When I arrived this weekend at my first-ever greeting card workshop, I admit I struggled to hide my cockiness.

That’s because I’ve been rubber stamping and making greeting cards for more than 30 years. I thought I knew a fair amount about the craft. As it turned out, there were tricks and techniques I had long forgotten and new tools and materials I didn’t know existed. I was humbled.

At home with fresh eyes, I discovered that some of my past creations looked less than inspiring and amateur.

Does this mean, I asked myself, that I should devote the care and time I invested at the workshop to all future creations? And should I rely on other people’s proven designs rather than risk a flop now and again of my own making?

As I was thinking about the experience, I realized that these questions about greeting cards offer broader, more consequential reminders about our professional and personal lives. When we’ve been doing something for a long time, we can’t become complacent and arrogant. I certainly had about greeting cards and maybe also in my work and personal life. I was reminded that we must challenge ourselves and always embrace learning — even from someone young and less experienced.

Also, our work and personal lives require a mix of following the tried and true and knowing when to take a chance on ourselves even if we might fail.

From the workshop, I also was reminded that we can’t approach every project or endeavor with equal expectations and energy. Sure, sometimes we’ll want to create a gourmet meal for our friends. Other times, inviting them over for a game night with pizza can be equally satisfying.

As for my greeting cards, I can view with equal appreciation my designed-from-the-heart, not-so-perfect cards with the ornate, these-could-have-been-store-bought cards that I merely copied at the workshop.

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