's what's been going on behind the scenes of With Bear Hands Enterprises, LLC:

First, I recently took a business class for nine weeks at the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, and while it was only one night a week, I went all out meeting with people to interview and even shadowed a company throughout the duration of the class. The time invested was so well worth it. 

It Don't Come Easy by Beth Meadows, inspired by how being an artist and trying to become a business person feels like domesticating a wild animal. Everything will be all right, majestic bear.

It Don't Come Easy by Beth Meadows, inspired by how being an artist and trying to become a business person feels like domesticating a wild animal. Everything will be all right, majestic bear.

I have also been looking for a house, and if you've ever gone down that road, you know it's super time-consuming. Fun, frustrating, lots to learn quickly.

The business class was wonderful. I loved the group of people in the class. I loved having the steps of planning a business spelled out for me in a simple way. I loved the motivation it gave me to work through some overwhelming and challenging issues that have plagued me for years. 

I went into it with a particular idea that I have not fully abandoned, but I have let go of for now.

That was the lesson a lot of us learned- running a business is all-consuming so it should be something you are fully invested in and fully passionate about. That may seem like a no-brainer, but it's really something you have to come to at your own pace.

This led me to a valuable truth I have always known but push away every once in a while out of fear, frustration, and a desire to be a sensible human being: I am an artist at heart and it's what I want to do more than anything. It's how I want to make a living.

(I cannot tell you how hard it is for me to even say that still. Ahhhh...)

But I have never fully put my all into it, nor have I had a very good plan to go by everyday. I have always had goals but not broken them down into smaller, more manageable steps. This class really helped me with that and I'm thankful. 

I see the small steps more clearly and am slowly but surely moving up, again, for what seems like the hundredth time. And I know more clearly where I'm headed and why, which is probably the most important aspect of running any business. Without the why, you can't fight the resistance that you will inevitably face over and over again*.

All this is to say, I highly recommend taking a class like this.

If you're anything like me, you're always dreaming of things you want to do with your time and in your career. We keep those thoughts in our head because if we were to start pursuing most of them, we'd realize they are unrealistic or not really what we want to do deep down. Taking a business class, or any class of interest, helps point you to where your heart wants to be in a shorter period of time, and that's not always something people want to realize so quickly.

In a lot of ways, the class for me was a little painful, stirring up some things I want to begin dealing with. So I started going to a counselor before the class ended.

As honest a person as I am, I am so easily distracted by anything and everything, and wonder if I am subconsciously, but intentionally, allowing myself to put off the things my heart really wants. I need a lot of help in this area, and so I'm taking it from any place I can at the moment.

Which leads me to the second thing I have been doing with my time: house hunting. 

I was actually so close to sealing the deal on a house a few days ago, but after much deliberation, I walked away.

In many ways, that house was my "dream" house. Honestly, I've had dreams about living spaces for years now and this house matched those visions in my head more than anything else I looked at. I really wanted it to work. 

Dreams are really hard because they aren't always realistic. It doesn't mean we shouldn't keep dreaming, but I've learned I need to let myself pursue something enough to let the infatuation subside and the reality to show through. I need to allow those two worlds to meet more often in my life. It's really hard, but I have hope it will get easier.

Now that the business class is over, I hope to start writing again. I'm also taking one day out of the week to work on all things art. Today is that day, so it's time to get moving. I can't wait to share what I've been working on soon...

* a constant mantra of Michael Hyatt

Just Try it On!

Beth MeadowsComment

Do you have thoughts about things you want to do that won't go away?

Pushing away little nudges at my heart has been the story of my life for many years because of the nature of my work life and pursuit of art. The more I wanted to succeed in these two areas, the more I had to say No to any other thing that might take away my focus.

If I've learned anything about being an artist with a day job, it is this: If I want to say Yes to certain things in my life, I have to say No to way more, even good, fun, delightful things. Doing well in one area means staying focused and cutting out distractions in other areas. I get it. Sometimes begrudgingly, but I get it.

But about six months ago, I made the choice to start walking away from my day job (and its all-consuming nature) to see if there was a way to say Yes to some of the things I had put on the backburner. While it was difficult and scary to move away from that job, I knew in my heart it was time, so it was weirdly also very easy.

Over the past several months, to process all of the things I had put on the backburner, I wrote them down and brainstormed about each one. I ended up filling up an entire legal pad and started another. Apparently there were a lot of things I had pushed to the side.

Here are some examples of what came welling to the surface:

  • Write (Blog) consistently* (doing this now yo)
  • Take dance lessons
  • Teach art classes*
  • Buy glass dishes with lids and prepare meals for each week*
  • Go on a real vacation*
  • Go on so many vacations
  • Find an ocean and sit by it for many days*
  • Play soccer*
  • Learn how to make jewelry (soldering, metalworking)
  • Make a body of artwork & court some galleries outside of Knoxville*
  • Get together with (fill in the blank with 30+ different people)* 

As you can imagine, a legal pad-sized list is pretty overwhelming, but I keep reminding myself to take it one step at a time. This whole process has taught me two powerful things:

1. I want my day job to allow me to make art and to do as many things on my list as possible. I don't want to take work home with me on nights, weekends, or vacations unless, I am the owner of that business.

2. Finally going after dreamy or lofty goals demystifies them which is necessary to figure out which are worthwhile. The greatest gift of working through my list is realizing the items I thought I wanted to pursue, but in fact, really do not want to do.

I'll give you an example:

As you saw on my list above, I put down Teach Art Classes. I've thought about it for such a long time, BUT... Almost as soon as I sent that message out into the world, I realized I didn't want to do it at all. Surprise!

The thing about dreaming, which is all in your head, is you don't start out thinking about the work. The time. The effort. And if it's a business idea- networking, marketing yourself, coming up with prices, preparation, running errands, keeping the books.

So when a few people expressed interest in the classes, I responded. When I didn't hear anything back, I quietly backpedaled... and then ran in the opposite direction. I was so relieved. A dream I had dreamed for so long: Dead on Arrival. 

It was a little embarrassing, I admit, but the silver lining outweighed that feeling. Now I can check that puppy off my list. Actually, I checked off a whole page, and that's a gift. On to the next thing...

Sidenote: This doesn't mean I will never teach art classes, just not right now.

So after this happened, I was talking to Dale Mackey of The Central Collective about this notion of trying and quitting (gasp). Was it ok that I did this? And she tells me that if she has, what she thinks is a great idea, she will just go for it. If it loses steam or doesn't work out or she loses interest, she can allow herself to quit thinking about it and move on. And that's ok!

I think we all agree that this method may not be appropriate for every aspect of life, but as an entrepreneur, as a human who develops many interests, isn't it fun to think of all the things you can pursue with this mentality? It allows someone like Dale to dream uninhibited, which is a beautiful thing because, while some of her ideas don't come through, the ones that do are pretty brilliant, and our community reaps plentifully from her endeavors.

One last story:

There were these beautiful shoes at Style of Civil a few years ago. I had an art show there, and each time I'd go in, I'd stare at them, pick them up, hold them. I couldn't afford them so I wouldn't try them on until the owner said, "Let me get your size. Let's see if they work, and if they don't, you can quit thinking about them."

And so I tried them on. And they were extremely uncomfortable. And it broke the magical spell they had cast on me. I was free! 

(Please click here for poignant illustration).

What a delight to receive from a boutique shoe store owner such sage advice that has helped me live my life better. It's the main reason I'm writing again. Writing has been nagging me for so long and I now have the time and energy to turn toward it and say, "Let's do this. (Please don't embarrass me.)"

So I leave you with these words if something good has been tugging at your heart for a while:

Just try it on** (while also being safe, responsible, and caring for others).



*I have done these things or started the process. Three cheers for Lists!

**Name that movie


Beth MeadowsComment

Almost a year ago, I was at my parents' house and found all my beads and hemp necklaces from high school. Making really bad jewelry used to be one of my favorite pastimes.

The beads sat on a shelf in my closet for months, but I pulled them down about a month ago and made earrings until 2 am one morning.

This came at a time when I read something that asked, "What enjoyable activity makes you lose track of time?" and I could name ZERO. Even art was not on my list, at least not at that very moment. I couldn't think of any activity that took me away from checking my phone every two seconds.

I felt so bad about this. Something had to be done. 

It took a few days for me to open up those bead boxes and connect again to that joy or getting lost in something. And, for me, to do any activity other than watch Netflix at that hour is nothing short of a miracle. 

Since then I have had visions of making more elaborate pieces, but I don't know how. 


Last night I had a dream about visiting an exhibition where an artist displayed different beautiful beads and gems on the walls of a rectangular white room with high ceilings. Dim lighting spot-lighted the beads. They were for sale and a lot had been picked through. I was late to come to the exhibition. It was actually about to end, but there were still plenty of beautiful ones left to choose from. My hands were soon full.


This morning, I did a two minute internet search and emailed someone about taking a jewelry-making class.